AAR: Reston Group Practical Pistol Marksman

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AAR- After Action Report
Class: 1-Day Practical Pistol Marksman Reston Training Group LLC
Date: October 10th
Location: Aurora Sportsman Club (Aurora IL)

Meet the guys:



Lead Instructor: Jared Reston
Jared has been a law enforcement officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office since 2001 and has been an active member of S.W.A.T. since 2004. Jared was assigned as a Detective in the Department of Homeland Security/Gang Investigations Unit, as well as the assistant team leader and lead firearms instructor for the SWAT team. Jared has been involved in the successful resolution of over one thousand S.W.A.T. missions, including several lethal force incidents.

For his actions in a January 2008 shooting, he was awarded The President of the United States “Medal of Valor”, American Police and Hall of Fame’s “National Police Officer of the Year”, Fraternal Order of Police’s “Florida Police Officer of the Year”, and the State of Florida’s “Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.”

Jared has had the opportunity to train with, and be trained by, some of the finest firearms and tactics instructors in the country.

He has recently retired and is now doing consulting for the firearms industry, most recently Safari Land!



Jared has also worked along side Joe Chambers in development of the Reston Regulator which is a 9mm double stack featuring a Chambers Custom RDS and your choice of Akro, Holosun, or RMR.



Assistant Instructor for class: Alex Hartman
Alex is the Owner and lead instructor for Ridgeline Outfitters. Alex is a former Marine Scout/Sniper and current security contractor with a wide variety of skills and experience as both an operator and an instructor. Alex has real world experience in both Iraq and Afghanistan and strives to bring those lessons learned to the Law Enforcement Sniper community. He is a member of the NTOA and several other professional organizations.

Overview of the class: Effective shooting is a complex motor skill. Mastery of any complex skill is best achieved through a deep understanding of its fundamentals. The course uses the time proven technique of shooting bull's-eye targets at challenging distances to evaluate and improve the student's shooting fundamentals. The goal of the course was to help students understand and apply proper fundamentals while still using practical gunfighting techniques.


Background/Review/Impressions:
Leading up to this class I have had zero formal training. I was taught to shoot by family whom have worked in law enforcement, but nothing like this. To say I was a bit nervous was an understatement. I also want to add, I have not trained outside… ever. So drawing from a holster, and putting that skill set to work was something I personally was a bit intimidated by. With that said, I knew I was a decent shot and was excited to see what I was made of,

I arrived at ASC at roughly 8:20am to get ready for a day of training. I was met by a handful of familiar faces, some very familiar names, and some folks I knew by reputation, who are also members here!

Leading up to the 9am start we held a small meet and greet, talked guns, made sure our mags were ready, got hydrated and ready to go to work! As a few of us talked and exchanged stories, Jared and Alex got targets set up and made sure everything was in place.

9am came around and Jared called us to the line. He explained the objective of the class, talked a bit about his experience, talked about Alex a bit, and then went on to explain topics and thought processes of the class. Safety, expectations, etc…

Walking to the line, I was not sure what to expect from Jared, the class, or even his “teaching/training style”. Being a trainer in corporate America, I understand that the small things can change the entire feel of a class based on the instructors teaching style and personality, I have to say, Jared and Alex were both great! Very laid back but very engaged with the class. I am sure this changes based on class and audience, the approach was really spot on for the level of shooters in this class (at least in my opinion). To give perspective to this, there were a handful of very solid shooters in the class, there were some police officers there refining skills, there were a handful of very very new shooters, and the rest were all middle of the road folks who where looking to grow in their approach to shooting.

**Quick disclaimer** As I go further into my notes, I want to be very respectful to the content of the class…I don't want to get to far into the woods on all details. You gotta take the class if you want all the goodies!

After Jareds introduction and objective breakdown he gave us numbers which were assigned to targets… and that was our target/lane for the remainder of the day, then we were off to our targets to set a base line. This consisted of two five round mags off the draw at 25 yards. Once all shooters had shot, we tallied up scores and that was our baseline for the day. While shooting it gave Jared and Alex a good chance to take a look at who really needed work, who may be ahead of the curve, and finally where to concentrate energy based on the shooting they saw.

There was a handful of additional drills we worked on and then we all gathered back up.


Topic #1 notes: Stance
Jared called us all back to center, he talked in depth about how he prefers to have students stand. This is the foundation of your base. For me, this was a bit of an adjustment, however I was willing to give it a go and take a step back if ultimately it would lead to better shooting. Jared teaches an upright position for stance, big chest, with weight distribution pushing down on your strong leg. This makes total sense especially if you are going to eventually be adding movement later.

Once we all understood the concepts Jared was demonstrating, we went back to the line and incorporated what we had just learned. Another 10 rounds off the draw at 25 yards on a B8. Making sure our weight distribution was proper, standing tall, shoulders slightly back, elbows slightly cracked, and ready to roll! From there, there were several more magazines of 10 rounds shot and tallied to see if we had improvement on the B8 (again almost all the targets for this class are shot this way).

Quick Break, load up mags, hydrate, back to center with Jared!


Topic #2 notes: Grip
Jared talked a lot about proper hand placement when shooting… My takeaway was the word “vice”! Sandwiching (or clamping) the firearm between your hands, not overly squeezing with one hand or the other. Off hand locked in at an angle… For me, another adjustment. I have always shot with my off hand slightly cocked, however this was a lot more exaggerated than I had been taught. The concepts he teaches in this portion, again, make perfect sense for the “next stages” of gun fighting! The grip Jared teaches helps with reduction in felt recoil which also improves on follow up shots and tracking sights. There is a bunch more to the explanations he gives, but again I don't want to get too granular here.

Back to the line for more B8 targets to put what Jared demonstrated to work! As we shot out 10 shots, Jared and Alex walked the line inspecting shooters and working with them, giving tips, and addressing any issues that were on display. Again, 3 mags or so on this drill.

Another short break, mag reload, water, and back to center for the next topic!


Topic #3 notes: Sights
For me, this was what I needed least work with. But, it's what many needed most work on. This portion of the class got in depth about sight alignment and dot presentation. I've been shooting long enough and well enough that sight picture, sight alignment, and dot placement were all very well understood.

Jared talked through this topic touching on all the points you would expect. Hold, first sight best sight, post alignment, etc…

I think the biggest take away about sights is that your front sight/dot doesnt stop moving. You can't time the sights so when you are on target start applying pressure to your trigger. Trust your sights and the information they are giving you. Back to the line for more shooting.

Again, Jared watches for anyone that might be struggling on concepts… and then takes time to address issues with the student.

If I am not mistaken, its now 1pm and lunch time. We break for lunch (I could be mistaken as lunch could have been after trigger). This detail isn't important.

Durning lunch a bunch of us link up and talk Chambers pistols, give perspective on the class to this point, and “cool down”. It was mid to upper 70’s that day.

I think I had roughly 200 rounds through my gun at that point… could have been 250-300 (Im not 100% sure). I wiped down my Chambers Custom Regulator, added two drops of MFR7 to the rails, racked the slide a handful of times and felt great about how the class was going.


Topic #4 notes: Trigger
Lunch ended and Jared once again called us to center, he talked about trigger, finger placement on trigger, and “prepping” the trigger. The first half of the trigger conversation was all 100% familiar to me… This was all about where your trigger finger should be placed. Many shooters shoot with the pad of their finger. This is incorrect, and I agree with that school of thought. Jared talks over why the first crease of your finger (“on the bone”) should be placed on the trigger. Once again, I am not going too deep here, but the philosophy makes perfect sense, and it's the exact thought I was given when I initially learned to shoot.

This brings me to trigger prep, or “prepping the trigger”. I've heard of this concept in the past from Chuck Pressburg youtube videos I have watched, but I have never actually put the time into learning or working it. Let me tell you, it's a very interesting thing and IMO, if it can be mastered, a real game changer for not only shooting faster, but for accuracy and follow shooting. The concept of this is as follows...if your trigger breaks at 3.5lbs you should be working on mastering the trigger system feel of your weapon to the point that you are applying 3lbs of pressure to your trigger while it's coming up on target. This leaves you just a final .5 oz of pressure to apply once you are on target. In other more simple words, if your trigger breaks at 100% pressure on your trigger, “prepping” your trigger is giving it 90% pressure as you present, and acquire target only leaving that small 10% of pressure to be applied before ignition.

Jared goes into extreme detail on the safety aspect of this. Trigger prep is something that can take years to master.

Jared demonstrates how we safely practice this. Back to the line, however this time we are not at 25 yards. We are prepping triggers in a very safe and stationary position. This portion of the class might have been most impactful for me. Another 30-50 rounds on this portion!


Topic #5 notes: Follow-Through
Follow through was linked as a direct follow up to trigger! A big part of this was follow through and follow up! This portion of the class was done at 7 yards using a different target than the B8.

We worked on presenting, prepping, firing, and then a second shot. My notes on this are follow through and have the mindset of “be fast, don't hurry”.


Topic #6 notes: Draw
Draw is something I personally can't do outside of drawing at my house. My indoor range doesnt allow it, and I am not a member at any outdoor club to put it to work. I knew this would be something I wasn't proficient at. Jared calls us all to center and talks about draw! Fundamentals of how we should be drawing and how that leads to proper presentation.



He also demonstrates how hands up in a fighting position can be used in many ways. If you are in a fighting stance with fists clinched, open your fists and it can look as though we are saying “Calm down”, We can simply clinch and we are back to fighting position, or you can drop you strong hand, draw, and your weak hand is in the proper position to meet you drawing ready to present. It was a powerful display and something I have never even thought of. I've seen many police use this stance (and now I know why).

Back to the line...25 yards on B8 targets to work on drawing from a holster, and shooting. We are slowly applying all the topics together and measuring performance vs our initial baseline score we shot to start the class. For me, there was a lot of new things going on as well as changes so mentally I started to break down just a bit. What I mean by this is my scores are going down. My brain wants to do what it's always done… Yet I am mentally telling myself that I need to make changes.

New stance, slight change in the way I grip the gun, trigger prep (brain is getting overloaded), oh… and I need to do this from a draw vs a resting position like I am used to.


Topic #7 notes: Shot Cadence
Final portion of the class… Jared calls us all back to center. He gets into routine...I think he called it his “Zen” or maybe he talked about the “spiritual side of shooting” (can't recall, and it's not in the notes from class).

This portion all resonated perfectly with me as “routine” and actual approach matters! He related it to a basketball player shooting free throws. Everything is still when you are at the freethow line. Take your time, go through your routine, and make your shot. Game time everything is faster… you can't do everything you do in your freethrow line routine… but it should start to become muscle memory. Being a former college basketball player, it made perfect sense to me.

Jared really got into the cadence of shooting on a count! Meaning you are not shooting 1 2 3 4 5… you want to shoot in a way where it comes off as 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5. When you have that down its 1,2,3,4,5. Lastly you speed up to 12345. Shooting on cadence and rhythm, trigger prep, and follow up, makes for a combination that makes shooting much easier!

Once we got through understanding of this concept we got on the line, we worked on strong hand only shooting on B8’s (25 yards). We worked on weak hand only at 25 yards, and then finally we went back to the line.



The final portion was Kyle Defoors “Hat Qual” Drill. 10 shots from a draw under 20 seconds. 90 or higher is passing. Normally I can lick this drill!! Shooting a 90 on a normal range day is not overly difficult for me to do. After 7 hours of instruction, shooting close to 450 rounds, and trying to incorporate everything learned into motion… It's not easy. At least not for me.

To end it, Jared called us all back to center, he talked though some stuff from class, handed out completion certificates, and thanked us all for being there. A few things I want to mention… I cant say enough about Jared and Alex! Both were super legit and amazing teachers. Thanks to both of them for taking the time to do the class as well as guide and coach us! Really awesome….


Final Impressions: In my opinion, this class is NOT an intro to handgun class. It's also not an advanced class that you are mag dumping, clearing malfunctions, running around, and doing tactical reloads. It's a class that is perfect for a student who wants to start taking his shooting to the next level. You need to have a basic understanding of how to shoot. If you can't hit paper at 25 yards, then an intro class would serve you better before taking this class. With that said, my cousin attended this class with me… He knows firearm safety, he typically shoots at 7-30 feet at the range. He scored a 0 on the initial assessment. By the end his improvement was astronomical.

For me, this class was perfect! I have been wanting to take a class with Steve Fisher as well as Chuck Pressburg… I am really happy I was able to go through this prior to those others. Jared has a very calm laid back personality (in regards to this class). He demonstrated patience with folks who needed the help, and he was certainly all business without being so overly intense that he would have intimidated the shooter.



Dan (Dan), Jared, Brain (Fracs), and Myself (Bobby C)

As some quick final statements. I was able to meet several members from different forums that I have interacted with over the years:mad:dan @fracs and @photog. It as also definitely very, very cool to see these forum members training! We also had several firearms built by @joeC in the class! Not one single issue along the way. IMO a testament to not only how him and how well those guns are built, but also seeing these pistols being worked with and not just sitting in peoples safes.

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I really cant say enough about the class! 100% recommend it!

Hope you all enjoyed the report.

Bobby Cee