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1-Day Pistol, 1-Day Carbine Course: May 12-13, 2017

Posted by Abbey C on

When you’ve been through enough shooting instruction you’ll realize it’s all really about the basics. The pros, the guys that have BTDT are simply better at the basics than everyone else. There aren’t any Jackie Chan, secret squirrel techniques or info they alone hold close to the vest like, say, the Clinton body count.
I got to train and learn from one of those BTDT guys last week and left with my eyes wide open.
After a storied career in Special Forces, John “Shrek” McPhee has been working the training circuit for 5 years (I believe) - honing his teaching technique around a tool pro athletes have been using for probably decades - video.
The morning of the 1-day Pistol class started with a simple exercise. 2 rounds, reload, 2 rounds at a close target. Here’s the deal: you have a picture in your head of what you look like shooting the gun. Your subconscious needs this picture to carry out what the conscious mind wants it to do. Reality is watching the video. In slow motion.
Without getting into all the special sauce of what and how John teaches the class, this eye-opening moment is the foundation for becoming a better, more efficient (this means faster too) shooter. John goes to work on each student’s video, marking all the key points throughout your stance, grip, presentation and shot - then providing corrective techniques to maximize your efficiency at each step. If this sounds dry to you, it isn’t - not if you’re there to learn and get better. If you judge class value by how many empty casings are laying at your feet, there are plenty of other trainers who will indulge you that.
We spent the better part of the morning working through each student’s video and this was super helpful. In part because you realize the fundamentals apply to everyone and so many of the fundamentals you may have been taught simply don’t hold up to the scrutiny of the video and timer.
We broke for lunch and were treated to a fine BBQ meal. I think he has a thing for BBQ, not sure ;)
The afternoon was spent on an array of drills designed for each shooter to work on improving his technique from the video session. After a few hundred rounds you realize those old training scars may take some time to heal! Another cool aspect of John’s technique is the ability to self-diagnose your deficiencies through your target patterns - a great takeaway from this class that will pay dividends for years to come. I’m still hearing “a little bit of both” in my sleep.
Day 2 was the Carbine class and it started the same way as pistol. Same teaching and diagnostic structure. What was amazing were the similarities between shooting pistol and rifle. Stance, body angle, shoulders, head - all the same, really. This is significant because you can dry-work pieces of your technique with either weapon and the results will transfer to the other if that makes sense.
Both training days closed with John asking his students for feedback - a rare thing to hear and even moreso that you could tell he was actually interested in listening. Will I train with Shrek again? Hell yes. Here’s why:
1. Small class sizes. 8 for pistol and 7 for rifle. That means actual, hands-on instruction. Class fees are higher, yes but IMO worth every penny for this amount of personal attention.
2. Walked off the range with valuable diagnostic tools to improve my abilities on my own time. This includes using video on myself. For shooting, you perv.
3. Learned I don’t have to burn a gazillion rounds to get better. On the contrary. Now have a better understanding of HOW to train my brain to do the things I want it to do when I need it most. The work is now on me.
My only regret is that I didn’t take these classes before the many others I’ve taken. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gotten varying degrees of value out of all of them but from a fundamentals perspective (which is what shooting is all about), John’s class had the most real-world value for me.
WT Lewis

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