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Old May 2, 2006, 01:54 PM   #26
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McMillan Sniper School - Stay Away

10 April 2006

Mr. William Graves
P.O. Box 14481
Scottsdale, AZ 85267

Re: Sniper School Class 03-05 April 2006

Dear William:

As you may recall, I and three team mates attended the above captioned class. I?m writing you now to provide the collective feedback on our experience.

First let me state that we are not military, law enforcement or private contractors. We took this week away from our businesses and jobs to attend your course, which we funded personally. When you consider tuition, airfare, hotel, etc. the cost was not insignificant! I did a fair amount of research including a thorough reading of your web site and several conversations with you, which I compared against your competition. We had an expectation. Sadly, it was not met.

Overall we are very disappointed in our experience. Let me try to break it down by day:

Sunday ? No clear directions were provided to your unmarked range. We had quite a time finding it! Fortunately we had the good sense to check it out early and were lucky that someone was even there when we arrived. We happened to catch Rick on site.

Monday ? By and large, a waste of time! This course date had to be on your calendar for at least six months. How can there possibly be a conflict?
1. The instructors had a planned start time 11:00 AM. After 2 hours of standing around, we had to leave the range because of a pornographic photo session. Brilliant!
2. The school consistently promises, ?When we say 10 hrs, we mean 10 hrs of instruction.? Also, not only did we not ?shoot low-light EVERY night? we finished the day early without firing a single shot.
3. There was no written syllabus for the course provided. It was clear they were loosely following some ?guideline?.
4. Not one instructor had a spotting scope or even field glasses. This would have greatly facilitated coaching and the zeroing process.
5. Your web-site equipment lists, both required and recommended, need work. Rather than list some neat stuff, please give it some real thought as to what is actually needed and be clear about it!
6. The class size was 20 shooters instead of the usual 12 (more on this later)
7. Insufficient ammunition ? we had reserved and were issued 1,000 rounds in advance. We had go give half back because of the lack of ammo.

Mr. William Graves
10 April 2006
Page 2

One person had sent 1,000 rounds to your school in advance. The ammo was lost until late Wednesday afternoon.
8. More time lost driving to the McMillan site. There we (all 20 of us) suffered through a tour of the already cramped factory. While mildly interesting, that was not the purpose of our trip! The instructors were filling time!
9. The classroom work was done in an equally cramped lunch room. Thad gave the presentation. He is a qualified, knowledgeable presenter, but 20 people had to strain to see a laptop screen. There was no projection device or the obvious Handouts of the presentation. Tiring, boring and disappointing.
10. The Best part of the day was when we attempted to set up our optics. However, this too was frustrating. You did not have enough instructors to properly serve the class (more on this later)! Imagine 20 guys sprawled out in a parking lot trying to gain proper optical alignment with only 3 instructors! Not what we expected or paid for!

As regards the instructors, Rick, Jack, Thad and Harley are all fine Americans who are well qualified and each a very capable instructor in their own right. I particularly like Jack?s style. However, one has to question their overall commitment. I heard repeatedly ?Hey, tell it to William, I?m just a contractor.? They felt, and so they acted, like contractors and it showed. Thad was there only for the classroom and a few hours on the range. Harley was only half time at best as they had him doing things around the range and running errands. So that meant 2.5 instructors for 20 shooters. Not the 1 to 4 you advertised or that the instructors told us was the usual ratio. Also, we are very disappointed that you were not there administering the school and delivering training yourself.

Tuesday ? Again, a planned 11:00 AM start!!!!! Wasted time as we got minimal productive time on the range. More discussions and a painfully slow zeroing session.
Now, this is a Very sore point; the instructors expected us to arrive with Zeroed Weapons. You repeatedly told us Not to zero our weapons. Had we done so we would have had more time to learn and enjoy a more productive experience. You repeatedly told me Not to shoot in advance! A serious breakdown in communications and policy.

With only 2.5 instructors per 20 shooters, we did not get the attention we deserved (at this ratio we received roughly less than half the time a 1 to 4 would have provided). Fortunately, three of us are experienced, but one in my team could have Really used more coaching!

I don?t believe the entire class successfully zeroed weapons this day. And again, 20 shooters could not comfortably fit on the range. Not a productive day, which put us way behind. After a heated group discussion at the end of the day, the instructors reluctantly agreed to start earlier on Wednesday (9:00 AM).

Wednesday - With a 9:00 AM start and minimal conversation, we actually got to shoot some distances. However, with such a large group it was a long and slow march through 100 and 200 yds. By the time we got to the 300-500 yd targets it was late

Mr. William Graves
10 April 2006
Page 3

afternoon and we had to rush to get them all in. Did I mention that the class was understaffed? Little to no coaching as the instructors seemed to be spending their time with a few select shooters. Because we had to rush to get at least the 300-500 targets hit before dark, we never shot longer distances or had time to properly establish dope for the various ranges. This is a major disappointment as doing so was the fundamental purpose for attending the school.

To summarize, this was a good group of guys who improvised, adapted and tried to get the most out of it. This is a testament to the men, not to your school. It does nothing to change the fact that we all feel the school is poorly run and we definitely did not get our moneys worth. I had the impression the school and the quality of your training was important to you. Clearly, you have other interests that take priority. Your sniper school has the potential to be the best of its kind! However, it?s run more like an affectation than an avocation! A full time administrator to oversee training operations, a crack, Dedicated instructor staff, and an uncompromising commitment to quality and customer service can make it the best of its kind! You also need consistency. Not surprisingly, I learned that the previous three classes were as much a cluster-f__k as this one was. I wonder how the McMillan family feels about having their name associated with this.

I will await your response. I?ll be very interested to see, from a customer service perspective, how you address our dissatisfaction. It would be unfortunate if someone asked my opinion of McMillan Sniper School today.

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Old May 4, 2006, 01:25 PM   #27
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Location: Orem Utah
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If you went to the school you should post this as an AAR not as part of the school list.
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Old July 9, 2006, 10:41 AM   #28
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Having attended Insights and FAS when I lived in WA State I can speak well of both. They were organized, the instructors were competent, there was no wasted time, and I got what I paid for. Can't ask for more than that.
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Old August 3, 2006, 03:15 PM   #29
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Southern Indiana School

Training in the lower part of the state

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Old August 5, 2006, 08:58 PM   #30
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Robin Brown trains both at his place in AZ and on the road.

He came to Knoxville in April to present the Integrated Threat Focused Training/Quick Kill and is going to be back the weekend of Oct. 14/15.

Having had the training I can tell you that I thought the material was excellent and Robin made it easy and enjoyable to learn.

You can email Robin at - [email protected]
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Old September 5, 2006, 11:27 PM   #31
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I guess it's OK if I throw in a shameless plug here?

In the Four Corners area, try Ross Sporting Goods and Four Corners Firearms Training

We also travel with our mobile training unit and you can see some student testimonials here: Student Testimonials
Southwest Shooting Authority
Colts and Kimbers are what you show your friends.
Glocks are what you show your enemies.
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Old October 22, 2006, 11:55 AM   #32
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Central Virginia Tactical

And several courses are offered through Dixie Ammo Dump of Georgia

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Old October 22, 2006, 04:07 PM   #33
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I just went through and took my D and G security license classes. I took them at a place called S2 Safety and Intelligence Institute. What an amazing bunch of instructors! They teach everything from basic pistol and self-defense classes to Anti-terrorism, advanced pistol and carbine and also weapon retention and secondary weapon system techniques. Jay Pace, my instructor for both classes could not be any better of a teacher. He spent time in the military and retired from the Largo, Florida Police Department. It was an absolute wonder to spend time with him during the classes. He also teaches Constitutional Law among other things. If you live near the Tampa Florida area and need to take any of these types of classes, go here first. You won't be disappointed, I wasn't.
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Old October 22, 2006, 04:34 PM   #34
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I never caught where there was one close to the chicago suburbs? Any one know if there is one around here?
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Old October 23, 2006, 12:11 AM   #35
Join Date: February 5, 2005
Location: Granite City, IL
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Wow, this is still up, I'll sit down tommrow and completly update the list with all of your input.

Jason I.
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Old October 23, 2006, 04:44 PM   #36
Join Date: February 5, 2005
Location: Granite City, IL
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Ok, I have the list completly updated and organized by state and then alphabatized inside of the states. All the sites suggested by you guys that had working links have been added. I'll post it as soon as I get home from work.
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Old October 26, 2006, 11:54 PM   #37
Dog Confetti
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It's not a pure shooting school, and I'm not sure what they offer for civilians, but Gryphon Group MFPC was OUTSTANDING...I cannot overstate how good they are!
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Old November 20, 2006, 10:05 PM   #38
Big Don
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Location: Hayden, ID
Posts: 375

Tactical Firearms Training Team was lumped into the (very well done) long list of schools and I want to give Max Joseph an attaboy of my own. I've known Max for a long time, have attended multiple courses he or his hand-picked cadre have taught and have been extremely pleased with all of them. I earned my "Black Shirt" after successfully completing all three levels of handgun training and that is one of my proudest moments. The topper to that was my son, at the age of 16, earning his Black Shirt, the youngest to do so. Max watched him grow up, knew he was safe and skilled with a firearm and that's the only reason he was allowed to take the courses.

Many an LEO has walked away from Handgun Level 1 or 2, mumbling to themselves about the level of training they had received in their academies and how glad they were to be in the TFTT classes.

Max, a former Marine, wanted to bring Gunsite-level training to those of us who couldn't afford to travel to AZ and he met that goal. He will travel to your location if you can make it financially feasible and he's not a greedy man. Check out his web site and read his CV. He's an outstanding trainer and a good man.
[SIZE="3"][SIZE="2"]Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he's too old to fight, he'll just kill you.
"If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it?"- Benjamin Franklin

Last edited by Big Don; November 20, 2006 at 10:12 PM. Reason: correct the title to all caps
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Old November 23, 2006, 12:14 AM   #39
Old Sourdough
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Salem, Oregon area
Old Sourdough
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Old November 29, 2006, 02:24 PM   #40
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Missouri and Kansas

Targets Master Shooting Academy

Patricia Stoneking is the owner of Target Master Shooting Academy and she is very knowledgeable. She is very kind, and very charismatic. She is enthusiast abut getting you to shoot better and help you achieve your standards and higher. I would definately suggest it to everyone. From what I see, most of the owner of the instructor that you requested to recieve lessons from are not the instructors you will see, and I am happy to say that Patricia Stoneking will be right there with you.
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Old December 13, 2006, 04:18 PM   #41
Covert Mission
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Pat Goodale/PFT

Pat Goodale's PRACTICAL FIREARMS TRAINING, in W. Virginia (and some classes in MT too) 540/559-4151

Excellent training.
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Old December 26, 2006, 11:33 AM   #42
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training in colorado

I found this guy, and he does some great training, as well as tournaments, etc.

I would love to get some feedback on the site as well...

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Old December 31, 2006, 04:18 PM   #43
David W
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EP Training, JF thumbs up...

Hey all, happy new year!
I didn't notice the school I attended years ago (89-90)
Perhaps because its not just a shooting school.
Also, I can tell you that I went through John Farnams training, DTI, and he is an absolute consumate gentleman and one heck of pistol instructor.
I don't know where ESI is on the board anymore, but I know John is first rate.
Quality is not "polished on, it's built in, and shines through." D.W. Visit me at (Home of the WOR4 TacRail.)
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Old January 17, 2007, 03:36 PM   #44
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this is ABSOLUTELY one kick azz thread..yeah im excited lol


well i already new about the big names, Gunsite, Sig Academy, Thunder Ranch, ..but i just found that another big name place is right here in my home state...Blackwater...heck yeah im tickled ape s***. i wanted to go to the others mentioned but wanted to go some place i could drive to so i could take my own guns and im just not sure of the flying thing and checking them in baggage..i read on a forum where a guy got to his destination but the gun didnt . the Sig academy i thought was prb the closet..but it was still a 15hr drive and i wanted to go to a big name place , not knocking the other places that arent none as well, but i wanted to stick to the ones you see all over the magazines you know what i mean...but now that i know Blackwater is stoked..i would think its a great place or Sig wouldnt have a "Blackwater" model i just need the money ..thats always the hard part darn it lol

this is one great forum!!!!!
"These are only my opinions"
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Old January 21, 2007, 10:45 AM   #45
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Mid Atlantic Training Resources

Another east coast one that is now going to be open to civilians is MATR, they bring in respectable instructors and also myself, Erik Lawrence teaches there when requested. Near central WV so easy to reach on the east coast.
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Old February 7, 2007, 01:38 AM   #46
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Here's a link to Suarez International. Pretty good curriculum for training.
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Old February 13, 2007, 11:48 PM   #47
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US Shooting Academy

Well, I'd like to throw our name into the hat. Being as we are still in the building process, many of you may not have heard of the U.S. Shooting Academy in Tulsa, OK.

USSA is sure to be the most advanced and convenient training location in the country. Our nearly $10 million facility is scheduled for Phase 1 completion in August. We hosted the 2006 USPSA Open/Production Nationals while we were only 20% completed, and this is what some of the attendees had to say:

"I'm sure we're going to be coming back here for years to come."
"It will probably be the premiere shooting facility in the country...probably the world."
- Angus Hobdell

"It's a comfortable place to shoot...with a good team of experienced individuals."
- Dave Sevigny

"The ranges are everything a shooter dreams about."
"There's been nothing quite like it anywhere in the world."
- Julie Goloski

"This facility is probably the nicest we've ever been to in the country [and] when it's done, there won't be anything like it that I've ever been to."
"A facility that you could shoot practically every different discipline at...a center point for the shooting world."
- Rob Leatham

"This is one of the most incredible places that I've seen built..."
"It's on a scale that's larger than most people can imagine."
-Todd Jarrett

"The range sets a new standard."
"Much better range than anything out there that I've been to."
-Travis Tomasie

"WOW! In the 12 years I've been covering the USPSA competitions, I've never seen an endeavor of this magnitude."
"There's nothing like this in North America...or the world."
"Hands down, even at 20% of Phase 1...this place blows every other National level facility that we've been to completely off the map."
-John Scoutten, Producer-Shooting USA

Come see for yourself. Classes start March 19th!

Phil Strader
Director of Facilities and Competitions
[email protected]
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Old February 14, 2007, 12:12 AM   #48
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Just wanted to toss in a thumbs up for Jim Jacob's school, mentioned by Old Sourdough above. Good people there, and solid training.

Kathy Jackson
My personal website: Cornered Cat
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Old March 18, 2007, 11:07 AM   #49
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In Jersey City, New Jersey:
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Old March 18, 2007, 11:56 AM   #50
Charles S
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If you are in North West Louisiana I will highly recommend Mr. Jerry Miculek.

Home Based & Itinerant Instruction Available

Bang Inc - Mr. Jerry Miculek and Kay Clark Miculek

Well organized classes with a dynamic instructor.
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." -- George Orwell
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carry , ccdw , ccky , concealed , kentucky

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