AAR from the one day pistol workshop:https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152650137147262&set=o.294396197342597&type=1
Wayne Fisher‎ via Victory First
Victory First Handgun Workshop
Location: Echo Valley Training Center, Highview, WV
After talking quite a bit online I actually met Matt Jaques a couple of years ago at an EAG Tactical rifle class at Echo Valley. I knew about his work at American Sniper but that was about it. You get a solid feel for a guy after a weekend of shooting, boozing, and smoking cigars and Matt seemed like a legit dude. Fast forward to the present and it seems hardly a week goes by where we arenít pinging each other about something. Those impressions formed at that first class were solid.
I had been wanting to attend one of Mattís courses since he first hung out the Victory First shingle but alas our conflicting schedules never matched up. When I found out on a Monday that I would have a free weekend when Matt was teaching about 300 miles north of me there was only one option, stuff mags and jump in the car.
The majority of the class met up at a local hotel and we convoyed over. This is a good idea when training at EVTC as it is a little off the beaten path. One shooter decided not to and ended up rolling in a little late.
Class started promptly with brief student introductions and Matt telling us about his background. I feel this is an important aspect as it allows everyone to understand how his background would shape the course. I donít feel I need a former SOF guy to teach me how to run a concealed pistol, but I do think an instructor needs to have some a solid frame of reference as to what he is teaching. I would argue that a drug/fugitive task force plain clothes officer is probably more suited to teach the ins and out of fighting from concealment as well as legal issues and how to interact with responding LE after a shooting.
The first thing that stood out when looking at the students was a glaring lack of camo and war belts. Everyone rolled out of the car with what they would be using. This was a breath of fresh air compared to wrapping up a class and watching as guys drop all the Gucci gear and slip a J Frame in a pocket before leaving the range.
I really enjoyed Mattís method of teaching. Instead of having students drink from a fire hose full of information to remember before going hot, he would provide small nuggets between strings. This allowed us to absorb a little bit at a time while building upon each teaching point before firing strings.
I wonít go into each and every drill. What I will say is that we covered just about every fundamental skill needed to be a solid shooter. Matt tweaked our pure technical shooting skill with a few different line drills, tactical reloads, emergency reloads, shot speed delivery, limitation of point shooting, multiple target engagement, and above all elseÖ Presenting the gun. This meant with two hands, one hand, whatever, but the one constant was concealment. Every single presentation and reload was from under whatever you showed up wearing to the range.
This is where equipment, gun, and clothing choice became important. Matt was able to dissect the pros and cons of strong side carry vs appendix, open front shirts, closed front shirts, etc. Prior to this I had always looked at cover garments as either open or closed front. Matt broke this down further by discussing the complications of a button down shirt compared to a polo or t shirt. This became readily apparent with one hand draws.
As noted earlier, my equipment was what I would routinely been carrying that day. S&W CORE with a Trijicon RMR, Peters Custom Holster AIWB rig, one spare mag in a Raven Concealment carrier, and vertically mounted fixed blade, all hanging off an Ares Gear Aegis belt. My clothing consisted of jeans and closed button down shirt.
The gun and gear ran great with one rather spectacular exception. I had always used factory M&P mags, most of which equipped with compact baseplates. I had found a Pro Mag magazine for a rather low price and as always, you get what you pay for. My other 12 magazines took a pounding and ran great, the very first time using the aftermarket mag was a showstopper. I inserted the magazine after a reload and fired one round before it turned into Petz dispenser. Baseplate went one way, spring the other, and 16 rounds later it looked like the ammo fairy came to town.
I am a big fan of these one day workshops. They allow you to get in a full day of quality training without the added expense of an additional hotel stay, meal costs, etc. It also meant we stayed at a fairly conservative round count. The course was billed for 500 rounds and I ended up firing approximately 350.
There is a segment of folks that feel a training event is directly judged by a high round count. That is of course not true and that was obvious in this case. Instead of super high round count drills we spent that time and ammo getting in multiple lower round count repetitions. This meant that many more presentations and reloads. If you are looking to hose targets while jocked up in kit, this is not the course for you. However; if you are wanting to learn how to fight with the guns, gear, and clothing you actually wear, and do it under the watchful eye of an excellent instructor, you owe it yourself to check out Victory First.
ó with Jimmy Hat and Matt Jacques.