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Old 09-25-2012, 10:37 AM
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Default AAR: Kyle Defoor Advanced Handgun - Sep. 22-23, 2012 in Chino, CA

Class: Kyle Defoor Advanced Handgun
Instructor: Kyle Defoor
Cost: $450
Date: September 22-23, 2012
Location: Prado Olympic Shooting Park in Chino, CA
Students: 22-24 (mix of civilians and LE)
Ammo used: 700 rounds

This was a great class with lots of great tips. The only two downsides were no night shoot (range restrictions) and too many students (Kyle is going to limit the number of students in the future to about 15).

Kyle is one of the most experienced firearms instructors out there with Tier 1 operational experience and as an instructor with Blackwater, TigerSwan and now on his own.

He first wants you to ponder the question of why you do what you do?

He goes concealed throughout the course with a Glock 19 (match barrel and stippling in key areas). Only a few students went concealed and many of the LE got tips on gear from Kyle. He's also a firm believer in carrying a blade (non-folding and where possible) and a flashlight (used also as a defensive tool) at all times. There's a lot of emphasis in combative, survival (great run-down on med kit and switch / timer wounds) and mindset.

He's also a believer in 9mm over all other pistol rounds, using the slide release to send the slide home (rather than power stroke), high port ready (pistol in front of you with the muzzle pointing up at 45 degrees and tucked in -- also from the draw you go through that position), when scanning/assessing to look for something instead of going through the motions, participating in competitive shooting (but doing so with a defensive mindset even though it will hurt your score -- Kyle says the contributions of competitive shooting to gear is huge), 3 center mass hits (based on FBI study that it takes like 2.6 rounds for a incapacitation) and the use of a shot timer as a great training tool (even dry practice by setting par times).

We used mostly IPSC/USPSA targets with A-D zones and small credit card head A-zone. Also, he would use an NRA bulls-eye target (5.5" black which is X-10-9 and then 8 & 7 with anything outside of that zero score) for many drills. His center mass A-zone is only the upper portion of the IPSC A-zone (gut shots are not effective).

Training Day 1

We started out with some drills so that Kyle could ascertain the class in general and students in particular. With a bulls-eye target, you have 30 to seconds to run from touching the target to 25 yards, turn, draw (only after all shooters are back) and fire 6 rounds to the bulls-eye with 60 points maximum score (need at least 50 points). Next, at 7 yards 1 round from the draw in under 2 seconds (concealed) into the reduced A-zone. Then, 6 rounds (Bill Drill) into the reduced A-zone from the concealed draw in under 4.5 seconds. Finally, 2 rounds into the A-zone in the head (Credit Card size) in under 3.5 seconds.



Overall, Kyle said that we had good shooters and that all we needed was some "massaging" to improve.

Like many of the Tier 1 instructors there's a great emphasis on shooting at 25 yards with a pistol to perfect the fundamentals. The smallest imperfections in the fundamentals of sight alignment and trigger are greatly magnified at 25 yards. You also have to know your hold for your sights.

At 25 yards we would then fire strings of 10 rounds with lessons on sights (don't oversight -- meaning don't try to get the perfect sight alignment), trigger (know how much trigger finger you need), grip and stance (aggressive fight stance). For grip Kyle has stippling on the frame on the support side where his support thumb rests and also underneath the trigger guard. One great tip is to hook your support index finger between your trigger finger and middle finger of strong hand. It needs practice since it's a little alien but the benefit is that it almost eliminates the horizontal movement of the pistol.

We proceeded with a lot of Strong Hand Only (SHO) drills including loading, racking, slide lock, reloads, etc. Kyle is not in favor of between the legs reloads or tapping on knees. Instead use the holster for reloads and tap on your belt or gear. You want both feet on the ground and eyes on the threat.

Proceeded with some great SHO drills with a partner. First time through dry. Partner would push and pull on you while you draw and fire. Key is aggressive stance, not muzzling yourself or partner and knowing your holds. Great stuff.

To cut time and shoot faster Kyle has you first react at the beginning of the buzzer (not the end), come to high port so that you can your front sight early and sights lined up before full extension. In the full presentation knowing what portion you can do fast and where to slow down. He was consistently in 1.4 seconds with upper A-zone hits from concealed.

We continued along this path and now varied two body and two head shots into the small zones and including reloads.

To get you to shoot faster we proceeded with the 1000, 2000, 3000, etc. (1 round a second) counts and next 1 and 2 and 3, etc. (1 round every half second) and finally the fastest 1-2-3, etc. (1 round every quarter of a second). You need to count loud and be able to see your sights. If you start missing you go to the one where all your shots landed. Takes a lot of practice but you can do this on your own. Target area is a 4 inch circle.

We finished the day with a push back drill from 35 yards to about 75 yards. Lot of good shooters. If you miss freestyle you get to shoot SHO and if you miss that you shoot weak hand only. Only 3 misses in total are allowed. Personally, I would not do this for so many good shooters since it takes a long time. TD1 consisted of about 275 rounds.

Training Day 2

Kyle started us on how he trains. First, he shoots 10 rounds at the bulls-eye from 25 yards needing a score of 90+. Next, 1 round from the draw into the reduced A-zone repeated 5 times. Then, 6 round Bill Drill to same reduced A-zone and finally 2 rounds to A-zone of the head. Adjust your par times accordingly.

Drawing, kneeling and shooting at 25 yards was next followed by ball & dummy drills with a training partner. Each flinch costs you five dry fires without flinching.

A prone shooting technique is what he created at BW which elevates the pistol off of the ground (like Kyle said if you have a 30-round magazine it accomplishes the same thing). The pinky of the strong hand goes in between the index and middle finger of the support hand. Support thumb stick up while strong thumb lock and pushes on it. The pistol will still move quite a bit but with practice you can get pretty consistent. Sometimes difficult to get good sight alignment due to shooting glass aberrations (top/bottom).

Then, we went to 50 yards for shooting standing, kneeling and prone. Kyle likes a slight squinting of the non-dominant eye. 5 rounds from each position. Finger straight (and safety on for 1911 & decocker) when changing positions. 15 rounds total.

Running with pistol was next and we did these with only a third of the class at a time to give each shooter room plus we did it dry first. You run in high port with the pistol to your side and you reload from there. We ran from 50 to 25 to 15 to 7 yards and then back to those stations. When we went live that meant two rounds from each station for a total of 14 rounds. We checked our hits. Some were shooting too fast and thus misses. We did this also with some providing cover fire while others moved to the next station. Wide lanes. When providing cover slow down your rate of fire for a continuous stream. Tac reload on the move if you need to. Make sure muzzle is straight before turning when heading back. If you a straggler down range and too close to fire don't shoot.

The medical lecture and equipment before lunch was great.

Things sped up in intensity, rate of fire and complexity since all that we learnt was coming together.

With 3 targets per shooter we proceeded with 2 rounds to each body (reduced A-zone). Left to right and then right to left. You want a continuous stream instead of slowing down going from target to target. As you're finishing the second round to one target your eyes go to the next target. Make sure you follow through. Next, it was body-head-body and reverse direction. Slow down for head shots. Then, head-body-head.

Turning and shooting has Kyle doing your turns in a small area like a doorway. We did turns facing left, right and rear. Remember turning from the rear towards your pistol is always fastest but you need to be proficient in all of them. Keep your personal turn radius as small as possible.

A great drill where the commands from Kyle were walk, turn and threat. Again only one third of the class on the firing line. You start facing a direction. Command walk would have you walk in the direction you're facing. Turn would have you do a 180 degree turn. Upon the threat command and you would stop and engage the target in front of you. If a partner (left or right) goes dry fire rounds at his target as well. If you're close enough head shots.

For moving while shooting bend your knees and take small steps. Slow down for distant targets and hostage shots.

Kyle then took about 10 minutes to set up 5 courses of fire and 5 shooters would be shooting at any time. We took turns to do each stations at least twice. Station 1 was moving forward while shooting and then moving laterally to the left while engaging the other two targets. Station 2 had two targets on either side of a middle target where the perp is falling and first shots are center and then head shots as falling. Engaging side targets or middle targets first. Station 3 was to plant both feet on a cone and lean left and right with hostage taker shots without hitting the hostage. Station 5 was the opposite of station 1 going left to right. These were great. I tried each station at least twice always changing up either the pace or priority of engagement.

The second to last portion of the class was all about cover, concealment and barricades. Very little is actual cover like earthen berms. It takes 5 rounds of 9mm to penetrate a 3 inch solid concrete block. Stay a good arm's distance from the barricade. When you lean out do so at a 45 degree angle. Right side standing lean out with right leg. Kneeling use opposite knee. Use the serrations in the front of the trigger guard to lock your pistol for accurate rounds. Don't cant your weapon. No need to switch hands for opposite side.

The last part of the class was a great eye-opening lecture on mindset. I will not get into it per Kyle's request.

TD2 consisted of about 425 rounds.
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Last edited by ramzar; 09-25-2012 at 10:46 AM..
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:33 AM
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Nice AAR ... I'll add Kyle to my growing "what caliber gun guys shoot" list.
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:37 AM
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As usual, thanks for the detailed AAR. 24 students is indeed a large number of students.
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:56 PM
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24 students? Ouch!
Like the video of his test.
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:57 PM
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I've taken quite a few classes now, with various well regarded instructors. I take away something from every class, some more than others. Kyle's class has been one of my favorites. While the number of students was considerable, it never felt like it negatively affected the course in terms of down time. Instruction was concise, well thought out and had strong reasoning for why you should consider doing things a certain way. Kyle is never "my way or the highway" but he made very compelling points for his approach to shooting.

Solid class. Good drills. Kyle is a no BS, straight up instructor with good curriculum and solid reasoning for what truly works in combat. His credentials speak for themselves as a guy that's BTDT.

Exactly as advertised and then some. I'm looking forward to more courses from Kyle!
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Old 09-25-2012, 1:12 PM
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While the number of students was considerable, it never felt like it negatively affected the course in terms of down time.
There were quite a few drills that we had to do in relays and with just 15-16 shooters we would all have gotten more time running more drills or different variations.

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I'm looking forward to more courses from Kyle!
Absolutely. Medic, flashlight, blade and others.
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Old 09-25-2012, 1:18 PM
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Great course, I would highly recommend to people concerned with everyday carry. Kyle is very approachable and I would say this is probably the most constructive and relative information I've gotten out of a class.
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Old 09-25-2012, 1:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ramzar View Post
There were quite a few drills that we had to do in relays and with just 15-16 shooters we would all have gotten more time running more drills or different variations.
The way I see it, we've both been in classes with far fewer students with the same amount or in some case even more downtime. Less downtime and more drills, more variation, more learning is always the goal, but I found the conditions of this class perfectly acceptable for myself. It never hampered my ability to learn and I got a lot out of the class, more than I expected in fact which for me is what I paid for. My biggest concern with large classes and singular instructors is not enough eyes watching the line and safety concerns. And the overall student body for this class on the whole was safe which is GTG in my book.

Last edited by uscmCorps; 09-25-2012 at 2:22 PM..
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Old 09-25-2012, 1:55 PM
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ramzar how would you compare this class to Ken Hackathorn's handgun class?
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Old 09-25-2012, 2:04 PM
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We had a total of 19 registered, but during the last minute, we had a few walk on, three cops and one USMC Recon. As much as I want to keep the class small, I also believe in supporting our first responders and warfighters. those that can't determine the schedule until the last minute got a by from me as i personally approved their walk on status. and the USMC recon is in his last phase of the Scout sniper school, he had to miss a portion of the Sunday morning lecture because he had to go build a hide for his qualification.

There was a lot of student at the class, but it was manageable and the instructor was able to carry the learning to the students.

It is NOT the fault of the instructors nor Alias Training. I give the approval to the LEO and MIL walk on....I will try to work harder to control the body of the student in the upcoming classes.
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Old 09-25-2012, 2:05 PM
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Excellent Course!!!

Mr. Defoor is a real hero of mine and a role model. I was honored to meet him and learn from him. I took away a whole lot of good stuff from this course that I can apply to my shooting and my life in general. Money well spent. Looking forward to training under him again in the future.
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Old 09-25-2012, 2:05 PM
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Originally Posted by uscmCorps View Post
The way I see it, we've both been in classes with far fewer students with the same amount or in some case even more downtime. Less downtime and more drills, more variation, more learning is always the goal, but I found the conditions of this class perfectly acceptable for myself. It never hampered my ability to learn and I got a lot out of the class, more than I expected in fact which for me is a what I paid for. My biggest concern with large classes and singular instructors is not enough eyes watching the line and safety concerns. And the overall student body for this class on the whole was safe which is GTG in my book.
Exactly, I am guilty of this too but no one ever runs on and off the field so you can't exactly complain about down time. I also like training with this particular group of people because 90% are familiar faces and they are all safe and we watch out for each other.
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Old 09-25-2012, 2:34 PM
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Nice read! Thanks for the excellent AAR. I'll make sure to catch this class next year!
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Old 09-25-2012, 4:28 PM
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ramzar how would you compare this class to Ken Hackathorn's handgun class?
Complimentary. Different approaches to skills attainment.

Certainly, for me personally, Kyle Defoor along with Ken Hackathorn and Jeff Gonzales are the top three advanced handgun classes I've ever taken. I think three others would be up there for an advanced pistol class: Larry Vickers (his 3-day class out of NC is always getting top marks part of it due to the great BW facilities), Mike Pannone and Pat McNamara. I have taken classes with all three just not a concentrated 2-3 day advanced pistol one.
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Old 09-25-2012, 5:58 PM
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Thanks
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Old 09-25-2012, 6:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramzar View Post
Complimentary. Different approaches to skills attainment.

Certainly, for me personally, Kyle Defoor along with Ken Hackathorn and Jeff Gonzales are the top three advanced handgun classes I've ever taken. I think three others would be up there for an advanced pistol class: Larry Vickers (his 3-day class out of NC is always getting top marks part of it due to the great BW facilities), Mike Pannone and Pat McNamara. I have taken classes with all three just not a concentrated 2-3 day advanced pistol one.
I haven't taken Ken's class. What do you find different in their approaches to skills attainment?
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Old 09-25-2012, 6:17 PM
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I haven't taken Ken's class. What do you find different in their approaches to skills attainment?
Compare the detailed AAR above from Kyle's class against the following from Ken's class and you'll see. They both build a foundation and logically progress using building blocks. However, how they get there and what drills they use is different. I like different approaches since for some shooters one part of the process works better than the other. Ultimately, the shooter will pick and choose what works best for them personally.
AAR: Ken Hackathorn 2-Day Advanced Handgun - Jan 15-16, 2011 in Newhall, CA
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Old 09-26-2012, 2:52 PM
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I enjoyed reading your last AAR but perhaps maybe you can add a couple of things such as:
  • What drills or techniques you liked or didn't like?
  • What drill or course of fire was the most challenging?
  • Was there something new that you learned?
  • What gun and gear did you use?
  • Did you see other peoples guns fail or go down?
Good questions.

There was nothing I disliked about any of the drills or techniques. The ones I enjoyed the most and got the most out was the 5 drill stations / stages Kyle set up. I could do that for hours since you can approach each stage from so many angles like direction, SHO, etc.

The most challenging was when a training partner was pushing and pulling on you while you tried to deliver accurate SHO shots on target.

The one huge thing I learnt was the way Kyle hooks his support index finger between the index & middle finger of the strong hand. Virtually eliminates horizontal movement of the pistol. Needs a lot of practice and "muscle memory".

I use a Glock 34 & 17 (9mm) mostly the former. Comp-Tac holster and mag pouches.

As far as I remember, most others used either Glocks or M&P with one SIG and one 1911.

The only real malfunctions we saw was when Kyle wanted us to insert a spent cartridge backwards (primer facing forward) in a magazine to induce double feed. Some who put the spent cartridge forward needed a guide rod to remove that cartridge.
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Old 09-26-2012, 3:01 PM
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I particularly enjoyed the cadence drills that taught you to gradually increase your shooting tempo. That alone was worth the price of admission for me.
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Old 09-26-2012, 3:16 PM
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"ramzar", Thanks again for another Exc. AAR write up.

F--DER
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Old 09-26-2012, 3:18 PM
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I particularly enjoyed the cadence drills that taught you to gradually increase your shooting tempo. That alone was worth the price of admission for me.
Always great to get your cadence back. Like Kyle was saying he co-developed it with Bill Go at Blackwater a few years ago. First time I was exposed to it was at Bill Go's Advanced Skills Handgun at the Blackwater (AKA Xe, US Training and Academi) facility in San Diego.

However, I think they re-discovered / re-developed what Ron Avery was/is doing many years ago. I have his DVDs which are VHS transfers so that tells you they're from the 1990s.
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Last edited by ramzar; 09-27-2012 at 6:45 AM.. Reason: Links
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Old 09-26-2012, 5:11 PM
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F--DER
Nice.

F--DER vs. R----VER
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Old 09-26-2012, 5:35 PM
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thanks for the AAR ramzar.. took a handgun class with Kyle last year and as always it's top notch. I am a better handgun shooter now than before after taking pointers from Kyle..
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Old 09-26-2012, 6:00 PM
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Utilizing your pistol in various ways as a striking tool was really interesting to learn. I see trigger guards in a whole new way now. Ouch!

Kyle's grip method is very clever. I will be trying to incorporate that myself as I see it being a very positive improvement to my current grip method. (Stippled under trigger guard for extra traction and stability)

Also another thing I learned is if your cover/concealment/barricade allows you can rest your pistol frame on it to shoot and stabilize. (Using the portion in front of the trigger guard) Had a lot of fun practicing this on the barricade drills.

The lean method was also well thought out and effective. More so than my previous method again.

I learned so much at this course. It takes a few days just to process it all afterwards. And even more time to practice / incorporate it.
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Old 09-26-2012, 6:41 PM
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Kyle's grip method is very clever. I will be trying to incorporate that myself as I see it being a very positive improvement to my current grip method. (Stippled under trigger guard for extra traction and stability)
is this what your talking about? i did changed my grip after the class and my accuracy improved.. true story..


Last edited by JohnnyRooks; 09-26-2012 at 7:04 PM..
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Old 09-26-2012, 6:50 PM
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The way Kyle describes it (I'm paraphrasing of course), you wrap your support hand's index finger such that, rather than resting it on your fire control hand's middle finger (as depicted above), it actually tucks into the gap between the fire control hand's index and middle finger with the tip of the support hand's index finger braced against the rear of the trigger guard. If you're not used to it, it feels weird. Almost like you're intruding too much into the trigger guard box. Definitely one of those things you're better off having physically and visually demo'ed for you if you've never done it before rather than going off an online description of it.
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Old 09-26-2012, 7:04 PM
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Originally Posted by uscmCorps View Post
The way Kyle describes it (I'm paraphrasing of course), you wrap your support hand's index finger such that, rather than resting it on your fire control hand's middle finger (as depicted above), it actually tucks into the gap between the fire control hand's index and middle finger with the tip of the support hand's index finger braced against the rear of the trigger guard. If you're not used to it, it feels weird. Almost like you're intruding too much into the trigger guard box. Definitely one of those things you're better off having physically and visually demo'ed for you if you've never done it before rather than going off an online description of it.
ummm i took that photo..

just curious if he made some changes to it..
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Old 09-26-2012, 7:10 PM
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The way he described it sounds like he's made changes to his own grip since that picture. Or perhaps that is a suggestion he offers students in need of a more stable grip. I've used it since my first Falcon Ops Class a couple years ago and it certainly has helped me take a lot of the undesired rotation out of my grip. As for my occasional "meh" shooting ... that's all me. I'm definitely a work in progress.
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Old 09-27-2012, 6:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyRooks View Post
ummm i took that photo..

just curious if he made some changes to it..
Now, the support index finger hooks into that gap between the strong hand's trigger finger and middle finger.
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Old 09-27-2012, 7:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramzar View Post
Now, the support index finger hooks into that gap between the strong hand's trigger finger and middle finger.
If I am not mistaken, D.R. Middlebrooks was teaching that quite a while ago as well.
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Old 10-03-2012, 6:11 PM
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Old 10-03-2012, 6:11 PM
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Old 10-03-2012, 6:12 PM
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Old 10-03-2012, 6:20 PM
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Old 10-03-2012, 6:20 PM
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Old 10-03-2012, 6:21 PM
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Old 10-03-2012, 6:44 PM
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Nice pics!
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Old 10-04-2012, 6:00 PM
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Old 10-04-2012, 6:01 PM
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Old 10-07-2012, 9:04 PM
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Wow, I had no idea how passionate people were about posting an AAR. Since Ram nailed the AAR, there is no need to keep posting about the contents of the course. I am curios though if anyone else thought the same about the course as I did. With the transition from Grey Group to Alias, I expected more. Upon arriving, I expected the targets to be up and training to start promptly. Not the case on either day. I also noticed a group of paparazzi to be taking pictures. I found this to be extremely annoying. This is an advance training class, not an event for picture taking. Lastly I had expected some kind of certificate of completion. From my perspective Alias Training Group acted only as a financial broker between the students and Kyle. I am fine with the price and have no complaints about the instruction from Kyle. I just don't understand the role Alias played in the training. I think Kyle could cut out the middle man and just train. I have taken numerous courses from various instructors throughout the state and across the country. I must say Kyle has a unique way of instructing and can not be compared to anyone. I thoroughly enjoyed both days. It is apparent Kyle does not need to teach civilians like myself and could do just fine in private contracting work. I thank you Kyle for taking time out of your busy schedule and allow the feeders to train with you.
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