The Gunsite Experience: “Dinner and a Show”

The sun has risen on the 5th and final day of the 250 Defensive Pistol course at Gunsite Academy, the original course at Gunsite designed and taught by founder Col. Jeff Cooper.

The 250 pistol course is now referred to as “The Gunsite Experience.” Perhaps it has always been that way, but today Gunsite is definitely a “destination” location for gun training. Several of the students I have spoken with said training at Gunsite was a “bucket list” item. People come here on “mancations” or “brocations” (though there are as many couples and families as there are “bros”).

Buzz Mills, the owner, and Ken Campbell, the chief operating officer, both realize this. As Campbell told me, “We want to give you dinner and a show.” This of course raises the specter of what some have criticized as “edu-trainment” — putting students through fun and exciting training experiences (e.g., shooting from a helicopter) that have little relevance to their everyday lives.

There is none of that here at Gunsite. For many people, shooting is inherently fun, of course. But showing up at the range at 0700 (an hour earlier than normal due to the excessive heat this week) to dry practice (i.e., no shooting) your 5 step presentation for 10 or 15 minutes, and then spending six hours at the range shooting disciplined drills as the temperature rises to 105 degree is work.

The 4th day of the 250 course is a long one, with range training from 7:00am to 3:00pm (with an hour for lunch), and then a return to the range at 7:30pm for low-light shooting.

After an hour and a half of teaching and disciplined practice, mercifully Rangemaster Steve concluded the drill with some shooting fun in the dark, that I tried to capture in the videos below. This is about as close to “edu-trainment” as you get here.

Rolling Thunder


Mag Dump in the Darkness of the Desert


  1. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Professor, after that training and experience, are you going to be able to continue to wear bowties? 😉


  2. “Further, if there actually are 50,000 defensive gun uses as NCVS’ data suggests, or more than 1 million as Kleck and Getz’s surveys claim, that would mean only 3.2 percent or 0.16 percent respectively of defensive gun uses are reported to the police. Believing that such a small fraction of incidents are reported is indulging in fantasy.” This is from Armed with Reason’s article on how “defensive gun use is a myth.”


    • To me that is just stupid because (1) without question many people who use their guns on self defense do not call police. I know 2 people personally who have recently. (2) NCVS only surveys people who have been victimized. But many people who are involved in DGUs would not pass screening for NCVS because they don’t see themselves as victims. I think Kleck estimate is high but NCVS is way low


      • Dang. Everyone I’ve talked too seems so confident in the face of these guys, while I’m over here and I feel threatened by them. That said, I did a quick search on “Andrew V. Papachristos,” and found a paper by him about gangs respecting the law if they feel the law is authoritative, which reminded me of something the authors of AWR said about Orlando in their article “debunking” the gun free zones attract shooters argument. They said that even though the pulse was a Gun free zone, there was a man with a gun there, an armed policeman(might’ve been a security guard), and he didn’t stop it. Which makes me think, since cops can’t seem to use guns effectively, why don’t antis just stomp there feet demanding the police be disarmed. Which brings me to that Papachristos paper. (Granted it wasn’t talk about just force, it was also talking about belief in fair courts, and since we’re talking about them viewing the law with authority, would likely also include that the criminals wouldn’t think they could get of early.)


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