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Thread: Chuck Taylor's American Small Arms Academy Urban and Home Defense Handgun Course

  1. #1
    Supporting Business Reid Henrichs's Avatar
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    Chuck Taylor's American Small Arms Academy Urban and Home Defense Handgun Course

    December 1-2, 2018

    Phoenix, AZ

    I have been following Chuck's work since I was in high school, and that was a fair long time ago. Chuck's resume' speaks for itself, his shooting accomplishments speak for themselves, and his combat time speaks for itself. With a history like his, it would be easy for someone to be standoffish, arrogant, ego-driven, and unwilling to change. The opposite was the case. In fact, this class was surely in the top 2 courses I have taken. This was due in part to the material, as it was excellent and absolutely valid and practical. Yet, it was also due to the fact that Chuck teaches not for status or money. He does it for the art and the selflessness of teaching. This was apparent to me early on, and I will cover more of this later. The course was good in that the drills were based in reality, the instruction was short and to the point, the explanations clear and justified by actual incidents, and the fundamentals were stressed each and every shot.

    This was a two-day class and I drove from Tennessee to take it. As someone who values those who have come before, and as someone who absolutely values the history of pistol technique, this class was a no-brainer. I drove immediately after teaching a four-day rifle class and was pretty smoked by the time of arrival in Phoenix.

    Upon arrival, I was immediately greeted by Chuck and his cadre warmly. Class was relaxed and friendly at all times. The class consisted mainly of students who train with Chuck frequently, and my friend and I were the only ones who had not trained with him before. Nevertheless, we were brought up to speed on Chuck's methods, which were easily usable and clearly articulated.
    .
    The first drills were dry practice for the purpose of Chuck and his staff to evaluate student presentation, grip, trigger manipulation, and assess procedure. Then, the first live-fire drill was shot at 3 yards, two rounds, with a par time of 1.0 seconds. That is outstanding to start with such a standard. It was exactly what is needed at those distances. Chuck used the whistle and stop watch, and we moved to 5, 7, and 10 yards all under time constraints. You really have to get your grip and flash sight picture right to make it.

    We then progressed to speed loads or empty loads, as well as tactical reloads. Other blocks included kneeling, multiple targets, distance work at 15 and 20 yards, and having to recover a downed pistol from a variety of positions, simulating a sleep-state in the home or being knocked down.

    At the end of the first day, Chuck and his staff stayed and talked to me and my assistant instructor for over an hour. Having just finished teaching a class myself a few days earlier, I understand the significance of this and how difficult it is after class to still be engaged with others. Chuck was extremely gracious with his time and knowledge.

    On day two we began with more dry practice and close up shooting from 3 to five yards all under the same limited times as the day before. Most of Chuck's drills are under time constraints. We then performed a drill called the "nutcracker" in which the pistol is loaded with 3 rounds only. On the signal, the shooter draws from concealment, shoots one round on each of three targets, reloads, transfers the pistol to the support hand, and then shoots one more round to each target at seven yards. Par is 6 seconds and you really have to move to make the time and you really have to bear down to make the hits. Excellent drill.

    Shooting on the move was covered from 20 to 5 yards on 3d targets. Many depictions were offered ranging from women to burglars to jihadis, and the benefit of this was different windows of opportunity to make hits. Some targets had a clear chest shot, and others offered limited or no chest shots and required head shots.

    One of the more beneficial drills was the seated portion, which simulated being in a lounging chair. Par was three seconds to stand, draw, and place one hit on each of 3 targets, one requiring a head shot. Very challenging but doable when you perform one task at a time.


    After class, Chuck stayed after and spoke with me and my assistant instructor for well over an hour, and we were extremely thankful for his tips, wisdom, and advice. He is truly a patriot, selfless instructor, and freely gives to those who are willing to learn. He is one of the most approachable, knowledgeable, and experienced guys I have trained with.

    I only get to take one class a year if I am lucky due to my class schedule. This year I was able to train with Chuck Taylor and am grateful for the opportunity. If you have not trained with him yet, I would do so. He is one of the originals, one of the guys who helped make this possible for most of us.

    I filmed a video with him at lunch and you can watch it HERE:

    Reid
    President
    Valor Ridge Training
    www.valorridge.com
    www.youtube.com/c/ReidHenrichs

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Reid Henrichs View Post
    December 1-2, 2018

    Phoenix, AZ

    I have been following Chuck's work since I was in high school, and that was a fair long time ago. Chuck's resume' speaks for itself, his shooting accomplishments speak for themselves, and his combat time speaks for itself. With a history like his, it would be easy for someone to be standoffish, arrogant, ego-driven, and unwilling to change. The opposite was the case. In fact, this class was surely in the top 2 courses I have taken. This was due in part to the material, as it was excellent and absolutely valid and practical. Yet, it was also due to the fact that Chuck teaches not for status or money. He does it for the art and the selflessness of teaching. This was apparent to me early on, and I will cover more of this later. The course was good in that the drills were based in reality, the instruction was short and to the point, the explanations clear and justified by actual incidents, and the fundamentals were stressed each and every shot.

    This was a two-day class and I drove from Tennessee to take it. As someone who values those who have come before, and as someone who absolutely values the history of pistol technique, this class was a no-brainer. I drove immediately after teaching a four-day rifle class and was pretty smoked by the time of arrival in Phoenix.

    Upon arrival, I was immediately greeted by Chuck and his cadre warmly. Class was relaxed and friendly at all times. The class consisted mainly of students who train with Chuck frequently, and my friend and I were the only ones who had not trained with him before. Nevertheless, we were brought up to speed on Chuck's methods, which were easily usable and clearly articulated.
    .
    The first drills were dry practice for the purpose of Chuck and his staff to evaluate student presentation, grip, trigger manipulation, and assess procedure. Then, the first live-fire drill was shot at 3 yards, two rounds, with a par time of 1.0 seconds. That is outstanding to start with such a standard. It was exactly what is needed at those distances. Chuck used the whistle and stop watch, and we moved to 5, 7, and 10 yards all under time constraints. You really have to get your grip and flash sight picture right to make it.

    We then progressed to speed loads or empty loads, as well as tactical reloads. Other blocks included kneeling, multiple targets, distance work at 15 and 20 yards, and having to recover a downed pistol from a variety of positions, simulating a sleep-state in the home or being knocked down.

    At the end of the first day, Chuck and his staff stayed and talked to me and my assistant instructor for over an hour. Having just finished teaching a class myself a few days earlier, I understand the significance of this and how difficult it is after class to still be engaged with others. Chuck was extremely gracious with his time and knowledge.

    On day two we began with more dry practice and close up shooting from 3 to five yards all under the same limited times as the day before. Most of Chuck's drills are under time constraints. We then performed a drill called the "nutcracker" in which the pistol is loaded with 3 rounds only. On the signal, the shooter draws from concealment, shoots one round on each of three targets, reloads, transfers the pistol to the support hand, and then shoots one more round to each target at seven yards. Par is 6 seconds and you really have to move to make the time and you really have to bear down to make the hits. Excellent drill.

    Shooting on the move was covered from 20 to 5 yards on 3d targets. Many depictions were offered ranging from women to burglars to jihadis, and the benefit of this was different windows of opportunity to make hits. Some targets had a clear chest shot, and others offered limited or no chest shots and required head shots.

    One of the more beneficial drills was the seated portion, which simulated being in a lounging chair. Par was three seconds to stand, draw, and place one hit on each of 3 targets, one requiring a head shot. Very challenging but doable when you perform one task at a time.


    After class, Chuck stayed after and spoke with me and my assistant instructor for well over an hour, and we were extremely thankful for his tips, wisdom, and advice. He is truly a patriot, selfless instructor, and freely gives to those who are willing to learn. He is one of the most approachable, knowledgeable, and experienced guys I have trained with.

    I only get to take one class a year if I am lucky due to my class schedule. This year I was able to train with Chuck Taylor and am grateful for the opportunity. If you have not trained with him yet, I would do so. He is one of the originals, one of the guys who helped make this possible for most of us.

    I filmed a video with him at lunch and you can watch it HERE:

    Reid
    Excellent!

  3. #3
    Site Supporter
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    Allen, TX
    I did all of Chuck's pistol levels from the mid-80s into the 90s. He's a force of nature for sure and was one of those who quickly accepted that Glock thing early and caused lots of traditionalist heads to explode.
    Regional Government Sales Manager for Aimpoint, Inc. USA
    Co-owner Hardwired Tactical Shooting (HiTS)

  4. #4
    Good interview, but I wish that Mr. Henrichs had pressed him on the idea that the guys coming out of the Middle East somehow lag behind the Viet Nam generation in their experience of combat, and that the Viet Nam generation somehow lagged behind the WWII generation. The GWOT has created some exceptional trainers, many of whose experience of combat far exceeds Mr. Taylor's both in duration and intensity.

    I also wish that Mr. Henrichs had pressed Mr. Taylor on the influence of competition on modern pistol craft, especially in Tier I units. It's definitely a force, but much of it has been to the good. Taylor seemed to imply that it was almost all bad, and I would have loved to hear more about that.


    Okie John
    “The reliability of the 30-06 on most of the world’s non-dangerous game is so well established as to be beyond intelligent dispute.” Finn Aagaard
    "Don't fuck with it" seems to prevent the vast majority of reported issues." BehindBlueI's

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by okie john View Post
    Good interview, but I wish that Mr. Henrichs had pressed him on the idea that the guys coming out of the Middle East somehow lag behind the Viet Nam generation in their experience of combat, and that the Viet Nam generation somehow lagged behind the WWII generation. The GWOT has created some exceptional trainers, many of whose experience of combat far exceeds Mr. Taylor's both in duration and intensity.

    I also wish that Mr. Henrichs had pressed Mr. Taylor on the influence of competition on modern pistol craft, especially in Tier I units. It's definitely a force, but much of it has been to the good. Taylor seemed to imply that it was almost all bad, and I would have loved to hear more about that.


    Okie John
    my thoughts exactly.

    the continuous ranting and grumbling from the older generation about technology; higher capacity magazines and add-ons to the modern warfighter. it makes no sense in the context of what the modern infantryman possessing the capabilities to legitimately fight in darkness with IR and NV capabilities is actually less capable than the previous warfighter. let alone the shear number of SOF types who have come out of service with standards and capabilities well exceeding what Mr. Taylor described. There is simply so much more science out there for the professional warfighter and gunfighter in this day and age.

    these repetitive rants and complains do beckon those truly out of the loop and out of touch of true capabilities of the modern gun handler vs gun fighter vs gun hobbyist can and cannot do.

  6. #6
    I had to pause watching when at 5:20 he said "the newer generation haven't been there and seen the elephant." He then caveats that to say the wars in the "Middle East" are different than Vietnam. Yes, of course it's different. But to dismiss the experience is beyond ridiculous.

    ===========

    Let's imagine he's right. The current generation had it easy over in Iraq and Afghanistan and don't hold a candle to his generation. We'll just assume that's accurate.

    Does he think he's teaching folks to set up a L-shaped ambush and spot booby traps in the jungle? He's teaching you to hit paper targets on a flat, square range. What's that have to do with WW2 vs Vietnam vs GWOT?

  7. #7
    Contrarian Larry Sellers's Avatar
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    Dec 2015
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    Connecticut
    ASAA which has a local "chapter" here in CT still advocates the Weaver Stance, and is "down" on anything that isn't chambered in 45.....

    I'd rather not discuss all of my issues with ASAA in this thread and detract from Reid's AAR

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Larry Sellers; 12-09-2018 at 11:36 AM.
    Look! Just because we're bereaved, that doesn't make us saps!

  8. #8
    Member ST911's Avatar
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    Dec 2012
    Location
    Midwest, USA
    It's always good to learn from the early masters, pioneers, and those who have gone before us.

    I would be interested to hear Chuck flesh out several of his points in a longer format, perhaps one of the high quality >1hr podcasts.

    At several points in the video, Reid has some interesting non-verbals.
    الدهون القاع الفتيات لك جعل العالم هزاز جولة الذهاب

  9. #9
    I’ll start by saying I too grew up reading Chuck’s columns in actual magazines before there was an internet and have always been a fan. And he certainly gets credit as an early pioneer into the firearm training industry.

    That video was disappointing for me to see though. It does seem like he’s out of touch with his comments regarding current trainers. I mean - we’ve been at war for over 17 years now and our techniques for employing small arms are in my opinion better than ever in history. Now I do think there are lots of “trainers” out there now who think combat experience makes them instructors. But we also have some excellent trainers and instructors available. And plenty of them have significant experience in LE and military engagements.

    Sadly this mentality has been observed before in others from Chuck’s generation. One of course is infamous around here and I’ll leave it at that. But close friends had similar experiences with him.

    The problem is that while the fundamentals are mostly the same as 40 or 50 years ago, TTP’s do evolve and that’s normal. I trained with a person who is an excellent instructor and he doesn’t talk down about the current crop of trainers. But his tactics were dated compared to what I’ve learned from the current generation and from my own time in LE and the military. Not a show stopper as he’s been out of the operational side for many years. I was still able to take away useful things from his class.

    Oh! And was Chuck putting down competition?? We’ve been down that road before and it’s wrong in my opinion. Competition is a huge benefit.

  10. #10
    Member John Hearne's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
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    Northern Mississippi
    There are several trainers of Chuck's vintage still teaching. Tom Givens and Ken Hackathorn both come to mind as examples. Both Tom and Ken have evolved gradually over time and are not teaching the same things they taught in the 1980's. Chuck seems to be teaching exactly what he taught at Gunsite in the late 70's. FWIW, I trained with Chuck back in the mid-2000's so I have some experience with what he teaches.

    Let's see what one of those "hasn't seen the elephant" guys has to say about the value of competition:
    Last edited by John Hearne; 12-10-2018 at 09:23 PM.
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