September 8th, 2019 we hosted the 1 day version of Jon Dufresne’s Rifle Mechanics course. Knowledge bombs were dropped, learning happened.
What was expected to happen?
Learn how to employ a rifle platform safely and efficiently. (1 day, 8-hour class)
- Cover/Shooting Positions
- Target Transitions
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?
For those of us that attended the Handgun Mechanics course the day before, the progression and flow was quite familiar.
After our safety briefing, we jumped right into our positioning and “grip” with the rifle. This seemed to be an area where some, if not most, of the minds were blown during the class. Simple adjustments (and having a reason behind those adjustments) made all the difference in recoil management and comfort while shooting. We also incorporated body positioning (standing vs. hunched over etc etc) into these drills and I know I, personally, saw great improvement in my shooting less than an hour into the shooting portion of the class!
Then we moved into the “draw” portion of the training with our rifles. We discussed the merits of both low and high ready and practiced several variations of each while receiving feedback for slight tweaks to make us slightly quicker, but even more importantly, more consistent! A lot of time was spent helping us develop repeatable performance.
As the day progressed we learned and practiced reloads, malfunctions, target transitions (small working our way to bigger and bigger transitions) and moving while shooting. As with the Handgun Mechanics course, this all culminated in a final friendly competition “stage” to finish up the day applying all the skills we had been practicing. I emphasize the “friendly” aspect of it, because it was more of a support group than it was a group of competitors. It was enjoyable to shoot with a group that was so supportive with no major egos or personality clashing. Everyone wanted everyone to “do better” as Jon would say.
As with the Handgun course the day before, due to the condensed scheduling requirements, we were not able to cover the following items listed on the course outline:
- Cover/Shooting Positions
What went well and why?
Jon was able to keep the course moving at a brisk pace, while still providing back stories and reasoning behind why he was asking to try a new or slightly modified way of doing things. His presentations and explanations seemed to connect well with the different levels of shooters in the class (20 year LEOs all the way to 1 student who had never taken any type of rifle training whatsoever).
What really stood out for me were the techniques Jon demonstrated that completely go against the accepted standards, ie moving while standing up/ walking normal. I’ve been hunched over my gun, stock 2 clicks out, sneaking down range for years. Jon has me extend the stock, stand up straight, and walk like I do everyday and ….what do you know- my dot is tracking straighter and recovering quicker. You truly don’t know what you don’t know.
The training was all about shooting better (faster and more accurately) while working within the confines dictated by your particular need / intended use. Those that were LEOs may have certains restrictions or guidelines they need to be able to operate in. Myself as a regular citizen might not be walking around with a chest rig and plate carrier all the time. All the techniques and drills presented allowed us as the individual shooters to practice what we needed to practice (which was slightly different throughout the attendees).
What can be improved and how?
As mentioned in previous AARs, 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. Jon Dufresne (and all good teachers that I know) agrees with this as well! 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.
To avoid beating a dead horse, I will attempt to provide different suggestions than I did in my AAR for the Handgun Mechanics course. I’ll start with myself!
Course Host / Organizer
I knew this would most likely prove to be true when I booked Jon to come out and teach two 1-day classes… same as the day before, my biggest regret with this course is that we only booked Jon for the 1 day version (we did day 1 as a 1-day Handgun 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.
We also experienced a short, but quite severe wind storm mid day. Although I am not sure I could have been 100% prepared for those high winds, I have already made plans to be able to deal with more wind that I have had to in previous classes. I want to be able to keep training!
Perhaps there would have been more time for this in the 2-day version, but I would have liked to see a bit more discussion on the different equipment types. We had quite a large range of rifles showing up to the course from a basic DI gun to some gucci piston guns touting the “long stroke piston lyfe” ha ha ha. To a newer shooter (myself included in this group) it would have beneficial to lay all the rifles out on the table and discuss some general design and feature advantages and disadvantages. Nothing too specific about brands, but more general categories (stock types, rail types, LVPO vs RDS etc etc).
Directly related to the suggestion below (zeroing our rifles ahead of time), I think it would be beneficial to have a slightly more elaborate pre class briefing packet to send to the students once registered for the class. Basically the equipment list with a few extra notes, some suggestions for those who have no idea how to be prepared (zero distance) etc etc.
Once again, come with your mags loaded – at least as least as many as you have, even if you can’t make it the whole day without topping off mags. This leaves more time for the important (read: FUN) part of the training.
Another task participants can do ahead of time is to zero our rifles! Although part of the morning was to confirm zeros, if we (yes, I was one of the shooters who needed to zero, as I had mounted my new optic the night before) had done our homework ahead of time, we would have had more time to learn and practice!
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.
Overall this was an outstanding course which I highly recommend for novice or seasoned veteran shooter. Jon is an excellent instructor who provides articulate and logical reasoning backed by science and experience in both group and individual instruction. You will also find that Jon shoots with the students and demonstrates every drill or concept.
I look forward to training more with Jon and Kinetic Consulting in the future and continuing to improve, all while meeting great people and other shooters who share similar passions with me.
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.