1-Day Premium Pistol Course: Chino, CA
I took a one-day pistol class with McPhee at an outdoor range in Chino, California. I had no idea what to expect. I did hope for insight on why my shots didn’t land where I aimed half the time. Okay, more than half the time. I had just started shooting about 6 months prior.
I was nervous, too. I had never been to that sprawling range, I didn’t know what he looked like and it turned out, I was the only female in that class of 6.
I felt like a new kid at a school where everyone spoke a foreign language. And most of these guys turned out to be SWAT and gang cops with about 15 years experience apiece. That all soon became moot once class started.
McPhee himself immediately set the tone of the class. It was informal, but he commanded your attention every minute of those 7 hours without raising his voice or changing his tone. He takes video of your shooting various drills, projects it on a large TV screen already set up on the premises and then uses slow-motion and still features to break down your movements. It's raw and candid and uncomfortable to watch yourself on video like that, especially in front of the other students but there’s no more vivid way to see yourself. You thought you were standing and gripping a certain way, but the camera tells you otherwise.
Now anyone can take a video and give you a critique, but it’s McPhee’s analysis that makes this method his trademark. He explains why your stance, grip, etc. is faulty. He shows and explains the correct way and – most importantly - why and how his changes will fix you.
He also explains what happens to your senses and your mind as you start firing that gun. For me, that was key.
He put us through drill after drill so we could practice our corrections. Now we knew what “right” felt like. We were self-diagnosing ourselves immediately. Looking at the holes in the targets, we were able to make the instant diagnosis and adjust accordingly.
Then he started drilling us on speed. Then speed coupled with accuracy. Then speed with accuracy with multiple targets, uninterrupted through four magazines straight. You quickly learned how you perform under various scenarios of pressure. It was absolutely exhilarating.
If you ever experienced the thrill of competition, you know the love of the grind that leads up to it. Until that last drill of the day, McPhee was coaching, driving, and encouraging you to perform better.
He really opened my eyes. I could see the immediate improvements in myself throughout the day. I was ecstatic. During the breaks, I hurriedly reloaded all my magazines and then ran back out to the targets to practice the movements and dryfire. Lunch was me shoveling food in my mouth so I could run back out to the targets and practice again.
I had walked in hoping he could help improve my aim. I had no idea he could show me I was capable of shooting multiple targets in the head in just a handful of seconds from the holster.
The experience with McPhee reminded me of something. Ever look on WebMD and diagnose yourself? Ever try a new fad diet and wonder why it’s not doing wonders for you? That’s because you’re trying to fit your symptoms and body quirks into a box that doesn’t fit you. I had read articles, watched YouTube videos, and screenshot captured all kinds of diagrams and pictorals on how to improve your shooting, and lo and behold none of them seemed to help.
McPhee was like having a personal physician. He profiles your first shoot and knows exactly you’re capable of. He figures out your bad habits and shows you how to change them. Now you're taking on a personal battle with your bad habits at the range , but you love every second of it. You can’t wait to go back out to turn that ship around. My shooting improved tremendously. My confidence in my shooting abilities skyrocketed. I was over the moon.
The best yet? Those fundamentals and habits carry over to any handgun – not just my Glock. I can pick up a Sig or 1911 and just remember what McPhee taught me. I have told everyone I know about his class because but for another McPhee alum who told me, I never would have signed up. Thank you so much, John. You have made a tremendous impact on me and will make more on the flood of others I'm going to send your way.