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Old July 15, 2001, 12:35 PM   #26
Rich Lucibella
Join Date: October 6, 1998
Location: South Florida
Posts: 10,205
I took no personal offense to your words. We simply have a disagreement. As concerns my "smoke and fire" analogy, yes, this is a case of guilt before innocence. But I don't have Nate on trial here...we're talking about where we choose to spend our money. In that regard, we each have a right (and often exercise it) to vote based on things we've heard and things that concern us. Dr. Piazza's reputation causes me enough concern that, given a choice of where I'll spend my training dollars/time, he fails to make the cut. YMMV

In response to your questions, the "three" was a typo. You asked about my sense of these schools:

Buz Mills has done a simply phenomenal job with facilities development. The curriculum is very well developed and uniform from class to class, thanks to Ops Director Colonel Bob Young. The instructors are top notch. From Beginner Handgun to Tac Rifle, you simply will not be is stepwise and by the numbers. A great place for foundational training. Finally, this is the only place available to train under Jeff Cooper....consider doing so before 2025, as I don't expect him to make it much past his 110th birthday.

Thunder Ranch:
It has been said that Gunsite will teach you to shoot, while Thunder Ranch will teach you to fight and I think this is true in a lot of ways. Clint Smith keeps his classes and yearly student roster small, though he could easily accomodate 3X the business. This is due to his insistence on providing training thru a very small, hand picked group of trainers (now including Jack Furr mentioned above). The curriculum pays due allegiance to the Modern Technique, but is hardly a Cooper copy. Clint knows his stuff, has "been there and done that" and has developed a teaching curriculum that is based on his own perceptions, priorities and observations. Even Cooper grants Clint his due. Again, you simply cannot loose.

GSGI/Harry Humphries:
Harry's a bit out of the reach of most civilians. While SEAL trained (and I mean Real Deal, Marcinko/ VietNam and points unknown, SEAL), Harry has come to embrace the Modern Technique as made famous by Cooper as the basis for his training, but also moves beyond it in specific areas. Harry's focus has been on Police/Operator training for the past couple of years, and finding a civilian class is always a gem. His training is fast paced and loaded with content. If you ever have a chance to beg/borrow or steal your way into a GSGI AFCQC Class, don't miss it....that seems to be Harry's first love. However, I've had the honor of attending a GSGI "Precision Rifle" course for LEO's and a Dynamic Entry Class for the same market....He need take his hat off to no other group in this regard, either. He painstakingly develops his stuff and teaches it well.

These days, Harry splits his time between training/protection and Hollywood Technical Advisor, where he has done more to single-handedly bring proper weapons handling to the Big Screen than any indivisual I know...witness Armageddon, Gi Jane, The Rock, the first year of the Soldier of Fortune series and look for his hand prominently in the upcoming Blackhawk Down.

Louis Awerbuck:
Best known for his Combat Shotgun courses, Louis can teach it all....and does. Also an early Cooper Disciple, Louis Awerbuck may be the single most self-effacing and the single most dangerous man with a firearm that I've met. (God, he'll kill me for saying that.)

Described by some as "Yoda", it's been said that Louie can tell what you had for breakfast based on your noon-time shot group...and I believe it may well be true. Whether it's rifle, pistol or shotgun, with Louis, you'll be assured of personal instruction and insight. He has an ability to walk down a line of shooters, make one or two spot-on comments to each and change their scores dramatically....assuming they listen, believe and execute. Louie is on the road teaching constantly and likely to be in your area sometime soon....he's also available at Gunsite.

To get a sense of the man, read his column in S.W.A.T. magazine. I say this, not only because of my involvement, but because his articles are simply priceless. No one will ever accuse Louie of "thinking inside the box.....or of political corrctness!

Walt Marshall:
Last but certainly not least, I shall never forgive myself for leaving Walt Marshall off the list!
I trained with Walt at Gunsite twice and would do so so again in a heartbeat. Like Louie, you can expect plenty of personal attention in Walt's classes. He has an ability to make his students really want to push their limits and has no problem teaching advanced techniques to a class, if it completes the current curriculum ahead of time. We saw this at Gunsite 6 years ago and were treated to almost two days of the 350 course after completing the 250 extra charge! Walt's student following is among the most loyal I know...and for good reason.

That's the rundown of my opinions. However, each of the persons I've mentioned has developed and or tested their approaches in battle; most far more than once. This is by no means the "Who's Who in training....just my personal experience. There's another topic here on Farnam, who's rep is inpeccable; I've heard great things about BlackWater Lodge, but have no personal experience. While I take issue with the magazine persona(s) of Mas Ayoob, I've yet to hear a bad word spoken of his courses by anyone who's attended...though I sense his strengths are more in the areas of surviving the after battle legal war.

With choices like that, and a host of courses that I've yet to take, it becomes obvious why Front Site is not on my list of priorities. Again YMMV.
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Old July 15, 2001, 12:53 PM   #27
Rich Lucibella
Join Date: October 6, 1998
Location: South Florida
Posts: 10,205
From Louie's Lips to God's Ears

Some pertinent excerpts from Louie Awerbuck's Tactics Column in July S.W.A.T. on this very issue:
Unless one has received a “doctorate” from years of performing the task in law enforcement and military circles, there is no university degree in weaponcraft. If you fork over the green stuff to somebody whose résumé consists solely of having attended other school’s classes, there’s a clue. All he’s done is taught a course from someone else’s lesson-plan, and if it weren’t such a serious subject it would be laughable.

The problem is obvious. Once Mr. Pseudo-Sensei runs out of ideas and/or loses information in second-hand translation, you don’t get the full benefit of the originator’s intent and ideas. Let alone his ability. A classic case of this is the many bastardized versions of Clint Smith’s Urban Rifle program that this author has seen in the past few years
The only eventual justice is, to quote President Eisenhower, “Fake reputations, habits of glib and clever speech, and glittering surface performance will be discovered.” You can’t fake it in this game and get away with it forever. The bad news is how many people will be killed, wounded or raped before Jungle Justice is exercised from above? If we don’t have the intestinal fortitude to admit that most of us don’t know a tenth of what we thought we knew twenty years ago, at least get into something honest like prostitution.
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Old July 15, 2001, 02:06 PM   #28
Point Blank
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Join Date: October 25, 2000
Location: Armpit of the South...Atlanta
Posts: 516
Can it really be that hard to grasp an Uzi or M16 firmly,aim in the general area of a watermellon sitting on a post and empty the mag "tactically"??? I think a monkey could master a fully auto weapon after a few mags,guess i could be wrong since i never shot one.
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Old July 15, 2001, 02:16 PM   #29
George Hill
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Join Date: October 14, 1998
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 11,546
Yup - your wrong.

Anyways - I think this thread is about done.

Closing before someone loses an eye.
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