View Full Version : Best training around?

January 13, 2011, 10:13 PM
Hi everyone! New to the forum, and just getting back into training. I had two questions. First, I saw an ad for Front Sight and got their DVD and literature, but got a bad feeling from the marketing aspect. After researching the subject here and at other forums, I decided against it.

I remember Gunsite being one of the premier training places from back in the 70's, and I assume it is still one of the best?

I was also impressed by some stuff I read about GSGI/Harry Humphries.

Can anyone tell me which would be the better of the two, and the relative costs? I can't seem to find info on cost of training at GSGI.

I was also thinking about training with Chuck Taylor at American Small Arms Academy, as I remember him being one of the top shooters back then. However, again, I cannot find any costs for training online.

If anyone here has experience at all three places, I'd love to hear some input as to the comparative level of training and costs.

Second, are there any decent training videos on DVD that are worth getting? I know you can't learn shooting skills off a DVD (just like you can't learn martial arts from martial arts DVDs), but I'm mainly looking for something to simply look at and see what's changed since I last shot regularly in the 80's, just get up to speed on what's changed technique-wise until I can attend a live class.

Thanks in advance!

January 14, 2011, 02:22 AM
If we knew approximately where you lived, and what particular skills you were looking to develop, it would make it easier to provide assistance . . .

January 14, 2011, 02:47 AM
I live in the Chicago area, although I realize that means I'll probably have to travel pretty far. I'm cool with that. As for skills, just upgrading combat shooting to the best of my ability.

January 14, 2011, 10:15 AM
OK, CHitown, that gives you central locations to east and west. WHat SPECIFIC types of shooting were you looking to learn? "Combat shooting" is not a type. THere are trainers right outside cook county, some in WI?MN, anohter in PA, and some in TN.

January 15, 2011, 07:08 AM
Check these guys out:

Midwest Training Group

They used to host training at Darnall's in Bloomington, Ill, but now are using a range in Mt Carroll, Ill (north-west corner of the state). I believe it's the property formerly used by the Midwest Tactical Training Institute, "The Site", and Blackwater North.

January 15, 2011, 10:04 AM
I'll partly disagree with the post before last and say I consider anything that is training for shooting in a fight as combat shooting training. Lots of specialties and sub-specialties exist in everything in life, and shooting is no exception, but I don't think it's out of line to call gun fighting combat. It's broadly distinct from shooting for competition, hunting, or amusement.

Like any martial art, you'll find every instructor and system of shooting instruction has things to offer. I took my first Gunsite class (the basic pistol class) when Jeff Cooper still ran the school, and about half that class was private sector and half public. Even though the public sector students all had prior training, and some of them a lot of it, they all had superiors who wanted them exposed to different systems of training for gun fighting. That's partly to get new ideas and partly to provide the student an opportunity to find what works best for them as individuals. Indeed, the fellow who won the shoot-off in that class was a California sheriff's department firearms instructor looking for new training ideas for his own students.

That class had one British hostage rescue team member who said everyone in his outfit spent 9 months a year training and 3 months on alert. Before the Gunsite class he'd been to a class in Germany with a bunch of ex-Stasi operatives, and afterward he was off to a Green Beret two week intensive training activity of some kind down South. He came in second in the shoot-off, but only lost by a hair. He and and the firearms instructor from CA were both very fast and crisp. They had clearly expended hundreds of thousands of rounds downrange. But here they were, taking a basic pistol class.

You never know what you might learn or where you might learn it or when or where you might find it useful.

January 15, 2011, 02:07 PM
"They had clearly expended hundreds of thousands of rounds downrange. But here they were, taking a basic pistol class."

The basics are the foundation on which all of the specialized training is built. It's great to explore the nuances of advanced skills but for most of us they will never be put to practical use. And since most of us have limited time and a finite budget the most important thing is learning and perfecting the basics.

January 15, 2011, 06:40 PM
Most "advanced" material is simply applying the basics at a higher level.

Now, for training. Most instructors will be able to teach the basics. Get good at those first. For higher level training, I recommend Combat Shooting and Tactics classes with Paul Howe. He is cutting back on his civilian classes though, which may be a problem if you are not LE/Mil.

January 15, 2011, 09:22 PM
IF you want to learn the basics of fighting with a pistol, GUNSITE remains the place to go.


Once you have those skills down and lots of practice, your next step would to travel to THUNDER RANCH and let Clint Smith guide you in perfecting your skill set.


They are both pricey...but you get what you pay for. :D

January 15, 2011, 09:42 PM
Wow, thanks for all the replies! :)

When I said combat shooting, I meant not hunting or target shooting but rather shooting for combat. Self defense, room to room house clearing, etc. I was pretty good back in the 80s but it's been awhile and a lot of techniques have changed I'm sure!

I'm a big fan of constantly drilling the basics until they're perfected and then some. Got that from martial arts training. So I definitely agree with that when it comes to shooting as well. I assumed Gunsite was still top notch. When did Jeff Cooper leave? Does Massad Ayoob still have a training school? I seem to remember him running a very prestigious school back in the day.

I don't mind spending the money, as long as it's worth it. As with most things, you tend to get what you pay for.

January 15, 2011, 09:48 PM
Thunder Ranch is extra appealing considering it's in Oregon. I miss the Pacific Northwest! :)

Question: I noticed the Pistol 250 class at Gunsite has no prerequisite. So if someone already has basic understanding of gun safety, range safety, and other basic gun handling skills, is it good to just jump into the Pistol 250 class, or is it better to start with the Pistol 150 anyway?

January 15, 2011, 11:08 PM
Instructors I've trained with, in descending order of personal preference:

Larry Vickers - Vickers Tactical
Paul Howe - CSAT
Chris Costa/Travis Haley - Magpul Dynamics
Clint Smith - Thunder Ranch
Tiger McKee - Shootrite Academy

I'll be adding Ken Hackathorn to the list this spring, and expect him to be near the top of the list based on his stellar reputation.

Glenn Dee
January 15, 2011, 11:35 PM

January 16, 2011, 12:17 AM
I was harping on the specifics, (pistol? rifle? shotgun?), since combat shooting also encompasses a 6 round fire mission of 155 WP;)

When we know what "discipline". you're looking for, the options can be tailored. Wanna know how to run that AK, Suarez and Vickers is where we'd send you, as opposed to Magpul . Etc, etc, and so forth.

January 16, 2011, 12:25 AM
The Boone County Sheriff's Dept in Lebanon, Indiana (west of Indianapolis) hosts training classes each summer that are open to private citizens. Sheriff Ken Campbell is an adjunct instructor with Gunsite:

www.boonecountyindianasheriff.com -- click on the "training announcements" notice on the right toolbar.

(Col Jeff Cooper died in 2006)

Massad Ayoob used to run the Lethal Force Institute. He now calls his company the Massad Ayoob Group.


Midwest Training Group in Illinois hosts several of his classes each year.

January 16, 2011, 01:25 AM
I have been to several schools and I feel that www.blackopsschoolofcombat.com is the best. The classes are available at a fraction of the price ($175 for Tac I). In this class, you may shoot as much as 400 rnds of ammo IN ONE DAY. Greg Mclaughlin, the owner, is the best shot I have seen. There are several videos on the website showing him drawing and firing in .70 from a retention holster, cutting a playing card in two edgeways etc. The school is located in south central MO

January 17, 2011, 02:10 AM
MisterPX wrote:

I was harping on the specifics, (pistol? rifle? shotgun?), since combat shooting also encompasses a 6 round fire mission of 155 WP

Ah, I see what you mean now. Mainly handgun at this point.

Jeff22 wrote:

Massad Ayoob used to run the Lethal Force Institute. He now calls his company the Massad Ayoob Group.

Lethal Force Institute! Now I remember! LOL! Thanks. And thanks for the link. I did notice he's going to be at the Midwest Training Group. I'm gonna have to try to make it to some of those.

Wow, I didn't realize Jeff Cooper died. I've been out of the loop! Sad. He'll definitely be missed. :(

January 19, 2011, 05:52 PM

The 150 didn't exist when I took the 250 twenty years ago. From the course description it looks to me like it's a half of a 250 for people who can't get a full week clear. Nothing in the description was not covered in the 250 I took, but in more depth, so, yes, I would go straight to the 250 in your shoes.

February 5, 2011, 01:44 AM
Thanks Unclenick! I was hoping that was the case, so I'm glad to have that confirmed.