TRICON (Trident Concepts) held their Pistol 2 class at picturesque Texas acreage just south of Bastrop, TX in quiet Smithville over this weekend. *NOTE: Due to some scheduling issues I was able to only attend the first 2 days, and Jeff was very accomodating in allowing me to still get in on the instruction.
WX was gorgeous; warm(ish) on TD-1, and sunny, cool and breezy on TD-2. Perfection.
Class size was/is 8, with various backgrounds, including 2 SWAT officers from 2 very serious local departments. Every hand brought their best effort, every evolution. Sometimes we sucked, sometimes we crushed it. As time progressed, competition started to really get thick -and that was awesome. (*If nothing else; "IT PAYS TO BE A WINNER" is never more true that when you don't have to be the last guy fighting with the infuriating tape to negative-tape your target, because your misses were low/non-existent.)
NOTE: There won't be a bullet point breakdown, itemized list of sequential events, per se, and I will explain why. Jeff emphasized students take away what they take away. What they get fixed, what goes from broken to working, from sub-optimal to functioning optimally -that's what you should take away. If a drill is part of it, or a certain evolution -so be it. And that's important, as it leads to one of the fundamental benefits of this course.
We began from the jump on TD-1 with shooter skills test, basically seeing where everyone was at. Not unlike a Mod Navy Qual at an AR class, it allows your issues to literally be on-paper.
Back to diagnostic shooting, as the course of instruction progresses, every motion, skill, movement, component of effectively employing the pistol in a fight is broken down. Then explained and discussed. Then -and specifically helpful in my case- mysteries and information gaps are filled in.
This allows the shooter to begin to purposefully take control of every variable involved. If one doesn't take control of every variable, fluidly, it will control you. Seeing/evaluating the target (in this course, it's a given that you are shooting the threat), grip/draw stroke, punch/present, sight picture, sight alignment, trigger press/break of the shot, follow through, scan/assess, etc. -every one of those has to work fluidly, but every component has pieces and variables that need to be understood, controlled, and made to work together, fluidly and properly.
Example: taking control of not only my sight alignment --but what I am actually aiming at, and not just "the round will hit on my target where God wills it". No! I control HOW I aim -and WHAT I am aiming at. Groups shrink. And there is great rejoicing.
After repetitions, feedback, adjustments, etc., you find, in essence, that having disassembled your entire shooting "vehicle", all the parts are spread out in front of you. You find good stuff, ugliness, pounds and pounds of bad habits, a spare tire that was completely flat due to poorly chosen front sight, things that you have just had in the "vehicle" 'just because', with no real foundation in reality, or reality based experience -for you, the shooter. So, work has to be done and attention given: what stays? what goes? What gets set on fire? What sacred cow is holding you back? What missing components should be there that isn't? *Once these are addressed, and key to this class -once new parts installed, old parts fixed -they are slowly, methodically and rigorously reassembled.
The functioning "parts" all are trying to get you somewhere -that you and those with you don't just survive a fight, but dominate a fight.
Alot of your stuff gets tossed aside; both technique and TTPs, as well as hardware.
Sound techniques need to be trusted, and allowed to work for you. "First best sight picture" means what it sounds like it means, and I need to trust it, and let it work for me; and get out of my own way. Controlling all the variables also means controlling the biggest variable of all -myself. The blaster will work -provided it's a Glock. But seriously; it will work. The techniques will work. *As a friend of mine who is a pilot has said to me about aircraft; "The plane wants to fly". The Gun wants to shoot and be accurate. I am the variable, and controlling your mind, movements and the variables involved are where your money is made.
Jeff has a lot of competitive drills and evolutions; and it gets your heart-rate going, because the pressure is on. If you are actually stepping up to take a class of this sort, it's a good bet you don't like to lose. Ever. And you can see where the control or lack of control of the variables involved pay off or sink you.
Some mention has been made of the high round-count of TRICON classes, and I'm not qualified nor possess a broad enough training spectrum to comment one way or the other. I can say, however, that I attended my two days of class with 1500 rounds, and returned home with just over 30 rounds -and I regret not shooting those! Every shot counts in class; is graded/scored/assessed. The mental demand to make every shot count -and as you go, finally seeing and feeling what it is to execute things properly and successfully, and beging to latch on to consciously and subconciously of that success -pays rich dividends. What it looks like to properly ride your sights in to the target, what it felt like to get that good trigger press, how it resonated in your mind when you made a great shot -as little as we shoot the small gun, the benefit of this, for me cannot be overstated.
Simply, if you've been doing things wrong for a long time, you need to do them right for a long time to make success become a consciously unconscious thing.
I cannot recommend enough enrolling in to "Dr. Gonzales' School of Diagnostic Gunfighting".
-Glock 17 with Warren/Sevigny sights; plain rear, red fiber-optic front; Dawson magwell, Vickers mag release, Glock OEM slide-stop.
-Glock 17rd OEM mags with Glock OEM +2 extensions
*Notes: Plain front sight will be installed and the F/O removed as soon as possible. GripForce adapter was removed until I can work with it to not wear a circular hole in the web of my shooting hand. Dawson magwell --may get removed, but I am going to hold on as long as possible.
Also, I will be adding an RDO to a Glock slide as soon as possible. *However, I want to keep working my fixed sights extensively and exhaustively, as I have a better understanding of the standards that I'm chasing, and what it takes to get there.
**Malfunctions: 1. Stovepipe; yesterday. Swept away, and drove on. No other problems.
-Safariland ALS with QLS on a medium-drop UBL.
*Notes: The ability to have a holster system that is interchangeable is invaluable, for me. Rugged, reliable, easy to use.
Fitness note: This class, prior to attending, scared to $#!+ out of me -which was a large part of why I took it.
I dropped almost 2 pants sizes in the lead-up/work-up prior to attending. Being in the best shape I've been in in 9 years certainly was a huge benefit, both confidence-wise and ability-wise. Shooting out of shape, shooting in OK shape, and shooting in better-than-OK shape; I can say that better is better. (That's science, baby.) Shoulders, back, core, legs --and GRIP: the benefit of these being sound cannot be emphasized enough. It's hard to fight -or even practice fighting- if you're a fatty.
Let me say a word or two about Jeff, if I may. I will always be grateful for the men who've taken their time to train me in this serious art. JBierlyRN, SCU70 have worked with me 1 on 1 and I still am using their gunhandling techniques to this day with great success, that it feels like cheating. Pat Rogers, for being patient while he put up with me in his Pistol 2 class, while I think I should have been in Pre-School Pistol for Special Children. If it weren't for the informational and mindset downloads from Pat over these last few years, privately and in person, I would not have had the grounding and perspective to see that this is serious business, nor see the value in a class such as this. *Also; f I hadn't had that EAG Pistol 2 class, I would have been utterly lost in this class with Jeff. Which brings me to this point:
Do not be intimidated by this or any TRICON class you are able to attend, especially if you have recieved prior training from vetted instructors, in particularly EAG Tactical. They compliment one another almost seemlessly, with great individual merit and unique aspects, along with the overlap that aids in further strengthening your baseline.
Jeff is not %50 mechanics, %50 fighting. Or, %50 accuract, %25 fighting, %25 speed or some such equation. He's %100 in everything -*and I am not rating his skill level, I am referring to his personal emphasis on these topics. Everything is important. %100 fighting, %100 mechanics, %100 accuracy, etc. You have to be strong in everything. Being strong in everything will make you smoothe and fluid, able to concentrate on your priorities and process the threats, and will over time make you fast.
I walked away from this class with a literal emberassment of riches. By even 3 hours in to TD-1, I had already had questions and mysteries that have plagued me the entire time I have been shooting either be answered, removed, replaced, fixed or finally understood. I am not where I want to be -but I am a heck of a lot better than I was on Thursday, and feel like a kid making snowangels in fresh powder, revelling in new found confidence, in what I have recieved in this class. Also, reaffirmed confidence in the things I've recieved prior to this class that are sound, functional, and of benefit.
Final note: The following is primarily for those in this 'circle' who have desire, but may have not yet -like me- had the chance or commitment to get out and experience more quality instruction. All these amazing instructors we have access to, they obviously are all different. They are going to pull you in every which direction; but go with it. Broaden your horizons; let them pull you. Bleed them dry. Leave no question unasked. Because when you find yourself in front of your targets -practice or real- you'll find through all that stretching, pulling, etc., that your own personal baseline and foundation has grown into a deep foundation from which your own confidence can take root.
Thanks to Jeff and Kane at TRICON, Tyson Brown our host. Special thanks to Boadie, Jeff, Ken, Jerry, and Cory; my fellow students. Also, to FJB for making an appearance on mid-day, TD-2. My heartfelt thanks to Paul G; hell on wheels. Brother, it was a pleasure. See you in Brady.
A special thanks to Zushwa, without whose mentoring and encouragement I would not be be taking aggressive steps this year to broaden my horizons, in particular with my shooting.