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Thread: AAR: Mike Seeklanders "My Competition Handgun Training Program 1"

  1. #1

    AAR: Mike Seeklanders "My Competition Handgun Training Program 1"

    Training Dates: 15-16 Aug 2013

    "My Competition Handgun Training Program" with Mike Seeklander (
    Location: Winnequa Gun Club, WI
    Gun: M&P9L
    Ammo: 124g FMJ-RN Reloads (1100rds fired)
    Gear: Comp-Tac OWB Holster, RCS Double Mag Carrier, Blade-tech Single Mag Carrier

    This is a combination of some pages in my training log. I had originally intended to run this course with my IDPA gear (same as above but concealed under a vest and minus the Blade-Tech carrier). After a little class discussion before the range I decided since I'm lacking in USPSA and the class is really setup for USPSA, I would just run my USPSA gear.

    Class started with a mental lecture. This being a competitive class and not a defensive/combat oriented class, the lecture was based around visualization of training, stages, performance statements, and planning. I will not go into much detail about it but it was a great lecture and perspective on the SPORT of practical shooting. The big gem I took away from this was Mike's explanation of training balances and how they equate to success in the sport. This consisted of mental, physical, visual, live fire, dry fire, and game day training and how each equates to and can balance the others.

    After about 2 hours we moved out to the range. We spent the rest of the morning doing nothing but dry fire. Normally, I would be totally against this but the way Mike approaches it was very logical. We dry fired the draw/presentation, table pick-ups (loading and loaded), and reloads. I found spending a good deal of time running these dry was really good, especially the draw stroke and table pick-ups. The draw stroke Mike uses is a straight line draw, bringing the sights into the visual plane just before full extension. Big take away on Mikes technique was the support hand placement on the body during the draw. He is very exact on where the hand should be as well as the positions of the fingers. Though to some it may be a minor detail and unimportant, Mike's technique definitely lent to the consistency of the draw and presentation to the target. Oh, and then the infamous "Judy Chop!" Gotta look it up or take the class for that one, but let me say it's awesome. Mike has a lot of great techniques built into this course that most people have never really broken down to their minute details and it showed in his level of skill and consistency.

    The afternoon took us into live fire, starting with grip pressure. Mike has great recoil management, which he associates directly to the amount of pressure he applies to gripping the gun. He also demonstrated and let us experiment with different relaxed grips to see how the gun would track with different pressures. Another interesting take away is Mikes beliefs about anticipating the trigger and how he believes it is most often a misdiagnosis of an overly relaxed support hand grip. To demo this, we all applied the proper amount of grip pressure and proceeded to basically slam on the trigger while maintaining a proper grip. We did this out to about 15yds and then checked the targets. Most found that for them, everything stayed in the A-Zone until about 10yds and then started opening up. I was able to keep everything in the A for the entirety of the drill, though I have to admit I was not that comfortable on relying on the grip while slamming on the trigger, but it worked.

    Mike differentiates between two different trigger presses. The first he calls an Accelerated Trigger Press (ATP) and the the second is a Prep & Press. The ATP is similar to what some may call "slapping" the trigger. It starts off the trigger, presses all the way through the trigger quickly, and then comes past sear reset and finger comes off the trigger under recoil. This is what he advocates on low probability targets at closer distances. I actually had a difficult time with this technique. My issue was pulling the finger off the trigger. While I do reset under recoil usually, I found that I never really took my finger off the trigger. Yes, I understand that the technique eliminates trigger freeze, just not sure how I feel about it. The Prep & Press is your standard prep the trigger until the sear is about to release, press through when ready and re-prep under recoil. Mike teaches to use this on high probability targets where added precision is needed.

    We then talked about Reset Under Recoil. With this I have to mention that Mike is all about calling the shots based on sight tracking and making up hits outside the C (-1) Zones. I immediately identified an issue that I had trained into myself or never untrained from years ago. When I first learned to shoot I was taught to pin the trigger to the rear after each shot. I abandoned this technique years ago in order to make fast subsequent shots. Then it hit me in the face like a ton of bricks: after the last KNOWN round being fired, I would pin the trigger to the rear. It became apparent when I was shooting follow up shots on high probability targets and my splits would almost double because I had pinned the trigger on the last planned shot I was firing. Problem identified, now to correct it!

    The rest of the day was spent shooting some variable target drills, alternating between high and low probability shots.


    Day two kicked off with a short dry fire session focused on the draw. After that we moved into live fire pivot drills. Mike utilizes a clock techniques for most of his stepping and pivoting drills, which gets you to practice all the different directions you may step. This includes straight steps and cross steps. While not a fan of crossing my feet in general, I can see its application in competition.

    We then moved into some static reload drills, finding the "sweet spot" for the reload. Nothing much different here than any other reload. Turn the gun to see the magwell, slow the mag before insertion, transition eyes back to sights. We ran these drills a fair bit trying to smooth out the reloads. At this point, I could see where proper game gear makes its money, specifically magazine carriers. My mags had begun to stick to my Blade-tech mag carrier, giving me a heck of a time trying to get the mag to the gun. Next came some SHO/WHO shooting. Mikes technique is very utilizes the a vertical sight position versus canting the gun. Using muscle and body structure behind the gun helps manage the recoil. I have only been using this technique a couple years and am a big fan. It feels awkward at first, but so did properly gripping a gun when you first tried it. Then we were off to some SH-WHO transfers. I won't spend much time on it, but the main point is keep your finger out of the trigger guard during the transfer and don't throw the gun from one hand to the other.

    Next up was some shooting around cover and foot positioning for it. It was interesting to me throughout the entire class how important foot position is withing the competitive shooting world. I never really put much stock in footwork in shooting other than stance and SOM, kind of, but it is for sure a big deal in playing the games. Might take me awhile to figure it out. We closed out the shooting portion of the day with Short (three steps and under) and Long (over three steps) movement. For short movement, Mike advocates a TOW technique, where it appears the gun is towing the shooter and the sights stay on the sighting plane, and a Collapse, where the shooter breaks the gun out of position and remounts before settling into a shooting position. I am a big fan of the collapse technique because it allows me to move faster than the towing technique.

    We finished off the day with a class and individual AARs. Mike had something to say for every individual in the class on what he/she could improve upon. I thought that was great, and it allowed you to walk away with one or two things fresh in your head that you needed to focus on in your own training. Mike is an amazing shooter, and a great instructor. He is all about the students and alumni of his courses which I think is a great quality. Mike has some great gems or "secrets" he gives you in this course and it has greatly peaked my interest in seeing what he is doing in his defensive handgun programs as well. I would highly recommend this course for anyone who shoots competition. I would say someone could easily take this course with their EDC stuff and it would not be a wasted two days of training.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Madison, Wisconsin
    I was in this class.

    I'm surprised I didn't see this AAR at the time.

    I've got all of Mike's books and I've found them to be useful. I'd like to take his Defensive Handgun and Defensive Rifle classes sometime

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