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Old 03-01-2018, 9:39 AM
CVShooter CVShooter is offline
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Default Renewal Class - Fresno Pistol Range Stepped it Up!

This is an unsolicited review of a training class I took. I don't work for the Fresno pistol range or know anybody who does.

I took my CCW Renewal class at the Fresno Pistol Range recently and was very impressed with their new curriculum and training. I had taken my renewal there a couple of times before and had promised myself that I'd take it somewhere else this time, as it had been very disappointing before. But, as it happens, time got away from me and I had to get it done ASAP. So back I went.

I wasn't expecting much -- just another 4 hours of the same 'ol stuff. The instructor, Jack Schantz was much more engaging and brought a lot of his personal experience to the table. Not so much experience in combat, although he referenced that as well. But he brought his experiences from consulting on defensive gun use cases. That was very interesting and much more valuable than what previous instructors had offered (only hypotheticals or hearsay).

For the more hands-on parts, we did the normal 50 rounds, as expected. But we also each took a turn on the simulator. There's a mock doorway constructed in the room with a screen behind it. A scenario is presented and we have to respond. We were given a modified G17 as our defensive weapon and, if fired, the laser and replay functions showed where we hit. The program adjusts the scenario based on our actions. Some are clear cut (a man charging you with a knife). Some are ambiguous (walking into a convenience store to find a man pointing a gun at another man -- it ended up being a cop making an arrest). The point was to leverage those experiences into better discussions.

One of the final hands-on training sessions was drawing, presenting & shooting from concealment with airsoft-modified G17s. It's a basic drill but I was surprised at just how many folks struggled with this. Tangled shirts, unsafe draws, reholstering problems, etc. all showed themselves pretty clearly.

The night ended with watching the old news story about the difficulty of responding to an active shooter incident (college kids in mock scenarios & their failure to do anything but get themselves killed). This is a stark contrast to the usual "Be the hero" kind of messages I've received in other classes. I appreciated that we left on this note simply because I know that real life is rarely as cut and dry as a game, a model, or even a win/lose dichotomy. Defensive gun uses are complicated, messy and very unlike movies.

I walked away from the class with a lot more respect for the police and the challenges they face. For example, after shooting the home invader in my mock-scenario, I realized that I never actually saw a weapon. I saw an unresponsive stranger in my house who, after yelling at him a few times, reached under his sweatshirt for something on his waistband. Had that been a teenager with a cell phone, you better believe somebody is going to cry foul. I still think it was justified (what's he doing in my house in the first place?) and so did the instructor. But I imagine that cops face this kind of stuff all the time and it's easy to point the finger when it's not your life on the line.

I also walked away with more confidence in my abilities. I'm not a big pistol guy. I practice but not as much as I'd like. I carry but not as often as I'd like. But my shots were all center-mass. My decisions were solid. Drawing/shooting from concealment was smooth & reflexive. I failed to take cover in my scenario. I also failed to scan for other threats after discharging in the airsoft drill. These were good lessons to learn. But rather than being puffed up & ready to take down an attacker, I felt a strong sense of humility. The message was very clear -- only shoot if you MUST. If you don't feel practically forced into drawing/shooting as your only method to save your life or protect your loved ones, don't do it.

Finally, I felt a lot less confidence in other people's abilities. I saw tangled shirts in the draw, people resting their finger inside the trigger guard, shots failing to stay on the silhouette at 7 yards and a host of dumb comments, mostly coming from the same couple of people in the room. Not everybody was that bad. One guy had all 50 shots grouped the size of my fist, for example. But probably half the class failed to take a shooting stance, grip the pistol correctly (one guy put his off-hand thumb behind the slide in the drill even though he didn't do that on the range) or otherwise demonstrate basic pistol marksmanship skills when under any pressure at all. I don't consider myself an expert by any stretch. I'm always willing to take advice on my shooting from others because I only know and practice the basics. But I wouldn't want to be anywhere near half those people if things went south. Good training shows where we're strong AND where we're weak. The training did both. A fair number of the others in the class need to either step up their training or simply leave their guns at home.

Long story short, if you need a renewal class and haven't taken the newest one from the Fresno Pistol Range, I highly recommend it. They've really stepped things up. Come with humility and ready to be challenged.
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Old 03-19-2018, 9:31 AM
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ddindetroit ddindetroit is offline
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Thank you for posting this. We try to make the curriculum better each time and build on successes and failures.

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Old 03-19-2018, 12:45 PM
690 Enduro R 690 Enduro R is offline
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Great detailed review.
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Old 03-19-2018, 1:37 PM
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Citation650 Citation650 is offline
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Always had good experience at the Fresno Pistol Range. Wouldn't go any place else.
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Old 03-26-2018, 9:17 PM
asiberians asiberians is offline
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My husband and I recently completed Jack’s course as well. We were very impressed and pleased not only with the course information but also the cost. We recommend the Range and Police Science Institute to anyone that wants to get their permit.
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