Recently I had the opportunity to attend Redback One’s Combat Pistol course in Thurmont, Maryland. I had been looking forward to training with Redback One ever since I asked a friend of mine if they knew what to expect from the course and I got the reply “Just you wait, Jason Falla is a total bad ass!” Over the course of the weekend, Jason didn’t just live up to his “bad ass” reputation, he surpassed it with his unique combination of experience, technical skills, athleticism and a true mastery in the art of hands-on teaching. In short, Redback One’s Combat Pistol course didn’t meet my expectations; it exceeded them by a wide margin.
A couple things to know:
This is not a 101 level course. From the beginning of the first day, we were putting rounds downrange and drawing from the holster. If you aren’t comfortable with manipulating your handgun on a static range, then it may be better to take a basic pistol course or train up to a point of proficiency before taking this particular combat pistol course.
You will receive as much as you and your classmates put into the course, if not most likely more. Our class found that the more effort that we collectively put into the drills and the training, the more we learned; Jason encouraged positivity and enthusiasm, and in turn we as a class learned and retained a tremendous amount of information largely due to our working as a team to become better shooters, and not just individually.
You will venture outside of your comfort zone with a handgun in more ways than one. We took our handguns out to over 100 yards on steel targets and scored hits thanks to our training. I don’t believe that any of us in the class had shot a handgun out past 25 yards, ever.
You will most likely spend more than the minimum hour count on the range. On the first day, we spent four extra hours on the range running drills, and learning techniques. On the second day, we spent two extra hours running drills to challenge ourselves and implement all the coursework that we had covered.
Be prepared to actively problem-solve in everything that you do. Once we received training lessons on theory and methodology, and developed enough confidence shooting, Jason would adapt drills to suit. This constantly challenged the class’ ability to react to a dynamic environment or less than perfect conditions. One of the main things that I took away from this course personally was that while we train on best-case scenarios, real life does not normally afford us that luxury, and more often than not, we have to plan and react in real time in less than ideal situations. Just about every aspect of this course, especially the medical briefs reflected the importance of developing the ability to problem-solve in real time under adverse conditions.
Jason Falla Demonstrates the X-drill
It pays to be in shape. Some of the drills and courses of fire that we shot involved moving and shooting, kneeling and prone positions, and all out sprinting while being timed. The Redback One Combat Pistol course definitely emphasized shooting skills as a part of a greater picture that included critical thinking, mobility and speed; athleticism and overall wellness definitely helped everyone who attended this particular course hone their skills to the next level.
A full outline can be found here
Jason took a crawl, walk, run, sprint, problem-solve approach to teaching all of the techniques covered. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the opportunity to practice low-light shooting due to the amount of daylight present, but techniques were discussed to introduce us to low light shooting. We covered every other item on the course syllabus very comprehensively. I personally felt that material was taught at a pace that benefitted everyone; those who were having trouble with some parts of the course were given extra instruction and gained confidence and proficiency within minutes of Jason’s help.
Again, this course is meant to train individuals to confidently manipulate a handgun in a combat situation. Every drill that we did and technique that we learned was geared towards putting the gun into play as quickly and safely (accurately) as possible to score multiple rounds on targets while maintaining situational awareness. After two days of training, all of us felt confident that we could employ the techniques that we learned.
Some real highlights of the course:
Jason Falla Performs Combat Setups with the Pistol
I would say the entire thing, but that’s not a fair assessment:
Jason Falla is easily one of the most experienced, gifted and humble instructors that I have ever had the opportunity to train with. The wealth of experience that he drew from to compliment everything that we learned turned every moment- including his own demonstrations- into learning opportunities for the entire class. He wasn’t afraid to hold himself or his students to a higher standard while shooting serials, which translated into friendly competition between students, and created an atmosphere that was very conducive to learning and encouraged excellence. By the end of the first day, we were all functioning as a group and were able to carry that dynamic over to the next day with no issues.
(Continued in 2nd post)