Go to Gunsite Academy. The quality of instruction, facilities, and location are World class. I just finished the Defensive Pistol 250 course at Gunsite. I'm covered in sweat and dust, my hands are blistered, and I'm grining from ear to ear. I've had the honor of learning from men who have been in real gun fights. I've made new friends. Every aspect of my shooting has been improved. My speed and accuracy is better. My understanding of single man CQB has significantly improved. I've been introduced to the combat mindset, and the importance it plays in success. The 250 class I was in had about 25 people and 6 instructors. They actually split us up into 2 groups, and we each worked on separate ranges with a separate team of instructors. The skill level of my group ranged from people who were very new to guns and struggled with the fundamentals to very experienced shooters. If you're an experienced shooter, the first two days may seem a bit slow. Just use it as an opportunity to hone your fundamentals. By Wednesday, they'll pick up the pace. My advice would be to make sure that you have your fundamentals down before taking 250. The new shooters that we had were pretty much left in the dust by Tuesday afternoon. The curriculum for my class was as follows: Monday AM: Lecture: Introduction to Gunsite. Lecture: Fundamentals of Marksmanship; e.g. stance, trigger press, sight picture, etc. Checking of weapon status and reloads. Range: Practice of fundamentals. Range: Tactical reloads. Range: controlled pairs. Range: Low ready position, maintaining view of a person's hands or other areas where a threat may present itself. Monday PM: Range: A lot of practice of fundamentals introduced in the morning. Tuesday AM: Range: Speed reloads, slide lock reloads, and hammer pairs. Tuesday PM: Range: Malfunction clearance drills. Range: Emergency stop (Mozambique) drills. Lecture: Wounding ballistics, ammunition selection. Wednesday AM: Range: Kneeling positions: single knee and double knee. Range: Introduction to the Standards Test: single shot to the head at 3 yds in 1.5 sec, two shots to the chest at 3 yds in 1.5 sec, 2 shots to the body at 7 yds in 1.5 sec, 2 shots to the body at 10 yds in 2 sec, 2 shots to the body from a kneeling position at 15 yds in 2 sec. Range: Non-standard drill". You are to lay a string a fire to the chest area when the targets turn to face you and continue until they face away. Range: Shoot-off. The entire class competed against each other to see who could make the longest distance head shot. Wednesday PM: Lecture: Combat Mindset. Range: Introduction to CQB in shoot-house and outdoor simulator (a.k.a "the wash"). Thursday AM: Range: Practiced Standards drill. Range: Introduction to El Presidante drills. Range: Trial runs through shoot house and outdoor simulators Thursday PM (afternoon): Range: Preview of Pistol 350 topics: supported kneeling positions and prone. Range: Dozer drills (steel shoot) Range: Tueller drills Range: More standards practice Thursday PM (night shoot): Range: Harry's method Range: FBI method Discussion on tac light selection and miscellaneous techniques Friday AM: Practiced standards test and El Presedante drills Final Evaluation: Standards test El Presedante Outdoor simulator Indoor simulator (shoot house) Friday PM: Warrior On Warrior (WOW) Challenge. Graduation Tour of Colonel Cooper's house. On Thursday, between the afternoon session and night shoot, we all had a class dinner at Little Thumb Butte Bed and Breakfast. Wow! I wish I had stayed there. The location and food are amazing. You just have to go and see it for yourself to appreciate it. I almost won the WOW (Warrior On Warrior Challenge). I came in 2nd place. I'm frustrated with myself because I think I could have won it, had I kept my head in the right place. Initially, I was just focused on applying the principles I had learned as efficiently as I could. I didn't worry about winning. But when I realized that I was on the verge of actually winning this thing, my attention shifted to winning, which lead me to focus on going fast. I shot terrible in the final match. I'm still angry with myself, because I know better than this. In a way, I suppose it was a lesson in mindset. Luckily, it was just my ego on the line this time and not my life. The night shoot was awesome. I've done low light shooting before, but doing it under the Arizona night sky was a real joy. Whenever we had to stand on the line to wait for somebody to get their sh*t together, I couldn't resist steeling a glance at the night sky. I just don't get to see stars like this back home. In terms of gear, I took my Wilson Combat X Tac. It ran perfectly. All I did was drop some lube on it at night. I didn't need to clean it. We shot about 1000 rounds in total. Belt was a Wilderness Tactical 5-stitch belt. Gun holster was a Bravo Concealment OWB holster. It worked fine, with the exception of the guard around the mag release. I had to cut out the kydex around the mag release so that I could do a proper administrative reload. Mag carrier was also by Bravo Concealment. It's the same rig I use for concealed carry. I always approached the firing line with 7 loaded mags on me. Only 2 mags rode in the mag carrier. The rest just rode in my back pocket. I used my front pocket as my dump pouch for partially spent mags. It worked fine. I used 8 round mags. You could run 10 round mags, but I don't think it would help much. None of the drills have a high round count. I brought knee and elbow pads. You can get by without them. The knee pads are useful when shooting from a kneeling position. You're on gravel with brass casings everywhere. You can kneel on that once or twice, but it gets old really quick. The elbow pads are useful when you do prone shooting. Some kind of hand held tac light is needed for the night shoot. You don't need anything special. The main thing is that it has a rear pressure switch and you can hold it comfortably in your hand. I also brought a holster for my tac light. You don't really need it. You could just use a back pocket, if you wanted to save the expense. I graduated with a status of Marksman 1, and I was awarded the Silver Raven for my performance. As a side note, make sure you keep your grip screws tightened. During drills on Thursday morning, I could feel a grip screw backing out into my hand with each shot. Initially, I tried to ignore it. Then it started cutting into my palm. It wasn't serious, but it gave me an extra problem to have to deal with. In regards to lodging, I stayed at the Days Inn in Chino Valley. However, after talking with some of my class mates and instructors, it sounds like the place to be is the Little Thumb Butte Bed and Breakfast. The price is around $100/night, and that includes your breakfast and dinner -- which are very well prepared and plentiful.