Category Archives: Training

PNTC Kestrel Class AAR

I would estimate that like 95% of the posts I make on this blog are about “action shooting” type things. Carbines, pistols, matches, and so on. Nothing wrong with that; it’s hard for anyone to really do it all if only due to time constraints.

But even if mastery isn’t really going to happen, I do like to branch out into other disciplines if only to attain basic competency. Precision rifle is one of those disciplines, and I got a lot out of the PNTC Intro to Long Range class that I took last year. The Kestrel class that PNTC was offering this past Sunday fit into my schedule, so I decided to see what I could do with that expensive little device.

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TOC Tactical Carbine II AAR

Whenever I have the chance to take a class with a reputable instructor I’ve never trained with, that’s a priority for me. I think there are a lot of great instructors out there, and getting a different perspective on how to solve a problem with a firearm is pretty valuable to me. I had been hearing good things about Matt Watson over at Tactical Operations Consulting (TOC) for a little while, so when a spot opened in my schedule to take an intermediate carbine class with him, I jumped on it.

Read on for my review of the class!

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Advice For Your First Shooting Class(es)

I’m writing this post for my friends who are looking at training, but are afraid they’re gonna do it wrong.

First of all, even training imperfectly is still an improvement over not doing it at all. You don’t know what you don’t know, and going to a shooting class is a great way to figure out those unknown unknowns in a safe, controlled environment.

But, if you want some specific suggestions about how to get the most out of your class, here’s a list I compiled from my experiences and some friends I talked with. Just to keep it real and less preachy, I’m also going to list when I failed at doing what I recommend.

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ARPC Intermediate Action Shooting Class AAR

As the DC-MD-VA area slowly opens back up from COVID-19, the number of training classes available has slowly increased. While I try to be cautious and only take outdoor classes, wear my mask, etc., it has been nice to get back into shooting more heavily again.

One class that was supposed to happen in April, but got delayed to June, was the Intermediate Action Shooting Class that Arlington RPC was putting on at AGC for the newer Givati RPC. Having not done a class with the instructor or at AGC, I thought this was a great opportunity to get out of the house and do some shooting.

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Green Ops Private Instruction Impressions

After signing up for the Defensive Pistol II clinic I took recently, I had contacted Green Ops about the possibility of doing some private or semi-private instruction afterwards. I had a new rifle I had built that needed to be put through its paces, and I needed to knock off some rust in preparation for getting back to some multi-gun matches. I offered to share the time with another student to knock some of the cost off, and I think that turned out well.

One of the neat things about private instruction is that it gives you the chance to focus on the things you want to focus on. My fellow student was interested in transitions; I wanted to put a little time into splits and distance shooting. We got everything done plus a bit more!

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Greens Ops Defensive Pistol II Clinic AAR

It has been a long time since I’ve gone shooting, probably 2.5-3 months. The pandemic and resulting lock-down has been brutal in many respects, but the closure of all the ranges and mass class cancellations has been particularly tough on me. When I found out that Green Ops was doing their Sunday clinic at an outdoor range, I jumped on it. It’s not a “no risk” sort of situation, but I felt that the outdoor setting greatly mitigated the possible risks to the point that I felt it was safe enough to participate in.

What did I think? Read on.

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Mantis X10 Elite Review

Do you regularly dry-fire? If you’re a gun owner, I’m hoping the answer is yes.

Do you effectively dry-fire? Well, that’s a much trickier question, and it has as much to do with how you’re planning to use your gun(s) as what you’re doing.

After meeting with the Mantis team at SHOT Show 2020 this year, they were kind enough to send me a gratis review copy of the Mantis X10 Elite. I say this up front so we have full disclosure! I have been dry-firing with it for a month almost every day across a variety of platforms, and I now have compiled enough information and experience that I think I can write a decent review of it.

I’ll give you the bottom-line up-front first: it is not a magic solution that bypasses putting in the work, and it (currently) has its limitations, especially for competitive shooters. It is, however, a phenomenal diagnostic tool. It will tell you the truth in ways that a par timer will not. It will show you bad habits in a way that a shot timer will not. If you are a serious shooter, especially a newer one who is getting more seriously into competition and defensive/tactical shooting, this device can provide you information that will make a difference in how you draw and fire. For more details, read on.

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JDC Defensive Shotgun Essentials Seminar AAR

I’m not really much of a shotgun shooter. I do quite a lot of practice with rifles and pistols, but shotguns never seem to figure into the mix as much. This is generally because I shoot at indoor ranges most of the time, and they almost never allow birdshot or buckshot. Shooting slugs is an expensive, and often uncomfortable proposition. I know I am not alone with this problem.

When I see a shotgun class that works with my schedule, I jump on it. When Justified Defensive Concepts released their 2020 schedule and the Defensive Shotgun Essentials Seminar was on it, I signed up as soon as I could. Now that I’ve taken it, I can tell you what I think!

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F3 Tactical Baofeng Radio Course AAR

Like many, many other people, I went out and bought a five pack of Baofeng UV-5R radios when I heard that they were going to be “banned”. (When the government decides to ban something that’s not going to kill you by using it, stocking up is almost always a great idea!) Given that the UV-5R still seems to be for sale, I’m not 100% sure what happened with the banning part, but everyone’s got them now. However, the radios are not doing anyone any good by sitting in a box in a closet, so F3 Tactical arranged to start doing basic courses in radio theory and how to configure the UV-5R and similar Baofeng radios. I missed the first class in January due to a family scheduling conflict, but I was very excited to be able to make it for the second class, held on “palindrome day” (also Super Bowl Sunday).

I had a really good time, and learned a lot. Read on for whether it’s right for you!

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Training Calendars for 2020 (DC area) (UPDATED 1/27/2020)

I felt that it was worth announcing for my local readers that the big local training vendors have at least partial 2020 calendars up. Like any good training junkie, I schedule way out in advance so I can fit classes in around my competitive shooting schedule (expect MUCH more of that in 2020).

Green Ops: Schedule is here. Green Ops is also hosting the yearly local Modern Samurai Project class, so check them out if you’re interested in that. They’ve also told me there’s still a few more classes they’re going to add once they work out physical hosting. There is a LOT to love about the schedule this year; more advanced classes, more classes on Sundays, TCCC, etc.

Justified Defensive Concepts: Schedule is here. Broadly similar to last year – which is a good thing – but I expect to see a couple additions as the year goes on.

FPF Training: Schedule is here. It’s clearly not complete, but there’s already a lot of solid classes for 2020 on there, including some very well-regarded visiting instructors.

PNTC: Schedule is here. There is some really neat stuff in this calendar, and it’s basically the only place in the area for extreme long range shooting.

TOC, LLC: Schedule is here. A couple new courses this year. Not looking like they’re going to fit into my schedule, unfortunately.

Shadow Hawk tends to post their classes up on a quarterly basis.