Wednesday, February 27, 2013

First Class...


In less than two weeks, I will be taking my first handgun course (well, since my basic firearms safety course in the early 1990s, that is). My buddy Matt at Down Range Firearms Training is running his Fundamentals of Combat Focus Shooting class, and as luck would have it, I've got the weekend free so I will be in attendance. I'll be wearing my "Press" hat as well as being a first-time class attendee, so this should be a world of firsts.

Now, being as how this is my first class - ever - there's quite a bit of second-guessing going on inside the cabeza de Jay G. I'm trying to think what I should bring for a handgun - while I want to bring something that I normally carry, I'm also mindful that shooting a subcompact firearm all day long isn't going to be the most pleasant experience ever. .45 ACP is right out - while I have no problem shooting it all day (and the G30 would be a great choice...), it's just too pricey to go through that much ammo.

So, I'm going to be bringing a 9mm, no question there; the question then becomes whether I run the S&W M&P 9 compact, the Ruger SR9 Compact, or the SIG SAUER P226. I have more magazines for the SIG plus it's an easier gun to shoot; however I've certainly got a better array of carry gear for the M&P. I'm leaning towards the Ruger SR9c, simply because it's easier to shoot than the M&P and it will fit most of the M&P holsters.

I  realized something over the weekend - this is a pretty bad time to be trying to gear up. Recommended gear for this course is a kydex holster and a magazine pouch, and I took a quick look online to see what options there were. Right now, there are two choices: Slim and none. Sure, I can grab a nylon one-size-fits-some holster, but after that, everything is out of stock. I can pull something together from existing holsters and such in the big box 'o' holsters, but it was pretty eye-opening to see that even gear is selling like crazy.

I'm looking forward to the class immensely. I've heard very good things about the instruction provided by Down Range Firearms Training as well as having known Matt for years; with any kind of luck this can help to dispel the "minute of berm" bad habits I've picked up over the years. I'm attending the class first and foremost as a new shooter - while I've been shooting for years,  this will be the first formal instruction, so I am going to try my best to leave my thoughts on how I think things should be done at home and listen to what is being taught.

We'll see how things work out, but I'm excited and a little nervous about what this class will teach me - mostly about myself.

That is all.


Ron Larimer said...

Don't over think it.

Take the one that you would most likely carry assuming it will make it through the class and you have a holster, a mag pouch, and 3 mags.

Then take the most reliable of the remaining 2 as a back-up. With a holster and the mags you've got.

If that breaks too... Matt will hand you a Glock and make fun of you on Twitter.

Completely unrelated the 5 digit number in the captcha happens to be my address. That is a 1/100,000 coincidence!

Exurbankevin said...

Whatever you bring, bring at least 4 mags for it, and a backup. My Shield started to not hold open on the last round on Day One of my two day class, and I switched it out for my P07 the second day.

Run what you're most likely to carry, and run it how you'd carry it. I liked my CFS class, but I was the only one running it with concealed carry gear the whole time. Why train for "combat focus shooting" with some rig other than what you're most likely to use?

And yeah, the time to get this stuff was a month or so ago, not now!

Jay G said...


Backup is an AWESOME idea! I'll run the SR9C and bring the M&P 9 compact - they're close enough that they fit in the same holsters mostly.

Problem is, I only have three mags for the Ruger and two for the S&W... I looked and looked - heck, I was willing to buy neutered full size mags - I'll be damned if I can find any...

eiaftinfo said...

Hey Jay, I did a post on this before my last class a few weeks ago. Here's a shameless plug for that post:

Have a great time!!

Jennifer said...

Have fun!

Anonymous said...

Shoot what you carry as you carry it. The back up is a great idea because Murphy rules.

DO NOT bring a piece of Sh$t nylon holster. You'll be drawing and reholstering and that junk will not hold up. Same with magazine pouches. Borrow them if you must. Are right or left handed? If your a lefty I'd be glad to let you use mine. If your a righty I can probaly get you a set to use.


Exurbankevin said...

Oh, and bring a 1911. Matt just loves 'em, he'll be thrilled you brought one.

Jay G said...


If 45 ACP wasn't so expensive I'd consider bringing my 1991A1 Compact. Not only is it a 1911, it's also a short barrel.

Seeing as how we're expected to shoot at least 500 rounds, though, that's an expense I am not willing to take for the look on Matt's face.

I might bring it, though, just to see his reaction... ;)

Jay G said...

Oh, and Gerry, I really appreciate the offer. I'm a righty, and I *should* be able to come up with enough gear, but thanks.

Now, if anyone has any Ruger SR9 or S&W M&P9 magazines they could lend...

Anonymous said...

I have M&P magazines you can use.

Oh wait! They are real magazines that hold lots of bullets. Too evil for MA!


Roger said...

You gotta learn to reload. You'll spend the same amount of $, but you'll shoot a hell of a lot more.

Anonymous said...

Since they say to bring elbow and knee pads I would assume that you may be doing a 'bit' of moving and stuff. You don't want to test the retention of a new holster while on a hot range. Bad juju. Bring what you use and know works. As said above, don't use soft nylon type holsters, you probably will be drawing and reholstering a lot. A rigid topped holster will make life a bunch easier and will also prevent you from having to use two hands to holster - which has the added side benefit of not creating an opportunity to shoot your off hand while doing so.

I understand the thought of using 'exactly' the gear you use when carrying. I also understand that an outside the pant holster is easier to use for repeated draws and holster. If your purpose in the class is to learn how to shoot 'better' - why handicap that purpose by making things that should be more 'routine' a larger part of your attention than they need be? That's not to take away from the idea that you need to train with the gear you use. I usually train - the regular practice and range time type of training - with exactly the stuff I use. But when paying somebody to teach me stuff, I prefer to concentrate on what they are teaching - not on making sure my jacket is properly clear before holstering. YMMV.

If class is outside - bring clothing appropriate for the weather - you know your region. Also bring clothes appropriate for both standing around and mild activity. You may be doing both during the course of the class.

Need not be said - so of course needs to be repeated. Eyes and ears. Plus extras - just in case.

Cleaning kit. You may find your awesome glockenkock that works fine for the 200 rounds each week at the range clogs up and fouls out after 201 rounds.

Small personal first aid kit has a home in my range bag. Not the trauma kit - but the one that bandages my thumb when I slice it loading mags or tapes the budding blister from my awesome aggressive checkering....

Ed said...

The SIG P226 gets my vote because of the three, that is the one I would want to shoot 500 rounds with. The other two? Not so much.

Now, if you asked me which I would want to carry day after day with relatively little chance of ever firing, and then only fire a few rounds, then give me the smallest, lightest pistol with relatively reasonable capacity and sufficient caliber, but that is not the question you were asking.

Once you have learned good technique with a pistol in a class, you can transfer that skill to other pistols after the class when you are practicing on your own. A full length mirror and dry firing the class pistol with only snap caps can reinforce what you learned then repeated with another pistol before you move to a live range with the other pistol.

Stretch said...

Use the SIG. The comfort and size will allow you to concentrate on the class and not the gun.

TigerStripe said...

JayG, any decision yet??? I'm curious.