As we venture into 2016, I thought it might be fitting to give credit to where credit is due. The list is not inclusive, but gives the nod to those who put my shooting, and by extension teaching, where it is today.
A lot of guys in the shooting industry tend to make things about who they are, what they do for a living, or perhaps have done for a living the first and foremost in their resume. That is not necessarily a bad thing. It lends some credibility that they know what they are talking about in their particular field of subject matter. The firearms industry is one of those industries that the old adage “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach” doesn’t hold water.
I got out of the Marines in the early 1990’s and at the time thought I was technically proficient with firearms. My early law enforcement career taught me how much I did not know. The day that it came to a head for me was the day that I was training with our state police SWAT team. We had just wrapped up shooting their pistol qualification course, and I had shot a score in the upper 80’s. I stood by my target with quite a bit of swagger. When the Sergeant came by my target, I motioned toward it with great attitude and said something to extent of “Check this out”. The Sergeant shrugged and replied “There’s a hundred points on that (expletive) test for a reason”. I’m sure 20 years later, he did not realize the impact those words had on my ego. It was that point in time that I decided to make a change. I began to seek out training. I researched carefully, and began to seek out the knowledge to become a better shooter.
Ernest Langdon- http://www.langdontactical.com
I took a class from Ernest in mid-2002 if I recall correctly. It was really the tipping point to where I looked hard at running the gun as the means to an end. Ernie is an extremely good teacher, and a wealth of knowledge. He is also know one of the few people that know how to teach the DA/SA trigger system. The big thing I took away from his class was the mental aspect of shooting, and having a plan to succeed.
Clint Smith- www.thunderranchinc.com
Clint is another guy that needs no introduction, and certainly doesn’t need props from me. I took one of his advanced handgun classes several years ago. The thing I took away from his classes was the personalized attention that he gave me, and he always had feedback. Heidi was a strong help as well. They created an almost family like atmosphere. Clint was always genuinely interested in the progression of the students, and was always humble.
Bill Rogers- www.rogersshootingschool.com
Bill runs a top notch school. It truly puts together speed shooting for someone that maybe is having trouble breaking the code and putting it all together. You have no choice but to get fast and hit stuff at Rogers Shooting School. The overwhelming thing I remember my first trip down was the first couple of days I came away with the “What the hell have I got myself into to?” feeling. But, luckily a Captain with the Chattanooga Police Department had gave me some advice prior to going down. I believe he said something like “Do what they tell you to, and you’ll do fine somewhere around Wednesday”. And he was right. I started putting it all together on Wednesday and my shooting went up from there.
I can’t finish the list without listing my mentor. Bruce was the guy that put it all together for me. He spent the time to help me improve my shooting and breaking down the why’s in an analytical fashion. He also helped me immensely in becoming a good instructor. One of the mantras I’ve heard him repeat over and over is that “It costs nothing extra to be kind to people”, and he is correct.
That is not the complete list, but the highlight reel. I’ve been fortunate to train with a lot of other dudes that have helped me along the way and I learned something from all of them. I am extremely appreciative to all that have helped me along the way.