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Posted: 9/14/2003 10:26:33 AM EDT
Week before last I took a three day defensive handgun course at Thunder Ranch in Texas. The facilities were outstanding: clean, well maintained and not a piece of brass on the ground anywhere. Clint Smith and his staff did a wonderful job of intelligently designing and teaching the course. Definitely surpassed all my expectations.

No affiliation, just a really big fan at this point.
Link Posted: 9/14/2003 10:15:34 PM EDT
I don't believe I've ever read a bad review about Thunder Ranch or Clint Smith.

How many rds did you shoot total?
Link Posted: 9/15/2003 5:12:16 PM EDT
The instruction there is good quality, though I do not like their dependence on things Weaver...

I also highly reccomend Blackwater Training Center. I have been several times and have learned a great deal, while getting to have a ton of fun too...

I was originally going to go to TR, but I decided to give Blackwater a shot since they are closer, meaning I wouldn't have to try and fly with firearms. They are also located right at my state so when going out to get dinner and the like I can legitimately carry my pistol CCW and still be protected. (Seeing as how they are 20 minutes from Virginia Beach and Norfolk, carrying a firearm is a GOOD idea)

If TR is closer to you and less of a hassle, then go for it. FWIW I have had the opportunity to meet people who have been to literally every school out there, and all of them speak extremely highly of Blackwater. Thunder Ranch is highly regarded too. Gunsite is a bit too dogmatic for my tastes. (This is the ONLY way to do x, this is the ONLY way to do y...If I wanted to hear that I would join the military...=)

Link Posted: 9/15/2003 6:04:23 PM EDT
I can't speak about Thunder Ranch personally, but I've never heard anything but great reviews. I can speak for Blackwater however. I just attended the Advanced Tactical Handgun course. 2500 hrs. in a week. Excellent instruction presented in a very open manner. Here's what we have, try it and see if it works for you. I don't think you can go wrong at any of the major schools.
Link Posted: 9/16/2003 9:09:23 AM EDT
I shot between 600 and 700 rounds in three days. I did not notice a significant bias towards weaver in the instruction. I shot isoceles and they improved my shooting based on that technique. The instructors did say one interesting thing about weaver, that it is the same stance used to hold a rifle and that as such can bring consistency to your body position between the two types of firearms. Thought it was an interesting observation but not enough to change my stance for handguns.

Also, I thought it was interesting how varied the handguns were out there. The instructors and probably 40% of the class carried 1911's but they trained you on what you brought with suggestions on choices if you wanted them. I used a Glock 21 which I have never shot particularly well -- certainly not as well as my Sig. The instructors really brought me around with that gun. Grip and trigger.

Looking forward to more classes at Thunder Ranch and at others at schools like the those you all mentioned.
Link Posted: 9/17/2003 4:36:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By XM17SBullpup:
I can't speak about Thunder Ranch personally, but I've never heard anything but great reviews. I can speak for Blackwater however. I just attended the Advanced Tactical Handgun course. 2500 hrs. in a week. Excellent instruction presented in a very open manner. Here's what we have, try it and see if it works for you. I don't think you can go wrong at any of the major schools.



That's what I loved about BW. They were not dogmatic. Who were your instructors X?

I had Doug Harris teaching my TacII Handgun course...
Link Posted: 9/18/2003 1:11:09 PM EDT
My Instructors were Chris Epperson and Ed Sevard. They were excellent. I've adopted most of the techniques they taught, and use them in my classes now.
Link Posted: 9/18/2003 1:23:13 PM EDT
HEY sboney,
remember any Clint'isms?

that's my favorite part of the whole class.
Link Posted: 9/20/2003 7:40:33 AM EDT
They all came out so fast that I sat there thinking, I want to remember that and then another one would hit me. Since you must have been to a class you know -- Clint is a very polished speaker with a unique style. I remember mostly lessons.

When talking about handguns: "One is none and two is one" (take at least two if you want one of anything)

Bad guys are like wolves and wolves travel in packs. The threat you stop is not the only threat that may be out there.

Learn the simplest way to get a gun in a fight because once your in one you may not be fighting with your gun.

Get that index finger trained. Its a really bad idea for your leg when you holster with your finger still on the trigger.

"Shoot what is available, as long as it is available, until something else becomes available."

"Why do we go to cover? To look for better cover."

If you are in the middle of a public shooting and you have a gun,here might be one way to think about it: "I am really sorry nobody else thought to bring a gun to this gun fight but I did and I am using this one to protect my family and me."

If you are in the restroom during that shooting,here might be one way to think about it: "I have water so I can hold this position for four days. Now if your family is out there that changes the decisions you need to make quite a bit."

Never fight a fair fight. If you think a threat is in your house send in the cops. If you are a cop and you think a threat is in a house, send in a dog. If you are a soldier and you think a threat is in a house get out your air strike panel and call it in.

Link Posted: 9/20/2003 7:47:12 AM EDT
... How much for a comprehensive pistol and carbine course? Is there a huge wait?
Link Posted: 9/20/2003 8:04:07 AM EDT
http://www.thunderranchinc.com/schedule.htm

My three day course on handguns was $650. Worth it. Give them a call on availability. Don't know about a combined class, pistol and rifle. They have the urban rifle class and I have heard good things.

I got in with little trouble but the class was full or close to it by the time I got there.
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