HK P30 LEM 9mm
JM Custom Kydex AIWB(I ran from concealment)
JM Custom Kydex Single Mag Pouches: Type 3
Ammo: Mix of 124gr Aguila, 124gr Freedom Munitions
Lube: Rand CLP with a light application after TD 1
Students: 9 total
Frank began the day with teacher/student introductions and how he defines “performance shooting”. He took the time to ask what we were looking to get out the class individually whether that was target transitions, multiple strings of fire, or efficiency of moving through competition stages. He was very clear that he didn’t want us to just go into “drill mode” this weekend, and really explore the lessons he had planned for us. The main thing that I wanted out of this class would be target transitions as I have been struggling with this and “seeing what I need to see”. Considering what was going to unfold over the next two days, I would not be disappointed.
When we hit the range Frank began breaking down his core principles and wanted us to dry-fire it out. We started learning his interpretations of focus and awareness, and expressing these ideas through some good old fashioned dry-fire repetitions. Frank walked up and down the line giving one on one instruction and also reminding the class to quit going into “drill mode” and just doing mindless repetitions. I really enjoyed the dry-fire and how he literally built upon a foundation which was laid out in the classroom. He reminded us that dry-fire is when we should begin to figure out his philosophy, then we will see some “real magic happen” this weekend. Our targets were 8”x11” sheets of paper glued to IDPA targets and we worked on focus/awareness exercises up to lunch. These were bigger targets than what I am used to training on, but he didn’t want us to concentrate on tight groups.
He was much more interested in teaching the class a situational awareness; a very fine split of focusing on the target, our sight picture, and being aware of everything that our eyes could see. He was very conscious to remind us that eye speed is the true key to fast shooting. Even if we missed or yanked a shot on a drill/exercise he would walk up and ask, “What did you see, what did you learn from that?” It was unusual, in that accuracy was not the point of many of the drills, but more of a relearning to interpret the data that we collect while shooting. He had a constant theme through the class that stemmed from the first morning, and his idea is that we can process vastly more information visually then we realize. Our eyes and brains are faster than we think they are, and as we understand that, we then learn how to manipulate this new data stream into higher shooting skill. I thoroughly enjoyed this approach and it was apparent that Frank is a thinking shooter. The whole process should have a purpose and learning should always be occurring regardless of what you are working on at the range.
After lunch we began to speed up ever so slightly and Frank spent a considerable amount of time on grip, recoil control, and why he believes in strings of fire greater than 2 or 3. Like most instructors, Frank believes that with shorter strings of fire you do not gain the true experience of recoil and how to control it properly. With fewer shots it is easier to “run” with a less than optimal grip. What I also liked about this part of class is we didn’t stand at the 3-7 yard line like is common. We backed up and worked on fast hits anywhere from 10-15yds. We shot these exercises first on paper than began bringing out the steel. We were asked to push like we were at the 5yd line to prove to ourselves that you can “go fast” with less than optimal sight alignment even at those distances. This is where Frank also brought out the Ricky Bobby analogies like “going fast”, putting the “car into the wall” etc. Being from Alabama he loves him some Talladega Nights. When a shooter “connects with their gun” they are calming the cougar and letting the gun shoot itself. There was also a little Shake N Bake thrown in for good measure. We also touched on target transitions with the targets being various widths apart. We worked through these through the blistering August South Carolina heat and then called it a day.
We started day two just like day one…with copious amounts of dry-fire with a particular emphasis on focus and awareness. Of course, it was even hotter than the day before so we were dripping by time we go into live fire. I love the summer! We then began shooting steel with Frank’s version of a “trigger stripe” drill. The “trigger stripe” exercise will fundamentally challenge what we all think about the often dreaded combination of sight alignment, movement, and accuracy. This was a true “aha!” moment for me and will be the one of the defining things I take away from the class. This is the one piece that we all look for in classes that is worth the price of admission alone. Take the class…that’s all I’m saying about the “trigger stripe! Throughout the rest of the day (especially with target transitions) the trigger stripe would rear its head as we progressed throughout the day.
After lunch Frank began setting up several different courses of fire, and thanks to our range setup we were able to set up multiple shooting stations at once. Students could rotate between the stations, and it was like having a gun class and carnival all rolled into one! Frank was conscious to watch every student at various points in each course to critique and offer encouragement. To keep us on our toes for the rest of the day we would go back and forth between shooting stations along with Frank stopping the class to reiterate a point, demo something, or slightly change a course of fire to keep us thinking about what we were doing and the purpose behind it. This kept us alert and out of the mode of mindless repetitions.
Finishing up, I really liked how he has a strong foundation in both tactical/competition shooting and was able to poke fun at "tactical" guys, especially himself. Frank is an affable and funny character, and has a pleasure to spend two sweltering days with. Looking back at the class I came away a more enlightened shooter. I’m more aware of what of happens when I pull the trigger, and my ability to comprehend and diagnose my shots has greatly increased. This also goes for both dry-fire and live-fire practice. As I mentioned a weak point in my game was target transitions and I have something to build upon now. I can’t speak highly enough of Frank’s professionalism and his desire to keep evolving as a teacher. I can say that Frank is one of the best teachers that I have had the pleasure working under and I would not only bring him out to our range again, but would train with him again in a heartbeat (his carbine class is literally calling to me). The guy truly cared about our learning and wanted every student to not only leave a better shooter, but see us grow into better shooters for the rest of our gun slinging days.