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Gaffney, SC: Private Pistol Course

Posted by Abbey C on

One day with John “Shrek” McPhee by Bridger Newman I recently trained with some federal instructors not long ago, we shot targets and talked technique but what followed surprised me. They intimated about how a recent training session with John irrevocably changed how they shot for the rest of lives, and for the better. When professional instructors can check their egos at the door to make a statement out load, admitting, that, even they have room for improvement, I take notice. Moreover, they recommended to me to take a class with John asap; fortunately, I was lucky enough to find the last available slot for a class in South Carolina. Saturday on September 3rd, the class of 10 (9 showed) met at Cracker Barrel for roll-call, good humor and introductions-oh, yes, breakfast if so desired! Our group was friendly and eager to learn, and that really sets the bar for the overall experience in my mind. One guy even brought a charcoal grill with hotdogs for the entire class, I'm doing that next time! About John: First, let me say, John on YouTube is the John I met at class. He’s laid back and relaxed, arguably, one of the most highly experienced operators in the business, a been there, done that, team guy with a great attitude to teach his breadth of operational knowledge. To learn from someone like John is a privilege, coupled with his infectious passion for the shooting arts, all of John’s attributes are considerably brought to bear as he taught me more about pistol shooting in 8 hours than I ever knew previously. I smell another class in the near future! Video frame-by-frame analysis by John was the most valuable teaching experience from any class I have taken to date, as I was already making mental corrections as we discussed how and what needed to improve. No sugar-coated participant ribbons here, everything required attention and optimization, and only once these issues were addressed with better proficiency, then John would up the evolutions. John's physical proximity while coaching me on technique was corrective and reassuring while I fired, after all, I came to this class with a blank slate. To unlearn what I have learned. The groups were becoming better and speed was increasing alarmingly quick with confidence. Caution humor: Dare I say it, speed shooting multiple targets with John is like entering the Matrix with Yoda. He guided me to discover new success and discover new barriers, as well. I kept thinking throughout the day, “I wonder how amazing the two-day class could be?” Note to self, sign up for two-day class, wherever it is located. By the end of the day, everyone is seeing substantial improvements, that is the mark of the instructor like John, taking responsible shooting enthusiasts on a journey of learning, and witness the light the turning on. There's great satisfaction in teaching. But the day was not quite over. We had one last bit of fun to close out the day. It was time for the group “walk-back”, shooting the standard steel torso target at 25-yard increments. The group thinned out to three (including John) by 75 yards, honestly, I was surprised to still be shooting. John won (like there was any doubt) against another gent and myself, we couldn't hit the target at 100-yards. John let me take a few more shots, so I just focused on everything he taught me over the day, then I squeezed and I finally heard that “dink!” for a headshot. Shooting distance with a pistol was a new for experience for me, I have never shot pistol at a 100-yards (with 12 feet elevation and factoring in bullet drop too) in my life, John’s knowledge and teaching really made a lot of positive impacts to my skill sets. All I can say now is, when can I take the next class? Thanks John, it was a great class and far surpassed my expectations! Also, a big shout out to Abbey for keeping us well-informed about class requirements, directions and responding to questions so quickly.
Regards, Bridger

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