Where: Cresson, TX
Instructor: Stephen Pineau
This is the second class I have taken with 21CG. First off this was a reduced round count class for the obvious ammo situation we are in right now so it was set at 300 rounds. I was expecting to do some dry fire drills but really did not know what to really expect but went into the class with a open mind. Also this is a class that is geared to a entry level shooter but I wanted to refresh and make sure there were no training scars in place and build fundamentals. Stephen started with a safety introduction of the firearm safety rules along with real world application. He introduced the idea of “Big Boy Rules" and safety as a concept. There was a short intro of the 8 student's background and what everyone was looking to get out of the class. Next discussed was nomenclature and basic function and operation. We lucked out because there were no brand new shooters there, not that it's bad but it went quickly.
So onto a firing line here the fundamentals were addressed sight alignment/picture, trigger control, grip, stance and follow through. Sight alignment/picture was discussed and focusing on your front sight and not the target. Each students grip was put together specifically for that student and explained what is required of the strong hand and the support hand and how this affects recoil control. Stance was broken down to support all of the above but with those things being the lion share of accuracy. That leaves trigger control and follow through. Here is where we started shooting 10 round groups and seeing at the end of every group what needed to be adjusted on each student. Whether it be grip, trigger control or sight alignment/picture how your shots grouped was broken down. This is where a great mental picture of trigger control came in. It's a giant board being pushed to the rear, the most efficient way to do this is with the first pad of your finger. Hooking the finger around the trigger creates lateral movement and there is no lateral movement in the function of a handgun. Follow through was next; we discussed secondary sight picture, following a target to the ground till they are no longer a threat and ending on a prepped trigger. We moved into discussing the high compressed ready position and also the Sul position was demonstrated and how this allows effective movement and safety.
Here is where we started drills and I got a ton more than I bargained for.
The casing drill:
A partner balances an empty casing on your front sight testing your ability to pull the trigger without moving your sights.
The ball and dummy drill:
A partner sets up your firearm either loaded or empty - unknown to you. This is looking for bucking or dropping the sights in anticipation of the shot when empty and observing recoil control when loaded. Consistency hot or cold.
Taped sights drill:
This was taking sights out of the picture. This was showing the importance of kinesthetic alignment and allowed many shooters to focus on proper trigger control. Stephen talked about how human beings, when learning a new task, can only focus on a limited amount of individual actions at one time. Removing sight alignment/sight picture from the shooting process gave students the opportunity to apply greater focus on trigger management.
Next we worked on the draw and breaking it down. Recognizing a threat, clearing cover garment, building a solid grip with the gun in the holster, straight up and out, orienting the weapon towards the threat as early as possible and extending through the ready position, and prepping the trigger as we drove the gun on to the target. All this was broken down into the process and the importance of every step.
The accelerator drill:
Basically the draw in reverse. The last 3", 6", 12" and pressing a shot all this building procedural memory (aka “muscle memory”).
We broke for lunch where questions were fair game on all kinds of gear and kit, lights, cupcakes, 2nd amendment, ammo, hello kitty, concealment techniques, knives and what have you.
Getting back on line reloads were addressed, emergency and tactical where you have time and opportunity. From there we moved into the wonderful world of malfunctions, I was running my 1911 (I know) so this was going to be interesting. In the world of malfunctions everything we do is non diagnostic, meaning the process to reduce a malfunction does not require you to look at the gun. The goal for this is to have the process become subconscious. Tap, Rack, and Roll will solve or identify 90% of your malfunctions, with the second phase clearing the remaining 10% (not going to give the process away! You have to take the class!) Trust me when I say you will be able to confidently clear ANY malfunction when you complete this class. Because here we moved into I think Stephen's favorite drill, I'm starting to think he enjoys malfunction drills.
You load your magazines with live rounds and spent casings. You deplete all your mags in this drill but every time you clear a malfunction you change shooting positions standing to kneeling. Needless to say it tests you physically and mentally. Stephen gave credit to Steve Fisher for this drill.
Here we moved into wound physiology and alternate target areas on the body another part of the class worth the admission. We moved into Balance of Speed and Accuracy using a timer to get a base time while a threat was engaged then changing the circumstances of the shooting problem in distance and target area of the threat to get a understanding of your personal BSA and how competent you are and more important how it is subjective and individual. Let me stress this, it was not about how many rounds you shot or how fast you shot it was all about having confidence in knowing what you can do and making it happen to get your hits. We ended with dot torture a drill that really puts it all together from the day; if you know dot torture you know what I'm talking about.
Stephen ends his class with a debrief which is very cool. He wants to know what you are taking away from this class, what you liked and one thing that you did not like. When was the last time you heard of an instructor doing that? I cannot impress enough the value of his classes. I know who he has taught for/with and who are his teachers and mentors and the fact he has the humility to not consider himself a Tier 1 instructor is beyond words. Stephen has his students at the forefront of his curriculum and he is driven to make sure you get as much out of his classes as possible without feeling you are drinking from a firehose. He goes as far as to give you options on what will work for you and them gives you the tools to excel at those. I for one am looking forward to my next class.