Practice with a Purpose
By Thom Bolsch and Ron Mullins
One topic we’ve discussed in a number of our articles is practice. If we don’t practice to respond to an incident; we will not be able to effectively react to an incident. In any emergency situation, we will fall back to how we were trained. If we have not trained, we could freeze or panic; not the best of responses.
This month we have a special treat. We had the opportunity to sit down with Saddle River Range Lead Instructor Chris Greenfield. Chris is an advocate of training and promotes programs that help the average shooter improve their level of skill and capability. Chris has been around guns since a toddler. His experience was enhanced during three combat tours with the United States Army and shared that experience as a Drill Sergeant. Chris holds multiple firearms instructor certifications across civilian, military and law enforcement disciplines. He has trained with the industry leaders in marksmanship, self-defense, and mindset in a weapons-based environment as well as an avid competition shooter. He joined SRR in 2015 and as of January 2017 heads the training department. Chris shared his thoughts on a program he teaches known as “Practice with a Purpose”.
SRR: Tell us about “Practice with a Purpose”; how would you describe the program?
Chris: Practice with a Purpose (PWAP) is a two-hour instructor lead group training session that focuses on key elements of safe pistol discipline with a challenging weekly format. We use standardized drills, shot timers, scored targets, even video playback to increase the amount of positive feedback from every repetition. We finish off each month shooting an evaluation such as the FBI qualification or the Hackathorn Standards to track the progress of the individual shooter.
SRR: How did you come up with this program?
Chris: The program is a modification of a program in which I participated while serving at my last duty station. The training group at SRR was looking to offer a weekly training program to help our customers increase their skill levels. We noticed that too often we see shooters come to the range, blast a couple boxes of ammo at the same B26 target and leave, with no real measurable outcome except the empty brass on the floor. “Practice with a Purpose” was developed to give our students a structured training session where the focus is on feedback and positive improvement. We have students that come almost every week and have done so for almost two years. It is pretty amazing to see the improvement of a shooter over a period of time.
SRR: Is this a standard training package that is repeated monthly?
Chris: Yes and no. The program is broken down into a four week rotation where we cover the same topic in relation to the week, but the drills, targets, and course of fire are constantly changing. For example, week one covers proper presentation of a pistol from the holster. It is formatted this way so that new students have the chance to learn skills and techniques; but in a manner that allows them to participate with the rest of the group without being singled out or holding the rest back. It also allows returning students to focus on this highly perishable skill. And this application is incorporated in each weekly module. We progress through the next three weeks covering the topics of pistol manipulations, reloads, and malfunctions on week two. Week three is applied marksmanship with an eye toward accuracy and speed, it also means we shoot a specific target application know as Dot Torture, and then we round off the month with evaluation day. Last month we shot the 10-8 Standards which is a complicated series of timed and scored drills. It even includes strong hand only reloads and failure to fire drills.
SRR: So a new shooter or an experienced shooter could be side-by-side in the class. Would you say this program would be valuable to anyone?
Chris: It is designed for the new shooter that wants to advance their level of skill and the experienced shooter alike. Anyone with a knowledge of the basics of firearm safety is able to attend, safety is the most important aspect of handling a firearm in any situation. We have had students in their teens attending with their parents, as well as retirees that now have a sub two second draw from concealment. Most of our students do become regular participants; and come when their schedule allows.
SRR: The course sounds interesting, but if a reader is on the fence; why would they want to participate in the program?
Chris: The question I would ask is “Why would a shooter not want to become a better shooter?” Most people never draw from a holster let alone draw from concealment. They never shoot on a timer and never shoot a prescribed set of drills. I might also ask “Can your readers safely perform a weak hand only presentation and get accurate hits on target?” Everything executed safely, all on the clock, all while your peers are watching you perform the task? Skills that hopefully are never needed; but could save a life if called upon? The majority of gun owners never get any formal firearms training. A LTC or CCW license requires demonstration of ability relative to the licensing state; but “Practice with a Purpose” significantly enhances skill, capability and confidence. Additionally, I’d say; come in and try it. At $40 it is no more cost to the participant than paying for a couple hours of range time; but with “Practice with a Purpose” you get professional level instruction with a group of like-minded individuals in a safe and fun learning environment. The only regrets you will have is not coming sooner.
SRR: When are the courses taught; and how would an interested reader sign up?
Chris: Classes are held every Friday afternoon from 3PM to 5PM. As with all of our training it is best to reserve your spot online at https://www.saddleriverrange.com/firearms-training/ or in store at SRR: We limit the class size to six and it typically sells out prior to the start of class, walk ins are not guaranteed a spot.
SRR: What should our readers expect when they participate in the program?
Chris: They should expect a safe, educational, positive environment that will build their ability to effectually use a firearm for self-defense, competition, or just target shooting.
SRR: Thanks Chris. Our readers appreciate the insight and we’re sure you’ll have a few more sign up for the classes this month and into the future.
Saddle River Range offers “Practice with a Purpose” weekly on Friday afternoon from 3PM to 5PM. Contact the training department for PWAP or any other course at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.saddleriverrange.com
Stay Alert, Stay Safe,
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