Take the Gunsite Defensive Pistol 250 Course

Discussion in 'Training' started by B81, Aug 7, 2020.

  1. B81

    B81 Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2018
    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.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2020
    sr-1911, Dub, Kevin Rohrer and 40 others like this.
  2. gunfighter45

    gunfighter45 Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2012
    Great write up. I was there eons ago. Wouldn’t trade my experience for anything. Sounds a lot the same but missing the Colonel and the Countess.
    Dub, Kevin Rohrer, Mike0707 and 4 others like this.

  3. Glock2740

    Glock2740 1911 addict Staff Member Moderator

    Aug 16, 2011
    Sounds awesome! :thumbs:
    Mike0707 and B81 like this.
  4. razorbacker

    razorbacker Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Dec 2, 2011
    Great experience, great write up on it. Thanks for posting.
    B81 likes this.
  5. RMF308

    RMF308 Well-Known Member

    Jan 15, 2019
    Great write up and congrats on the Marksman1 rating. I took the 250 class over 25 years ago and had a very similar experience (including the bandages). World class facility and world class teachers.
    Dub and B81 like this.
  6. Uncle Bob

    Uncle Bob Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2017
    Good write up, but it was a bit different when Cooper was still around. Could have taught in 82, but I just didn't have the patience in those days.

    Several of my friends and shooting buddies taught at Gunsite back in the day.

    Don't feel bad about your hand, when Mike Harries started me dry firing 10-15 minutes a night, my hands got bloody on occasion from not being used to checkering.
    B81 likes this.
  7. BillKilgore

    BillKilgore Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2015
    Congrats @B81 on the Silver Raven. Thanks for the detailed description of the course.

    Are you able to buy ammo there or do you need to ship it from home?
    B81 likes this.
  8. B81

    B81 Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2018
    You can do either.
    Dub and BillKilgore like this.
  9. azpoolguy

    azpoolguy Well-Known Member

    Jul 4, 2013
    I’ve taken some two day courses but a full week at gun camp would be awesome.
    B81 likes this.
  10. gaijin

    gaijin Well-Known Member

    May 18, 2015
    Great AAR.
    Dub and B81 like this.
  11. ThePhotog

    ThePhotog Previously Tractus Arms

    Dec 7, 2011
    Great write up @B81! My recent experience was very similar, and I am looking forward to doing a 350 course.
    Dub and B81 like this.
  12. Greg45acp

    Greg45acp Double Secret Banned Supporting Addict

    Oct 31, 2016
    With the travel costs, ammo, Gunsite 250 price etc. I bet you could have bought another tricked out 1911.

    BUT buying another tricked out 1911 isn't anywhere near as fun, long term, as the experience you just had. Plus you improved as a shooter and that's worth a lot.

    PS - How was the "dry" heat? :D
  13. Scaramouche

    Scaramouche Student of the Columbian Exchange Supporting Addict

    Sep 15, 2015
    This is a good koan for all of us to think on. You can have a couple safes full of guns and keep adding more and it doesn't do squat for your shooting skill. You can go out and buy the finest nail driving paper punching tool available to man and you still wont get what you get from this kind of instruction gives you. I applaud B81's effort and dedication in this endeavor, to say nothing about how well he conveyed it to us.
  14. B81

    B81 Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2018
    I would happily sell one of my 1911s to cover the cost of going to Gunsite. Experiences like this provide a lifetime of positive memories, and makes you stronger person. That's easily worth the price of admission.
  15. cgff

    cgff Well-Known Member

    Aug 24, 2015
    Great write up, and Congrats. Me and my GF went there last Oct/Nov. for the 250 planning on returning next year. The training was awesome.
    B81 and Mike Meints like this.
  16. neogirevik1

    neogirevik1 Member

    Dec 30, 2016
    Thanks for the excellent review.
    B81 likes this.
  17. Dr Awkward

    Dr Awkward Active Member Supporting Addict

    Apr 28, 2020
    Great review, and a heck of a sales job (hope you get a commission;). I'm saving up for this one.
    B81 likes this.
  18. Rick McC.

    Rick McC. Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2013
    I know exactly what you mean, and agree completely!

    I went for over three years without buying any new guns to be able to afford the travel expenses, ammo, and costs of the training that I received during that time.

    It was life changing, and the value to me was worth 10 times what I spent.
  19. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Jul 6, 2014
    Everybody who carries a 1911 needs to go to Gunsite for the 250 course.
    Dub, cgff, Gary1911A1 and 2 others like this.
  20. 4runnerteq

    4runnerteq Member

    Dec 2, 2018
    Sweet. I’d like to do a 1911 course. I’ve done a local basic handgun course and a John Lovell basic class with my G19. My biggest problem for me is being intimidated by my lack of skill and looking like a dumb ass. Love my 1911s and would love learning proper techniques and handling.

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