I highly encourage training with good instructors at any opportunity you can manage. All good shooters, especially those who are instructors themselves, are life-long students of the craft that seek out knowledge from others at all opportunities. As a guy who is busy with family and work my ability to take training is more limited than I prefer, but I still try to take a couple of courses of some type each year. As an avid shooter myself, as well as someone who also teaches a lot of new shooters entering the fold, I take training for two reasons: first, I seek to gain something that I can add to my own technique. Second, I like to see how good instructors teach their material in order to better my own teaching.
Earlier this month I made the excellent decision to attend Defensive Pistol II, offered by Green Ops, a training company based in Northern Virginia. The class was held at an outdoor range in Culpeper, VA. I had the good fortune of being only one of five participants (due to the beastly hot weather this was lower enrollment than usual in a Green Ops class). Such a small class size leads to more direct couching from the instructor, of course, so none of the attendees were complaining. Green Ops was founded by Mike Green, a special forces veteran who is also an avid competitive shooter. His cadre of instructors are all very good as well.
Before proceeding with the review of this class I must say this: due to the small class size this particular class was much more customized than it would otherwise be. The instructor was gracious enough to spend a lot of time on specifics that we pressed him on and the class did not run strictly according to the usual format. That being said, I can’t imagine that the usual curriculum is any less excellent, but I mention this because my own experience is probably somewhat divergent from the norm. With that said, this is a fantastic class that I would truly encourage you to put on your to-do list; especially if you live in Northern Virginia or the surrounding region.
To begin, our single instructor was Brett, Green Ops’ lead instructor, and you can read all about his impressive background on the Green Ops website. Brett has a long history of firearms instruction for a variety of different agencies and this is obvious in has presentation. There tends to be no substitute for experience, and Brett is not only a great shooter, but a fantastic instructor. He brings an expertise to teaching, and also an eye for diagnosing shooters, that is seldom found and the fact that he has such experience is clear in his approach. Shooters of all levels have a lot to gain from training with such an instructor.
The class covers much of the usual defensive pistol territory, including the fundamentals of marksmanship, draw and presentation, clearing malfunctions, and the usual, but this Green Ops class also does something that is very beneficial to the student that is not often found: it runs the participant through an assortment of drills and also puts each shooter on the clock twice for each of these drills. Some in the defensive shooting community may not like this and prefer feel-good classes that allow them to just shoot a lot of ammo on a weekend and have fun. No problem, but to improve as a shooter you need to meet timed standards and this class gives the student a great base line of current skill and provides some good goal setting direction.
In the competition community we are used to doing everything on a timer, but for those not familiar this class proves a great introduction to that next level of performance that can only be achieved by enhancing your skills against a time standard. For the experienced shooter as well, I believe the assortment of drills employed in Defensive Pistol II is top notch, and it really covers a wide spectrum of skills relevant to defensive pistol craft.
For myself, the feedback I got from the instructor alone made it all worth it. There are some things that just don’t come to light in your own technique unless you work under the eye of an experienced instructor. Brett pointed out that I have a tendency to join my two hands in my presentation from the holster later than I should, and suggested that I link my hands up closer in to the body right at the outset of the press out to build a more consistent grip. He also made some very beneficial observations on my trigger press. It is such seeming minutia that actually makes all the difference, and an instructor with this kind of experience can see it and offer help.
Following the class Green Ops provides a detailed list of the drills used in class and their suggested performance goals. This is, again, something not often found and such attention to detail shows an investment in the continued development of the student that I have not found among most training outfits.
If you are interested in bettering your defensive pistol skills and you are within the region I would truly suggest giving Green Ops a go. This is the only class I have taken from them but they offer a variety of handgun and carbine classes and after my experience I say with confidence that their whole curriculum is no doubt excellent. You won’t be disappointed with this training group. Trust me, it is worth every minute and every cent.
Visit them at www.green-ops.com