September 7th, 2019 we hosted the 1 day version of Jon Dufresne’s Handgun Mechanics course. 15 shooters decided to come #getlearned
What was expected to happen?
Learn what, why, and how to carry a firearm and properly employ it safely. (1 day, 8-hour class)
- Cover/Shooting Positions
- Target Transitions
- Performance-based Movement
Students will see a significant increase in efficiency, comfort and general competency by the end of the course. Learn to shoot your blaster betterer!
What actually occurred?
We started the morning off with introductions and a safety briefing. Each shooter gave a short into / background on themselves to help bond the group together and promote more of a “team” feeling throughout the day. The students consisted of a group of LEOs, former military, current military and shooting enthusiasts, such as myself. After this short introduction, Jon didn’t waste any time getting to the meat and potatoes of the training.
First on the to-do list for the day was fundamentals. Grip, trigger, body positioning and sights. The morning was filled with a mix of mini lectures, demonstrations and practical drills (aka shooting…. a lot!) to enforce the concept that was being presented.
After a short lunch (approx 20 mins… Jon likes to shoot!) we moved into additional skills building exercises. Using what we learned in the morning we moved onto basic malfunctions (and how to prevent and move past them) target transitions and shooting while moving. As in the morning, it was a mix of mini lectures (including artwork!), demonstrations and practical drills.
Due to the condensed nature of the 1 day course (vs the standard 2 day course) we did not have time to cover the following items from the course outline:
- Cover/Shooting Positions
- Performance Based Movement
What went well and why?
The Handgun mechanics course moved at a quick pace with just enough time to absorb and practice the concepts, but not enough time to get bored or waste ammo.
We were given the opportunity to try many new variations of the basics. Though this was labeled as a “fundamentals” class, it never felt slow, boring, or regurgitated. Jon didn’t force his techniques but gave students the opportunity to discover how those slight tweaks could improve their individual style.
When someone is knowledgeable and passionate, people notice. Not only the instructor showed these qualities, but the students as well. Somehow we managed to get a group of shooter from very different backgrounds together and not once did we have any conflicts of personality or any unfriendly (or unsafe) competition.
The structure / curriculum of the Handgun Mechanics course was well thought out and practiced. Jon did a superb job of building upon the previously taught concepts and principles. With a solid foundation, comes strength, and most, if not all of the shooters demonstrated that – both through failure and success throughout the day.
The best courses I have ever taken start with small concepts which build into systems of actions that all end in all encompassing culmination events. This course does that but also reinforces technique to reach a more efficient end state.
What can be improved and how?
Please don’t take suggestions for improvement as a sign of dissatisfaction. I am a strong believer that the desire, intention and effort to improve is a valuable attribute of any good instructor or student. From our discussions, I believe Jon Dufresne shares these feelings. This section will be broken down for clarification into a few subsections based on who is responsible for the action that will lead to the improvement. I’ll start with myself!
Course Host / Organizer
My biggest regret with this course is that we only booked Jon for the 1 day version (we did day 2 as a 1-day Rifle Mechanics course). Although we learned a lot from this 1 day of training, I feel as though we could have seen much more progress and success had we been able to come to day 2 and continue to practice and build upon what we gained in day 1.
Jon and I had many discussions as we were driving back and forth, a lot of which centered around refining and improving instruction and course presentation / curriculums. One of the things we discussed was how I wish the courses I took came with more (ie any…) learning materials. I’m a big fan of the “tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them” kind of teaching model. A small amount of learning material before the class and some follow up material (perhaps explanation of specific drills that address specific concepts) would go a long way. Granted, many students will not use, and thus not benefit from them. That being said, the instructor can rest assured that everything possible was done to ensure the students learned and retained as much as possible.
I would also suggest that Jon update the course description slightly for the 1 day version of the course. Although it seems like common sense, it should be pointed out that this 1 day version will be condensed, move a bit quicker and most likely not have time to cover every aspect that the 2 day course covers.
Right alongside my suggestion above, the students could be much better prepared to optimise their learning. This is a broad recommendation, but includes aspects like:
- Showing up with extra mags, loaded (to minimize downtime at the range)
- Brining a notebook and USING IT!
- Asking questions about how to practice once not under the watchful eye of the instructor
- Being honest and realistic with themselves as to what their deficiencies are and what needs to be improved
The 1-Day format necessitated a faster pace than previous classes I’ve attended. This seemed to make showing up with your gear ready and a zeroed gun that much more important. If you have extra mags load them beforehand so you can relax between strings, hydrate, etc.
Of course, students can show up under prepared and still get something out of the training. It just won’t be as must as it possibly could be. It will still be fun… and if fun is all you are looking for, good on ya. If you are looking to maximize your investment, progress as much as possible and set yourself up to be able to continue to improve into the future, then some of my suggestions above will be of benefit.
Overall I think I can speak for most, if not all, of the training participants when I say this course is highly recommended. The atmosphere created was fun and promoted a high level of learning and safety. Jon’s enthusiasm is contagious and his passion for shooting and helping others improve is evident. I highly recommend anyone, other than the brand new (never held a gun before) shooter take the 2 day version of this course when they have the opportunity.
You truly don’t know what you don’t know. I thought this was an excellent class and would not only recommend it, but take it again in a heartbeat.
I hope this will not be the last time I get to train with Jon and I look forward to learning more from him in the future. I appreciate his laid back style and fun attitude when it comes to firearms training and applying the principles to my life as a regular Joe, living the EDC dad life.
This day of training led nicely into day 2 which was the 1-day version of Rifle Mechanics (read that AAR here).
Jon served with 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, deploying multiple times in various capacities. The Ranger Battalion also provided Jon with training and first hand experience in small unit tactics, airborne operations, field medicine, breaching, foreign languages and small arms.
Upon leaving the Army, Jon worked in executive protection and acted as a law enforcement consultant, molding his military experience into a contextual view of the threats faced outside of combat environments. Jon comes to the firearms industry with an ideal blend of military and citizen; shaping his courses to apply to Mil, LE and citizen students alike.