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Thread: Two classes in 5 days! Bob Keller & John McPhee.

  1. #1
    Site Supporter JohnO's Avatar
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    Sep 2011
    CT (behind Enemy lines)

    Two classes in 5 days! Bob Keller & John McPhee.

    It's been a few years since I have participated in a formal multi-day training classes. Low back issues kept me away. Back surgery in January and my rehab work enabled me to not only feel good but give me the confidence that I could sign up for a class and expect to make/finish it.

    A few guys I know traveled to PA for a Bob Keller Advanced Tactical Carbine and Pistol class. All these guys have trained with numerous big name trainers and they spoke very highly about Keller's class. One of those guys arranged to host Keller here in CT.

    I trained with Bob on a Sun & Mon, one day off, then John McPhee on Weds & Thurs in Maine. It was a whirlwind 5 days. We hung out chatting with Keller Monday night and I had to be at a buddy's house at 08:00 Tuesday to head to the airport. Monday night I had barely enough time stow my gear, ready a travel bag and get some sleep.

    Bob Keller's Advanced Tactical Carbine and Pistol, Gamut Resolutions

    Day 1

    The AM was all pistol. Bob is very accuracy focused. We did all our work on 3" dots with the focus on keeping the rounds in the dot. Every iteration was from the holster.

    After lunch was all carbine. Again working on 3" dots. Ready Up Drills as Bob calls them. Carbine at the Low Ready get the weapon up, get a sight picture and deliver the round to the target quickly and accurately. Know your holdovers based on your distance from the target.

    Bob emphasized that working on the 3" dot and getting good doing it will make "larger" targets (needing to get shot) feel like cheating.

    Day 2. Started with the 500 point aggregate, pistol. (The Humbler minus the kneeling & prone). Bob was impressed with the class, 7 out of 12 were well over 400. Bob said we were the best class he has had based upon the scores.

    We then added the carbine and focused on transitioning strong to support side. Still working on 3" dots. Bob emphasized all your control should be coming from your non-firing hand. When you transition to support side now you have your strong hand controlling the carbine. You shouldn't suffer any degradation vs normal strong side. Bob called out trainers who refuse to transition sides. He mentioned a guy who says, "Tom Brady doesn't try and throw a football with his left hand. Bob said, "that tells me that guy, a legit Unit operator, hasn't been shot at enough".

    We did a few drills transitioning from carbine to pistol. Finally we put it all together shooting on the move advancing on the target with the carbine and transitioning to pistol Upper target carbine lower target pistol. We made lateral runs across the field with steel on the shooters left and back across the field with steel now on the shooters right and transitioning shooting sides. Reduced C-zone steel, multiple pieces at 35 yards from the parallel shooting lane.

    I'm just glossing over the entire experience. Bob was an excellent trainer and ran a top notch class. Bob was very approachable and happy to answer any questions. I would rate Bob in the top 1% of the trainers out there. I highly recommend training with Bob Keller!

    I shot 14.5" BCM during the class. Pistol, I shot a 1911 on day 1 and a G17 on day 2. I actually screwed up and shot the wrong 1911 on day 1. I carry a lightweight commander and train with a 5" steel gun. Both are set up exactly the same and the only difference is the fame and the slide length. Somehow I unloaded my carry gun, changed holsters and intended to grab the 5" from my bag but pulled back out the 4.25". It was only at the end of the day that I realized what I had done. Zero equipment issues. Lots of rounds!

    On now to the John "Shrek" McPhee class.

    Let me start out by saying this was a class I would not normally seek out and attend. The entire experience fell in my lap. I good friend asked me if I wanted to attend. I wasn't crazy about the proximity to the Keller class. The class, a place to stay and a private plane ride there were all covered. How could I resist?

    A friend up in Maine contracted McPhee to teach a private 2 day class, paid everyone's admission and put us up in his guest house. One of the CT guys invited is a pilot and owns a plane. He flew us up to Maine and our host picked us up at Bar Harbor airport. You can't beat 53 minutes flight time vs. 6-7 hours in a car. The ability to drive out onto the tarmac, load your gear, no security BS and fly armed was EXCELLENT! FYI. There were bottles of very top shelf sipping whiskey I gave to the host and the pilot.

    We shot 2 days with McPhee. He shot video and did his on screen analysis. Honestly I was not a fan of his techniques AKA the Tactical Turtle to sum it up. Virtually every time we shot he issued the commands: Hips forward, lean forward, hips square to the target, shoulders square to the target, front sight under your dominant eye, gun to full extension, elbows locked, shoulders forward and up to your ear muffs, firing hand thumb high and off the support hand, Cross On. John marked everyone's hands (the Cross) similar to Todd Green so you had a grip reference to re-establish for each iteration.

    Day 2 transitioned to John's "Stitch 'Em Up Pistol Course".

    I did/tried everything John taught. Part of me felt I needed to keep my mouth shut because I was a guest of a friend. I'm always willing to try new things but teaching an old dog new tricks can be a tall order. Extra tall if you don't quite agree. I've been through this type of experience before. Two of us were the subject of Todd's blog some 12 years ago.

    I'm not calling the experience a waste of time. I believe there were some valuable takeaways for me. The stance John wanted everyone to assume didn't feel great in my lower back and that played with me mentally and physically. I'm not adopting any of that. I talked to John about how I didn't agree with the fully extended arms and locked elbows. It was in a question and not threatening to his teaching. John had a sharp comeback and I could tell I wasn't going to change his mind. At that point I decided just to go along for the ride. It was difficult to deviate from what I'm used to doing, especially under time pressure. When that timer beeps it's natural to go with a conditioned response.

    I have to say McPhee gave excellent feedback to everyone in the class. Of note John no longer has access to Coaches Eye software so there was no drawing on the videos. With the on the range video John showed individuals things they had no idea that they were doing. I've never seen such personalized attention from a trainer.

    John was a super friendly and approachable guy. He went to dinner with us after day 1. As a trainer he was very good but his style of shooting just isn't my cup of tea.

    The G17 went with me to Maine. I didn't bother to bring a spare. At the Keller class I had 2 carbines and 4 pistols. The difference was the plane and being weight conscious. I had no idea how capable my friends aircraft was, until I saw it, a TBM 850! As it turned out I could have lugged along much more weight. It actually was quite liberating going with a small range bag that held everything I needed.
    Last edited by JohnO; 09-09-2023 at 12:31 PM.

  2. #2
    I had a carbine/pistol class with Keller just before he retired. It was a bit challenging in December in southern Kentucky due to weather but it was a great class.

  3. #3
    I took a class in the late 90ís that taught the tactical turtle. The instructor was high speed in the military. Maybe it was a method in common use at the time.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by DamonL View Post
    I took a class in the late 90ís that taught the tactical turtle. The instructor was high speed in the military. Maybe it was a method in common use at the time.
    It was in common use the 1990s - early 2000s.

    McPhee retired in 2011.

  5. #5
    Shrek is an interesting guy and capable instructor, but his material is horribly dated.

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