I got to attend my first pistol class with Chris Fry of MDTS yesterday at the Pine Barrens range of Long Island. It was a great experience, Chris is a top notch instructor. The course was practical pistol skills level 1.
It started out with an overview of a lot of great stuff- mindset, awareness, keeping distance between a potential threat, criminal actions, justifiable use of force, the MDTS plan of action, and some legal stuff you may have to deal with using a gun for defense. Chris had some ideas I'd never thought about before, like if you're carrying a gun, it is probably a good idea to keep the phone number of a use of force lawyer on you, just in case. You know you should call a lawyer afterwards, but are you prepared for who, and will he be able to meet you within 24 hours to give a statement?
The first shooting of the day we did was more of a let's see how everyone shoots first. We were instructed to slow fire a 1 inch square from 3 yards, and put all rounds in the same hole. Chris gave a pretty impressive demonstration of accuracy by doing just that. After firing, we were given a lot of points on grip, sight alignment, trigger squeeze, reset, and some other things that really helped my shooting quite a bit. We only worked on 2 ready positions, close ready and diamond ready. Next up we got into stoppage drills, working on firing rounds into center of mass, head shots or hips, as well as an overview of why to shoot someone there. We went through several strings of fire here, sometimes transitioning between the close targets or further out steel targets.
Throughout the day we also covered a 4 step draw, drawing from concealment,shooting one handed and weak handed, malfunction clearing, a cool drill for malfunctions where we had 4 random pistols laid out that his instructors set up malfunctions in, we had to pick up a handgun, attempt to fire, and then clear the malfunction as swiftly as possible. During the drawing drills, we worked on turning from different directions to draw, and some movement drills. The day ended with shooting from behind cover.
Chris's class is really top notch. When I made the decision that I don't want to just be a guy who has guns, but someone who actually knows how to use them, I started looking into trainers. Being on a limited budget, I started to think like I wouldn't be able to take a class ever. Many classes I see cost around $1000-2000 for a 2 or 3 day course, plus 1500-2000 rounds. That's a lot of money that I just don't have. Then I saw MDTS, and I have to say, his classes are very affordable, and you really get a lot for the price. Chris isn't some ex ninja navy seal with multiple combat tours and thousands of confirmed kills. He has had some experience with violent encounters, and he's been to plenty of training. Despite not having a background in law enforcement or military, I think Chris has a legit set of skills, the way he does things makes sense, his presentation is well done, and everything he presents is well researched. The round count was enough that I felt like I shot quite a lot without feeling like my wallet is too dry. This also makes it more likely that I will be able to attend more than 1 class a year. I have some ideas for new drills I can work on on my range trips, so hopefully next time I go to one of his classes the improvements I made here will stick and I'll be ready to learn the next level.
If you live in the Northeast, and have never been to a class or had any professional training, give MDTS a try. It really is well worth it.