GLOCK Operator Course- The April 2018 Version
I just wrapped up another 2 days of hosting GLOCK Training for the second Operator’s Course, or OC as they call it. The last time was in October of last year with Scotty Banks. This time, it was with Lynn Freshly. Lynn has over 27 years as a law enforcement officer in Ohio, retiring as a lieutenant with his department. He also works with a group called Tactical Defense Institute when he is not running all over the country training for GLOCK. His experience in training goes back to 1998 when he joined TDI. I was honored to be able to be an extra pair of eyes and assist him on the line as needed. Luckily, the class was pretty ‘spun up’ so I got to shoot quite a bit as well!
The course was held at one of our host ranges, The Ontario Rod and Gun Club. This club is perfect for our type of training and often hosts USPSA and 3 Gun Nation events. Membership is inexpensive and the progressive mindset of the club is refreshing. If you wish to check them out, go to www.ontariorodandgun.com and see what they have to offer. We are pleased to have partnered with them to provide and host high end professional training at the facility.
Now, you’d think: April? Yeah, that’s a pretty good time of the year to host a course, right? Well, since Western NY weather decided to be fairly uncooperative, it wasn’t great. It could have been worse, but I am still not going to complain about 35-40 degree weather and a little bit of flurries compared to a lot of rain. All in all, it really was not that bad, just chilly.
We had 11 people (including me – again!) in the class this time. There were supposed to be a few more but due to family emergencies and work related changes, three of the attendees had to reschedule to the October date.
Out of the 10 other attendees, the class was made up of the following: 1 active law enforcement officer, 2 retired officers, one from Puerto Rico now living here, a director of a security guard training school, and 7 GSSF Members. 4 of them are current, long time students of Rochester Personal Defense, LLC. Travel distances ranged from Syracuse, Oswego, Jamestown, Newark, Strykersville, and the rest were local to Rochester.
You’re probably wondering what type guns were there as well. Here goes: we had 1 Glock 26, 1 in 45 GAP (NYSP dude), 1 model 23, 5 model 19’s, 3 17’s (I ran both my Gen 5 19 and my Gen 5 17), and a model 34.
Skill abilities in this course were fairly close this time. Most everyone has been training or has been shooting GLOCK pistols for a while, and all were looking to gain a better understanding on the handgun and learn more about their own skillset. Besides myself, one other had attended the course last October. He liked it so much, and felt challenged enough, that he wanted to do it again.
Bear in mind, this is not an advanced course, nor is it a basic level, introductory course. Those wishing to attend should have some experience shooting, and it is highly suggested that they attend a basics fundamentals course, as well as a defensive firearms course, prior to attending the GLOCK Operator Course.
Day 1: Let’s set the basics
We started off in the classroom, with us looking out the window at the 32 degrees and flurries, hoping for a sudden surprise heat wave. Lynn greeted everyone and started on the paperwork. Afterwards, we got the introductions out of the way, and got to work. Since Lynn determined that the class was not going to be a basic level, he covered most of the basic information about the gun parts, ammunition, and loading and unloading as a refresher. The rest of the classroom portion was spent going over the shooting fundamentals such as stance, body position, grip, sight alignment, follow through, trigger management, and the overall operational details of ‘running the GLOCK’ to make your skills produce the results you wish on the target.
Then, it was off to the range. Now, I won’t give away all of the stages and skill training because it will take away from the fun, but we started off with a couple warm up drills so that Lynn and I could see what everyone was doing and who needed attention. We worked some slow precision drills and then got into the holster work. After identifying some shooter that needed refinement on their draw, we got into multiple shots, differing target areas, and defensive accuracy skills.
Essentially, the course is built around a series of fundamentals. SOME of them are: a draw to first shot, reloading, malfunction clearing, and multiple shot on targets. Trust, me, that isn’t all there is but I wanted to give you an idea of what is included.
The goal of the course is to make the shooter more efficient, more accurate, and more effective. When you combine all of those factors, you get a safer, more responsible, and a more trained individual. Removing all extraneous movement is the key and you cannot do that all by yourself.
One of the great drills I like to do is the cadence drill. This was done at 5, 7, and 10 yards. You pick your target zone, and fire 5 rounds at a 1 second per round pace. The goal is to have as tight a group as possible. Then, you do the same at a 2 round per second rate, then the same at a 3-4 round per second rate. That is repeated at 7 and then 10 yards. This shows how important your grip and trigger manipulation are when firing multiple shots.
Day 1 ended with about everyone shooting about 400 rounds on average and some confident looks after working on quite a few drills. Most everyone needed to get home to take care of work, or family, but a few of us managed to hit the Monte Alban location in Webster for a quick bite before we all went our own ways.
Day 2: Refine, and push harder.
Day two started off in the classroom with a quick review of what we covered on Day 1, then we were of to the range.
We all did a quick warmup and review of the previous day’s skills and then got into some skill diagnostics and malfunction drills. The idea is to fix any kind of stoppage intuitively and get back on target. Using some tried and proven tools such as inert rounds, and a technique called ‘ball and dummy’, we were able to see where we were anticipating a shot, even when it wasn’t a live round. Once that was identified, we were able to minimize, then start fixing any flinching. The goal of accurate fire is to press the trigger to the rear without causing any additional movement of the sights. Sure, you say “No problem” but until you’ve actually tried this drill, you don’t know how much you anticipate!
We then started getting into movement. Working on drills walking forward, rearward, left and then right, and discovering how to minimize the bobbing and extra movement caused by walking. One thing is always amazing: we know how to walk, and we know how to shoot. When you combine the two, it is unbelievable how we try to make both of those tasks harder! I have news for you, it’s not like in the movies.
After that, we got into one handed operation, which no one ever does enough of. We worked some drills with our gun or dominant hands, and then with our support or ‘other’ hands. This set of drills gives the shooter new appreciation for managing their handgun and what is involved in getting an accurate steady shot on target.
Lunch time. Perfect time to wind down and relax. We discusses the crazy laws we have to deal with, and some of the first time students to this course were wondering about the rest of the day.
After lunch, it was time to run what GLOCK Training calls the GLOCK Standards. There’s nothing new or difficult here, just a set of skills that are tested to see what you possess and what you need to work on. No. I cannot tell you what the GLOCK Standards or the time cutoffs are as that would make it a less effective testing method. If you wish to see what they are, attend a GLOCK Operator course and see for yourself.
What I WILL tell you is that there are a number of skill tests and they are all timed. GLOCK Training has a template with a body zone and a head zone in which you are supposed to obtain your hits. A miss costs you, so make sure you get the hits where you need them. once you finish each of the skill tests, the times are added up, plus any misses, and you have your total score.
Glock Training came up with a ranking system. You are ranked from 1 to 4 with 4 being the fastest. The results of yesterday’s course were as follows:
Level 1: 2 people
Level 2: 0
Level 3: 7 people
Level 4: 2 people
I saw a lot of improvement on quite a few people. A couple of the shooters started out with a serious flinch, but by the end of day 1, it had all but disappeared. A few others were using the old and ineffective method of ‘pinning the trigger to the rear’ when they were shooting, but once we explained how to better manage the trigger, their targets improved greatly.
Overall the class was good. We were able to run one line of shooters so the pace was fairly constant. I did see some fatigue creep in and small mistakes started popping up but no major safety issues showed up. All in all, we had a good, professional group of students.
Lynn’s course ran a bit different than the one Scotty ran. There was nothing bad about the differences though. Mostly, it was in the style of the instructor. Scotty has a louder, more driven style, where Lynn had a more laid back no frills, ‘This is what you need to know, do, and learn’ style. His was very straightforward, yet easy to follow. There was no confusion on what he asked of the course and he had a good, firm yet supportive teaching style that gave the students a feeling of confidence as they pushed harder to get faster and more efficient.
Lynn also kept the overall pace up for the duration of the course. We finished a little early on Day 1, but no one complained. He and I both agreed that their ‘tanks were full’ and that all we would be doing is burning ammo, rather than learning, if we kept going. Sometimes, it is not about the time, it’s about the progression of learning.
If you are thinking about jumping into a 2 day format for defensive firearms skills training, the GLOCK Operator course is a good choice. Too many people are either unwilling or incapable of committing to a 2 day course for some reason. When planned in advance, it can happen. The learning that happens over 2 days compared to only a single day is amazing.
Even a moderately trained shooter can benefit from the GLOCK Operator Course because of the format and the standards they use.
In the end, I recommend the course highly to those wishing to get a good jump start on their education and for those that need to identify the particular skills that they are lacking.
A couple things to remember: ‘You’re only as good as what you can do ‘cold’ and not after a warmup” and “Stop doing what you are good at, you’ll never get better. Work on what you suck at. That will make you great”
Come join the gang once again on October 25 and 26, 2018 for another GLOCK Operator Course!