Well Mad Duck Training, hosted the 3 day Instructor Development Workshop, this past weekend, and although really would have liked to have shot better, passed both of the shooting qualifications on the first attempt.
This is a tough course put on by Tom Givens, and his team, this time around his wife Lynn, and John Heard.
Givens has high expectations if you want to be called a Rangemaster Instructor, and do not expect to be coddled, if you sign up for this course.
You need to really know how to properly draw, and you will need to know how to shoot fast, and accurately. You should also be proficient at making reloads, & clearing stoppages. You also need to have your gear squared away, and have it in working order. Most importantly you have to be safe.
Be prepared to listen, and although what you are being taught may be different that what you have learned before, do not fight the new information, You are not paying to hear the same information. You are not paying to hear the same information from a different instructor, you are there to listen to his methods.
Highly recommend you have electronic ear muffs, and spare batteries, so you can both listen, and hear the shooting commands.
Highly recommend you have a back up gun identical to the primary you brought to class, at least 2 students had gun issues, and had to switch to completely different guns to complete the course, and they had to struggle to keep up on time etc.
Magazines, when a course list at least 3 magazines, it does not mean only bring 3 magazines, it means bring at least 3, Givens tells you to have loose ammo in your pocket to top off mags on the line to save time, in the Instructor course you are also expected to watch and coach another student all 3 days, so having only 3 mags, means you are always busy. Also load your mags one round shy of full, it makes them much easier to seat and lock, if the slide is closed. Did see several load, then on the next drill have their magazine drop out on the first round. I always went to the line with at least 9 loaded magazines, which literally gave me time to rest, plus an additional 6 loaded in my range bag, so even when the class did run out of "pocket ammo" and had to go reload, I didn't have to rush as much, and had the time to sit or take an extra drink of water. After all a 3 day class is a marathon, not a sprint.
Take good ammo, yeah I know ammo is hard to get, but you are spending 3 days of your life, and paying a pretty good fee to take the class, why cut corners on ammo, and the class wasn't posted yesterday so you have had time.
It is best not to arrive "on time", get there a bit early so you are not rushed, yeah I had it a bit easier as I was hosting, but I've taken enough classes, that being rushed first thing in the morning, can affect the entire day.
In the Rangemaster IDW course, you are given a workbook, so after class it pays to study it at least some, and you have to make a presentation, and you have to pass a written test. So class isn't over when class is over.
You'll also need to clean your equipment, Friday after class I cleaned my CQB, and decided to replace the recoil spring, with a brand I had not used before, my mid morning Saturday, I was having failure to go into battery, ammo or spring?, no time to find out and finished the weekend with my S&W Pro Series.
Several guns had issues over the weekend, one was a 1911 in 9mm, but the student had without really looking brought some 45 Auto magazines, another with a 1911 was having issues of the gun not locking back after an empty magazine, and not feeding, but after class, ran 6 magazines through it with no issues, one M&P had several failures to fire, not sure if it was ammo, or lack of maintenance, and at least one Glock had a feed issue, that I saw first hand.
We provide beverages, and snacks, and order or provide lunch everyday, so that takes one thing off the shoulder of the students having to do or prepare for. Do not assume anything when taking advanced classes, either ask questions before you get there or go fully prepared to take care of yourself.
So here is my check list if you are planning an to attend an advanced course
1. Spare gun identical to the one you plan to use
2. Magazines plenty of them
3. Quality ammo
4. Quality holster, and a proper belt
5. Magazine pouches or carriers
6. A hat with a brim
7. Electronic Earmuffs
8. Spare batteries
9. Water & perhaps a snack
10. A folding chair
11. Sun screen, and bug juice
12. An open mind, & an open ear
If in doubt pack it, you can always bring it home