Need Training Recommendations

Discussion in 'Training' started by E39, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. E39

    E39 Supporting Addict Supporting Addict

    Oct 15, 2011
    New to 1911's. No law enforcement or military background. Signed up for CCW course next month. Would like to have training particularly in defensive pistols skills and 1911 maintenance. My local range has a few 4-hour defensive courses ($100) each and one taught by Rob Pincus (Combat Focus Shooting).

    I'm actually leaning toward one of the 10-8 courses next year. The cost seems reasonable based upon what I would spend locally for just defensive handgun training and there seems to be quite a bit of gun maintenance and tuning involved. However, I think perhaps I'm too much of a noob for that course.

    Any recommendations? Time at the range and a CCW course doesn't get me close to where I'd like to be in terms of proficiency.

  2. John Ryder

    John Ryder Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    Larry Vickers has a 1911 Operators class in Ohio in late 2012 that would be excellent if you're wanting to learn move about maintenance issues with a 1911.

    If you still feel like a "noob" his VSM classes are great for beginners or even tune-ups for more experienced shooters. I know there are classes in lower MI and in Pennsylvania. Most good instructors will have classes to meet a variety of skills levels so as long as you pick a good one, you'll get out of it what you put in.

    Nothing wrong with range time, work ball-dummy drills and timed drills for speed. Accuracy and speed are two critical components of defensive shooting that can be worked at the range, so I wouldn't write them off. Both skills are essential for any type of proficiency in shooting.

    If you want to test your skills, look for an IDPA style match in your area.

  3. Quack

    Quack it's mmm, mmm good... Staff Member Admin

    Aug 15, 2011
    Allen (TSiWRX) can chime in on different training classes that he's taken in the NE Ohio area.

    knedrgr, Allen and I have all taken classes with Ron ( he's a 1911 guy and has a nicely worn Wilson that he uses for class.
  4. knedrgr

    knedrgr Low capacity, low tech...

    Aug 15, 2011
    Gary's right about some basic techniques can be done at the range. Mag changes is one good technique that can easily practice. Load one or two rounds in a bunch of mags and practice your reload and how fast you can get your gun back into action.
  5. G27RR

    G27RR Hmmm...

    Oct 11, 2011
    You don't have to be an expert to take the 10-8 Duty 1911 Course. There was a good mix of skill levels when I took it in October, and you will learn a tremendous amount about the 1911. If you use it as a carry or duty weapon, I highly recommend that course. Hilton Yam and Tim Yau are very skilled, knowledgeable, and fantastic instructors.
  6. TSiWRX

    TSiWRX Member

    Aug 21, 2011
    ^ Yep, Ron's Wilson has got some awesome character to it. He routinely drops it and chucks it downrange (his gun is unloaded and cleared for the beginner's level classes) to demo various things..... More than anything else, seeing that kind of abuse and knowing that gun runs has really made me want a Wilson.

    Ron's latest e-mail said that he is going to be greatly scaling back his firearms offerings. :frusty: Lack of students, unfortunately.

    I honestly think that it's a lack of good marketing, given what I've seen of two other of the more popular local offerings.

    Nevertheless, it's got to be said that Ron's primary focus is not firearms, so I can definitely understand why he wants to redirect his resources. Still, I wish he'd offer more - not less. The man knows his stuff, for sure, and his reputation among local trainers/schools is definitely high.

    With that said:

    E39, where are you, in Ohio?

    Since you cited Pincus, I think you're probably in central Ohio?

    I'm unfortunately not familiar with what's available outside of the metro-Cleveland area (and even here, there are a number of schools which I have yet to pursue)...this is something that I plan to rectify in the next year or two, but currently, my family life (moreso than my professional life), requires that I stay closer to home.

    Nevertheless, if you are willing to explore what's available in the metro-Cleveland area, I can give you a run down of the two other schools where I've taken courses, as well as list a few other resources, too. :smile:


    In terms of self-teaching/practice of skills:

    Quack can tell you how green I was, just a year ago. I literally really started shooting at around this time last year: prior to that, it was always those one-day "fun day range day" with gun-owning friends, which would come and go once every year or two. Actually, prior to last November, my last time out at the range had been late-2003/early-2004.

    I also have no military/police background. I'm all mall-Ninja. :wink: :lol:

    With that in-mind, if you're as new as I was - or just new to the platform - I think it's critical that in your self-practice, that you not burn-in any training scars. Some good books or DVDs (depending on what kind of learner you are) can get you pointed in the right direction and on your way, and I would bother some of our fellow members here to recommend something either of the general nature or specific to the 1911, depending on your needs and goals.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  7. Quack

    Quack it's mmm, mmm good... Staff Member Admin

    Aug 15, 2011
    There's the Allen post I was looking for.
  8. TSiWRX

    TSiWRX Member

    Aug 21, 2011
  9. E39

    E39 Supporting Addict Supporting Addict

    Oct 15, 2011
    All great advice.

    I've been to the range about every other week shooting between 100 - 200 rounds each time. A lot of that is getting used to the gun. I've made some simple mods (guide rod, grips, mag well, magazines) that I try out each time. I'm to the point where anything else will require gunsmithing skills. I work on my cars and motorcycle and want to learn how to maintain my 1911. BUT - I really need to concentrate on accuracy. I cannot place more than 50% of my shots on a 50' target. I'm going to practice more but I would assume it's more me than the gun. Would dummy rounds (aka snap-caps) be a good investment?

    Yup, Columbus. And I've been going to Blackwing (really nice facility and where I'm taking the CCW course). Bought the gun (SA Loaded) at Vance's.

    Other than going through a lot of rounds, is there anything else I can do to improve accuracy? Just keep aiming at the target? I typically put out 4 targets and practice at 25', 35' and 50'. 25 and 35 are about the same (groupings - nothing great) but 50 is waaayyy off. I have been using the "point of aim" sight picture but will use the "6 o'clock aim" sight picture next time to see if there's any improvement. I also use the Weaver stance to stay loose.

    I keep trying different things. I prefer hands-on for training. While I have been reading and researching quite a bit about 1911's, I really need someone to show me how to do some of this stuff.

    Thanks again.
  10. Quack

    Quack it's mmm, mmm good... Staff Member Admin

    Aug 15, 2011
    Dry firing will help with you trigger control.
  11. GeorgiaRedfish

    GeorgiaRedfish Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    ^This^ just a fair warning. Make sure and get a smooth faced trigger before doing a lot of trigger practice.
  12. TSiWRX

    TSiWRX Member

    Aug 21, 2011
    E39, what's your overall aptitude, in terms of pistolcraft? Are you a newbie shooter (or are you perhaps only new to pistols), or experienced (but just not with 1911s)?

    Just trying to get a feel for where you are, before rendering advice. :smile:
  13. Quack

    Quack it's mmm, mmm good... Staff Member Admin

    Aug 15, 2011
    A flat trigger does wonders :grin:

    You wuss...
  14. E39

    E39 Supporting Addict Supporting Addict

    Oct 15, 2011
    Spent time in my youth with .22 rifles and pistols. Shot a lot of large caliber pistols (my brother-in-law had quite a collection) in the '70's. Everything we did was plinking.

    I recently rented several polymer pistols in 9mm, .40, and .45 before settling on the .45. My brother-in-law had a Colt Gold Cup and a nickle-plated Colt 1911 in the '70s and I always liked the way they felt. I really disliked all of the revolvers.

    So, 30 years later I'm finally back into pistols with my first large caliber, semi-auto pistol. I am comfortable handling the gun. But, for all practical purposes, I really am a noob.
  15. GeorgiaRedfish

    GeorgiaRedfish Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    Suck my (use your imagination here) :biggrin1:

    My palmolive hands cannot handle it!
  16. John Ryder

    John Ryder Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    IMO, they are one of the best investments you can make. Dry-firing is an excellent way to help accuracy, but I have found many people can dry-fire without issue. The problem is "El Snatcho," flinching or otherwise throwing your shots, the real problem with most people and accuracy. Any GOOD class will have you running ball-dummy drills.

    I just take 70% dummy rounds and the rest live, toss them in a can, close my eyes and load a mag. If it goes "click" and I flinch, 10 dry-fires and start over.

    Another thing, work for quality over quantity. If you do 100 rounds of ball-dummy drills, you'll be farther ahead than 200 rounds of regular shooting.
  17. TSiWRX

    TSiWRX Member

    Aug 21, 2011
    ^ +1.


    OK, so, you're pretty much like me, when I started a year ago. :smile:

    I'm a firm believer that any good time behind the trigger is good time - but the big catch-all in that is that it's gotta be "good" time.

    I'm not tackling this in any particular order...primarily because I don't have the experience level, yet, to know what's more important, and what's less. :embarrassed: So, here goes.

    Yes, there's no substitute for rounds-downrange. Especially rounds in the actual gun(s) that you shoot. Some people think it's crazy that I double-downed and got myself a copy of my carry gun just to have for range/class-work, but given the number of rounds that I put on the gun in a year, I'd rather save the abuse for the range/class copy - I sacrificed a chunk out of my "For: SA Professional" piggy-bank to do this. The sheer economics of it all dictates that most of us must shoot range-fodder, but if you can afford to put some of your carry SD/HD ammo downrange, then all the better. I think it's undeniable that sub-caliber practice - and even airsoft practice - can be beneficial (to those who still doubt the latter, recall Tatsuya Sakai, who beat-out a star-studded field in the 2004 Steel Challenge; until a month before competition, Sakai had shot only airsoft), but you really do need to put this into perspective, particularly if you're looking to shoot in a defensive manner (i.e. CHL/CCW).

    No matter what, this has *got* to be quality time that you spend on the range. If you're just chucking rounds downrange to say that you've done it, that really does no good, and is only wasting money. Trust me, I've been there. No, I didn't purposefully waste money - I don't have enough to do so! - but I am guilty of trying to do more than what my skill-level was capable of. You've got to take into account the fact that those are muscles (everything from your fingertips to your eyes) you either have never used or haven't exercised in a long time...and that they will fatigue pretty fast at the beginning. Build them slowly. If 50 rounds is all you can do before fatigue sets in (and you'll know it, because you'll either physically tire or, more likely, you'll see your shots start to get worse, first), then so be it. A couple of months from now, that'll be 100, and then 200, and so on. Take your time. :smile:

    For me, the ranges I go to don't allow movement. I'm lucky that one of them even allows holster work. As such, what I do when I go to those ranges is that I work exclusively on the fundamentals of pistolcraft. Some of the drills can be done on a static range - and they're wonderful, as they keep you from being bored - but the discipline that comes from just hammering on the absolute fundamentals will mean that they get burned into your subconscious and your muscle-memory, so that when you do shoot from unorthodox positions or on-the-move, you can use more of your brain and body to mind those things, rather than the basics. Use the venue to the best benefit possible.

    Paying a few bucks for some professional teaching of the absolute basics is something that I also believe in. The best $40 (plus about $20's worth of ammo) I've spent, so far, on shooting was on the Commence FireARMS Academy's "Shoot With the Instructors" course. Over the course of two hours, shooting from out of the holster, I went from a 4-inch group to a 2 inch group: and all it took was one moment's "Ah ha!" from an instructor's advice/troubleshooting. This instructor was 18 years-old - he'd spent basically his entire life behind the trigger, and again this illustrates the simple fact that basics matter. Don't get me wrong, I do think that it's vital to know how to shoot, and shoot well, "exploding off the X" and while on-the-move," but I think that if you can pay for some "advanced" classes, you should be more than willing to make sure that your basics are up-to-par, too. It's never a bad idea to work on the basics. :smile:

    Even as you progress, it's important to come back to the basics on a regular basis. A flinch can develop - repeatedly, at that - in even experienced shooters who either have overcome the issue before or may have never had the problem before, and this is something that you can easily self-diagnose on a static range. Basics matter, and they matter a lot.

    At home, dry-firing and holster-work with safe/cleared pistols is a must.

    Dry-firing works again on the absolute basics. Yes, you can even mindlessly do it while you're watching the TV, but at the beginning, pay careful attention to your trigger work and your sights so that you don't burn-in any bad habits - without the feedback of having something pop out of the muzzle (be it a BB or a laser beam), it's all too possible for something small to be missed. Care paid to this at the beginning, before any bad habits can set in, will pay off downstream two-fold. Similarly, letting bad habits ingrain means that you'll have to spend extra time and effort to eradicate them...and even then, you risk them cropping up under-stress, which you'll have to work doubly hard to rid.

    Why is holster-work important? Because we as CHL/CCW holders will most likely have to "shoot from the holster." You've got to be comfortable getting that gun out of the holster and into the fight, and part of this is to be absolutely proficient with it in the basic draw-and-present manner, exclusive of any force-on-force gun-grab/retention play. Bill Holcomb of Three Tango Firearms Academy brought this in-perspective for me: long-term potentiation takes reps, and there's no better way to build reps than by setting a reasonable and easy routine. His method is to do 15 draw/holster strokes, to any kind of presentation you wish (but at first, you may want to stick to full extension), once in the morning, as you're holstering-up to go out of the house, and then once again in the evening/night, as you disarm. That's 30 reps per day. Do that every day for a year, and you're at well over 10K reps. Once you've ingrained the correct draw-stroke (Paul Gomez's YouTube videos offer a great presentation) combine that with the computer-based dry-fire exercises at Predator Tactical, and you can start to even work on your speed (in just three week's practice like that, all dry-fire, I shaved over one-tenth off of my draw-to-first-hit time [this is telling in its own right: I don't claim to be a good shooter - who'd likely be shaving hundredths - but I will own up to being at least a somewhat decent shot]).

    Finally, to leave-off....

    Quack gave me the gift of the currently favored isoceles "stance." Weaver may be what you're comfortable with now, E39, but trust me, you owe it to yourself to give what's favored today a try. :smile: It took me months before I was finally ingrained into "reverse Chapman" and I'm firmly convinced that I shoot better with this technique. Paul Gomez (whom I cited above) goes into that a bit, but D.R. Middlebrooks of Tactical Shooting Academy really highlights this with his "Evolution of Combat Pistol Techinque" presentation, which is again available on YouTube. This isn't to say that the Weaver is somehow wrong or inferior - rather, that you'll want to at least give what's current a try, to see if you take to it even better, after honest effort.

    For guys like us, we're essentially "clean slate." :smile: And that's all kinds of awesome. Teach us right, and we can be all kinds of WIN.

    And that's the long-about way of coming back on-topic to your OP. :grin:

    Just south of Canton, you'll find Greenport Tactical. They're a private club with a very nice private range, and they play host to many trainers and classes throughout the year. Close to this radius from you would be Chris Cerino's school, Cerino Training Group.

    In the Columbus area, there's also MilCopp Tactical.

    A bit further south, you'll find a regional favorite, TDI - Tactical Defense Institute.

    Of these, I hope to attend at least one of Cerino's classes next year, and will likely join Greenport Tactical (GTA). I'd like to do MilCopp and TDI at some point (same goes with classes at Black Wing - especially Pincus's, but the distance/timing may prove difficult for me).

    Again, if you're interested in working your way up here to the Cleveland area, let me know - I've taken classes with Ron Lauinger, as Quack said above (LMI, if you'll note, rents private range time from GTA), and also with Three Tango Firearms Academy as well as Commence FireARMS Academy, both of whom operate their live-fire classes out of a range that's about 40 minutes east of Cleveland proper.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  18. Slabside

    Slabside Member

    Sep 1, 2011
    E9 , Rob Pincus is amazing !! I`ve been shooting and around guns my whole life and he changed my whole outlook towards

    every aspect ! From stance ,grip and related ! The guys really something ! The only thing thats really tough with him ....1911`s !!

    He`s a Glock and M&P gun guy !! He does`nt like all the safety`s and controls ! Just point and shoot !!

    Combat Focus Shooting is really worth it , in my opinion , if that matters !

    Its great that you want the training and its a good idea .... bad habits are hard to break .

    Its like starting to golf , see a pro and start off correct !!
  19. E39

    E39 Supporting Addict Supporting Addict

    Oct 15, 2011
    I wasn't sure if dry-firing would damage the pistol. From what I have read now it would appear to be OK.

    I used to throw rounds down range to the 50-foot target and just practice different grips with a few mags. What would you suggest for a target distance to begin serious accuracy practice? My range has marks for 25', 35' and 50' although I see a lot of people shooting at 7'-10' with those 'bad guy' targets (I prefer the simple bulls-eye targets).

    Interestingly enough, when I rented pistols several months ago, I used the isoceles stance and achieved better accuracy than what I have now with the Weaver stance.

    In terms of holster work, I only have the small plastic OWB one which came with the pistol. I am leaning toward a Milt Sparks VM II-type of IWB as my current "physique" would make an OWB print enough that I'd have to wear a poncho to hide it. :biggrin1:

    I just need to slow down and take one thing at a time. I'll get through the CCW course and then go from there. I think I'll defer any type of serious (professional) training until I become more accurate. I can always spring for a few hours of private instruction at the range to help out.

    Thanks again. This is what makes this forum great!

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