Late last year we started to roll out our Guardian Pistol Course curriculum. This past weekend, Riley and I taught the class at Impact Shooting Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. Not only was the facility awesome, but the owners were generous and super accommodating. And of course, the students all rocked. There were a few takeaways from this class that I thought was worth sharing.
First, if you're not familiar with the course itself, make sure to check out this page that explains the curriculum and specifics about each of the three classes.
Weather and Personal Conditioning:
The weather was pretty extreme but somewhat typical for a mid-July day in southern Ohio. Temps were around 95 daily with the final day having around 60% humidity. The range itself was in a depressed area which was blocked on all sides by the terrain.
This meant we had no breeze to cool us off. We harped on staying hydrated, as the class is 100% outdoors on the range. About halfway through day-1, one of our students started exhibiting some signs of heat exhaustion. He stepped off the line a few times and retreated back to some shade for Gatorade and water. All the students were feeling the effects of the heat, but not to this extreme. The day ended, and the forecast was for an even hotter day-2!
That student did not return for day-2. He made the decision that physically he was not able to safely perform in the class, especially because day-2 was supposed to be even hotter. This was a responsible call by the student. No one wants to bow out of a course, and have to reschedule for another time, but we all need to be honest with ourselves and know our limitations. There is nothing wrong with this and is actually to be commended.
Physical conditioning is something that becomes harder as we get older. But not only does it help keep you going in adverse weather conditions, it will help you live a longer and healthier life. Now this student was not necessarily out of shape. He was older than most and father time just made it more difficult for him to keep going in the heat.
I am not saying that everyone needs to pump iron and stay in the gym all day. But there are basic things everyone can do to help. Doing some cardio workouts throughout the week will do wonders for your stamina and health. And if you smoke, quit. Nothing good will come from smoking…ever. If you know you are going to be training, get some rest, hydrate and don't drink alcohol the night before.
Gear and Performance:
With a class of 10 students, we had a diversity of guns and holsters. We amazingly had 5 Sig P365's which ran through a total of 3000+ rounds. No broken parts or problems with components. We did have two failure-to-extract (FTE) malfunctions. With the skepticism of the gun's reliability, I would say it was a win for the P365. Especially considering that we had a few Glocks that also had a couple FTE malfunctions. And we all know how reliable Glocks are.
We had a Taurus PT145 that had a myriad of feeding issues. We also had a Beretta 92 with something I don't recall ever seeing before. A student was using Blazer 115-grain 9mm FMJ ammunition that appeared as though the projectile was disintegrating as it exited the barrel. It left almost like a shotgun pattern on the targets. It was definitely something to do with the ammunition as it didn't happen once the ammo was changed.
A couple of students learned the importance of a good holster. The leather pancake holsters and hybrid holsters started to show their weaknesses after repeated drawing, holstering and rough usage. One student even ordered a new holster after the first day of class.
Ask any teacher of any discipline, and they will tell you that the most important thing is that the students leave with a sense of accomplishment and confidence. All students were amazed at their progress over the three days. Because we are constantly evaluating them through certain timed drills, they are able to actually quantify their skill development and refinement. Many of them were stoked to be able to self-diagnose their weaknesses and were happy they could now practice and work on those bad habits that we all have.
I know spending money on a class can be a big hurdle. And finding 3-days in your schedule to go train can be almost impossible at times. But if you're serious about developing your self-defense handgun skills, you need to budget and carve out time as often as feasible to attend some professional instruction. It will make you better at your craft, and if you have never taken a really good training class, you will be surprised at how much fun you'll have.
Stay safe and God bless. Find out more information on the Guardian Pistol Curriculum here.