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Thread: AAR: Gabe White's Pistol Shooting Solutions, 4 years later

  1. #1
    S.L.O.W. ASH556's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Braselton, GA

    AAR: Gabe White's Pistol Shooting Solutions, 4 years later

    Back in April of 2017 I attended @Mr_White 's Pistol Shooting Solutions class. From what I can tell from the events list on his website, this was the 3rd ever PSS class. It was a phenomenal experience that I won't fully recap here for the sake of time, but here's the AAR from that class:

    What I will say is that in hindsight, that class was very formative for me as a shooter. It was a step back in a lot of ways. I could do a lot of things pretty well, but was not nearly as good as I thought I was. Or, put another way, I was that good some of the time, but not all of the time. Furthermore, when I wasn't that good, I couldn't really tell you what had gone wrong except maybe "I went too fast." That wasn't true and Gabe's 2017 class was the first step to backing up and beginning to fix the areas where I'd outrun my headlights. In many ways, that class was like a key to unlock a treasure chest of solutions to performance issues.

    For the next 2 years following that class I shot A LOT. I improved significantly and was able to make good use of the key Gabe had given me. Then, in May 2019 I backed almost entirely out of shooting. Life changed, kids were turning from babies into kids and my attention necessarily shifted to them. For the next 2-1/2 years I shot minimal live rounds and supplemented with semi-regular dryfire including manipulations (draws, reloads, some movement). Early in 2021 my friend @karmapolice invited me to attend the September 2021 PSS class he was hosting.

    The Elephant in the Room
    In total honesty I was hesitant to invest the time and money again; not because it was bad the first time, but I'm kind of done chasing that rabbit. It's a lot of time and a lot of money. I ended up agreeing to go mostly to see, hang, and shoot with friends and people I like (Gabe being one of them).

    If you don't read anything else read this: It was 100% worth it and I will probably do it again
    Why you ask? Because it's that valuable.

    Being completely vulnerably honest (and potentially a little arrogant): I can shoot well enough to do anything I need to do. I mean really, most of us probably can, right? If you're at all an enthusiast you've developed skills of drawing, shooting, reloading, and doing the work you need to do to defend yourself and your family with a handgun. I used to want to maybe get a cool guy card in USPSA or win a GSSF event or something. I no longer care about any of that. What I do care about is developing such a margin of error between myself and the bad guy that it's not even a close contest.

    When I took PSS in 2017 I was a clown. I was the guy who could burn down some drills on a timer enough to turn heads and earn nice comments. The consistency lacked though because the foundation wasn't absolutely 100% rock solid and ultimately that caused my confidence to waiver. You know what's more dangerous than someone who's not very good? Someone who thinks he is. As mentioned 2017 PSS unlocked that and stepping away from shooting peeled back all the cool guy points and grandstanding. I focused on the core factors of shooting. I unpacked the chest that Gabe gave me the key to. I put it together with unattractive, grinding dryfire in my garage and bedroom. I confirmed what I thought I was learning with very limited live fire over a 2-1/2 year span. Sometimes that was a rewarding, "Yes, you've got it." Other times it was a "Nope, you're not there yet" slap to the head.

    In this iteration of PSS I didn't necessarily hear anything new. Gabe has refined his material down to all the best parts. Everything is a golden nugget. He did that before he ever started teaching. So when I say I didn't hear anything new, it's not a slam on Gabe, but rather a praise of how well he is prepared. Now, that said I certainly came away from the class with a lot to work on and put into practice. Because of (1) Gabe's individual quality as an instructor and (2) the effort he's put into refining his messaging and material, it has layers to it that reach varying skill and maturity levels of the students. My skill and maturity as a shooter has improved since the 2017 class and so I now hear and apply those same things in different ways that yield greater benefit.

    I have unfortunately had the experience of learning from others that are 1 or maybe 2 dimensional in their teaching ability. Once you've got their "thing" that's really all they can offer you. This is not the case with Gabe.

    Another example: Gabe does an amazing job as a very active instructor during live fire exercises taking time with individual students to work on areas for improvement. I got a lot less line-level feedback from Gabe this class than I did the previous class. However, what I got from him was something I could immediately put into practice on the next rep and showed immediate improvement. Last time it was big things relating to an inefficient drawstroke or clearly bad trigger press. This time it was much more nuanced: "See if you can get on the trigger just a little sooner in your press out." It didn't mean ignore the sights and slap the trigger sooner. It meant "Here's an opportunity to pick up just a sliver more time."

    At this point maybe I'm rambling, but hopefully the message is coming across. It doesn't matter how good you are, you will learn something (probably several somethings) that will help your shooting from Gabe White. Additionally, that learning doesn't stop once you've taken his class. Rather, done correctly, you will continue to learn because your ability to apply a concept the first time and then your application of that concept the 10th time will have grown and matured.

    Nuts and bolts if anyone cares:
    I shot this class with a Glock 45 MOS + RM06 via FCD plate from a Safariland ALS RDS holster mounted via QLS to a Truenorth Concepts hanger run on a Jones Tactical duty belt. After shooting the first class SS IWB, I didn't want to deal with the claw marks and burns on my side and so I "cheated" a little on the holster so I could focus more on learning while in class. The pistol and optic performed flawlessly, but my Ameriglo irons failed in that the rear drifted to the edge of the dovetail. I replaced the irons with Heinies post class.

    I shot well enough to earn a light pin this time, most of which I attribute to putting into practice those things I learned in the 2017 class and applying them in dryfire to solidify them into a foundation, and some of which was making little tweaks based on what I was seeing in live fire along with some of Gabe's on-the-line nuggets.

    Food Court Apprentice
    Semper Paratus certified AR15 armorer

  2. #2
    Value Instiller RJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Great AAR, thanks for posting.

    I had to cancel out of my second Gabe class due to work issues. I need to schedule at my next opportunity.

  3. #3
    Member JHC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    North Georgia
    @ASH556 IMO you made the right call re the OWB carry for the class. Focus on the shooting lessons and drill concealed carry draw on one's own time is how I too like to approach classes.
    As a man sows, so shall he reap.

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