View Full Version : Review - Defensive Handgun 1 - Shootrite (New Location in Alabama)

February 22, 2006, 11:33 PM
Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a Defensive Handgun 1 class at Shootrite (http://www.shootrite.org). This is my second class at Shootrite (http://www.shootrite.org) under the instruction of Tiger McKee. In 2003, I met Tiger at Thunder Ranch (http://www.thunderranchinc.com) where he works as an adjunct instructor. For reference, he also works with Rifles Only (http://http://www.riflesonly.com), althought I haven’t made it out there… (yet!) After working with Tiger at TR, I found out he owns and directs Shootrite I took a three day tutorial in defensive carbine and was very pleased. This handgun class marked my first experience at Shootrite in a standard class with other students, and I’m pleased to say that it was a great experience.

Tiger usually takes 8 students per class but due to cancellations/weather (it was very cold and wet with forecasts of freezing and snowing) we had 4 people. This worked out very well for us as the class moved quickly and we got a lot accomplished since there was no one particularly slow.

The format for Defensive Handgun 1 at Shootrite is a two day class with about half a day of lecture and 1.5 days of shooting – and you shoot a LOT. Each man shot about 1,000 rounds.

Saturday morning, over about 3 hours, everything from the basic safety rules to the use of deadly force is covered, with all the other stuff you might want to know as well – basic physiology of the human body and the phyics of actually stopping a threat, the importance of situational awareness/the color codes – etc etc. After that we were off to lunch and then to the range.

Once there, just enough dry work to make sure no one was going to poke holes in anyone else and onto basic marksmanship. Shortly thereafter we began working on weapon manipulations and malfunction drills. Considering the amount of demonstration and instruction on malf drills I was surprised to see we shot about 350 rounds that afternoon. This also included a blind malfunction scenario where you set your gun down and turn your back while Tiger sets up an unknown malfunction, with a great deal of creativity I might add...


After a while, it doesn't bother you to set your hand built custom 1911 down in the mud... ;1 OK, it still bothers you a little ;)

We did that several times and once it seemed like everyone knew what to do if their gun puked, we moved on to… movement.


Tiger demonstrates how to move left, right, backward and forward while maintaining yourself as a stable platform, and the methods that decrease the chance you’ll land on your bum while trying to focus on a potential target, your sights, where cover is, etc. In the end, the further away you are from the target the better the better off you are…

By the end of day one, we had covered a LOT of ground, both academic in the morning and then the application in the afternoon, and everyone was very ready to head home and INTO THE HEAT!

The weather man was wrong and Day Two a sunny 30 degrees! No worries, just a couple extra shirts.

We started the day with a refresher about the different types of reloads and proceeded to work on them.


The general message is that you should be a master of the empty load since if you ever actually get into a gunfight, you’ll probably shoot until the BG drops or you run out… the tac load is considered an administrative act, only to be done when you have time and are not actively “in the fight”.

Once we went through a number of drills, ammo management became our responsibility and we began exploring “alternative firing positions”. Speaking of, I haven’t addressed the primary position, and since that is normally a topic of conversation… Tiger suggests a “fighting” stance with your weak foot slightly forward, shoulder width apart, and an aggressive posture towards the target. The other positions we covered were kneeling on both one or two knees. Tiger also demonstrated the squat and braced kneeling, although made it clear that those positions worked for some and not others. We went through many drills given the freedom to try these various positions discovering what worked best for us. Incorporated into this was movement to the left, or right, or backwards with the kneeling/squatting/etc.


Tiger then introduced us to the proper footwork/ pivoting technique to address a target on your left, right, or if something is behind you. We worked this dry a number of times as it is critical to get it right, lest you sweep the line in training or God only knows what in real life.

Once it appeared we had this all down, we went one by one and put it all together – having a reactive target presented to us on our left, right, or behind us at which point you had to properly execute your draw (an perhaps fire from a retention position, which we also covered) then moving to cover and firing from behind that cover as targets presented themselves and “withdrew” from the conflict.

Last but not least, we returned to the marksmanship cornerstone and engaged targets from about 40 yards. These were carefully fired five round groups. We fired 4 sets as such.

In the end the whole point of the class is that there is no specific answer to what you should do in any given scenario – one day you might find yourself in a situation where you have to apply logic to escape alive. Hopefully you were aware of what was going on around you so you aren’t caught off guard, and hopefully you have thought about the possibility of such undesirable things happening and therefore have a general idea of how to react. Finally, hopefully you have the ways and means to defend yourself and/or your family - and have practiced them such that you can work through the problem.

As anecdotally interesting firearms information –

The LE officer shot a Glock 21 and had no malfunctions. He did use a retention holster and I noticed his draw was relatively slow as a result – there was often a good bit of tugging. I didn’t notice that until the end of day two when we were doing a lot of drills one at a time, and I forgot to ask more about it.

Hines 57 shot a Glock 19 and had no malfunctions. He did switch to a G34 for the second half of day two and had one malfunction – and not a particularly standard one. Best guess was that the slide grabbed some jacket when firing from the retention position.

RedhorseG20 shot a 1911 STI Trojan 9mm for about 500 rounds, and a G17 for the remainder. The STI did very well but for one little issue – when you live in a hot climate, your lube choice may not work well in a cold climate!

I shot a 1911 in .45 (custom Caspian) day one and a Ruger GP100 (yes, a revolver) day two. My 1911 has an absolute magazine preference – the Metalform FBI spec 7 rounders. It is perfect with them. Going to the Metalform “Elite” 8 round mag, everything fed fine but I had some failures to lock back the slide.

Contrary to popular belief, with the revolver, you can and will run into some issues. Sticky chambers, poorly indexed cylinder on a reload under pressure, and after shooting enough, build up on the cylinder face/forcing cone all leads to issues. I had to clean the revolver every 200 rounds or so or I’d have a problem getting rounds into the chambers. I even had one failure to fire since one round wasn’t fully seated and was simply driven into place by the hammer falling.

Last but not least, if you decide to go to Shootrite, you should contact www.southsautyresort.com as they are the one stop solution for everything while you are there. They are the general store, restaurant, hotel, and gas station all rolled into one.

Considering the quality of instruction, monetary value - $280 for a 2 day class – and the inexpensive lodging a mile away, I don’t think you can go wrong here. Tiger also offers private tutorials that I can highly recommend, again for a great value.

Tiger has also written a book - based on his personal training journal, written over ten years and chock full of great information. If you want to find out more about Tiger's general philosophy, check it out - you can order it straight off his website at www.shootrite.org. It is far different than anything else I've seen - I ended up getting another copy so that I could highlight and beat up one as I carried it around. It focuses on the use of the 1911 and AR but is applicable to any handgun or rifle.

The book is hand written with sections that are well illustrated...


An essential companion, IMHO, for any student of the gun, especially if you have trained at Thunder Ranch, Gunsite, etc etc as much of the doctrine is similar, but incorporates the views and classes of many other trainers and philosophies.

February 25, 2006, 03:54 PM
I corresponded with Mr. Mckee last year when he was still in Huntsville. I was planning to attend one of his classes, but time just didn't work out for me. However, his new facility is less than 11 miles from my house. Even more incentive to go.

The only concern was that his rifle courses at the time seemed geared to "AR-only". His General Rifle class seems to have corrected that problem.

February 25, 2006, 08:35 PM
Tiger likes ARs, but is also a master with bolt guns... I took a GP rifle class with him at TR and it was great. Used a SA M1A.

Ga Johnny
February 25, 2006, 11:27 PM

5th combat comm ??? Did that used to be at warner robins ga. I was in the CES there once upon a time.

February 26, 2006, 05:10 AM
GA Johnny;

There from 1983-87, then did some ANG time there later. Still have a few friends in the area.

February 27, 2006, 02:38 AM
Nice review. Thanks for posting. I'm adding this to my wish list for training.

February 27, 2006, 03:51 PM
Great review!
Anybody know approximately how far the facility is from Nashville or Chattanooga,TN? Looks like something I may do:)

February 27, 2006, 06:40 PM
Anybody know approximately how far the facility is from Nashville or Chattanooga,TN? Looks like something I may do

I'm approximately 50 miles from Chattanooga. Look up Langston, Al on the map. It's near Scottsboro, close to where the Tennessee River flows into Lake Guntersville.

February 28, 2006, 10:38 PM
Correct - Guntersville is "town". Langston is supplied by South Sauty almost exclusively...

20-30 minute drive from Langston to Guntersville depending on how much arse you haul on winding hilly roads...

March 1, 2006, 04:13 PM
Great review! I have been considering attending Shootrite for some time now and your review confirms all I have read and heard. I didn't know that Mr. Mckee had moved his facility(closer to me and that's a bonus).

March 1, 2006, 06:21 PM
Wow, I had no idea that such a facility is so close to me. I'll definately have to check this out. $280 huh? What time of day does it usually start, and is it on the weekends?

March 1, 2006, 06:24 PM
You have to check the schedule on the site. Some dates are already full. He has some mid-week, and some on weekends.

March 5, 2006, 08:26 PM
Best thing to do is call Tiger. He is in and out since he also teaches at Thunder Ranch and Rifles Only as well, but he returns calls.

Classes start around 8 AM, and are usually on weekends, but there are some other options... just check the schedule.