Friday, April 4, 2014

Shooting-Performance/Mike Seeklander Defensive Handgun level 1

This past weekend I had the opportunity to Mike Seeklander's Defensive Handgun Level 1 for the second time. The first time through was almost exactly a year ago. It was interesting to take it again and see where I had improved, it was also interesting to hear, see or try something for a second time and have it make more sense or work better than it did before.

For those that don't know Mike, he is an exceptional shooter with an interesting background that has two very distinct branches. On the one hand he has federal law enforcement instructor experience with the FAMS and FLETC. He essentially ran the FAMS firearms training program for a while before moving to a senior instructor position at FLETC. On the other he has a fairly successful competitive shooting background. He was the Speed Shooting World Champion (read: Steel Challenge) in production division in 2011. He took 2nd spot in this years IDPA BUG Nationals behind Jerry Miculek. He finished 3rd in his division and was in the top ten overall at the IDPA Indoor Nationals. So you end up with a shooter who can execute shooting at a very high skill level and also has the instructional background to be a well developed teacher. Mike is big on program design and takes a lot of care in designing and building his classes so that students get the most bang for their buck possible.

Day one of training starts off with the customary introduction and safety brief, followed by a short discussion of equipment and what Mike uses and why. He is a big advocate of training with what you carry (at least for his defensive classes), and he isn't afraid to call out bad, or less than ideal gear. The rest of the morning is spent working skills in dryfire. The reasoning according to Mike is why waste the ammo and by extension the $$ training and learning skills that don't necessarily require a round to be fired. We spent close to 2 hours learning and refining grip technique and the draw process prior to lunch. After lunch, the bullets came out. The rest of the day was spent working the same skills we had learned during the morning session, just with bullets.

Day two started off a quick safety refresher just to make sure everyone was still in the right mindset, then straight into live fire. We hit on everything from training day 1 real quick, then moved into stress testing the skills through one on one heads up competition. We then moved into off line movement, pivots, use of cover and shooting around another person, using barrels as our "other person". The instructional part of the day wrapped up with one handed shooting, but the shooting wasn't over. The range was still open, and shooters were allowed to spend the next few minutes practicing whatever they felt needed practice while Mike watched and gave individualized pointers where needed.

After all the smoke had cleared, Mike passed out certificates, said his thank yous to the guys at Last Resort Firearms Training for allowing us to use their range and we wrapped up with a class picture. This class was not on average as skilled as last years class and the course material was paced appropriately for the skill level represented. That being said, I didn't feel as though the class was boring, or the pace was too slow, and I had seen it all before. That speaks to Mike's ability to motivate the more skilled shooters in the class and keep it interesting when everyone else is a few steps back still. That experience has not been mirrored in other classes. I ended up shooting about 800 rounds, another shooter running a single stack gun shot less than 500, and a third shooter was pushing 1,000 so the round count can be controlled by the shooter a little.

The highlight reel is below. Stay tuned for some thoughts on specific things in the class that I think deserve a little more attention.


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