This weekend I had the opportunity to train with Gabriel White at his Defensive Handgun class at Tri-County. For those unfamiliar with who Gabriel White is, he’s the talent firearms instructor/shooter known as OrigamiAK in the Pistol-Forum.com and Brian Enos forums. He is also a trainer for Oregon Firearms Academy as well as the PSTC and has a pretty long list of training certifications and a history of training with the who’s who of trainers. In fact quite a few of the people in the class train with him on a regular basis and were here for more if that tells you anything. Personally I’ve squaded with Gabe a couple of times at USPSA matches and it’s pretty amazing to watch him shoot which he does from concealment with a stock Glock and generally beat the pants off of everyone else.
I wasn’t sure if this class was going to be what I was looking for since I’m pretty obsessed with USPSA shooting and this class sounded like it was more of a defensive shooting type of class, but after speaking with Gabe it sounded like the skills he was teaching could be applied universally. One thing that impressed me about Gabe was that he isn’t married to any specific training dogma like some of the trainers/shooters out there who believe there is competitive shooting and defensive shooting and never two shall meet. Just about everything we covered in class could be applied to any situation and style of shooting, and no one gave me a hard time about running my race gear.
We started off with a skills assessment “test” just so he could see where we all were in our development and we did quite a bit of technical work in day one of the class. He really wanted us to be able to call our shots so we went back to the 25 yard line and worked on developing that skill and moved it closer and did it some more. I was really pleased how well I was seeing the sights and calling my shots; dang near every shot was called during the drill and for the rest of the day!
I had a few goals for the class that I wanted to work on, namely, call every shot, start shooting with both eyes open and get more familiar with shooting a Glock. I’m happy to report I
accomplished just about everything I set out to do for the day which was very satisfying. And I’m starting to get more comfortable with the Glock in general and learning how fast I can get the sights back on target for follow up shots, where my POI is at various distances, etc. What really helped that was an exercise we did where we worked on trigger reset while the gun was in recoil and getting the platform back on target and ready to break the next shot as quickly as possible. Again, very satisfying to be putting 10 rounds into a fist sized area in about 3 seconds. This drill also really identified an issue with my grip, or lack there of. Although I had a firm grip, it became obvious that it just wasn’t enough to get the sights to return quickly. I had to really add some significant force on it to get the sights snapping back into place. Huge discovery from that exercise.
Like I mentioned earlier, the first day was primarily focused on the technical aspects of shooting, identifying weaknesses in our technical abilities and fixing them, and the second day was applying our new and improved shooting skills to actually do something, like problem solving and shooting on the move. Shooting on the move, and more accurately, shooting well on the move, has been one of my weaker areas. Gabe really understands what needs to be done to deliver accurate fire while getting from point A to point B and has designed some great drills to teach us how to do it. There was a pretty dramatic improvement of shooting on the move from the drills and instruction. By the end of class I found myself really running and gunning at a pace I have never been close to doing before. That in itself was worth the price of admission.
The last part of the second day was really a blast for me. Two stages were setup, mirror of the other where two students would start at the same time and whoever finished their side first “won.” It really allowed us to put all of our newly honed skills to the test in a practical application and was a great demonstration of what could actually do. We pretty much ran that until we ran out of light and had to stop shooting.
Wrapping up here, I really enjoyed taking this class from Gabe and I learned a ton. The two days just flew by and I can’t wait to get back to the range and build upon the things I learned this weekend. And I can’t wait to see how the next USPSA match goes for me!
So would I recommend taking this class or training with Gabe? Without hesitation.