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Granite Firearms Training - Custom Class

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#1 Davis

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 11:18 AM

A couple of months ago I was supposed to take a class with Granite Firearms Training (GFT) here in AZ, unfortunately due to my job I had to cancel at the last minute.  I still really wanted to be able to get some training from John at GFT but there were not any classes that were lining up with my schedule so I asked him if we could schedule essentially a custom/private class.  This past Friday schedules aligned and I was able to get that class. Because the class was private there were only two students and one instructor, so a pretty damn good ratio if you ask me.

 

Prior to the class I talked over the list of topics that I wanted to cover in the class. Then when we met that morning we took input from the second student and we went from there. One thing that I immediately noted is that a lot of instructors have pre-defined courses that they teach and there may be some variance throughout the day but essentially they will teach the same class over and over again; this was different because we were basically on the spot asking for specific topics and John was able to fully accommodate in a way that made it seem like he had taught this exact syllabus/lesson plan a dozen times previously. 

 

We started the day with a good briefing, which included safety and medical and instructor expectations, and we moved from there. The first part of the day was broken into two parts, handgun and then rifle. For each platform we moved from a basic warm up and skills assessment by the instructor to reloads, strong and support side shooting (one handed and two), shooting from cover and working as a team (there was a lot of depth to it but those were the general categories). Because there were only two students we were really able to get a lot of individual feedback and input after each drill. After we were put through the paces on both platforms individually we broke for a quick 20 min. lunch and to add some layers as the rain was starting to fall and temps dropped a couple of degrees. As I was layering up I was mentally remarking on how much I appreciated that every time we would do a different drill afterword we would pause and John would explain the applicable real world connection (personal to each student) to what he just taught. 

 

The second half of the day was the combination of running both platforms together; we utilized all of the skills emphasized during the first half of the day and combined them and of course worked on transitions between the two platforms. We progressed from mostly stationary drills quickly into moving and shooting, John made a very good effort to keep relocating the targets and setup different courses so it was not the same thing over and over. The class culminated with what I though was a very unique method of simulating moving targets and unpredictability. Targets were setup down range and then cover obstacles were setup between the targets and us. Then, one at a time, the instructor guided us by holding on to the back of our armor (or jacket) and moved us at varying speeds and random directions all over the range, and called out at random the number of the target we were supposed to engage. It forced us to make shoot/don’t shoot decisions as he would sometimes call a target that we did not have a fully clean shot for due to obstructions; he also called out malfunctions forcing us to transition platforms. It was one of the most fun and valuable scenarios I have done.  After that it was time to doff the gear, break down the range and help pack up.

 

I got out of the class more then I had expected to; John is a really impressive instructor and he is all about building up the student as opposed to breaking them down. He teaches principles and techniques rather then telling you it’s “my way or the highway” and for everything he teaches he can give a full experience and “been there done that” reason why that is what he recommends. The value to what I got out of the class far exceeded the price of the class, which was exceedingly reasonable.  I will for sure take further training from GFT and feel luck to have it as a local training resource right here in my back yard. To any of my fellow ITSers here in AZ, if you have the opportunity, take a class with Granite Firearms Training. 


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#2 Davis

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 11:29 AM

Here are some photos from the class. Note the instructor is rocking an ITS patch on the right shoulder, I too was rocking my ITS patch but it is on the front of my carrier and out of view in the pics.

 

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#3 CENTCOMSurvivor

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 11:39 AM

Thanks for posting, I'm glad that this all worked out. Sounds like a good time! 

 

Its great to see ITS members and friends getting together to train! 


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#4 Jersey0311

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 12:06 PM

Is that DirtyTrigger?

 

Also, your WML makes me smile. Love to see WMLs on guns.

 

And Davis, what gear you running?


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#5 Davis

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 01:53 PM

Is that DirtyTrigger?

Also, your WML makes me smile. Love to see WMLs on guns.

And Davis, what gear you running?

 

Yes, DirtyTrigger is the owner and lead instructor at Granite Firearms Training. 

 

WML is the way to go! You cannot see it but my rifle has one as well. I am a big advocate of WML's. I don't run one when I'm IWB concealed carrying, which is admittedly most of the time, but anytime I'm running OWB holsters I have my light mounted. To note, when I'm IWB carrying I always keep my surefire E2D in my pocket. 

 

Gear:

My carrier is a Condor with soft armor... I know, I know, it's a total piece of crap and I would not suggest anybody buy one. I got it for really cheap and right now I do not have a professional need for an external carrier so I cannot justify the funds on a quality rig. On the carrier for pouches I have a mix of Condor, HSGI, and 5.11. 

 

Left leg is running the HSGI Costa Leg Rig. I love that little piece of kit! I was not wearing my carrier all day but I decided not to take off the HSGI Costa rig when I did put my carrier on. Pretty unpractical running both at the same time but I was having fun. 

 

Holster is the classic Safariland 6004 which I run high and with just one leg strap. I love Safariland holsters and have yet to find another retention holster that I like better. 

 

Handgun is a Glock 22 Gen 4; with the exception of Meprolight night sights I keep it intentionally factory stock. My WML is a Streamlight TLR-1S. 

 

Rifle is my own 5.56 that I put together from the ground up based on an Aero Precision lower and a PSA upper. Optic is an Aimpoint Micro T1 and I just run a simple Surefire light that I use my support hand index finger to active the tail cap with.  The rail is a Troy Alpha Rail 15 and the rest of the furniture on the rifle is Magpul. 


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#6 DirtyTrigger

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 04:12 PM

Thank You Davis, those are kind words and an awesome write up.

 

Davis and I have become pretty close after spending months going back and forth..  Life can get in the way of life so this was a big moment finally getting to connect.  And yeah, it was a great day.   

 

And JERSEY, that is me trying to stay warm.  I had to dig deep into the roll out bag to stay warm.  We had a good solid drizzle but being driven by a pretty decent wind.  Luckily, the bay berms kept the targets from blowing over.  

 

Also, about the WML, Davis I found an instant connection on that.  I admit, I am huge, huge pro "gun light" guy.  It is my belief that if you carry a weapon with any idea behind self defense or "work related", you are screwing your self out of a critical option.  The other gentleman that was shooting with us really had his eyes opened too.  He was all about no light, due to weight, but doing the clearing movement and talking about scenarios, he figured out why it would be so critical. He is a good guy getting into guns and in past few years and has been shooting some steel matches along with the 3 gun type matches. He got involved with that to learn and pick up new skills.  But this was his first exposure to tactical or, more "real world" shooting via competition shooting.  He changed a lot over the course of the day as he started understanding the different mindset. Pretty awesome to see someone pick it up.

 

Davis, I forgot to mention yesterday but you did a great job of always moving a step or two during the shooting drills and calling out the "loading" signal.   That was kick ass.


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#7 Jersey0311

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 10:08 PM

Yes, DirtyTrigger is the owner and lead instructor at Granite Firearms Training. 

 

WML is the way to go! You cannot see it but my rifle has one as well. I am a big advocate of WML's. I don't run one when I'm IWB concealed carrying, which is admittedly most of the time, but anytime I'm running OWB holsters I have my light mounted. To note, when I'm IWB carrying I always keep my surefire E2D in my pocket. 

 

Gear:

My carrier is a Condor with soft armor... I know, I know, it's a total piece of crap and I would not suggest anybody buy one. I got it for really cheap and right now I do not have a professional need for an external carrier so I cannot justify the funds on a quality rig. On the carrier for pouches I have a mix of Condor, HSGI, and 5.11. 

 

Left leg is running the HSGI Costa Leg Rig. I love that little piece of kit! I was not wearing my carrier all day but I decided not to take off the HSGI Costa rig when I did put my carrier on. Pretty unpractical running both at the same time but I was having fun. 

 

Holster is the classic Safariland 6004 which I run high and with just one leg strap. I love Safariland holsters and have yet to find another retention holster that I like better. 

 

Handgun is a Glock 22 Gen 4; with the exception of Meprolight night sights I keep it intentionally factory stock. My WML is a Streamlight TLR-1S. 

 

Rifle is my own 5.56 that I put together from the ground up based on an Aero Precision lower and a PSA upper. Optic is an Aimpoint Micro T1 and I just run a simple Surefire light that I use my support hand index finger to active the tail cap with.  The rail is a Troy Alpha Rail 15 and the rest of the furniture on the rifle is Magpul. 

 

Good gear choices man. I don't carry IWB for that reason. When I carry, it's always OWB, and I just dress around it. I do carry a handheld light as well. People have to give themselves options. A light is just another tool in the toolbox.

 

People who have guns without having any sort of light handy (whether it's WML or handheld) are like the guys who carry WITH NO SPARE MAG(s). One of my best friends is a cop, and while he's a standup guy, his logic is flawed when it comes to carrying. Like me, he packs a G23. But that's it. His logic is that if he can't solve it with 13 rounds, it doesn't need solving.

 

Don't know about him, but I don't know how many rounds it will take to solve a problem. I carry 2 spare mags for that reason.

 

How do you like the Costa leg rig? I'm not a huge fan of subloads personally. Overseas I carried subloads only when I knew I was going to do a quick hit on a target then leave (insert/extract via helo or vehicle) but they fucking suck for long foot movements. I don't even like thigh holsters and prefer to go belt mounted (but I do have a few Safariland 6005s). Thoughts?

 

Thank You Davis, those are kind words and an awesome write up.

 

Davis and I have become pretty close after spending months going back and forth..  Life can get in the way of life so this was a big moment finally getting to connect.  And yeah, it was a great day.   

 

And JERSEY, that is me trying to stay warm.  I had to dig deep into the roll out bag to stay warm.  We had a good solid drizzle but being driven by a pretty decent wind.  Luckily, the bay berms kept the targets from blowing over.  

 

Also, about the WML, Davis I found an instant connection on that.  I admit, I am huge, huge pro "gun light" guy.  It is my belief that if you carry a weapon with any idea behind self defense or "work related", you are screwing your self out of a critical option.  The other gentleman that was shooting with us really had his eyes opened too.  He was all about no light, due to weight, but doing the clearing movement and talking about scenarios, he figured out why it would be so critical. He is a good guy getting into guns and in past few years and has been shooting some steel matches along with the 3 gun type matches. He got involved with that to learn and pick up new skills.  But this was his first exposure to tactical or, more "real world" shooting via competition shooting.  He changed a lot over the course of the day as he started understanding the different mindset. Pretty awesome to see someone pick it up.

 

Davis, I forgot to mention yesterday but you did a great job of always moving a step or two during the shooting drills and calling out the "loading" signal.   That was kick ass.

 

WML all day man. If a gun has a rail, it should have a light. I keep telling people you can't hit what you can't see, and just as important, you need to positively ID what it is you're about to shoot.

 

Good shit guys, wish I was out in AZ to join you. Too bad the boss lady says it's too far.


Edited by Jersey0311, 22 December 2013 - 10:10 PM.

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#8 Davis

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 11:20 PM

Good gear choices man. I don't carry IWB for that reason. When I carry, it's always OWB, and I just dress around it. I do carry a handheld light as well. People have to give themselves options. A light is just another tool in the toolbox.

 

[...]

 

How do you like the Costa leg rig? I'm not a huge fan of subloads personally. Overseas I carried subloads only when I knew I was going to do a quick hit on a target then leave (insert/extract via helo or vehicle) but they fucking suck for long foot movements. I don't even like thigh holsters and prefer to go belt mounted (but I do have a few Safariland 6005s). Thoughts?

 

[...]

 

 

Good shit guys, wish I was out in AZ to join you. Too bad the boss lady says it's too far.

 

Prior to living in AZ it was a bit easier for me to dress around OWB carry, but now that I live here it can be difficult in the damn heat. When it's cooking at 115 outside in the summer it makes it hard to be able to put on enough layers to cover an OWB holster, at least in my opinion.

 

I personally really like the Costa leg rig. I've ran it a good number of times shooting and for me it is extremely functional for that. It is fairly compact and is a rapid way that you can go from nothing to carrying 2 rifle mags and up to 3 handgun mags. As far as subloads go in general, I guess they have their place. I think if you are going on long hikes, moving through dense brush, or working in generally tight or otherwise confined areas then they are not the most practical. But at least for the Costa rig, it is an easy piece of kit that takes up less space than a full battle belt or vest/carrier and I can easily toss it in the truck with my rifle for my outings into the dessert and backcountry areas where I want to have more then just my sidearm when I'm out exploring. 

 

It would be good to have some more ITSers out here, maybe you can slowly wear her down! Other than the summer heat AZ is a pretty awesome freedom loving American state with generally conservative values and laws. 


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#9 Jersey0311

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 11:38 PM

Prior to living in AZ it was a bit easier for me to dress around OWB carry, but now that I live here it can be difficult in the damn heat. When it's cooking at 115 outside in the summer it makes it hard to be able to put on enough layers to cover an OWB holster, at least in my opinion.

 

I personally really like the Costa leg rig. I've ran it a good number of times shooting and for me it is extremely functional for that. It is fairly compact and is a rapid way that you can go from nothing to carrying 2 rifle mags and up to 3 handgun mags. As far as subloads go in general, I guess they have their place. I think if you are going on long hikes, moving through dense brush, or working in generally tight or otherwise confined areas then they are not the most practical. But at least for the Costa rig, it is an easy piece of kit that takes up less space than a full battle belt or vest/carrier and I can easily toss it in the truck with my rifle for my outings into the dessert and backcountry areas where I want to have more then just my sidearm when I'm out exploring. 

 

It would be good to have some more ITSers out here, maybe you can slowly wear her down! Other than the summer heat AZ is a pretty awesome freedom loving American state with generally conservative values and laws. 

 

I've been working on it, one of my dream jobs is being a Deputy for the Pima County Sheriff. I'd love to be LE in a free state. But for now I'm stuck behind enemy lines. Thankfully I'm in PA at least once a week at the range, so I get to be free for a little while.


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