Today I jumped in my carriage and traveled to Ft. Huachuca, AZ for some training. It's run by Dan Southard, AKA Threefeathers here on the forum, also known as Gator Farms Tactical. This is the "Free to Active Duty Military and LEO" course that has been posted here on the forum.
This is called the "Basic" course, but it is NOT A BASIC CLASS! You have to not only know which end of the gun the boolits come out of, but how to draw, reholster and obtain a correct sight picture. Things start fast, and get faster and tougher as the day progresses. I will attempt to lay out the positives, as well as the few negatives, from my point of view. This class is also offered to civilians on a fee basis and one that maybe should be considered.
Dan does a good job of making you shoot from your non-dominant hand at various distances, and from what many would consider a non-traditional firing platform. Make no mistake about it, this class is about keeping you in the fight once you have been wounded. Lots of time is spent shooting from the downed officer position. To me that makes perfect sense, as often people are wounded in the gun hand or arm. Hence, non-dominant drills from sitting and lying down are a natural continuation from the old stand and shoot drills of the square range.
You also do some "shoot and move" drills in each direction, as well as getting the gun out of the holster and putting one round in the target before the sights are "properly aligned". This is not point shooting, as you are instructed to not fire until you can see the sights in your periphery, so I liken it to a cross between Point Shooting and Sighted Fire. It's for putting a bullet in your target, in a vital area, when your target is close and is trying to kill you.
I found the Assistant Instructors to be knowledgeable and helpful, along with Dan. For me this class pointed out some glaring weaknesses that I have, and things I need to work on. It also validated some other things for me. Dan also offers an Advanced Course that has more movement and drills, and I look forward to taking that class in the future.
The only negatives that I could find were the lack of good communication/audibility. Gator Farms needs to break down and buy a Bullhorn, or use some form of P.A. device. Even with amplified shooting ear muffs I was having trouble. Also, while I knew who the Instructors and Staff were I really think it would benefit everyone if they all wore red "Range Master" shirts so that they can be quickly identified.
The class was designed by Massad Ayoob, Marty Hayes and Dan Southard. Dan, being retired military and knowing the level of training or lack there of, that the average G.I. Joe and Jane receive and how hard it is to get troops released from duty for training designed this course as a quick immersion course for those needing to get "up to speed" before going into harm's way. The little bit of knowledge that Dan gives you may make the difference between coming home, or not.
For the LEO's taking the course, some of it will be a repetition of stuff already learned, but with a twist. Some departments and agencies are real good about providing ongoing training. Others, not so much. For those that provide ongoing training you will receive validation that what you've learned is effective, and works. For those not fortunate enough to have an employer that provides much, if any, ongoing training you will be exposed to techniques that maybe were only mentioned at the Academy, but not taught, or taught to their full potential.
If you are in AZ, or the surrounding area, I would strongly encourage any military folks about to be deployed, or LEO's, to give serious consideration to this class. Hey, it's free after all, and what you get out of it is more than what it cost you, in my humble opinion.