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.
Mag Dump in the Darkness of the Desert