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 Post subject: Re: Tactical/Home defense Course Questions and Reviews.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2014 3:29 pm 
Utility Grade

Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:31 pm
Posts: 11
Golden Triangle Defensive Tactics - Essential Carbine Skills - Memphis, TN area

Skills and Topics covered:
Weapon selection
Rapid and Tactical Reloading
Terminal Ballistics
Sight Adjustment
Sight Offset
Weapon accessories
Weapon modifications

Equipment Requirements:
Rifle (semi auto) with a detachable magazine
Three magazines of at least 15 rounds
Sling or carry strap
300 rounds of ammo (at least)
Handgun - holster and 50 rounds of ammo
Eye and ear protection
Rain Gear (rain will not cancel the class)
Lunch OR cash for lunch. There is a GREAT little burger place.

***The above was taken pretty much verbatim from GTDT.


Let me start by saying that I am essentially a novice shooter. I have been shooting for about 4 years, but I have only really taken in seriously in the last year or so. I have taken levels 1,2 and 3 from GTDT for Handgun. Those classes were fantastic, and they really helped me learn how to carry, draw and deploy a handgun in a defensive situation. This review is not about those classes, but just know that they are excellent. Will Dougan is the instructor, and he is a very good teacher. His resume is on the website above. The classes I have taken have been very informative and entertaining; there is never a dull moment. I walked away knowing how to properly operate my firearm and how and what I need to work on in practice. If you are looking for a place to train in the Memphis or west Tennessee area, you will be hard pressed to find a better school. The classes offered are usually single day classes, and the prices are very reasonable. Will is also a very generous guy. If there is ANY gear in the list that you don’t have, just reach out to Will, and he will line it up for you to borrow for the class. This includes basic gear such as the rifle itself. If you want to take a class before buying your first rifle, this is your place.

Flow of the Class:

Hopefully I don’t leave anything out. We started off with 2 round drills from low ready and progressively started mixing in mag changes and 4 round drills. After that we moved into different ways of holding the rifle with your support hand, so you have an opportunity to find what was more natural and works better for you. We then went to shooting on the move. After that was different types of ways to carry your rifle and present from standing. We covered standard 2 point, single point, and African carry. At this point in the class there is a lot of repetition and correction going on to make sure that you have practiced enough of each skill to build up muscle memory and work on smoothing out the drill. Once through that we continued to run some drills involving several mag changes and shooting from standing (non-ready). We also covered some different ways of aiming such as standard shouldering, shouldering in the middle of your chest, and granny style and over the shoulder for extreme close range. Then there was lunch. There is a fantastic little place a block away called The Burger Basket. I would almost drive the hour from Memphis to get one. After lunch, we introduced cover to the mix and talked about the difference between cover and concealment. Once we got the hang of that on how to hide and aim, we were introduced to a more dynamic part of the course with multiple points of cover and moving to and from cover. We also covered retaining your weapon in a struggle which included different ways of regaining control and aiming while someone is holding your rifle and transitioning to your sidearm if need be. After that, we moved into sidearm transitions which were made more dynamic with incorporating them into moving to and from different cover points. I am sure there is some stuff that I left out, but you should have an idea of what the class looks like.


GTDT is a great place to train. Will is a fantastic instructor, the course content was great, and the prices are reasonable. We went through about 350 rounds total. This is not a high round count kind of class. The count is kept intentionally low to drive more focus on reloading and weapon manipulation and to help with the high cost of ammo. There was a brand new shooter in the mix at the class. It was literally his first time to ever shoot a gun. He did fantastic. Will was able to show him how to run his rifle, and he left a much more confident man. This class is really great for first time shooters and experienced shooter alike. If you get nothing else from this review, please know that YouTube, Magazines, DVDs and hunting can NOT replace real, personal, professional firearms instruction. There is a difference in “knowing” how to do something and actually learning how to do it and have a pro correct and instruct you. So, if you are in the Memphis or West TN area, and you want some quality training on your firearm, do not hesitate to train with GTDT. They are stand up folks and a great school. I am eagerly looking forward to Essential Shotgun at the end of the month!

 Post subject: Re: Tactical/Home defense Course Questions and Reviews.
PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:51 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:19 pm
Posts: 149
Valor Resource Group 2-Day Tactical Shotgun Course

Instructor: Rob Jugan
Sept 17-18 Day Shift

This was an awesome course. First off... Mr. Jugan doesn't come across as some yahoo who learned some stuff. He's passionate about the shotgun and its most efficient use. He has a solid background combined with the enthusiasm to develop techniques (and take what works from others) that make the shotgun as effective as possible (and it's pretty damn effective!).

Mr. Jugan presented this course as more of a “train the trainer” due to the fact all the students are firearms instructors. This approach worked great for us because his attitude was more of a two-way communication (though his expertise was obvious) than a “do this my way NOW” type of approach.

Day one began with a couple hours of classroom lecture. We did the typical introductions but with a twist that I've never experienced. Besides the standard stuff...Mr. Jugan asked us two very interesting questions... (1) If we had to give up all but one gun, what would that one gun be? To me that's a somewhat difficult question and fightin' words depending on who's asking... and (2) what are the disadvantages of the shotgun? There was a serious point to the questions as Mr. Jugan documented every disadvantage stated for the shotgun on the white board. We discussed our “chosen” only platforms...why we chose them and why we felt our choice was better than any of the other options out there.

At the end of it all, Mr. Jugan told us that his goal was to take ALL the negatives we'd listed for the shotgun and turn them into positives. He told us his “one gun” pick was a Remington 870 and spent two days doing a damn fine job showing us why. He shattered a bunch of paradigms and they say...did occur.

As I mentioned, Rob's personal favorite shotgun is the Remington 870, but that's not to say he doesn't like other platforms, and his knowledge of the various makes and models, as well as their advantages and drawbacks was clearly evident. No matter which platform you have, Mr. Jugan will make you better with it!

In the classroom Mr. Jugan discussed shotgun zoning and patterning. This is something I'd known, and understood, but his approach was unique in terms of his understanding of how shotguns pattern. I'll be damned, but when we hit the range, my shotgun (Benelli M2 with rifle sights and a couple conservative accessories) did EXACTLY what he said as far as how patterning would evolve in distance... and I'm not just talking about overall size.

Our first drill was making a hit on a (maybe 40% bad guy) hostage target without hitting the hostage. This was at 10yds. My first shot put a single pellet in the bad guy, but it gave me my pattern. My second shot obliterated the bad guy with all nine pellets (a few of them probably grazing but damn!) without touching the hostage! Federal Flight control is badass, but knowing one's gun is just so darn important. After we all did this twice, Mr. Jugan had a couple volunteers step up. One student took Jugan's gun (a Remington 870 with a red-dot) and with about 30 seconds of instruction put 6 of nine pellets in the head from ten yards in less than 1.2 seconds. Then he requested the “best” shooters to engage the same bad guy from ten yards with a handgun (target width was roughly 2.5”). There were several volunteers, lots of misses, and a couple of solid hits on our poor hostage. There were also some solid hits on the hostage taker in about a second. Lastly, Rob had a couple of experienced carbine shooters grab the M4 and take a shot. One was just over a second and the other just under.

Rob took this moment to discuss. In the case of the handgun, assuming a hit was achieved (this was not nearly always the case) we got a single 9mm projectile which may or may not penetrate the skull. In the case of the carbine, both shots (from very experienced carbine shooters) were hits, but it was a single hit. ***not part of the class, but our department has had shootings with the .223 where the round failed to penetrated the skull and simply followed the contour inside the skin...thus my following comments***. With the shotgun, that single hit with an unfamiliar gun in about the same amount of time resulted in SIX pellet impacts. Yes, each pellet doesn't have the energy of a 9mm, let alone a .223, but it's six chances for one of those guys to get in the brain and stir things around a bit...and six impacts in someone's head is going to ruin their Fing day.

Then we went to lunch.

Following lunch, and after a short brief in the classroom, we hit the range and started patterning the guns. We started at 10yds and began moving back. My Benelli threw two flyers very consistently... To the point I knew pretty much exactly what my rounds would do from 0 – 30 yards. This would come in REALLY handy later in knowing what I could do with buck vs. when I needed to go to a slug.

After buckshot, we started working with slugs. Rob explained how to zero with slugs while also making sure we had consistency with our buck patterning. We worked from 25 to 100yds with slugs (and I got a first round hit on a person-sized target from 160yds standing unsupported on steel) making sure our slug zero was good-to-go.

Lastly, we worked on recoil mitigation. Rob trained under Louis Awerbuck and credits him with his concept of recoil mitigation (push-pull method). I've used this method for some time, and I didn't feel a big difference after his instruction. I initially thought maybe I was doing it wrong, but then, after hearing other students talking about “pulling back” into the shoulder, I decided to try it that way, to see if there was a difference. Yep! There was. Push/pull works...very well! Rob had us practicing pretty much independently while he went up and down the line checking, correcting, etc. It worked really well as it's more of a “feel” (as Rob said) as opposed to something you can simply do A, then B, then C, and you'll be good. He “allowed” us to feel it and buy into it ourselves and it worked really well.

After a short debrief we were done for the day.

Day two began with a quick classroom review of what we covered on the first day. In this discussion, Mr. Jugan went into much greater detail regarding the perceived drawback of “limited capacity” often branded to the shotgun. While I feel the shotgun does have a limited capacity, Mr. Jugan described how the shotgun can make up for that drawback. He gave the example of a “Bill Drill” with a handgun...often five or six rounds in a minimum amount of time...two to three seconds. That said, with a shotgun, we have nine impacts at the same time, in less overall time, at the same distance. Yes, less capacity, but each round carries with it a significant advantage in overall firepower, hit potential, etc. When I thought about it, it made a good amount of sense.

To further address the capacity issue, Mr. Jugan covered theories and realities of reloading the shotgun...from topping off to combat loading to selecting slugs. He stressed that these manipulations must be thought of using the common phrase “smooth is fast”. Proper utilization of tempo will help develop speed that is reliable and repeatable. He said it's always possible to make that 'best ever' time or score, but it's the manipulations and performance that can be repeated “cold and on demand” that we can depend on to carry us through the fight.

Mr. Jugan presented two commonly-taught methods for selecting a slug...The first single-slug load was specific to the Remington 870 platform while the second was more generic. I have been well aware of both variations for some time, but a later drill would put their importance into great perspective for me!

We hit the range and immediately began working drills involving transitions to handgun and combat loading the shotgun. Rob gave multiple options for transitioning to a handgun, both with and without a sling, and prompted the students to evaluate the efficacy of transitioning vs. combat loading the shotgun based on different scenarios. We ran several drills and most of them had a “man-on-man” component. We worked over-the-top and under-the-receiver methods of combat loading, and competed against each other on arrays of fixed steel and knockdown pepper-poppers. Many shooters transitioned to handguns during the “battles” and ended up loosing when the handguns took time and multiple shots to drop the poppers...while a single solid hit with buckshot would slam them over. Rob wasn't locked into “one” right method for manipulation and presented options, discussing advantages and disadvantages to each.

We ran movement drills involving manipulating the shotgun (to include transitions if necessary) while moving in different directions and from different positions. To make the drill even more complicated, the targets were painted to be color and/or number coded. This made it easy to see if the shooter was adapting to the situation or if they lost control/target discrimination. It happened more than once and resulted in much mocking and ridicule for those who shot the “poor innocent number 11” or some such non-designated target.

The manipulation drills ran heavy until lunch. Oh yea... Rob brought in four or five of his personal guns and offered them to any student who wanted to try them out. One of my partners ran Rob's Aimpoint T-1 equipped Vang Comp 870 all morning and was thoroughly impressed. He's one hell of a shotgun shooter and very much a fan of his Benelli M1, so to hear him speak so highly of Rob's setup was telling. I took a few shots with it and boy, does the dot sight make a difference! Rob told us several times he's taken a lot of ridicule for having a red-dot sight on his shotguns, but after trying it, we felt it was a very positive addition to the platform.

After lunch we had a quick lecture in the classroom on various shooting positions and some unique (from what I've been exposed to) adaptations for pump-action shotguns. Rob reiterated there is no single “best way”, but provided his experience and preference. We had one final discussion on equipment setup, after a student asked about his guns. Rob told us that the shotgun, more than any other firearm, is a “personal” weapon. Various situations, uses, and manipulation techniques demonstrate the fact that each individual is different and they must be intimately familiar with not only manipulations, but with the function, patterning, zero, and characteristics of their shotgun in order to most effectively use that tool. I am in total agreement with his reasoning and he was very succinct in stating what I've thought for some time, but have been unable to put into words.

We hit the range and immediately started working some multi-target drills using cover. We had several close range targets and a single longer (50-75yd) target that needed to be engaged with a slug. We each got several reps conducting the select slug drill. While I'm familiar with the various select-slug techniques, I began to understand the “concept” and the advantages and disadvantages of each...which translated to better decision-making later in the day. Another interesting learning experience involved knowledge of equipment. Most of us own Benelli shotguns and some of us own other variations of semi-auto shotguns, but we all train with and instruct on the Remington 870 on a very regular basis. It was interesting to see all the fumbling with the Benelli from shooters that were obviously way more used to the 870 manipulations. The shotgun is indeed a “personal” weapon.

After a short break we moved into the drill that was by far the most fun and rewarding for me. I will preface this by saying that this drill was specifically tailored for advanced shooters and there's no way I'd do this with anyone who I didn't trust unless we were doing it as a single shooter.

We began with two shooters at barricades 55yds away from two identical target arrays of two pepper-poppers and (60yds away from) three fixed steel small torso targets. We had a single steel torso target that was approximately 110 yds from the initial start position (50 yards beyond the closer target array). Each target array was slightly angled away from center so that an advancing shooter was moving away from the other shooter's line of fire. The rules were as follows... The shooters had to start from department standard patrol ready (four buck in the tube, chamber empty, hammer cocked, safety on). One pepper-popper had to be dropped from that 55yd line with a slug and the final steel target had to be engaged with a slug. The array (sans the initial 55yd popper) could be dropped with slugs or buck, and the shooter could move forward once the initial pepper-popper was dropped, and could advance as far as 15yds from the close target array (making the far target a minimum 70yd shot). Rob emphasized this was not meant to replicate a scenario, but to develop skills based on distance-to-target issues.

There were several theories as to what would be the best approach. One shooter quickly ejected all his buck a and loaded up with slugs, taking all his shots at between 55 and 110yds. He lost. Most shooters seemed to shoot the initial slug shot (or shots) at 55yds, then run to 15yds and shoot the remainder of their rounds. Knowing my pattern and zero from the day before I chose to engage the initial popper with a slug from 55yds, then run to the 30yd line. I engaged the remainder of the array with buck from that distance and then did a select-slug for the the long shot (85yds). It worked very well and of course, people started copying me. I ended up loosing in the “championship” man-on-man to one hell of a shotgun shooter (who didn't copy me), so I don't feel too bad. It's what I get for shanking a slug shot.

Rob presented the drill, and continually reaffirmed that it was meant to encourage shooters to make their own decisions and manage their battle-space. Nowhere does this make more of a difference than with the shotgun. That said, efficient manipulation and proper understanding of both the capabilities of the weapon and the situation make the shotgun a very capable tool.

The final drill of the class was at 15yds with an empty shotgun. The students were required to combat load each round and fire for a total of four rounds. I shot the drill with my Benelli I used during most of the course. It has a butt-cuff, which I (and pretty much everyone else) considered a major drawback. I thought about efficiency of motion and came up with a plan. I made it into the final round and just barely got beat by one of my partners with an 870 and sidesaddle. He's another awesome shotgun shooter, and I fumbled one round on insertion into the chamber. He didn't fumble, and deservedly came out top shooter. I gotta say I work with one hell of a group of guys!

So we gathered back in the classroom for the final debrief. We discussed things we learned, and Rob discussed a bit further why he feels the shotgun is not an antiquated device, but one that has been sidelined due to antiquated ideas of what the shotgun is capable of doing.

So... Some takeaways from the class:

1. The shotgun's perceived disadvantages can be mitigated, and even turned into advantages, based on understanding and skill.
2. It is vitally important to know the patterning and zero of the shotgun. To accomplish the full potential of the shotgun, adjustable sights are a necessity and it's very important for your chosen round to be from the same lot. If the lot changes, the patterning and zero must be redone.
3. The shotgun is a “personal” weapon. Know your gun... pattern, zero, manipulation and feel to take full advantage of the platform. Pool guns suck. Badly. Really.
4. The shotgun is a weapon that requires a much more refined understanding of range and situation. In short, it's a tool that requires tactical training to be most effectively used. If one is looking for the easy answer, it's not the shotgun, but when trained properly, the shotgun can be the “easy button” to end the fight.
5. See # 1.

Overall I was very impressed by the experience and teaching style of the instructor, and content of the course. There were tidbits throughout the course that have stuck with me but that I've elected to refrain from documenting due to my inability to properly explain it, or because it was somewhat department specific. I highly recommend Rob Jugan as an instructor and I'm very glad I attended this course!

 Post subject: Re: Tactical/Home defense Course Questions and Reviews.
PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:06 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:03 am
Posts: 166
Tactical Response Fighting Pistol Alum. Will retake that course this month.

Hope to be able to fit in Fighting Shotgun in November. Gathering together the ammo requirements now. Reloads not allowed, and if I were to use reloads, Id have to leave good hulls behind, so am getting together cheap federal bulk packs. 600 rounds birdshot, 25 buckshot, 20 slugs, 250 rounds pistol ammo, required.

Highly recommend Tactical Response. Top notch, intensive training.

 Post subject: Re: Tactical/Home defense Course Questions and Reviews.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 10:27 pm 
Field Grade
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Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 11:01 pm
Posts: 34
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
AAR: Tom Givens- Rangemaster Defensive Shotgun

As I look to break into the firearms industry with shotgun accessories, there have been two major revelations. The first is that I need to make sure these products work, and work well in a variety of conditions. Quality classes are notorious for discovering weak points in gear. The second revelation was that if I am going to be in the industry, I better make sure I know how to use the stuff and know what I am talking about.

Naturally, I have been seeking out shotgun instruction anywhere I can get it in order to have the greatest sample size of techniques, drills, methodologies, and information as possible. Having received shotgun instruction from Chris Fry (MDTS Training) and Steve Moses, I was more than anxious to attend class with legendary instructor Tom Givens of Rangemaster. I was awarded this opportunity on June 29th for Tom's one day Defensive Shotgun class.

The first half of the day was spent in the classroom (which was a relief because there was a LOT of rain the first half of the day). Having been through instruction before and having a decent understanding of manipulation and use, I was personally extremely interested in the classroom portion. Tom is an absolute wealth of knowledge and did not disappoint.

Like most (if not all) classes, we began with a safety brief going over the 4 firearms safety rules. Tom added extra context to apply to shotguns specifically that I had never considered before. First, when inspecting a shotgun to see if it is loaded, it is natural to check the chamber and the follower/magazine tube, however Tom noted to check the lifter/elevator as well. If using a finger for inspecting in low light, it would be very easy to miss a shell on the lifter unless you know and think to specifically check it. Tom also urged us to keep our trigger fingers on the flats of the receiver to keep it high and away from the trigger. I equate this to a high “register” position on a pistol in which the trigger finger goes to the ejection port. There were a couple of times throughout the class when I noticed my trigger finger going to the curved bottom portion of the receiver (where I typically kept it before) but noticed the finger was not “on the flat” and promptly moved it up. Definitely noteworthy if not having been through it before.

One of the major advantages to shotguns is ammunition versatility, so we spent a bit of time thoroughly discussing the various types. We received a bit of a history lesson on the origins and intent of different types of ammo and why we should select buckshot for personal defense. We also received truly interesting information about many misconceptions regarding less lethals (which, as civilians, we should NEVER use).

Tom did a great job at verbalizing, and repeating, the main downfall of shotguns- manipulation. It's not recoil (with a properly fitting gun and good technique, this isn't an issue). It's not capacity (as Tom explains in terms of servings, which is an OUTSTANDING explanation). It's manipulation. As such, we spent a bit of time in dry fire with manipulations.

With shotguns being as complicated as they are with many techniques, one has to pick and choose exactly what to teach and work on in a one day class, especially when the first half is dedicated to classroom work. We did many dry repetitions working from a high ready, to sights on target, finger on trigger, firing, and cycling the action robustly. Many. Many. Repetitions.

We followed this format in live fire, always reloading the number of rounds we just fired (unless instructed otherwise). I had not worked this number of repetitions from the high ready, and it felt good to get it dialed in and get comfortable with it. I will certainly be incorporating it more into my practice. During the live fire drills we all experienced first hand that, yes, manipulations are the main downfall to shotguns. That being said, by the end of the class everyone was looking pretty smooth. We had one female shooter who stated that was essentially her first time really working with a shotgun (she wisely chose to get proper instruction early on to form good habits right off the bat). Even with that little experience (i.e. no experience) she did a respectable job by the end of class. I was impressed. I feel part of this is because Tom did not overload us with techniques.

There's a lot that can be covered with shotguns: a wide variety of loading techniques, slug changeovers, off hand shooting, shooting from various positions, etc. Rather than receiving a little bit of instruction in a lot of areas, we received a lot of great instruction in a few areas. This is a great thing to factor in when looking at a “level 1” class.

Obviously there's a lot more that we covered that was great to learn- these were just a few of the highlights to me. Any thread I read regarding quality shotgun instruction, Tom's name is usually at the top of the list. It was my first time training with him and he really brings a very no-nonsense approach to it. It was a great trip, great class, and met some great people. I definitely look forward to training with Tom again in the future.

Owner of Aridus Industries. Creator of the Quick-Detach Carrier.

 Post subject: Re: Tactical/Home defense Course Questions and Reviews.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 5:48 pm 
Diamond Grade
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Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:50 am
Posts: 1527
Location: Home of The King
Still stumpin' my former-local / now-traveling Defensive Shotgun sensai, the afore-reviewed Tom Givens:
We have two training courses coming up in Nappanee, Indiana, in August.

On Friday, Aug 5, we will conduct a one day Defensive Shotgun Course. See ... 9936662093 for details or to register.

I've been high, I've been low. I've been Yes! and I've been OH, HELL NO!
NRA Life & Endowment Member

 Post subject: Re: Tactical/Home defense Course Questions and Reviews.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:17 am 
Field Grade
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Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 11:01 pm
Posts: 34
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
AAR: MDTS Practical Shotgun Skills 11/5/16

My very first bit of shotgun instruction was in August 2014. Chris Fry of Modern Defensive Training Systems (MDTS) taught a 4 hour shotgun block at Paul-E-Palooza 2, a fundraiser for the children of the late Paul Gomez. It was then that I learned how much I didn't know, and if I was going to make shotgun accessories I better know what I was doing. I attended Practical Shotgun Skills with MDTS in Ontario, NY a few months later for a full day of instruction. It was a great class, but then again, I had no base line.

In the two years since that first MDTS class, I've attended 4 other shotgun classes (all with different instructors) before taking Practical Shotgun Skills with MDTS again this past weekend, again in Ontario, NY. I will tell you that the other instruction has not been bad at all, and each class and instructor's take is excellent for a different point of view and what they choose to cover in the given time. I will also tell you that the MDTS class is my favorite I've been to.

The class started like many others: discussing the pros and cons of shotguns, some guidelines for justifiable use, context and use of the different available ammunition, and of course a safety brief. Like the other classes, a student proposed that a con of the shotgun was recoil. While this can be true, proper technique mitigates this concern. This is where I began to notice where Fry sets himself apart.

Every instructor I've learned from has taught the push/pull technique- pushing forward on the forend with the support hand, pulling back on the grip with the strong/firing hand, the most proven method for recoil mitigation. Chris was sure to go far, far beyond this. Unlike many firearms instructors, he also teaches combatives classes, specifically in Small Knife and Edged Weapons. To practice what he preaches, he trains regularly in boxing and jiu jitsu, falling inline with other highly regarded combatives curriculum like that implemented by Shivworks. With this context, it gave me a greater understanding and appreciation for the amount of time and detail that Chris spent not just on push/pull technique, but also specific posture and stance. Descriptions and thorough explanation of anatomy helped make sense of the importance of stock placement when mounting the gun, foot position, shoulder and head position, etc.

We covered emergency reloads and the importance of feeding the chamber before the tube. When it came time to load the magazine, we were taught four different techniques, two with each hand. Everyone got the opportunity to practice each method dry using dummy rounds. One method, adopted from competition shooting, I'm sure would be frowned upon by some that are uber-tactical or closed minded, was incredibly fast, efficient, and easy to work with. Having learned it two years ago, I used that as the base to develop my loading method of “tactical twins,” which is twins loading from a side saddle instead of a dedicated competition rig. It is uncommon for an instructor to dive into a variety of techniques and let the students figure out what works best for them and why, and it is appreciated.

We ran drills throughout the day that put an emphasis on ammo management and the ability to keep the gun loaded; both hardware and software are necessary pull this off. The phrase “sight alignment, push/pull” was repeated regularly as a constant reminder that you have to aim shotguns, and you have to own them or they will own you.

Fry covered a variety of malfunctions that can (and do) occur in shotguns. A few key concepts were given that really aid in problem solving in order to clear any issues. We ran a competitive drill called “malfunction junction” which has multiple firearms set up with a variety of malfunctions. Each student would need to clear the problem and fire a round on target before moving on to the next set up gun. This was quite challenging as a mix of pump action and semi autos were at the instructor's disposal. Considering many guns, especially semis, work slightly differently, it became quite the problem solving exercise for many of us. While other classes may have mentioned malfunctions, MDTS is the only one (that I've been to) that actually drills it. It's also an incredibly fun drill, and a little competition among classmates is good for the soul.

The class moved out to 25 yards as we were done with birdshot for the day. Fry taught us how to do a slug select with different types of guns. That is, if the gun is topped off (in this case with buckshot), how to efficiently make room to insert a slug. This can be a touchy area, and understandably so. Outside of law enforcement, the odds of needing a slug are much lower. Combine that with the improved range of Federal Flight Control buckshot, many instructors feel the applicability of slug select is low enough that time is better spent on other things. That's hard to argue with as a civilian. However, while I personally am unlikely to have to use that in a life or death situation, I feel it is a great skill to have. Working the drill develops a deeper understanding of exactly how that specific shotgun works and improves overall proficiency. I'm definitely a fan of it.

We finished up the day by firing at different areas of a paper silhouette with our buckshot at a 3, 5, and 7 yards. This allowed each student to see exactly how their particular load would pattern out of their gun at different “inside the household” ranges. This was certainly an eye opener for some as many stray pellets would have to be accounted for. No surprise, Flight Control offered the best performance.

There is a lot that can be covered in a shotgun class. I imagine the difficult part is determining what to cover in the given time. Practical Shogun Skills is just that. It does a great job at teaching and developing skills that are practical to both every day civilians as well as law enforcement officers. Chris manages to cover a lot of incredibly beneficial material in a one day class without being overbearing. As a testament to this, there was a man and woman there who just bought their shotgun shortly before this class. They had fired it two times- that was the only two times either of them fired a shotgun. They both did great and really didn't miss a beat. I give them a lot of credit for getting training, but I also give Fry credit for being able to reach both novice and experience shooters with the same instruction. It was a fantastic class and well worth the tuition and the six hour drive. MDTS's Practical Shotgun Skills absolutely belongs in the conversation of “best shotgun classes available.”

Owner of Aridus Industries. Creator of the Quick-Detach Carrier.

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