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Old October 14, 2002, 12:31 PM   #1
Foxy
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Gunsite CCW Class

I am going to the Gunsite CCW class this upcoming weekend, and I am certainly excited. It's my first time going to Gunsite, and my first formal firearm training (though it's just the CCW class and not defensive pistol #250).

Does anyone have any advice on what I should bring/not bring? Should I bring lunch or is it provided? Any advice on how not to look like a total fool?

Specifically, I am looking at getting a Fobus kydex holster for my Beretta 92 to use at the class.. is it a good choice, or are there others I should get (keep in mind the time constraint).

Also, should I go out and buy a wind-breaker type jacket for the class, or can I just get by with a sweater (or even just a button up shirt; I think it's going to be warm this weekend).

Thanks in advance.
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Old October 14, 2002, 07:33 PM   #2
KSFreeman
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Good for you, sir! You'll enjoy.

What to bring: extra batteries for light and ears. Extra eyes (I take shades and clear). Shirts with high collars. Neckerchiefs good idea (especially in carbine classes). Mags that work. Two working pistols. Cleaning stuff. Hat. Sunscreen, one that won't sweat off. Kotex or something to stuff in any extra holes. Good range bag. Trash bags (to cover your range bag if it rains). Cash, you will forget something first time out. Comfortable shoes--I like those New Balance foo-foo hiking boots, sometimes I wear my old doggie boots. Open mind.

Lunch: Nope, drink water and eat fruit. Don't eat so much! I once saw a guy eat an entire Big Mac and fries at an advanced (yep, advanced, unbelievable) level class he was sick the entire class (I'm very glad I was at other end of line!). There are guys at TR who eat entire sausage burittos at lunch. They complain about how sick they are at end of day.

Jacket: I always bring a Columbia rainjacket that looks windbreakerish. It may rain, bring something.

Holster: One that works. No experience with that model. Just make sure it works.

Shoot straight, see you down there one day.
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Old October 14, 2002, 10:49 PM   #3
Foxy
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Thanks for the advice!

As far as ears.. I only have plugs at the moment.. should I go out and get a pair of earmuffs (I am a poor college student spending the rest of my month's food allowance on this course.. can't afford the $100+ electronic ones; can only afford $7 cheapie ones from WalMart)..

They say that they recommend at least 6 mags.. I only have two, and hopefully I can scrounge one from CDNN or a local gunstore for my Beretta 92 compact before Friday. Am I screwed if I only bring 3?

In a similar vein.. I bought a nice Galco holster that seems to work well. I only bought one mag holder since they were $35! Do I need two mag holders? If so, I am going back and returning the nice Galco mag holder and getting a dual Uncle Mike's mag holder.. or maybe go to J&G and snag something from there.
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Old October 16, 2002, 01:26 AM   #4
Bil Mattern
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your Gunsite CCW class

Foxy,
Boy, there were no girls around like you when I was in college, and that wasn't too long ago.
Anyway, WTG on signing up for the CCW class. I live in Tennessee and have taken a few classes at Gunsite including 250. Living so close you should take every advantage to get there for more classes, but I sure understand about being a student and all. Now that I have the money to go I find that I never have the time. Anywho, I hope you can get to a 250 class before you leave school.

Okay, as for what to bring:
The Galco holster should do very well for you in the class, as should the single mag holder. I think the reccomendation for 6 mags is for the 'big' pistol classes and having more mags will save you much frustration and reloading in a longer class with more shooting. Three mags will get you through, though you could likely make it through CCW with just two...you'll just have to keep a pocket full of loose rounds and load those mags whenever you aren't on the line. If you ever get on the line and haven't reloaded your mags, just let them know you need a second, but if you load first on every break you get you will be fine. That said, if both relays aren't full ( if there are two relays) you can get some extra shooting in by jumping in an empty lane IF you have your mags loaded! Load mags, Drink water, then chit chat...

Ear plugs will do fine with pistols, though the electronic muffs are great when you get money to afford them.

Bring a rain jacket, a few band aids, clear AND tinted safety glasses if you have both, BULLFROG sunscreen, and your lunch, they used to have a lady who delivered sandwiches for lunch, but not sure if they still do that ( go with that if they still do it, as they are pretty good!), and town is too far away to go to McDonald's without just barely making it back in time. Drink machines are available.
Let's see:
gun, mags, holster, mag holder, belt, flashlight with extra batteries(if required), ear plugs and safety glasses, sunscreen, rain jacket, and sunscreen. I think that will do fine...

As for how not to look like a newbie or goober...well, you'll see all types of folks there, so it's safe to say you fit in just fine. just wear whatever you would wear normally. Usually shorts/jeans, t-shirt/sweatshirt/poloshirt, and sneakers/hiking boots will blend you right in. You may want a hat too, and a towel is always a good item to bring. BDU's aren't out of the ordinary, nor does everyone wear them....usually just the active military dudes, or people in classes where you are crawling around...

Anyway, I've written a novel here. Sorry, but these are some of the things I was worried about before I went out there for 250, and I wish i had someone to quell my fears then,as it was a very comfortable and welcome atmosphere when i finally got there.

Anyway, write or post on here when you get back and tell us how it went. Once again, good for you for going to Gunsite...I'm sure it won't be the last trip.

Bil Mattern
Mercenaire@aol.com

P.S. If you need any equipment, you might wanna wait til you see the pro shop, that have most everything you need and the prices aren't bad, they also have some stuff that is not usually found in shooting stores, and you'll wanna buy a t-shirt too!
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Old October 19, 2002, 11:17 PM   #5
Foxy
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Bill,

Sorry to disappoint, but unfortunately I am not one of those nubile young gun toting college girls.

However, your advice was spot on. I really appreciate it. I've just gotten back from day 1 of the CCW class, really amped up.

First, the schedule.

Class started at about 8:00, though we showed up at about 7:30, in order to sign in, get our papers done, etc. There were lectures on the legalities of carrying concealed, proper mindset (this was a very good lecture! Took plenty of notes), some true stories illustrating points about carrying; etc. There was an approximately 10 minute break every hour to go to the bathroom and hit up the pro shop.

The pro shop is interesting. They mainly cater to 1911's and Glocks.. they did have a few Sig 226 holsters, but you could tell the focus of the training environment. Some of the equipment was pricey (some of the gear that was embossed with the Gunsite logo), some fairly priced (Surefire lithium batteries). Lots of nifty stuff. Got the T-shirt and a baseball hat. But they have everything you need there.

About noon, we broke for lunch. They still do the catering ($6.50 a meal I think), but I brought MRE's to eat. While I was eating with my friend, Ken Hackathorn came over and chatted with us! My friend apparently grew up shooting with Ken and a number of other well known shooting figures. So I was trying to choke down my MRE crackers while shaking the hand of Ken Hackathorn.. sweet.

We got fingerprinted right after lunch, then headed over to the range.

Our class consisted mainly of 1911's and Glocks of various sizes and calibers. I had my Beretta 92, my friend a 92 Elite, someone had a Taurus, a lady had a Sig P232, another lady had a lady Smith, I believe, and a lady had a revolver (not sure what exactly).

Our range drills were pretty basic - some of the people had never shot before, or hadn't shot in years. We started out at 3 yards, and practiced from the low ready, from the holster, etc. We slowly moved it back to ten yards, rotating between two relays of 10 people each.

The teachers were extremely jovial. I noticed that they started out the class very good natured, to get the class less nervous, but cracked down on safety. Overall, I really liked the teaching experience. We had four instructors, so there was plenty of teacher interaction if you needed it. I was doing better than the majority of the class, so I didn't get much attention, but instructors did come over and tell me that I was doing a good job; what I was doing right, what I should work on, etc. They demonstrated stuff like stances, grips, sight pictures, etc, that I had read about here on TFL, but never really clicked until they actually demonstrated.

The class broke up again at 4:30 for 'dinner,' and re-convened at 5:45 for the night shoot. This was an eye opening experience. The instructors went over the virtues of the Surefire (not surprising; I've owned one for a while, but a LOT of people bought one while they were there). We shot a few rounds without any light, just for education purposes, then we tried shooting with a light in the Harries technique, or the Rogers technique. This was much harder than I anticipated, and an instructor came over and showed me what I was doing wrong so I could work on it.

There were a few downsides to the class. Some of the people were surprisingly clueless. One gentleman kept putting his finger on the trigger, and held his gun by the dustcover (!). He was warned about safety; once more and he is gone. A few people just were clueless about their guns, not knowing how to work them. One guy said that the first round his Glock had fired was at this range.

The lady with the S&W kept jamming it, and couldn't seem to figure it out. The lady with the Sig P232 managed to break it (again, this was the first day she had ever taken it out shooting.. and a major part broke, rendering the gun useless!).

Overall, I loved the first day. My shooting improved about 3 times just from the brief instruction that I got. I feel much more confident; can't wait to go back again tomorrow!
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Old October 20, 2002, 09:14 AM   #6
KSFreeman
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Foxy, sounds great. Hope you are enjoying it. We shall meet there some day. Are you hooked yet?

You mean guns break?!? But I've read TFL on the Errornet that SIGs (or Glocks or whatever) never break and you don't have to listen to grizzled old veterans like KSFreeman who yammer about how all guns break so buy multiple copies because I bought THE magic sword. How can this be?

Ken is a great instructor. Take his classes as well.
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Old October 20, 2002, 09:45 AM   #7
Denny Hansen
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Foxy-
Sorry I missed you at Gunsite this weekend, but I'm sure we must have brushed elbows at lunch. I was there for a class with Ken Hackathorn and a few others. There was a veritable who's-who at Gunsite this weekend: Louis Awerbuck, Pat Rogers, Randy Cain, Ken Campbell, Giles Stock, TFL's very own Erick was instructing a class and more. Lunch time was like a class reunion

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Last edited by Denny Hansen; October 20, 2002 at 10:14 AM.
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Old October 20, 2002, 09:11 PM   #8
G3
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Did they fingerprint you for the AZ CCW or is that Gunsite SOP?
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Old October 21, 2002, 12:07 AM   #9
Foxy
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G3,

It's necessary for the AZ CCW liscence. You send it in with the application to the Department of Public Safety.

Denny,

I was kind of wondering who all of you guys were.. You didn't look like the breachers since you guys weren't wearing the green BDU's, and you certainly didn't look like members of the CCW class.

Overall, the class was good. We got a lot of extra range time on day 2. THey didn't tell us we shot the qualifying round; probably to make the people who get nervous, less nervous. They then taught us a tiny bit about shooting behind cover, shooting on the move, one handed shooting, reloading, etc. Then we did a short 'jungle run' through a wash with shoot/no shoot targets. The range work was excellent!

However, I wish they had spoken a bit more about actual techniques of concealing - strengths/weaknesses of various holsters, positions to carry, types of clothing, etc. They didn't even touch on that

Last edited by Foxy; October 21, 2002 at 09:39 AM.
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Old November 12, 2002, 07:44 AM   #10
Pat Rogers
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Gunsite

Foxy
Having been out there while you attended the class, and having had the pleasure of having both Erick and Louie work for me (Louie for 3 weeks) and seeing Denny at the Roundtable (a Rose among Thorns for sure) i'll make a few comments that may help others.

What to bring?
Go back to March 02 SWAT. There was an article therin, titled "Firearms Academies - What to Bring, What to Expect".
It probably would have answered most of your questions.

Pro Shop
The pro shop stocks gear for the guns most commonly seen in the regular classes. Those attending are usually enthusiasts (on the civilian side) and therefore use 1911 pattern or Glocks. Those cops or conventional military who attend with duty gear will have M9's or whatever the local PD issues.
As a rule, they don't buy anything, and absent the CCW classes, DA guns are about as rare as July snow on the ranch.
The shop stocks what sells, and DA stuff doesn't sell.
As KS states, guns break. Regardless of the make model or caliber of the wondergun you have purchased because of the glowing reviews on the errornet posted by people who may or may not actually shoot, they break, malfunction, or otherwise go TU at inopportune times. All of them
Every make, model and type.
(You should have traveled over to the 'Smithy and looked at the box of broken locking blocks for the Beretta's).
The reality is that while one can shoot a DA pistol well, from our experience in actually doing this, it takes longer to bring someone up to the same level of training.
Couple that with the fat bodies, long trigger reach and so on, and it becomes patently obvious why we don't see a lot of DA pistols in the hands of those who have a choice.

Breachers Class

They wore issue Sage Green Nomex Flight Suits, not BDU's

Clothing

As you have seen (and stated) the course didn't include a lot about clothing. There are only so many hours in the day, and as you noted, several of the students were clueless- something repeated at every class (the fact that they did go to class makes them a lot less clueless in my mind. At least they are giving it a shot -no pun intended).
Getting the class safe, and then getting them to perform to a minimum standard is the goal. Some classes have better flow, and some just struggle to keep their collective heads above water.

Rant

While there are many on this and other forums who are strongly opposed to any training, feeling instead that certain genes inherent in their American bodies will permit them to miracle through any situation, the fact is that is just absolute nonsense.
Without training the gun may not be an asset- in fact it may be worse then that.
Any training is perishable, and refresher training is necessary.
Training does not include reading about it nor watching videos. It does not include plinking nor having pictures taken while striking a hero pose, finger on the trigger.
It requires having instructors who are well versed in their art, who have the experience necessary to translate reality into something that can be understood, and who can critique everything you do.

Rant Off

Anyway, glad you attended. Remember that this is only a first step. Continue the process, because it never ends.
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Old November 12, 2002, 06:40 PM   #11
KSFreeman
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They more I train, the less I know.

(Yeah, like I knew a whole lot to begin with).
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Old November 12, 2002, 08:23 PM   #12
Pat Rogers
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Learning

KS, you are a master of the obvious!

You cannot be a good instructor if you are not a good student.
So, how come we have to keep fighting this fight?

BTW, negotiating some dates w/ Capt. Ken.
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Old November 22, 2002, 01:10 PM   #13
Foxy
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Just got my lisence in the mail! Woo hoo!

It's been quite a long journey, though. I took the class with a friend. He receieved his lisence about a week after the class. The day after he received his, I received my application packet back.

NOTE: If you are born outside of the US, you have to provide proof of US citizenship. I couldn't find anywhere on the packet where that requirement was mentioned, and they didn't mention it during the class while they were teaching us how to fill out the packet. I color photocopied my US Passport, and they accepted that.

When they sent my packet back, the packet was rolled. The packet specifically says DO NOT BEND on the envelope - however, the envelope that says that is inside of ANOTHER envelope that has no such warning on it.

Also, they had mistyped my address. I am not even sure how it made it to my box; fortunately it did. I included a letter asking them to correct my address when I returned my packet.

I sent in the packet with the new information and waited, and waited. Finally I received a phone call - "Your lisence came back in the mail, we'd like to confirm your address." Of course, they had tried to send it to the same incorrect address as before. Nice to know that they carefully examine the packets.

Well, after all is said and done, I finally have my lisence. I'll have to study how to actually carry a pistol underneath clothing without it printing.. fortunately, colder weather is coming and I can wear a coat/sweater.

Pat,

Thanks for the advice - anyone who goes to gunsite would do well to heed his words!

I'm not arguing about the breechers, but at least during the morning, they were wearing woodland BDU's and a black t-shirt (my friend and I ran into one of them at the McDonald's in Chino Valley the first morning eating breakfast; he was in BDU's at that time).. maybe they changed into flight suits for the actual 'range time'? I'm an Air Force ROTC cadet; whenever I see a flight suit, I pay attention
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