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Thread: AAR: SENTINEL CONCEPTS, RDS Handgun 11-6-21 Salem, CT

  1. #1
    Member JEFF_WATCH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    West of Boston

    AAR: SENTINEL CONCEPTS, RDS Handgun 11-6-21 Salem, CT

    RDS Handgun (red dot sight)
    November 6, 2021​

    Instructor: Steve Fisher
    Location: ACADEMI Northeast, Salem CT
    Weather: Indoor Range
    Round Count: 350ish

    I had been wanting to take a Steve Fisher class for years, finally, someone I knew (Ben DeWalt of OnSight Firearms Training) hosted him in the Northeast. Thank you, Ben, for bringing National trainers up behind enemy lines to the Northeast.

    We started off in the classroom for a briefing about the red dot. Steve is extremely knowledgeable and has been involved with the development and testing of RDS’s for decades he knows his shit! Topics discussed were history, mounting, maintenance, duty/CCW brand choices vs dedicated range brand choices, dot size, reticle display options, dot colors, aging eye issues, backup irons, zeroing distances, WML integration with the dot, trigger press, and then a question & answer session. Steve encouraged us to ask any questions we wanted to be answered. He made the class comfortable, and it was like friends talking rather than a lecture. I enjoyed the briefing and took a liking to Steve’s personality and teaching style.

    We had our safety and medical briefing in the classroom and were told to go down to the range and get our ears, eyes, gun, and mags on and meet him on the range by the targets.

    Steve showed us his grip and how it works, he demo’d it with live fire and had us do some dryfire with his grip changing hand pressure while watching the dot move, changing finger pressure watching the dot move. We loaded our guns and did a string of five shots into a B8. We did a second string of five much faster and compared the two groups. One by one we gripped the gun with Steve next to the student and he had us fire a few rounds, he would adjust our grip, have us shoot more, make some more adjustments…he was always asking where the dot went during recoil? This process took some time going through everyone individually, but it was like having a one on one with Steve Fisher. I watched closely each student and how Steve adjusted their grip and how it affected the dot during recoil. Steve’s grip is different than most other instructors that I have trained with, his thumbs placement and how hard to squeeze were much different than I was used to. After trying his technique, I was impressed, however, I have tens of thousands of reps myelinated, so it was a struggle of concentration to consistently apply the new techniques.

    We ran a bunch of drills from different distances and different round counts to burn in the new grip and watch our dots in recoil. After each iteration, Steve would ask each of us what we saw our dot doing and how it printed on the target.

    Steve suggests a straight even trigger press with the velocity-dependent on the distance to the target. He is not a fan of bringing the trigger to the wall and then going all the way. I cut my teeth with trigger reset many years ago and the past few years most of the instructors whom I have been with argue resetting the trigger upon recoil, so this was something new again for me.

    We did one-handed shooting both strong and dumb hand to isolate certain aspects of the grip, and trigger press. My biggest takeaway from these drills is that not to hold the pistol with a death grip. For years I have been told to grip the f*** out of it. With one-handed gripping it that hard made the pistol shake too much. Hold it just enough to get the job done. WOW, that was an amazing realization.

    One of the highlights of the class for me was, understanding to not over confirm the dot. Once the dot was in the intended area press the trigger. Do not wait for the perfect place within the intended area. That was a big moment for me. I often wanted a perfect position within the intended area before I pressed the trigger. I was able to shoot sooner in 90% of the drills after I understood this concept while still impacting the target where I wanted to.

    We did some multiple target drills, where Steve taught us as soon as we were pressing the trigger our eyes should be moving to the next target. I had a tough time doing those drills faster with multiple strings of shots as I have always been taught follow-through. Get an additional sight picture as the shoot is going off. I could do this when we did it slowly, but as the drill speed went faster, I reverted to the skills I have mastered over the years.

    We did optic failure drills with fast shots into an A zone just looking through the window of the optic (we turn our optics off) We found out where our windows printed on a target from different distance to target and we used our backup iron sights at greater distances. We found that most of the classes included me had not zeroed our irons. HMMMMM….

    We did some drills at 22 yards into a standard A zone with various cadence speeds, after doing single-handed drills having both hands was an amazing luxury. It seemed like cheating…

    I loved this class, I learned so many different ways of shooting that I must practice with. It will take time for me to myelinate some of Steve’s skills into me, but they work.

    The hype around Steve Fisher is real. Take his class if you have the opportunity!

    If you train enough, you will see many of the same people show up to other classes in your area. This class was like a reunion of old friends. I knew 90% of the class from other classes and considered most of them close friends after all the time we have spent together over the years in classes. I have found people who are in these classes are some of the nicest, kindest people around. They are extremely supportive, entertaining, easy-going, have a profound sense of humor, and are willing to help you out with gear issues, ammo issues, and always go the extra step to welcome new people. Good instructors are magnets for good people (normally.)

  2. #2
    Site Supporter David S.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    I agree.

    This is a straightforward fundamentals class. It's not a performance class, like the Modern Samurai Project class.

    It's a solid course that's well suited for most shooters.

  3. #3
    Informative report, and sounds like a great class for you.

    Here is something I am not so sure about -- getting everyone to grip the pistol "the instructor's way." Something I have come to believe is that there are so many ways to skin the cat, that having shooters, especially proficient shooters, change their method to "your way" may create as much chaos as improvement. I am not sure I could describe how I exactly hold the pistol to someone else, and whatever I am doing today will probably be slightly different next week or month.

    I really do like TGO's approach, where he evaluates you and figures out how he can improve your ability the most in the time he has with you.
    Likes pretty much everything in every caliber.

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