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Thread: Tactical Performance Center, Handgun Mastery class

  1. #1

    Tactical Performance Center, Handgun Mastery class

    This may get wordy in successive posts, so I will try to provide the executive summary now in just a few sentences. My wife and I took this three day class a few days ago at TPC in St George, Utah, and both of us felt it was the most profound technical shooting class we have taken in the thirty years we have been doing handgun classes. It has already had a significant effect on how my wife and I think about grip, stance and other aspects of technical shooting. So much so, we plan to return soon. If you are passionate about technical shooting, you should take a look at this class. More to follow.
    Likes pretty much everything in every caliber.

  2. #2
    Hammertime
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    Quote Originally Posted by GJM View Post
    This may get wordy in successive posts, so I will try to provide the executive summary now in just a few sentences. My wife and I took this three day class a few days ago at TPC in St George, Utah, and both of us felt it was the most profound technical shooting class we have taken in the thirty years we have been doing handgun classes. It has already had a significant effect on how my wife and I think about grip, stance and other aspects of technical shooting. So much so, we plan to return soon. If you are passionate about technical shooting, you should take a look at this class. More to follow.
    Quite an endorsement. Tagged to follow.

  3. #3
    So who and what is TPC, or Tactical Performance Center. TPC was founded by Ron Avery and Ken Nelson. Many of you know Ron, as a top level competitive shooter and trainer for the last thirty years. Ken is the founder of Practiscore, the software widely used to score USPSA and other competitive shooting games. They got together to develop a training company that would use best practice shooting techniques and best practice learning techniques. For the last year or so, I have seen their banner ads when I have gone to check scores on Practiscore, but beyond knowing Ron and Ken, I wasn’t aware of what TPC was actually doing.

    About a month ago, I was shooting with a buddy at a match in Las Vegas, and realized in just over a year he had gone from B to GM. I asked him what the key to his progress was, and he told me dry fire, live fire and especially attending the Handgun Mastery class at TPC four times. He went on to tell me how they had given him a system that absolutely changed him as a shooter. I mentioned this to my wife, and she suggested we both go take the class.

    Arriving in St George, I had absolutely no clue what this special sauce TPC was serving consisted of, but I had a completely open mind. In recent years, I have mostly done tutorial type training in two to three person classes with TGO, Ernest, JJ, and Manny Bragg, who are absolutely at the top of the training pyramid. Seeing on Friday that our class was 37, with half of them marines, I was not sure how this was going to go. With Ron Avery unable to participate, Ken Nelson was lead instructor, assisted by 14 other assistant instructors.

    Ken launched into a discussion of grip and stance and soon we were divided into four groups and off to the range. For most of the course, we stayed in our own bay, and every few hours the instructors rotated around. Rather than this leading to a lack of consistency, this was a major benefit, as you got a bunch of different eyes looking for imperfections in your technique. Soon, to establish a baseline, we were shooting the TPC 24 drill. This drill involved a 4x8 inch target, shot at 7 yards, from a high ready position. There were three strings of eight shots, so 24 possible hits worth five points each, for a max of 120 points, as only hits counted. Score divided by time equaled your hit factor on the drill. This drill goes to the heart of TPC doctrine, which is aligning your grip and stance through skeletal alignment as opposed to muscle, to optimally control recoil and allow accurate, fast follow-up shots. For the rest of the day, we shot a planned series of drills to reinforce what Ken had explained in the classroom. I am not going to try to list every technique and every drill from day one, but I am going to mention one concept that was brilliant and completely unknown to me. This is the “quarter panel” technique. Ken demos how you can place your hand flat on a table, push out, and your hand slides away from you. Repeat the same thing, but put the tiniest bit of your palm on the edge of the table, and it anchors you and prevents sliding. Not surprisingly, TPC has you place the tiniest bit of your support hand behind the grip of the pistol, to anchor your support hand. It takes some adjustment, but it is an incredibly effective part of their technique.
    Likes pretty much everything in every caliber.

  4. #4
    Site Supporter JSGlock34's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GJM View Post
    I am not going to try to list every technique and every drill from day one, but I am going to mention one concept that was brilliant and completely unknown to me. This is the “quarter panel” technique. Ken demos how you can place your hand flat on a table, push out, and your hand slides away from you. Repeat the same thing, but put the tiniest bit of your palm on the edge of the table, and it anchors you and prevents sliding. Not surprisingly, TPC has you place the tiniest bit of your support hand behind the grip of the pistol, to anchor your support hand. It takes some adjustment, but it is an incredibly effective part of their technique.
    That's interesting but I'm not sure I'm grasping it from your description - do you have a photo that illustrates this grip?
    "When the phone rang, Parker was in the garage, killing a man."

  5. #5
    Throughout the three days, Ken Nelson shared interesting ideas. For example, he wanted anyone with a blister to alert him or another instructor, since he said blisters were heat injuries caused by the gun moving around, indicating a defect in technique. He said anytime you add tension in your grip, to maintain that tension through the shot. He talked about proper tension for minimizing the effects of recoil, which is in your grip, wrists, and elbows, then relaxed through your core down to your knees, and then tension from your knees through the inside of your feet into the ground.

    Day two started with Ken describing the TPC reactive shooting cycle, which is: bring the gun up to or over to the target, see what you need to see, isolate the trigger, let recoil happen, call the shot, active follow through. We then spent the day doing drills that reinforced each of these elements. I found “let recoil happen” to be especially valuable, as once you have the right grip and stance, not fighting recoil allowed me to be better able to shoot the next shot quickly. A few of my words are not going to do justice to Ken presenting it, then shooting multiple drills to reinforce each element, all under the watchful eyes of multiple instructors.

    Day three started with shooting the TPC 24 cold, and then TPC’s explanation of the draw. Interestingly, TPC starts their draw explanation with the gun fully extended on target, and then works back in successive steps to the holster, since they believe a perfect draw is holstering in reverse. Late morning was more integration of elements from day one and two.

    Before I forget, TPC has a Pro shooting team, and those team members are part of the instructor cadre. Some names you might recognize are Brian Nelson, Ken’s son, and Max Leograndis, USPSA PCC national champion. Two enthusiastic assistant instructors are the Williams sisters, Justine and Jalice, 13 and 15 years old, with the younger sister just making GM in Production. That a 13 year old girl can become a GM is testament to TPC’s methods working well. Frankly, all the instructors were excellent, and the class was very well run administratively.

    By mid afternoon, all the squads rejoined, and it was team vs team on steel, followed by man on man competitions in steel. Nothing like some competitive stress to see how grip and stance was holding up. Soon the course was over, and my wife and I have been discussing elements of it almost non stop ever since.

    Half intentionally, I have done a haphazard job of describing everything TPC covers in this course. The reason is words mean different things to different people, we learn differently from each other, and we all have different shooting strengths and weaknesses. What I can fully say, is this course is absolutely recommended, my wife and I are repeating it in early May, and I am trying to get as many of my friends as possible to take the course. Ron and Ken have put something very special together with the TPC school, and I am excited to see how TPC evolves over time.
    Likes pretty much everything in every caliber.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by JSGlock34 View Post
    That's interesting but I'm not sure I'm grasping it from your description - do you have a photo that illustrates this grip?
    In order — some grip tape to enhance friction in the quarter panel, how much of my hand I get behind the grip, and what the full grip looks like.

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    Likes pretty much everything in every caliber.

  7. #7
    Hammertime
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    Quote Originally Posted by GJM View Post
    This is the “quarter panel” technique. Ken demos how you can place your hand flat on a table, push out, and your hand slides away from you. Repeat the same thing, but put the tiniest bit of your palm on the edge of the table, and it anchors you and prevents sliding. Not surprisingly, TPC has you place the tiniest bit of your support hand behind the grip of the pistol, to anchor your support hand. It takes some adjustment, but it is an incredibly effective part of their technique.
    Seeklander teaches something similar and it is one reason I prefer larger grips or grip panels.

  8. #8
    Hammertime
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    Quote Originally Posted by GJM View Post
    In order — some grip tape to enhance friction in the quarter panel, how much of my hand I get behind the grip, and what the full grip looks like.

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    Did you use the P99 in class?

  9. #9
    Great review, very interesting, thank you.

    The grip principle kind of reminds me of the grip sleeve Warren sells, with the built in hump on the left side:

    https://warrentactical.com/product/s...frame-pistols/

    These are quite popular here among my tactical friends who've trained with SMU folks who use these sleeves.

    Same type of principle?

  10. #10
    Site Supporter Clusterfrack's Avatar
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    Tactical Performance Center, Handgun Mastery class

    Quote Originally Posted by Enel View Post
    Seeklander teaches something similar and it is one reason I prefer larger grips or grip panels.
    Yes. That’s why I use a standard Lok Bogie grip on the left and a slim on the right.
    @GJM thanks for posting about this. Sounds like a great class.
    Last edited by Clusterfrack; 04-04-2018 at 12:57 AM.
    "BJJ is sort of like nonconsensual yoga"
    "You don’t really graduate from certain problems or certain things… like you always have to work on trigger control and pulling the trigger straight. " --Ben Stoeger 1/24/2018

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