Join Date: May 2, 2006
McMillan Sniper School - Stay Away
10 April 2006
Mr. William Graves
G P S, LLC.
P.O. Box 14481
Scottsdale, AZ 85267
Re: Sniper School Class 03-05 April 2006
As you may recall, I and three team mates attended the above captioned class. I?m writing you now to provide the collective feedback on our experience.
First let me state that we are not military, law enforcement or private contractors. We took this week away from our businesses and jobs to attend your course, which we funded personally. When you consider tuition, airfare, hotel, etc. the cost was not insignificant! I did a fair amount of research including a thorough reading of your web site and several conversations with you, which I compared against your competition. We had an expectation. Sadly, it was not met.
Overall we are very disappointed in our experience. Let me try to break it down by day:
Sunday ? No clear directions were provided to your unmarked range. We had quite a time finding it! Fortunately we had the good sense to check it out early and were lucky that someone was even there when we arrived. We happened to catch Rick on site.
Monday ? By and large, a waste of time! This course date had to be on your calendar for at least six months. How can there possibly be a conflict?
1. The instructors had a planned start time 11:00 AM. After 2 hours of standing around, we had to leave the range because of a pornographic photo session. Brilliant!
2. The school consistently promises, ?When we say 10 hrs, we mean 10 hrs of instruction.? Also, not only did we not ?shoot low-light EVERY night? we finished the day early without firing a single shot.
3. There was no written syllabus for the course provided. It was clear they were loosely following some ?guideline?.
4. Not one instructor had a spotting scope or even field glasses. This would have greatly facilitated coaching and the zeroing process.
5. Your web-site equipment lists, both required and recommended, need work. Rather than list some neat stuff, please give it some real thought as to what is actually needed and be clear about it!
6. The class size was 20 shooters instead of the usual 12 (more on this later)
7. Insufficient ammunition ? we had reserved and were issued 1,000 rounds in advance. We had go give half back because of the lack of ammo.
Mr. William Graves
10 April 2006
One person had sent 1,000 rounds to your school in advance. The ammo was lost until late Wednesday afternoon.
8. More time lost driving to the McMillan site. There we (all 20 of us) suffered through a tour of the already cramped factory. While mildly interesting, that was not the purpose of our trip! The instructors were filling time!
9. The classroom work was done in an equally cramped lunch room. Thad gave the presentation. He is a qualified, knowledgeable presenter, but 20 people had to strain to see a laptop screen. There was no projection device or the obvious Handouts of the presentation. Tiring, boring and disappointing.
10. The Best part of the day was when we attempted to set up our optics. However, this too was frustrating. You did not have enough instructors to properly serve the class (more on this later)! Imagine 20 guys sprawled out in a parking lot trying to gain proper optical alignment with only 3 instructors! Not what we expected or paid for!
As regards the instructors, Rick, Jack, Thad and Harley are all fine Americans who are well qualified and each a very capable instructor in their own right. I particularly like Jack?s style. However, one has to question their overall commitment. I heard repeatedly ?Hey, tell it to William, I?m just a contractor.? They felt, and so they acted, like contractors and it showed. Thad was there only for the classroom and a few hours on the range. Harley was only half time at best as they had him doing things around the range and running errands. So that meant 2.5 instructors for 20 shooters. Not the 1 to 4 you advertised or that the instructors told us was the usual ratio. Also, we are very disappointed that you were not there administering the school and delivering training yourself.
Tuesday ? Again, a planned 11:00 AM start!!!!! Wasted time as we got minimal productive time on the range. More discussions and a painfully slow zeroing session.
Now, this is a Very sore point; the instructors expected us to arrive with Zeroed Weapons. You repeatedly told us Not to zero our weapons. Had we done so we would have had more time to learn and enjoy a more productive experience. You repeatedly told me Not to shoot in advance! A serious breakdown in communications and policy.
With only 2.5 instructors per 20 shooters, we did not get the attention we deserved (at this ratio we received roughly less than half the time a 1 to 4 would have provided). Fortunately, three of us are experienced, but one in my team could have Really used more coaching!
I don?t believe the entire class successfully zeroed weapons this day. And again, 20 shooters could not comfortably fit on the range. Not a productive day, which put us way behind. After a heated group discussion at the end of the day, the instructors reluctantly agreed to start earlier on Wednesday (9:00 AM).
Wednesday - With a 9:00 AM start and minimal conversation, we actually got to shoot some distances. However, with such a large group it was a long and slow march through 100 and 200 yds. By the time we got to the 300-500 yd targets it was late
Mr. William Graves
10 April 2006
afternoon and we had to rush to get them all in. Did I mention that the class was understaffed? Little to no coaching as the instructors seemed to be spending their time with a few select shooters. Because we had to rush to get at least the 300-500 targets hit before dark, we never shot longer distances or had time to properly establish dope for the various ranges. This is a major disappointment as doing so was the fundamental purpose for attending the school.
To summarize, this was a good group of guys who improvised, adapted and tried to get the most out of it. This is a testament to the men, not to your school. It does nothing to change the fact that we all feel the school is poorly run and we definitely did not get our moneys worth. I had the impression the school and the quality of your training was important to you. Clearly, you have other interests that take priority. Your sniper school has the potential to be the best of its kind! However, it?s run more like an affectation than an avocation! A full time administrator to oversee training operations, a crack, Dedicated instructor staff, and an uncompromising commitment to quality and customer service can make it the best of its kind! You also need consistency. Not surprisingly, I learned that the previous three classes were as much a cluster-f__k as this one was. I wonder how the McMillan family feels about having their name associated with this.
I will await your response. I?ll be very interested to see, from a customer service perspective, how you address our dissatisfaction. It would be unfortunate if someone asked my opinion of McMillan Sniper School today.