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Old September 3, 2001, 11:14 AM   #1
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Join Date: June 9, 2001
Location: Lafayette, Indiana--American-occupied America
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Review: Awerbuck's YFA Pistol II

My usual disclaimer: I am not a gun writer as I do not own a flowered shirt and take silly pictures of me pointing a firearm at myself. Thus, everything I say will be true.

I had the occassion to receive pistol instruction from Louis Awerbuck August 31st to September 2nd at the Boone County Sheriff's Department in sunny, scenic Lebanon, Indiana. It was a great experience and I share it with all who are not former SEALs, SFers, SAS, or Selous Scouts that would feel that this training was beneath them or the whiny envious who feel these classes are arrogant since they get their training from gun magazines.

COST: $400 for the classs. Well worth the money at twice the cost. I spent more on ammo since I got a deal for the amount I purchased. However, I had no hotel or plane ticket expense as Lafayette is 35/40 minutes from Lebanon.

LOCATION: Boone County Sheriff's Department in Lebanon, Indiana. Just off I-65, approximately 15 minutes northwest of Indianapolis. Our host was the affable Ken Campbell, head of the FTU there and, in his other life, a Gunsite instructor (he's the one with the mustache on the Gunsite website photo [yeah, I know, it's a joke--they "all" have mustaches. It's Arizona law or something.) Ken kept the logistics on track and the range ran smoothly with the help of two other BCSD deputies, Bob Murdock and Brian Stevenson. Ken has been able to bring Louis into Lebanon for 8 years now for machine pistol, pistol, shotgun and carbine classes. The range was only 35 minutes from my door. It was a pleasure to go to school and sleep in my own bed (and not have to buy plane tickets).

CLASS: In my experience it was an unusual class. Out of 18 in the class, 7 were law enforcement--3 from Zionsville (bedroom suburb of Indy), 2 with Boone County Sheriff, and 2 from Cumberland, Indiana PD. It was wonderful to see LEOs taking advantage of such training. Too often we only hear about the things that go awry in law enforcement. It's too bad the media does not report on this training as a deterrent to crime. ("Baaaah, guns bad. Police training to kill womyn and minorities. Baaaah.") Moreover, it was unusal to see the number of women we had in the class. The Cumberland officers brought their wives and Dr. Kevin brought his wife (or she brought him). Shooting and training together must make for a happy marriage. It must help instill trust. Plus, you have a built-in training partner and someone to cover you as you take a corner or reload. As always, everyone was friendly and in a good mood (even the cops were making jokes). "We're living in America and shooting guns--it just doesn't get any better." Captain Ken Campbell. Shooting schools are probably the only places where one can leave guns, money or car keys laying around your range bag and have no worries of conversion.

GEAR: I brought a brace of Les Baer TRSs and a *&* M638 as a backup gun. The TRS performed as they should. However, on the last day, during the "attack" from the rear (or in tacticalese extreme CQB) drills, my pistol failed to fire. I performed the indicated response to clear it and continued with the drill. After the drill I told Louis that I froze on the trigger (not allowed it to reset). He violently shook his head and said "no, it's the damn overtravel screw. They're the curse of mankind." After everyone had completed, he took he aside and showed me how the stupid overtravel screw was mucking up the gun. Less is more. One would think that since this particular model was designed to Clint Smith's specs that that would not be an issue, i.e. it wouldn't be there just like the laser/phaser. I still think it was operator error. I cannot bring myself to blame the poor innocent gun. I used the 638 during the transition drills. It worked fine since it was rebuilt (always have more guns). I need to work on my draw stroke with it out of the left pocket. I think any pants I wear with it I will take to a tailor to widen the left pocket so I can obtain a good grip on it. I used Milt Sparks leather--holsters, belt and mag pouches. I use a 6Z as a flashlight but brought the M3 "Milenium Falcon" as a spare. I highly recommend that if you have thick hands with shorter than average fingers like I do, get that figure 8 thing on your light so you do not drop the light and/or magazine during a reload. I used to stick it in my mouth when doing mal drills or tactical reloads, but even then would drop it out of my mouth. I brought that Czech S&B ammo. It's cheap, so since I am able to resist anything except temptation, I bought a bunch. Ordinarily I use Black Hills. The S&B was weaker than I was accustomed to. I tried to hammer at ranges where I could with stouter ammo and was unsuccessful (Louis's eagle-like eyes do not miss much). I switched to controlled pairs and was fine.

COURSE MATERIAL: "What the hell is an advanced gunfight?" Louis stresses the fundamentals--grip, sights, trigger--during the first day. He then starts to stress the same with the non-dominant hand, dominant hand, moving laterally, forward, and back. You can never do this enough and I need to do it more than most. We then did the ECQB from the front. He would then back us to settle us down to refocus. For example, one by one we each shoot at a steel plate to check our focus. The second day was more of the same followed by weak hand draws from the strong side holster, malfunction drills, and more focus on the big 3, grip, sights, trigger. Louis then gave us 3-D paper targets at various angles to shoot to teach us about a shooting angle's impact on penetration with innocent bystanders in back, of course. We next moved on to the swivel target. Two people would face a BG holding a baby. The BG would slide on a pulley track that Louis would manipulate. Behind the BG would be two bystanders--grandmama and a guy in a hockey mask. Great drill. For me it reinforced the notion of never getting into a gunfight because of the hazards to others if you do not have an angle. The second day was also the night drills which were the same as the day, including the swivel target. Day three brought the attacks from the rear, kneeling, prone, supine and a man on man "steel plate shoot out". We finished the course with a few runs in team tactics. Something that was completely new to me. I have always done runs alone and had a hard time shifting gears from "me" to "we"; however, Deputy Bobby and I were (finally) Rommelesque in our planning and execution. On the first run, Louis did smack my arm down as I yelped for cover when I tac reloaded. "Here's a clue for you, Kerrrk. Don't block your partner's LoF when you are calling your help or you will set yourself on fire." Thanks, Louis. I prefer to learn without buring sensations in my wrist or hand.

INSTRUCTION: Brilliant. Louis has been doing this a while and it shows. His range command presence is very good. Everyone pays attention and the questions that are asked are usually clarifications for the slower or confused students like me (now which way are we moving again?). What is absolutely amazing is his uncanny ability to diagnose a shot. He watches seemingly everything at once. For example, while on the morning of the third day, we were pulled back to shoot at the steel plate. A Boone County Sheriff's deputy barely missed the plate. Louis stretched up toward the sun and used his hand to shield the light from the deputy's front sight. The deputy fired again and nailed the plate in the middle. I stood there with my jaw open. How he knew the sun was causing the problem instead of trigger or his grip I cannot understand. He could stand on the side of the line with 9 people shooting at a time and tell what each person's problem was.

CONCLUSION: The more I train the less I know. However, I do believe Louis Awerbuck's classes are worth taking and I wish I had been taking them long ago. He'll be in West "By God" Virginia next, Lewisburg I think. The schedule is on the website as well. Money and time are both hard to come by. But, if you carry a firearm, you owe it to yourself and your community to train hard.
KSFreeman is offline  
Old September 3, 2001, 06:00 PM   #2
Join Date: February 3, 2001
Posts: 34
I wholehaertedly agree with you assessment of Louis and his calsses. I took Level 1 shotgum this year in Dallas. It was uncanny how he was able to diagnose problems with the shooters. For example we were zeroing with slugs from 25 yards. I was getting about 10" groups. Louis did not have any idea what kind of ammo I was using. We looked at he targets and told the class this is whi you should not use the Remington tactical slugs. He asked if I had any other slugs and I told him yess some Fichocci. He said use them. we went back to the 25 yard line and did 25 yard snap shots and I swear to god I had a 3 hole one shot group. Others were ahving probs with their guns including me. He had me fire a couple of rounds froom my Benelli and them came around fronrt and asked if I had ever lubed the gun. a little Break free and no more problems. When others were ahving problems getting their guns to pattern with buckshot he kept asking me if I had any more Estate Buckshot these guys might try.

If you think its tough on that mooving target with a handgun try it with a buckshot loaded shotgun. I had to hold off a little bit and litterly "scrape" the BG off of grandma.

I will bee taking all the cour=ses from this man that I can.

hasher is offline  
Old September 3, 2001, 08:23 PM   #3
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Join Date: April 22, 1999
Location: Chandler, Arizona, USA
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Good review. What URL is his schedule on?
Guns cause crime like spoons cause Rosie O'Donnell to be fat!

I hunt, therefore I am.
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Old September 3, 2001, 08:23 PM   #4
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Join Date: September 24, 2000
Location: Central Indiana
Posts: 138
Awerbuck Class

Great post Kirk.

The class in Lebanon was fantastic. Indeed, Awerbuck has an unreal ability to observe and diagnose the problems of almost 20 shooters at once. I definietly got my money's worth. The rifle course is going to be a lot of fun tomorrow!

It would be nice if we could get enough students together to hold his H.I.T.T. course next year.


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Old September 3, 2001, 08:25 PM   #5
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Location: Lafayette, Indiana--American-occupied America
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I know the Indianapolis Star covered Ken's classes. They wisely quoted me at length and printed the photo of Dr. Kevin's wife. However, I was unaware that the Star covered Louis's classes. I will call Ken on Tuesday. Thanks for the heads up.
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Old September 3, 2001, 08:32 PM   #6
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Justin, have fun in the carbine class! I'll be in the office--groan. Wear two bandanas (one facing front and one facing rear) to keep that .223 brass off your neck, chest and back. It burns like the dickens.

If the BGs even invade Carmel, Indiana, they will have their hands full with Justin. A natural shot and very quick. He even impressed Louis.
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Old September 3, 2001, 10:06 PM   #7
James K
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,160
"...reinforced the notion of not getting into a gunfight..."

Good thought. There are those who say that if you get into a gun fight you have already done a lot of things wrong. I don't fully agree, especially for police, but for a civilian I think there is a lot of truth there.

Jim K
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Old September 5, 2001, 10:07 AM   #8
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Join Date: March 4, 2000
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 149
YFA's website is Louis and Leigh's schedule can and does change so calling them at 520 772 8262 is the best option. It is my very great privilege to call Louis Awerbuck and Ken Campbell "friends."
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Old September 6, 2001, 07:12 PM   #9
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"CONCLUSION: The more I train the less I know. "

KSFreeman, no truer words were ever spoken. I took John Farnham's class several months ago and I really learned how much I didn't know about the handling and use of my handguns. A real eye opener. Great review.


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