Author: Frank Woods
Training Objective/Goal: I went into this class saying to myself, okay, what’s your objective for attending this class, what do you hope to get out of it knowing what you’re good at or not good at when it comes to pistol work? And I determined, I need help with my grip and presentation. Every time I did dry fire at home, I would find myself wasting precious time breaking the shot by hunting for the dot on the draw, and I knew this was a result of my grip and presentation not being right. It would frustrate me for the fact that I knew I was doing something wrong, but didn’t have the information needed to fix it.
So if nothing else, I was looking to work on and get that fixed, especially with this gun. Coming out of my Safariland ALS/SLS at work with my Gen 3 G19 is smooth and simple because there’s nothing attached to the gun. But with my 19X + ACRO + WML, there’s more stuff attached to the gun making physical contact with the holster on the way out that’s resulting in friction and therefore resistance on the draw, which is where my grip and presentation problems were stemming from.
TD1: I was originally intending to run this whole class from my personal gun belt using my Glock 19X with the Aimpoint ACRO P-2. Presumably an admin error resulted in the required equipment list for Scott’s AIWB class being sent out in the “Here’s what you need for class” email, which specified for a concealment holster and mag carrier.
I figured, okay I can use my work gun (Gen 3 G19 + NY2 12 lbs trigger, irons only) for that since it’s all that I’m authorized to carry in the real world anyway, and it wouldn’t hurt to get reps on that coming from concealment, so that’s what all I brought with me for TD1. But when we started the class with the opening lecture it became very apparent that Scott’s portion of the class would be more based on his RDS curriculum. Running from concealment was fine, but with a dot gun. I didn’t have that.
Scott said it was okay if I was using an irons only gun, but on the firing line I wasn’t getting all of the lesson plan as it relates to what the dot’s behavior communicates towards one’s draw, grip, etc being done correctly or not, since only so much of that can be applied to the front sight. I was frustrated, but not without recourse.
Fortunately, I was staying with the class host (Keith Romp of the Central Iowa Training Group) for this trip, and he’d gone back to the house to let the dog out. I asked him to retrieve my gun belt, G19X, and mags so I could get as much of the material/lessons from the class as I could, not to mention the factory trigger + TTI firing pin & trigger spring kit making the gun much easier to use. Romp came through, and my buddy Ed laughed when I didn’t hesitate to run off the line to switch out my gear. Now I was cooking with fire.
By the end of the class, my training objectives and goals had been met and exceeded. We talked about grip, draw, presentation speed, sight picture and target acquisition, and by the time it was over, Scott taught me how to repeatably do it right, and in a way that made it extremely easy to internalize and call upon on demand. The beauty of having Scott teach before Chuck started here, but didn’t make itself apparent until later on.
TD2: Now, I’ve done Chuck’s No Fail Pistol class before, two years ago back in September 2020, which is why I brought the gun belt and 19X along for the trip anyway; it was the same setup I used last time, back when it had the ACRO P-1 on it (which I’ve since upgraded to a P-2). So I had a good idea of what to expect from the lesson plan, and I was looking forward to doing it again to see what all I picked up from it a second time that I missed the first time.
Granted, it was a shorter version of that POI being only one day instead of two, but a lot of what I remembered from the last time was covered this time anyway. But this is where things got interesting, and the experience was even better than last time.
I want to take a moment to acknowledge something that happens often in the training circuit when it comes to getting trained by multiple instructors, so you can really appreciate the fact that it didn’t happen this weekend, and that’s the tendency people have to compare and contrast how different teaching styles and lesson plans are between different instructors.
We see this happen a lot in the CQB training circuit; Someone that was taught one thing from one school or instructor will be attending a different school or instructor’s class on the same topic, and I suppose this next part comes from some subconscious need to seek approval by proving what one thinks they know when they talk faster than they think about what they’re about to say, and challenge the lesson they’re being taught now by weighing it against the lesson they were taught previously.
This usually takes the form of What-Aboutism, where the student will, upon being introduced to a new solution to solve the same problem that’s alternative to what they’ve already been taught and rather than approaching and receiving it with an open mind, will start asking “But what about this that I was taught from this other place or person?” or “What about when I’m doing this or that, shouldn’t I account for this other thing instead?” It’s bullshit that just wastes time for everyone that paid to be there and telegraphs that the person asking isn’t mature enough to take what they like and leave what they don’t and keep it moving.
None of that happened here. There was apparently some cause for concern or wonder pertaining to how Scott & Chuck’s lesson plans would work together due to some misguided belief that they were incompatible, because the two approaches to solving the same problem were starkly opposed; They are not. Not even a little bit.
To the point, while it’s common for people to compare two lesson plans from two instructors that happened in two different places at two different times, it’s RARE to see two instructors on site for the same class with the same group of students teaching BOTH of their POIs TOGETHER in a cumulative approach where all points are complementary, nothing exclusive or contradicting.
All of this to say, Scott & Chuck together make for an excellent fast track to getting someone on point in their performance and capability with a pistol. There’s no “Scott comes from a competitive background and Chuck comes from a tactical background and when worlds collide it’s gonna be a shit show where you gotta disregard one set of lessons to act on the other.” This is wrong. I’ve also heard people say “Scott teaches how to shoot fast, Chuck makes you slow down, so you have to resist from doing things as fast as you did with Scott to successfully do what Chuck wanted you to do.” This is also wrong.
Scott teaches you everything you need to know from gripping the pistol while it’s still in the holster to pulling the trigger and firing the first shot, and EVERYTHING in between, and he teaches you how to do that the right way; the speed that you do it with is really up to you and dependent upon how developed your pistol skills are. The faster shooting students in the class weren’t doing it because Scott told them to do, it’s because that’s what they were capable of. As far as Scott was concerned, speed is secondary to form, because if your form is fucked up and you go fast, you’re just gonna fuck up faster. If your form is good, it’s on you to speed up and do it faster.
So if you were one of the faster shooters in the class and you’re reading this, pat yourself on the back; You’re that good, not because Scott told you to be, but because you put the work in. Scott put you on the road, you applied pressure to the gas pedal.
On the other hand, Chuck’s lesson plan assumes you already know how to do all of that, so instead focuses on how to take ALL of what Scott teaches and apply that to real world defensive employment of a pistol, where low percentage hit probability is a thing that needs to be accounted for, backed by facts and experience gleaned from the battlefield, officer involved shootings, and the accountability applied to the marksman that both of those instances have in common. It’s not “slow down to be a sniper with a pistol,” it’s “It’s you or him, coffin or courtroom, and you as one of the good guys need to stay out of both of those places.”
In short: Scott is about form, Chuck is about precision. You need to do both. Speed is on you.
So it was very eye opening for me to get the first set of training from Scott, and then get Chuck on the second day, using everything Scott taught us to do everything Chuck asked us to do. It was like “Whoa, holy shit,” not so much because I could do it, but because I could do it repeatably, on demand, using new information to execute familiar techniques and drills, with BETTER performance and execution.
Therefore; This class provided a testimony that few will admit to and even less will open their eyes to: Competitive concepts and Tactical applications go hand in hand. The oil & water effect between both camps is purely a sensation manufactured of tribalism and ego, neither of which matter fuck all in a gun fight.
Here, two of the most noteworthy and highly esteemed representatives of the Competitive and Tactical fields came together and proved this, a sacrosanctity of any gunfighter: Your talent doesn’t matter if you don’t step forward to do the work, and your eagerness to do the work doesn’t matter if you lack the skill to do it.
I don’t know who or where this rumor started but the allegation is floating around that Modern Samurai Project classes only fill as fast as they do cause of marketing; this is a crock of shit. I didn’t sign up for the class feeling like “I gotta sit through a day of Scott just to get a day of Chuck,” I signed up on purpose to get pistol work in from two people that I know that know their shit when it comes to working with pistols, based on feedback I got from other people that also work with pistols closely and often who’ve taken Scott’s class before. So if you’re having reservations about signing up for an MSP class cause of that, you might as well wipe your ass with it and flush the idea; the value is in the attendance. You have to actually go and see it for yourself but you won’t regret it.
This class was so good, I told Scott and Chuck both that they should really consider doing a three day version of it, in the same order (first Scott then Chuck) and with added material and shooting. I’d trip over myself running to sign up for that, cause between Scott and Chuck’s lesson plans in that order, this class was like the Gogeta of pistol classes.
Takeaways and Gear Feedback:
- RDS zero distance between 10m & 25m does not matter. The elevation hold is a difference between .5″ to .7″, wholly negligible.
- Grip (both one handed or two), Draw Speed, Presentation are all looking and feeling a lot better, and the results on paper and steel do not lie. It is truly a matter of kinesthetic learning, where the teacher needs to watch you do what he showed you and tweak or correct you until everything adds up to their saying “Keep doing that.” Having Scott on the line on the second day to AI for Chuck and reinforce the stuff he taught us the day before while we were working on Chuck’s accuracy standard based performance drills was of huge benefit. I saw the difference.
- Strong & Support Hand Only shooting also improved noticeably. Now I’ve got a better idea of what to focus on in terms of grip.
- Fastest time on steel from the holster at 25 yards going head to head with another shooter on the clock was 1.85 seconds. I’ll take it.
- I need to spend more time with my shot clock (lol yes I own one of those) to get myself over beep anxiety getting in the way of my practiced reps. Continued exposure will desensitize the effect/response. It needs to be as innocuous as a traffic light going from red to green; all my driving skills don’t go away and fall apart when it happens.
- I find I’m not a fan of gamey drills. The last thing we did for the class involved shooting 5 rounds, reloading as we moved to a new position, shooting 5 rounds, reloading again as we moved, and shooting 5 rounds at the last point. And even though I was doing really good between two handed and one handed shooting the whole two days prior, this last thing I just didn’t do as good on, cause I couldn’t get into it. In my head I was like “The only time I’d ever have to do this is if I tac reloaded through all my mags and only had partials left and didn’t have time to consolidate them into fewer mags.” Not Chuck’s fault, it’s a me thing. I wasn’t happy that I didn’t do better, knowing I could have, but it wasn’t a very inspiring course of fire personally, it didn’t speak to or inspire me.
- It was mentioned that FBI approved ammo means the upper thoracic cavity on a target becomes a backstop that you don’t have to worry about having a shoot-through or overpenetration problem with. That was an interesting data point I took a moment to write down for future reference in terms of liability attached to choosing the wrong ammo for the application of the weapon.
- First few hours of Day 1 were using the Gen 3 G19, RCS Eidolon holster and RCS Lictor mag carrier. Those were boring in the sense that they worked fine. Switched over to personal gun belt and G19X + ACRO P-2 + X300U-A coming out of a Safariland 6305RDS as soon as I was able and used them for the rest of the class.
Speaking of which, my G19X is now Samurai tested, Presscheck approved! Scott was compelled to take it for a spin when he saw the Battlecomp on the muzzle, and seemed surprised that it handled as nice as it does. Chuck’s seen it before but this was his first time shooting it. “That’s a cool piece you got there,” he told me.
- The G19X did not escape this class unscathed, however. Fortunately, it suffered zero mechanical malfunctions, but externally it got roughed up a bit.
— For one, the Ranger Wrap kit I had just applied to it a week ago got ate the fuck up; my holster said “Fuck yo aesthetic mod” and tore off the piece from the battery cover side. I’ll replace it with rattle can tan of some variety.
The Talon Grip wrap was also damaged. We had these little chigger gnats annoying the shit out of us all day on the range, and when guys started busting out the bug spray, I went a little crazy with it and applied it to both the outside and inside of my forearms. The inside of my forearm, when hanging at my side, lands directly over/against the grip of the pistol, which applied a nice layer of bug spray to the right side of the grip. The DEET in the bug spray started eating away at the Talon Grip wrap, and as it disintegrated, it resulted in a sticky adhesive surface that did wonders for my grip as it integrated with the skin of my palm, but it didn’t STAY on the grip; In the pictures, the dark spots you see on my hands that look like dirty smudges from soot and ammo are actually parts of the Talon Grip that lifted off the grip and cured to my hand. So the Talon Grip that’s left on the pistol is thinner and smoother than it was prior to the class. I’ve purchased a new grip kit to replace it with in the meantime, but I’m also debating sending the frame out to get laser stippled to give it a sandpaper-like grip surface not unlike the Staccato G2 Tac texture.
- I’m thinking of digging out and reinstalling the Magpul magwell for my G19X, the factory one I have on there now kept sliding up and down on the front strap which made for problematic seating of mags with the flat 17 round floor plate; es no goo.
- No changes or issues with gear otherwise. I actually had to stop and think about whether or not my leg rig was bothering me after wearing it for two days straight; it wasn’t.
- Keith Romp is an excellent host, not just on the training side but as a friend especially; his hospitality is top notch. The community will feel his absence for sure as he’s chosen to step back from the industry and move on in his retirement, but as he passes the torch to Kraig, he leaves his legacy in good hands, both worthy and deserving at that. Getting to meet and hang with them both finally was long overdue and well worth the trip, and I look forward to seeing Kraig continue in Romp’s footsteps as the next generation for training logistics and coordination in the state of Iowa as his heir apparent.
Getting facetime and hanging out with my friends on the industry side is always fun, but getting to meet and hang out with friends in the more informed and capable echelons of the community is always a treat because I’m privileged to shake hands and talk to people that I know are skilled, knowledgeable and humble about it. I wish I had more people like that around me more often. Several people I’ve known through social media were present at this class, and getting to shoot and talk shop with them was fun and easy going, as such things ought to be. They’re all excellent performers in this craft, and getting to see them in action is inspiring, to see what we’re all capable of once we have the right information and make the effort. We owe it to guys like Scott Jedlinski & Chuck Pressburg making it their mission in life to show us the way.
Join the discussion on this and related topics: