The Best Training Facility

marinedoc

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Oct 19, 2018
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119
I'm often asked by friends where they should go for good training. I'll address this with this thread. First, what kind of training do you want? There are some facilities that orient their training towards those that want to improve their competition skills. I'm going to discuss defensive handgun training. Find a local training facility, which is usually located at a state of the art indoor range, and get either group or one-on-one training with a certified pistol instructor. This would be an entry level course for those just entering the handgun field. Nest comes the fun part. As a police officer I took a slew of courses, some excellent and others very average. Not my money so no general complaint. But when you start rolling out the dough from your pocket, you want to get the best for money spent. Initially, you may go to a trainer or training facility that has a good reputation, but the training will be on a static range. Targets will be fixed with any number of different images from the Police B-27, IDPA targets, or pictures of a threat pointing a gun r holding a knife. These ranges are OK initially, but after a while, you'll find it's the same old thing; drawing with a timer going to normal stance, moving right or left while drawing, magazine changes, strong hand only, support hand only, shooting around a barrel or a plywood barricade (some with holes cut in it forcing you into unusual positions), and shooting from various positions and distances without a barricade. Nothing wrong with this, but you're spending money for just the same thing with a different instructors slant on it. The next level is a facility like Thunder Ranch, Gunsite, or in the case of the rifle, Rifles Only. You will have moving targets, rotating and timed targets, shoot houses and often automobiles that you shoot around and through. In other words, there are numerous ranges on these facilities and they are often used for military, law enforcement and civilian training. You can count on the instructors being top notch and always willing to demonstrate what they are teaching. Just because someone was a SEAL, Marine Sniper or world class competition shooter, may not mean they are good instructors. They may or may not be. For example, check out the Instructors at Gunsite on their website. What they don't tell you is the rigorous process that they go through to be instructors there. And when you read the CV of the instructors, you will find former world champions, retired law enforcement SWAT and instructors with major police departments, former Marine and other military branches, but that is only part of their background. Before going to a place it helps if you can talk to someone that has trained there, and get an honest appraisal of the training. It's your money, spend it wisely.
 

Pandaz3

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Feb 27, 2019
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I personally have never been to a facility such as you describe, in the state of Oregon. I doubt if they exist in the state of Washington. I have seen a range like that in OKC.

Most of our (Wife and I) local training has been outdoors, good one day courses between $100 and $150 depending on hours projected. Small class size. Ammo on you of course, bring your own food and safety gear.

The majority of our training has been in Nevada. We have trained many times in Pahrump Nevada at Front Sight. These are large regimented classes, Outdoors. They have built a lot of extra ranges and have training simulator bays next to each range. The supposed cost is $500 per day for the course, I have membership so it is free to me. The training is similar to the military, except you are not forced to train. Train their way or don't train, it's up to you. Safety is the reason. My wife was scared to touch ammunition before, she is not now. We first went to a four + one course to get Concealed Carry Licenses in Nevada. We already had Oregon CCL without firing a shot or touching a bullet. Now at front Sight she was terribly nervous and did not shoot for a day and a half, but they thru gentle coaxing got her shooting. Now she loads and shoots all the time.
Nevada is hot in the summer and not that cool in September either. Cold biting wind in November. It does rain and snow too. You guess is as good as mine on weather. Well I have some experience with that. Remember if you are driving you might have tricky roads.
You have to bring your own food or order it ahead of time. The Vendor is pretty good.
I recommend the four day courses as the two day course have the same first two days which has a lot of malfunctions, and classroom type subjects, all short with a purpose, but not enough shooting. The four day courses have a lot of fun the last two days and totally worth it to us. They have a laundry list of courses.
Besides travel to, you need to do your own lodging, other meals. They have a couple of good motels in Pahrump, a couple seedy ones too. I stay at Wine Ridge in what they call a 'cottage' really a one bedroom trailer with a deck attached. Some RV parking many places including out at Front Sight.
Then there is getting a gun to there, driving you likely have that covered, flying you can have it in your checked luggage I guess, I don't know. You can rent a gun from them, but the only give you two magazines and you have to turn them in each evening, a hassle I think..
If you are serious about going, PM me and I can save you the cost of the course, you will still have to cover the rest.
Not quite what the OP was asking, but as close as I can come.

I just edited to make it a little bit easier to read and make sense.
 
Last edited:

Rob Biedermann

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Jul 24, 2018
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17
I have to agree with Pandaz3 on Front Sight. I know a lot of people love to hate on them, but for a new or newer shooter -- they do a great job -- just ignore the marketing! I have been going there off and on for about 10 years taking mainly handgun courses but shotgun as well. Just last month I took my wife to a 4-Day Defensive Pistol course. She had probably shot a total of 100 rounds in our 38 years of marriage. She shot 550 rounds in that course -- pretty leisurely for many of us, but a lot for her. The instructors were amazing with her! All she says now is "I'm hooked" and the plan is to go shooting 3 or 4 times a month at our local range and take another FS course in February. I've been flying there from Virginia for several years and once you know the rules -- flying with a firearm and ammo in checked luggage is pretty easy...

For me, FS is a good refresher, but somewhat limited in their keeping up with the times on techniques. Although I will say the Defensive Handgun course we took last month had come a long way from 10-years ago when FS was only and all about the Weaver stance.

I've been able to take courses with Steve Fisher (shotgun and pistol), Larry Vickers (1911), Frank Garcia (competition), Scott Jedlinski (GREAT red dot pistol course) and Tim Chandler (local shotgun guy) over the past few years and I have to say I've learned a lot from them and would definitely recommend each of them.

The most important thing is to get some training from a source you can trust and have some fun... I'm guessing someone on this forum or others have attended a lot of training -- for your locale, I'm guessing there would be an opinion/help for anyone on the forum trying to decide on training.
 

Kevin Rohrer

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The best training facility not only has good instructors, but also has great facilities. And as far as I know, there are only two: Gunsite (3x grad) and Thunder Ranch.
 

marinedoc

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Joined
Oct 19, 2018
Messages
119
I personally have never been to a facility such as you describe, in the state of Oregon. I doubt if they exist in the state of Washington. I have seen a range like that in OKC.

Most of our (Wife and I) local training has been outdoors, good one day courses between $100 and $150 depending on hours projected. Small class size. Ammo on you of course, bring your own food and safety gear.

The majority of our training has been in Nevada. We have trained many times in Pahrump Nevada at Front Sight. These are large regimented classes, Outdoors. They have built a lot of extra ranges and have training simulator bays next to each range. The supposed cost is $500 per day for the course, I have membership so it is free to me. The training is similar to the military, except you are not forced to train. Train their way or don't train, it's up to you. Safety is the reason. My wife was scared to touch ammunition before, she is not now. We first went to a four + one course to get Concealed Carry Licenses in Nevada. We already had Oregon CCL without firing a shot or touching a bullet. Now at front Sight she was terribly nervous and did not shoot for a day and a half, but they thru gentle coaxing got her shooting. Now she loads and shoots all the time.
Nevada is hot in the summer and not that cool in September either. Cold biting wind in November. It does rain and snow too. You guess is as good as mine on weather. Well I have some experience with that. Remember if you are driving you might have tricky roads.
You have to bring your own food or order it ahead of time. The Vendor is pretty good.
I recommend the four day courses as the two day course have the same first two days which has a lot of malfunctions, and classroom type subjects, all short with a purpose, but not enough shooting. The four day courses have a lot of fun the last two days and totally worth it to us. They have a laundry list of courses.
Besides travel to, you need to do your own lodging, other meals. They have a couple of good motels in Pahrump, a couple seedy ones too. I stay at Wine Ridge in what they call a 'cottage' really a one bedroom trailer with a deck attached. Some RV parking many places including out at Front Sight.
Then there is getting a gun to there, driving you likely have that covered, flying you can have it in your checked luggage I guess, I don't know. You can rent a gun from them, but the only give you two magazines and you have to turn them in each evening, a hassle I think..
If you are serious about going, PM me and I can save you the cost of the course, you will still have to cover the rest.
Not quite what the OP was asking, but as close as I can come.

I just edited to make it a little bit easier to read and make sense.
Doesn't Clint Smith operate Thunder Ranch in Washington.
 

cxm

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Mar 11, 2020
Messages
10
I have been to most of the 'major' schools... I learned something at all of them but the one I am really sorry to have missed was Mas Ayoob's.

Ayoob has a really excellent program that not only teaches self defense but how to deal with the aftermath... I think if I could only go to one school it would be his.

FWIW

Chuck
 

Kevin Rohrer

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Doesn't Clint Smith operate Thunder Ranch in Washington.

Yes. And a former Gunsite instructor just told me that if you want to learn the Modern Technique of the Pistol, to go there over Gunsite or any other school. And he said that even though both of us are Gunsite alumni.
 

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