I spent the past three days as a student in a Viking Tactics Handgun 1.5 class at Southern Exposure Training in Lakeland, FL. Southern Exposure is run by Irv (sometimes poster here) and Watfa. They take care of all the logistics and administration, leaving the students free to learn, and the instructors free to instruct. The facility is about 1:15 from my house without traffic and is close enough to lodging and meals that the morning commute if you stay in town is around 20 minutes. It's my favorite place to train, hands down. I consider Irv and Watfa friends, and the other regular students my extended family. I've taken well over 20 classes there and will continue to return as long as they don't serve me with a trespass warning.
Viking Tactics is Kyle Lamb's business. He served for over 20 years in the highest level of the U.S. Army's special operations community and participated in some famous battles in some shitty places. You can see his presence all over firearm and hunting media; but having taken almost 20 classes with him, you get to know what a great guy he is and his passion for helping students achieve their goals. I give up my lucrative weekend gig every time I get a chance to train with Kyle, and I don't regret it for a second. "Chili" is his AI. He comes from a similar background as Kyle in the same unit and deployments. Another good guy who can teach as well as do. You would be well served to train with either.
My fellow students were almost all folks I had trained with before at Southern Exposure. Ft. Lauderdale PD had several representatives-don't fuck around in that town when these folks are working, you'll end up the worse for it. There were several other south Florida cops, a couple of doctors, a divorce lawyer, Mike from Rampart Coatings (Cerakote applicator to the stars), and a bunch of other people who were there to learn. For my first time in almost 20 VTAC classes, there were females. One was a Ft. Lauderdale cop married to one of the Ft. Lauderdale cops who regularly trains there, and the other was there with her husband who has an engineering firm. While we all had different skill levels, no one was unsafe. No one was "that guy" or "that girl". Everyone worked hard and seemed to progress well. I'd shoot with any of them again, any time.
The class itself was handgun. Some people ran from concealment, others from belt rigs, others from duty rigs. There were a lot of Glocks, a few 320's, a Wilson XC9, a P226, and a P30 LEM in .40. Many of the guns were wearing red dots-I saw Leupold Delta Point Pros and RMR's. We started with the 500 aggregate as a warm up, and took off from there. We shot a lot in various drills-I'd say at least 1600 rounds, but probably more like 1800. We shot for three days on steel, on paper, moving, behind barricades, through barricades, out to 100 yards. I shot a P320 Carry with Ameriglo sights and a Boresight Solutions grip module in place. I primarily used the Sig 21 round magazines, but a few 17's as well. We are transitioning to the P320's, which is why I used it. I was pleased with my performance in all aspects but one-handed shooting. I shot a 340 on the aggregate (IPSC A zone at 15), with 3 100's, a 30, and a 10. The 30 was strong hand only, the 10 was support side. I could keep them on the paper-many of my misses were less than two inches out, but enough were far enough out that I'll set up a steel plate at 15 on Friday and bang away until I either get it right or run out of bullets. Other than that, I was good. I liked everything about the 320 except my inability to shoot it properly with a single hand. I think that's me and not the gun.
To sum, I completely recommend the class, the trainers, and the facility. Their website (Southern Exposure Training) will keep you posted on the trainers they host. I'd like to thank Irv, Watfa, Kyle, Chili, and my fellow students for an extremely informative and fun three days. I can't wait to do it again.