Posted: 3/26/2012 11:46:55 PM
[Last Edit: 3/26/2012 11:49:47 PM by Lomshek]
THE IMAGE ABOVE IS A PAID ADVERTISEMENT
If anyone missed this class but would like to be notified about future training opportunities in Pittsburg, KS send an email to me at roger AT tailwindcyclists DOT com. Your email will only be used by me for notices when we host Todd and other pro instructors from time to time (once maybe twice per year).
I canâ€™t imagine a better weekend for some hard training. In the days leading up to the class we had torrential rains bordering on flooding in some areas then the sun broke through. Both days at the range were 70+ and sunny.
We had 10 shooters total. Originally the class filled up at 12 but two of the students had to bail due to family & work. Hopefully they can hit another AFHF elsewhere or hit Pittsburg the next time we host Todd.
Students ran the gamut from at or near retirement age to 24, backgrounds ranged from a few USPSA shooters, solid mindset civilians, military and at least one LEO who doubles as a local instructor. We had students from all over the Midwest and beyond with our youngest coming from Minnesota, others from Nebraska and the furthest drive was from the NYC area (20 hours).
First off Todd was the consummate professional instructor and the class was everything I had hoped for. Toddâ€™s explanations and demos were clear and concise. When he did a demo Todd would run it exactly as he described, varying his speed to match the accuracy requirements just as he expected us to do. The rare miss or flub on his part was handled with aplomb and self deprecating humor.
To keep us shooting and minimize student down time Todd has us split into two squads (squad 1 and squad alpha because no one wants to be #2). That way while one squad is firing the other can be loading mags. It worked great and had the added benefit of keeping the student/instructor ratio at 5:1 so Todd could focus more attention on each student.
Safety was absolute and well controlled. Todd was clear on his requirements and was polite but rock hard in correcting any potential issues before they became a problem. We couldnâ€™t have been clearer on his expectations and had no major issues.
I look forward to inviting Todd back in the future for more quality training.
On to the photos & videosâ€¦
Todd showing proper reload technique with a field stripped Glock frame for safety when facing the crowd.
Squad â€śAlphaâ€ť on the firing line
JTHhapkido, Grant, Ben & Ken working the reloads
Yours truly slapping leather
Ben giving a great example of the press out method. He was the â€śkidâ€ť in the class and from what I saw did the best job out of all of us putting Toddâ€™s lessons into practice. Benâ€™s slow motion pressout was the best example by far I saw of what Todd wanted us doing.
Local shooters Jeff & George getting some rounds downrange.
Our local master class USPSA shooter, Shawn, worked it hard all weekend. His biggest struggle, from my viewpoint, was tightening up his accuracy requirement while dialing his speed about 5% down.
Shawnâ€™s a phenomenal shooter and has so many rounds ingrained that changing anything is very difficult. To his credit he never quit trying Toddâ€™s methods and time will tell what he incorporates. Iâ€™ll let him add anything else he thinks about the weekend.
Todd's graded test is the F.A.S.T.. Students shoot it at the start and end of each day to test themselves. It's a great guage of a shooter's fundamentals. Another drill we did was the Dot Torture which will beat any bad trigger habits out of you.
Hereâ€™s a video of JTHhapkido showing off some incredible footwork and control during the barrel drill. That dude knows how to move!
I also taped Todd as he demonstrated the Triple Nickel drill and then we all tried it a couple times.
Another drill we tried was the Hackathorn 3 Second Headshot Standards. I'm proud to say I cleaned it from concealment on day two.
Personally I was pushed hard and learned a lot. Iâ€™ve been shooting USPSA for almost 10 years and am just scraping the B level. I had no illusions of being the best shooter in class but was amazed at how much I learned!
Just a few of the many things I changed or improved significantly with Toddâ€™s lessons; grip & stance were the biggies followed by a much improved draw. I have a long way to go but the press out method noticeably sped up my accurate first shot time from the draw which was especially noticed on the low probability targets. Todd noticed I was "taking my time" on the draw and encouraged me to be more aggressive. With his pushing I took significant time off my draw (~1/2 second).
I went from a 12+ second FAST on day one (counting miss penalties) to 7.04 clean at the end of day two. I keep thinking of ways I could have done something faster to get under 7 (advanced score) but the reality is that was everything I had to give at that time.
Iâ€™m gonna drill the fundamentals until my hair hurts because I saw and felt in one weekend how much I improved when I did what Todd was teaching.
Hereâ€™s my change in form between day one and day two. Iâ€™ve felt pretty solid in form and technique the last few years but under Toddâ€™s patient tutelage I saw a huge difference in accuracy, control and recovery.
My original plan was to use an M&P 9 FS but that gun got returned to me just two days before the class after its second trip to S&W for lousy accuracy (8+ inches at 25 yards) and poor QC (unfinished chamber & muzzle crown on the first replacement barrel). Having no desire to make my primary shooter a gun I hadnâ€™t shot much with such a questionable history made me put the M&P in benchwarmer status.
I shot my old reliable Ruger P94 90% of the time from either a CTAC IWB at 3:30 or a Safariland Custom Fit OWB at 3:00 both under an untucked shirt. I spent some time shooting a Kel-Tec PF9 to see how I did with it on some drills. The PF9 was a challenge; I felt like I shot it pretty well but still struggled with the trigger & tiny grip. The gun was hitting at least 4 inches high at 7 yards so if I carry it Iâ€™ll get that fixed.
The Ruger had one failure to extract on day one. That evening I detail stripped the slide, cleaned out the FP channel & extractor groove and re-tensioned the extractor. I went a little overboard on extractor tension which caused a few failures to return to battery early on day two. After a hundred rounds or so that went away. I plan to replace both the firing pin and extractor as they are the originals and have well over 50,000 rounds.
Out of almost 1000 rounds fired I had maybe a 5% light strike issue with the Ruger & Kel-Tec. The ammo I loaded for this class had Remington small rifle primers which in spite of passing my limited testing ahead of class were just too hard for 100% ignition. The M&P striker failed to ignite a single primer when I tried it so no love there. My experiment was looking for a hotter flash to get a more complete powder burn (fewer unburned kernels) with a bonus (if it worked) of only having to stock a single small primer instead of rifle and handgun.
The DA/SA manual safety Ruger was not a problem for me and the slide mounted safety did not add .001 of a second to my draw. Years of practice working the safety have made that an instinctive part of the draw/ready motion. Iâ€™m very comfortable with my accuracy on the first DA shot and am able to make fast headshots with no problem (as long as I use my sights).
One area I did have trouble was modifying my draw motion to the press out method. In the past I brought the gun up to chin level and pushed it out at a slight upward angle so I could get a sight picture as the gun is coming on target always waiting to pull the trigger until my arms were at extension.
My DA trigger method is one fast, continuous stroke from start to finish with no staging or milking. Trying to slow that down and work the trigger as I did the press out in slow motion was excruciatingly difficult for me and I donâ€™t feel like I am even close to getting that down. I totally understand the need for a slow motion â€śby the numbersâ€ť (so to speak) practice to master the press out but as I have read many times it is not something that is mastered over a weekend.
It will take a while but I am going to put some serious work into incorporating what I learned at this class. If you ever get a chance Todd is a great instructor and can help anyone take their shooting up to the next level.