Brain Dump: the Glock Operator Course
Atlanta, Georgia holds the distinction of having more strip clubs per capita than any STATE in the country. We also boast a ratio of women to men of 18:1, we can carry guns in bars, even have shooting ranges with bars built into them, and the mayor just decriminalized possession of marijuana under an ounce. Know what else we got? GLOCK. Yup, the U.S. headquarters for the most dominant handgun manufacturer in the world is located right here in a little suburb called Smyrna. If you are a Glockophile like I am, then the benefit of this is seen immediately. Any warranty issues can be handled onsite, often while you wait during a short visit to their offices.
For years, Glock has had a limited number of classes that were primarily only offered to the LE/MIL community and select GSSF members. I’ve taken a number of classes there (I think this makes my 6th class) and the quality of instruction has always been well organized and top notch. So when I saw that they were now offering a class open to civilians without the previous restrictions of being LE/MIL, the Glock Operators course, I wanted in. After making a few phone calls I was able to secure a spot. Here are my thoughts on the course content and reflections after action.
Training Organization: Glock Professional, Inc.
Instructor: Joseph “Willie” Parent
Location: Glock U.S. Headquarters. Smyrna, GA
When: October 3-4, 2017
Round Count: 1000
Day One: Bianchi Accumold Elite 2 ¼” Full Duty Belt set-up with Safariland 6360 holster, stock Glock 17, Glock 17R (for dry firing exercises), Dark Angel Medical D.A.R.K. kit and RICCI ankle med kit with Dark Angel Medical mini kit contents.
Day Two: Raven Concealment Systems Eidolon AIWB holster, Copia double mag carrier, Copia single mag carrier, PHLster Gen 1 skeleton mag carrier, Mean Gene Leather Victory Aegis belt with Ares gear Aegis buckle, RICCI ankle med kit and PHLster Flat pack tourniquet carrier with a Gen 7 CAT
Reviewer’s Background: Samuel Hayes is an Atlanta-based physical security specialist and instructor. During his 25-plus year career in the private sector he has worked full-time as a personal protection specialist and security operations manager in high-crime urban environments. He has performed these services for a diverse clientele to include dignitaries and foreign heads of state in support of Secret Service and State Department details, Grammy award-winning musicians and artists, CEOs and Forbes 400 list alumni and Fortune 500 companies. He has also worked extensively as a fugitive recovery specialist in the bail enforcement industry in the NY/NJ/PA Tri-state area, which gave him a proving ground for his training. He began his career as an instructor in 1991 providing course work for armed corporate executive protection teams, armed uniformed security personnel, fugitive recovery agents and limited number of law enforcement and military training opportunities, and now holds a number of instructor level credentials from NRA to various LE instructor courses from industry leading training resources and instructors.
Instructor Background: Joseph “Willie” Parent is the director of training and GSSF for Glock Professional, Inc and has been with the company for two years. Prior to joining Glock, he spent seventeen years on active duty in the Marine Corps with assignments in infantry, Force Recon, Special Operations and as an instructor in explosive breaching, CQB and Urban Sniping. He is also an accomplished competition shooter and continues to stay active in training the law enforcement community and instructor development as part of his role at Glock.
Mix of students: There were fourteen students total, of which three of us had no law enforcement background. # of the attendees were staff instructors for Glock who were there to learn how to deliver the course and the rest were active duty LEO’s.
Class Overview: The course name, “Glock Operator Course,” should not be misconstrued as an opportunity to instantly be transformed into a bearded, tattooed, pipe-hitting, knuckle-dragging, harder-than-woodpecker-lips, terrorist-killing summbitch. Quite simply, it’s a skill builder course whose goal is to teach you how to more effectively shoot a Glock pistol.
MINDSET: Willie made it clear from the very beginning: this is NOT a beginner’s shooting course. A certain level of proficiency is required to get the most out of the learning opportunities afforded in this class. There were a few LEO’s who struggled with both speed and accuracy, something Willie, as a genuine pipe hitter and accomplished competition shooter, stressed the importance of throughout the course. Coming to this course with the objective of diagnosing and correcting performance issues and learning a few subtle nuances of how the gun operates, like how it can remain fully functional with a broken or missing trigger spring with proper trigger management, will give you the most bang for your buck.
MEDICAL: Willie had a full IFAK on his belt, which I would expect no less from a Marine, and I was equipped with a D.A.R.K. kit from Dark Angel Medical and my own self-aid ankle med kit, in the effect of a life threatening injury.
SHOOTING PLATFORM: Day one I shot an unmodified Gen 4 Glock 17 that I use as my primary training gun when participating or conducting courses from my duty or instructor rig. Day two I shot from concealment with my Gen 3 Glock 19C, sparsely equipped with the Raven Concealment Systems Freya magwell and “The Gadget,” a Glock Striker Control Device which was the brain child of the late Todd Louis Green and his business partner, Tom Jones.
CLASSROOM SESSION & INTRODUCTION: After the requisite round robin of who you were and why you were taking the course, the class began with a very well-produced power point presentation. Admittedly, as an instructor, I was as interested in how the material was presented as I was in what information would actually be shared. The PowerPoint presentation was masterfully done and kept me engaged with lots of images without being too text heavy. It was clear that as an instructor, Willie knew the material intimately and was not reading from the screen as I’ve seen done by other instructors in various courses. His wealth of experience in the real world also made it possible for him to relate the information to examples, giving context to the information. I find this to be the mark of a skilled “teacher,” not just a good instructor.
Some of the topics covered in the presentation were course outline and what to expect, emergency procedures and range commands, and nomenclature of the pistol. Then we got into ballistics. The ballistics section, in my opinion, was one of the better ones. It touched on topics such as internal and external ballistics and what each means as it relates to what Willie calls “little golden rays of sunshine” hitting human flesh. Terminal ballistics and what they have listed as “Circuitry and Hydraulic Ballistics,” terms I’d only heard a few times in my career but immediately recognized upon reading their descriptions, correspond to my analogy on Timers and Switches in the human body as it relates to shutting down consciousness, stopping threats and shot placement.
RANGE SESSION: After completing the classroom portion we were given instructions to muster up on the range after a short break. Since I continue to teach armed security personnel in addition to citizens who carry concealed and find myself engaged more and more with LE and MIL clients, I decided to run my duty rig on day one and get some reps in with the ALS holster, then switch to AIWB with the Eidolon on day two.
One thing I really appreciated about this class was the commitment to dry-practicing each skill before going hot. The dry-practice reps were not just theatrical movements done with no purpose to simply “get them out the way.” Willie used this time to make evaluation and corrections where needed. I typically use a shooting stance very similar to the way I stand when boxing or doing Muay Thai, as I find this “fighting stance” to be very efficient at keeping me balanced and mobile…like a fighter. But Willie suggested I adopt a stand with a wider base similar to his, which based on observations, is common among military pistoleros. It was awkward and took some getting used to but I gave it a whirl, to try to get the most from the course.
He then went on to instruct the class through various aspects of shooting to include marksmanship fundamentals, presentation, reloads, malfunction drills, shooting on the move, and a Glock Standards course of fire that was only 22 rounds but was well thought out and structured to really test your nuts. We engaged targets and ran drills from distances as close as three yards out to twenty yards, stretching the skills of some of the participants who were not accustomed to engaging with a pistol beyond seven to ten yards. As an instructor, Willie has a great way of making sure he delivers the information so the student can OVERstand the methodology, by taking out the unnecessary steps often thrown in by instructors who want to prove they’re the smartest guy in the room.
Overall, this was a really good course and an excellent value at $300 for two days of instruction. The Glock training facility added to the value as it was very clean and well kept, the lighting was excellent and the air handling system kept the environment very comfortable. Plus, there are not many manufacturers who actually offer courses to civilians at their facility. So if you are a Glock fan, than this is a rare opportunity to come to the “Mecca.”
Dark Angel Medical is a part of JTF Awesome.
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About the Author: Samuel Hayes is an Atlanta-based physical security specialist and instructor in matters of violence who just happens to look like an angry black Santa Claus. During his 25 year career in the private sector he has worked full-time as a personal protection specialist for a diverse clientele to include foreign heads of state, Grammy award-winning artists, CEOs and Forbes 400 list alumni. Sam and many of our editorial staff frequently disagree, on just about everything — which is why we welcome his input. Plus, he’s an anti-VODA, as you’ll learn for yourself should you look into the AAAFRO Gun Club (@aaafro_gunclub).
Having spent the majority of his life comfortably thriving in high crime urban environments, he earned his “street cred” on the block in New York and other metropolitan cities as a “Yute” and molded his current principles and methodologies based on teachings from a family tree that looks like the “Who’s Who” of NYPD’s Most Wanted list. He has used this information in what he likes to call the “Grey Hat” role; the good guy (white hat) who thinks like a bad guy (the black hat) and walks the line to get the job done mostly by the book (Grey Hat).
Sam now shares his unique understanding of the criminal “modus operandi” with the general public in open enrollment classes through his personal protection training consultancy, Caliber Training Group, LLC. You can also see what’s going on in his brain in the role of the unlikely good guy, by subscribing to his blog “Safe In the City/ Urban Threat Solutions”. He’s a Scorpio and enjoys long walks in dark neighborhoods, getting his hair cut, and looking at big booty twerking videos on YouTube.
Note: you can find AAFRO Gun Club on Facebook, /aaafrogunclub/.