Matt S.- Joliet, IL MIL/LE Pistol Course AAR- April 11, 2015
I recently attended John Mcphee’s 1 day video diagnostic pistol course in Joliet IL. This is the first Sheriff of Baghdad course I’ve attended. For comparison, I’ve attended pistol courses from U.S Training Center, Tiger Swan, Pat Mcnamara, Mike Pannone, Larry Vickers, IALEFI, and the FBI.
The class was held on a L.E. range in Joliet and consisted of 11 students. SOB Tactical offers a very different course, unique from any other pistol class I’ve attended before. First, this is not a high round count class. I shot somewhere in the vicinity of 100 to 120 rounds during the 8 hour course. The vast majority of these rounds were shot after 2pm. In fact I only shot 4 rounds from 9am to 2pm. Everyone gets videotaped individually and then John and the shooter watch the film and talk about the things the student needs to correct or improve on, this takes about 30 minutes per shooter. Obviously this is time intensive and there is an enormous amount of down time in the morning. It’s a necessary evil and worth the pay off at the end.
The only downside to the class was the large chunk of downtime in the morning. Given the format of the course, I don’t know how this can be eliminated. I would advise future students to spend some of this dead time at a safe area on the range dry firing, concentrating on the shortcomings Mcphee points out. John stated during this course that he is also working on a video that will play for students during the morning downtime. That should help as well.
The positives of this class include the one on one interaction with John. While he is filming you, the flaws in your grip, stance, presentation, and reloads become painfully obvious. John makes simple and informed suggestions on how to improve all 4 areas that were videoed. In the afternoon we shot a magazine to a magazine and a half as an individual in front of John. He again took a hard look at grip and stance; making tiny corrections that paid off big dividends in being able to control the gun when shooting at a high speed. To put it bluntly, this is a class where you cannot hide your flaws from John or yourself.
Another positive was that he made some really thought provoking points and a demonstration about how grip was more important than trigger control. He has a different take on how and where to grip the pistol than I’ve seen in other courses.
We concluded the afternoon with maybe half a dozen drills using both paper and steel targets. We ended the class with 2 competitions, the first competition was a speed drill, and the second was an accuracy drill. I ended up taking about 2 to 3 typed pages of notes throughout the day.
I think this class would be better in a 2 day format. Keeping the first day exactly like it is. The additional day would be great to be able to run some drills reinforcing some of the learning points that John points out in the first day. By adding a 2nd day and another 300 rounds it would allow for some drills and repetitions to let the lessons sink in while John prowls the line and makes spot corrections. I would recommend the 1 day class for a strong to mid-level shooter who wants to take their shooting to the next level. I’m hoping for a 2 day format in Illinois in the future.