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Thread: Ben Stoeger fundamental class, Idaho Falls, June '18.

  1. #1

    Ben Stoeger fundamental class, Idaho Falls, June '18.

    Practical Fundamentals, or I think it is the name, was in Idaho Falls, ID past weekend. When I was signing up, I thought that another instruction class would be the second last thing that I needed to improve my shooting, preceded only by another new gun. However, this was a very easy class to attend for me logistically, and Ben’s name and achievements do carry some gravitas. More so, he had famously said in the past that one could become scary good on 15 minutes of dry fire daily. I’ve successfully achieved the first part of it, as in I have become scary. The good part hasn’t occurred yet so there was some of the WTF dude why I still suck. Speaking of signing up, I did so 6 months ago and took the last remaining spot, with six people on a wait list two months later. The class host told me that he had booked Ben a year in advance. I hope I am not too subtle in expressing that you might have to be proactive if you want to take his class these days.

    Every fundamentals class is done in a similar fashion. Students shoot some basic drills tasks, then progress to harder tasks, at some point their fundamentals break down, instructors corrects what he sees wrong. That was done throughout the class. If you’ve brains and are thinking through the class beyond listening to isolated corrections, you should be able to understand instructor’s training philosophy, whether he states explicitly that or not. After shooting for some, listening to him, and seeing his reactions to students’ results, I thought it was totally there. Besides that, as I said, there were run-by-run corrections and advice. I was pissed at myself for botching some of the basic stuff because it leaves the instructor no option other than point out basic stuff to you. Still, I received several observations that to me were enough alone to justify the class. I also received a tip from another shooter that might turn out a big deal for me, but I need to test it.

    Dry fire was a pretty decent part of a class without interfering with live fire part, with explanation of how to do it right. I hope I didn’t miss something there as it seems I dry fire more or less correctly without moving up as much as I'd like, other than I rarely do it before 10-10:30 pm. I’ll have to pay more attention to “how to” anyway.

    Ben runs a very efficient class, with three bays going at the same time, one way or another. It allows him to run two shooters on individual drills basically non-stop, rotating himself between two bays, while the third bay has a stage that shooters are free to dry fire or live fire on their own. Since I started to take classes in 2008, this is only the second class where the students were allowed to shoot on a bay without instructor or AI standing over them. Nobody died in either of those classes. Overall, you can almost make it as volume intense as you’d like, you just need to move your ass. I was fried on day one from an unexpected tough case at work on Friday that my associate handed to me about 1 hour before my planned departure, and I still was able to put 1500 rounds downrange in two days, 9 am to 16 pm with a lunch break.

    Ben sees absolutely everything. It took him one stage run, so give or take 18 to 35 seconds, to figure out who is what. Called my misses before I did, if I did at all. He himself can shoot OK, I think. Pretty chill dude to hang out and bs after the day’s over.

    Other inconsequential stuff that usually goes into these reports: the host was nice, the range was basic but sufficient, the shooters ranged from bad to strong, weather blew balls quite literally on day 2, nobody had thought of trolling Stoeger by showing up with a PCC and I don’t have a PCC. Most common guns were CZs, one nice 2011, and three different CO guns. I shot my Shadow 2, I don’t love it but it ran fine. Two light strikes on Magtech and I had one Magtech round with a primer seated sideways; wish I took a pic. Whatever I have left of that ammo, I’ll shoot it through my crappiest and easiest to replace gun, remembering that Gabe had squibs in his guns.

    The above described activity is recommended without reservations to those who understood what I wrote.
    Last edited by YVK; 06-11-2018 at 10:51 PM. Reason: typos
    “Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.

  2. #2
    Open Your Eyes Jay Cunningham's Avatar
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    This is one of the very few reviews I’ve read which didn’t make me wince and curl my toes.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Cunningham View Post
    This is one of the very few reviews I’ve read which didn’t make me wince and curl my toes.
    Is that because of the way people normally describe a Ben Stoeger class or because of the way people normally write their AARs?

  4. #4
    Open Your Eyes Jay Cunningham's Avatar
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    I like YVK's writing style.
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  5. #5
    Wag more, Bark less Rich_Jenkins's Avatar
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    Very useful AAR, thanks @YVK.

    How would you describe the course's applicability to less than good shoorters, say Senior U shooters who struggle with IQ drops at the buzzer? (that would be me).

    I am signed up for a Gabe class in September in Florida, and Mr. Stoeger is on the short list of instructors I would like to train with in future. However I'm under no illusions of getting to much more than B class, ever, if that.
    "Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught.”
    — J. C. Watts

  6. #6
    Rich, since this was the fundamentals class, I will struggle with finding reasons how somebody would not find it not applicable or useful. I don't think that seniority unless it encroaches on senility, ratings, rankings etc matter at all here. I think what matters, as far as skill level is concerned, is what I mentioned in my report, now with bold emphasis:


    Quote Originally Posted by YVK View Post
    I was pissed at myself for botching some of the basic stuff because it leaves the instructor no option other than point out basic stuff to you.
    If one doesn't have a consistent grip, doesn't grip hard with support hand at least most of the time, doesn't have a consistent index etc [note I said nothing about speed] and Ben happens to be teaching in their backyard and there is a spot, sure, go, he'll point it out to you. I saw it in this class. I don't think that it would be a good use of resources, even though I felt [and told him] the he was under-charging for the class, to track him down, travel, ship ammo etc to hear something that one can probably figure out by himself or with a help of a local strong shooter. So, while anyone will find his class useful, as long as they are paying attention and working on stuff vs trying to perform, folks who had put in some work and arrived to a point where they can't quite understand why they are not getting better would benefit the most.
    Last edited by YVK; 06-12-2018 at 06:38 PM.
    “Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.

  7. #7
    Leopard Printer Mr_White's Avatar
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    I have taken Ben's class twice and found it very beneficial both times. It helped me the most with not playing USPSA like an idiot. Consistency of fundamentals was promoted strongly by Ben. I would have thought I was in Todd Green's class when I heard Ben call out to the line "The only thing that matters is what you can do on demand!"
    Technical excellence supports tactical preparedness
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_White View Post
    I have taken Ben's class twice and found it very beneficial both times.
    Probably worth mentioning that I plan on taking Ben's classes again. I may do the fundamentals once more, and I certainly will take skills and drills. Have to work on stuff that got uncovered during this class first and I am switching, or at least trying to switch, guns so probably 6-12 months time frame.

  9. #9
    A recurring theme that I am seeing in great shooters and great instructors, is executing the same basic, fundamental skills, but on demand and at a high level.
    Likes pretty much everything in every caliber.

  10. #10
    Thanks for posting this. Ben's classes are usually sold out quick, and I've never been able to attend. I've been stalking him (and Gabe) for years. I very much consider myself a beginner, (C class with lots of skills erosion ) but I really feel like I owe it to any instructor to consistently train so I can show up prepared.

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