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Old October 10, 2012, 04:08 PM   #1
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Firearms Training Vacation Ideas

I'm sure if I look through the forums I can find information on this topic. So my apologies to anyone who thinks this is "wasting time".

I am trying to figure out a great gift idea for my stepdad. My mother and him just decided to split up and I want to do something to get him away and not make him think about it. It just happens to be his birthday soon and I figured that its a good excuse.

My stepdad is prior military in the marine corps. He dose own guns and him and I go shooting once or twice a week at the local range. He has been talking about going hunting and camping for a while, but I thought of a better idea I would like to give to him as a gift ( sorry for the back ground).

I have been looking online for some gun courses and would like to do some kind of advanced course for him and myself. Something like a urban war course or a swat course. Most of the courses I find are up in the thousands of dollar range per person. I am comfortable spending a thousand per person but not much more.

If anyone knows of a good course than we would enjoy, but also be challenged would be very appreciated. This could be a great bonding experience for us. We are located in Cleveland Ohio and can travel within 6 hours or fly (money). I would really be interested in a weekend course fri-Sunday.


Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; October 10, 2012 at 08:12 PM. Reason: Readability
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Old October 10, 2012, 07:59 PM   #2
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That sounds like a really nice thing to do for someone you care about.
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Old October 11, 2012, 02:42 AM   #3
Sheriff Gotcha
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I'm newer to the shooting scene, but I would say to check out Gunsite and see what courses they have to offer. I'm goin there the first chance I get. I hear it's pretty much the "holy grail" of gun training places.

It's located in Arizona however which is more than a hop skip and a jump for not you and I.

Good luck in your endeavors and I hope you can find an affordable place to go. Sounds like one hell of a gift if you ask me.
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Old October 11, 2012, 02:28 PM   #4
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Be sure to consider the cost of travel as well as the cost of the actual course.

Anyway, there are a lot of options, but just kind of to get you going here is a link to the SIG Sauer Academy.
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Old October 12, 2012, 08:03 PM   #5
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Here is a place in Lisbon Oh area that may be worth looking at. I have no experience with them but I have considered looking into it myself.

Ruger P95
Bersa Thunder 380
S&W M&P .45
Ruger SR22P
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Old October 12, 2012, 08:52 PM   #6
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The US shooting academy in Tulsa is one of the top tactical shooting facilities in the world with airframes to simulate aircraft scenarios, one of the only 360 degree shooting bays in the country if not THE only one that can be used by the public.

Again, unfortunately not close to you but a little closer than AZ.
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Old October 15, 2012, 08:42 AM   #7
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I strongly endorse Gunsite as well ( Just spent a week there for the 250 course (5 day handgun). Plan on going back as soon as schedule/finances allow.

The pistol 250 class is apparently offered at a location in Tennessee for $1000, according to their schedule. Doing it in Arizona is more like $1500. I do not know what (if anything) is different between the two locations.

I have also heard good things about Thunder Ranch.

There are also travelling instructors of high quality who may be more likely to come to your area. The cost will be less, since travel costs will be reduced. You miss out on things like house clearing exercises, or other things that might require an established facility.

Three to look into:

Louis Awerbuck
Randy Cain
Massad Ayoob

Since you're in Cleveland, there is a group in Pittsburgh called the FIRE Institute ( that organizes training events of this sort that you may also want to look into.

Last edited by Johannes_Paulsen; October 15, 2012 at 08:50 AM.
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Old October 23, 2012, 03:52 PM   #8
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Front Sight

I just got back from a 4 day basic handgun course at Front Sight in Nevada. You mentioned it as a bonding experience with your stepdad... I attended with my father and it was one of the first father/son "fun" experiences we have had in years. We both had a great time and learned tons.

You would fly in to Las Vegas, rent a car and drive an hour to Pahrump, where Front Sight is located. We chose to stay in Pahrump because accommodations are cheaper and very tolerable (we stayed at the Saddle West).

Check ebay for certificates to attend the 4 day basic handgun course. You can sometimes find these in the $100 - $200 dollar range, which is a pretty good deal for that course.

Last edited by bilyspit; October 23, 2012 at 04:25 PM. Reason: Incorrectly quoted the OP
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Old October 23, 2012, 04:49 PM   #9
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Perhaps the NRA Whittington Ranch is for you,,,

Click here please,,,

From what I have read about this place,,,
It's a bit more recreation oriented that Gunsight, Front Sight, or Thunder Ranch.

They do offer training classes though,,,
And one family who stayed there a week told me,,,
The accommodations are spartan but very clean and inexpensive.

Anyways, it's just another option that no one had mentioned as yet.

Hope this helps,,,


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Old October 23, 2012, 06:53 PM   #10
Willie Sutton
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The Gunsite 250 course is the standard by which all others are measured.

Once upon a time it was "Orange Gunsite" and legends trod the earth there. Those days are gone and the Colonel has gone to Valhalla, but even now it's still pretty darned good.

Or... you can go someplace lesser.


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Old October 23, 2012, 07:04 PM   #11
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I'll toss my $0.02 in for Frontsight. Not because I'd recommend their training over any of the others, but because my state needs all the tourism dollars it can get.
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Old October 23, 2012, 07:19 PM   #12
Frank Ettin
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Originally Posted by Willie Sutton
...Once upon a time it was "Orange Gunsite" and legends trod the earth there. Those days are gone and the Colonel has gone to Valhalla, but even now it's still pretty darned good....
I was there for the third time about 18 months ago (for 350 - Intermediate Handgun), and it's still sort of the Harvard of shooting schools.
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
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