AAR - No-Fail Pistol, October 12-13, 2019 - Pueblo West, CO

Presscheck Consulting - No Fail Pistol
Oct 12-13, 2019
Pueblo West, CO - Pueblo West Sportsman’s Association Range
Instructor background:
26-year US Army SOF Veteran with numerous deployments and countless engagements.
Assistant Instructors: N/A

My background: I’m a guy that realized that he could find himself in some ridiculous situation one day and wants to know what he can and cannot handle so he doesn’t make a mistake that he cannot live with. I also work for my state’s largest and weirdest law enforcement agency.

My gear: A stock Glock 19.5 with Ameriglo night sights and Talon Grips grip tape. I ran the weapon in a Safariland 6360 SLS/ALS holster on a Bianchi nylon duty belt with a Safariland Model 775 triple magazine pouch. I was using a combination of Glock™ Brand Glock™ magazines and Magpul™ Glock mags, 21 in total. All 15 rounders. My ammo was Magtech 115gr FMJ.

Class demographics: 9 people, 4 of which Chuck was not expecting due to technical difficulties. It was a pretty diverse group of various ages and skill levels. Some were cops and others were armed civilians. I was “that guy” in the class.

What’s this class about?

This class is about figuring out what you can and cannot do. This class is about helping you develop yourself so that you can make what you cannot do now into something that you can do later. This class is a journey in self-awareness, self-reflection, and self-development with suggestions from a knowledgeable instructor. This is done through the crucible of testing and developing your ability to make high risk/high reward shots in order to achieve a physiological stop on a threat, on demand. There’s some other stuff in there too, but I won’t spoil it for you. If you think this class is about being slow, you’re mistaken.

The class and reflections:

Why was I taking this class? Due to my employment I realized that I could be called upon by circumstance to take that high risk/high reward shot in a packed area in order to stop a significant threat to my life or the life of another. I knew going into this class that I had issues with my accuracy with a handgun at distances greater than 15 yards. As such I wanted to improve my abilities within the 15 yard line and further out in order to be able to protect myself, my loved ones, and the community that I serve. Of the four handgun classes that I had taken prior to this one, none went past the 15 yard line save for my agency’s training, which resulted in no actual accuracy feedback or round accountability. Due to this knowledge I was pretty hesitant about taking the class. I expected the class to be nothing but shooting B8 centers at 25 yards all day, 'err day, and I knew my skills weren’t up to par at distance. I went ahead with the class despite my reservations and attempted to keep an open mind, stay plugged in, and approached it with the mindset of trying to learn what I could in order to improve my skills.

Class started promptly at 0800 both days. Due to a recent cold front the temperatures were about 30-40 degrees to start, but things quickly warmed up as the sun rose. Both days began with a short and sweet safety brief and coverage of the medical evacuation plan. On day one Chuck goes into the purpose of the class as well as his expectations of each student. Afterwards you start shooting full-sized B8s at 25 yards “free swim,” as Chuck likes to call it. This is done for gauging competency, confirming equipment setup, and shaking out any bugs. Definitely set yourself up with 4 mags of 10 rounds the night before, and stack the rest of your mags to capacity. You can always download if need be, but you will be shooting what you have in the mags for the rest of the day for the most part. You will be working two-handed, strong hand only, and weak hand only shooting with a high accuracy standard. You’ll also get into some other things depending on class progression.

What I really liked about the class was the emphasis on round accountability and accuracy, regardless of distance or how you’re shooting the firearm. Chuck was a great instructor due to his well-developed abilities of perception, and he kept all of his stories engaging but relevant to his topic of instruction. As well, he was big on imparting the “why” behind his instruction, focus, and techniques. He always demonstrated what he wanted the class to do. He was big on the “flinchies” and big on relating his instruction to his real world experiences in fighting. He also dropped small knowledge bombs for what he termed “instructor development.” These are ways to improve a training program or running a course that people can take back to their agencies.

There is no long lunch break, so bring some high energy/nutrient dense meal bars to keep you level. At most there’s about a 20ish minute break a little after midday. Bathroom breaks are similarly infrequent. Bring lots of water, because you will become dehydrated quickly. Even my 64oz bottle wasn’t helping me keep pace. Other members of the class were very magnanimous and brought coolers packed with bottles for the class. Class both days will be about 10 hours long, so expect to be mentally drained. You will take a lot of notes the first day; the second day I found myself barely taking any. Do keep a notebook on the line with you just in case along with a couple of pens and the always-helpful Sharpie.

Despite the 10 hour days the class is definitely not a drag while you’re in it and you probably won’t realize just how much ammo you’ve fired until you leave. I brought 1100 rounds of ammo with me and I fired a little under 800 over the course of the class. The pace isn’t fast, but it is very deliberate and purposeful. Chuck will make sure that you keep moving forward through his instruction.

With regards to ammo and magazine experiences, as stated previously I took 21 magazines. I don’t think I actually cycled through all of them since I kept loading the depleted ones, but the ability to just grab fresh magazines when a course of fire was complete was huge at allowing me to keep pace with the rest of the class and allowing Chuck to keep his instruction flowing. If you’re lacking in magazines, bring yourself up to about 10-15 before taking this class. Don’t cheap out on ammo like I did; while the Magtech was decent I started running into issues about midway through the second day with the dust, dirt, and fouling in my magazines and firearm. The only major issues came with the Magpul magazines as expected. Chuck did rupture a Lawman 147gr case in his NightFighter that caused a malfunction and took a minute to clear. Joe could expound on that one.

After class on both days, if Chuck offers to make reservations for a class dinner, take him up on it. The stories and the lessons he imparts over sustenance makes it more than worthwhile even if you want to shut down and decompress. The ability to bond with your classmates is huge at helping you push yourself in the course.

Overall, this is a class that I would definitely take again and I’m planning on doing so after I pursue some other classes to help me clean up other deficiencies that this course helped me identify. This isn’t a flashy or glamorous course by any means, but you won’t want to stand around with your phone taking photos and video. You will leave your phone in your pocket or your vehicle and you will stay plugged in and work on knowing yourself and trying to improve. I would say that anyone that carries a firearm for duty use should take this class, as should any armed self-defender looking to remain accountable on the worst day of their life. However, this is certainly not a beginner’s course. Chuck is a minimalist on mechanics instruction in this course, and our class happened to be the first one based on his own word that he taught with any significant amount of instruction due to the mean skill level of the class. If you don’t want to be on the struggle bus like I was, having the ability to shoot about an 80 on a B8 at 25 yards cold is a good prerequisite. If you’re below this standard as I was, you will be a bit frustrated. However, you can still learn a lot on what may help you with your shooting, and you will improve as the class goes on. Most of all, you will leave the class a more self-aware and accountable shooter.

P.S. That NightFighter is beastly.
P.P.S. Top shooter was Joe_K.
P.P.P.S. You can earn a nickname in this class.