Some thoughts on the Victory First One day Pistol Workshop (if you want, use the convenient acronym: PWSHP)
Photography by Mia Kiddo.
Training is expensive. Missed days of work, gas, hotels, eating out while on site, and not to mention ammo. It’s a pain in the ass just locking on the logistics of getting there, and even as you pull into the range on TD1, there is the uncertain feeling which remains, “Did I make the right choice in trainers?”
Victory First understands these concerns. They have been trying to figure out ways to provide quality marksmanship training in as convenient and economical a way as possible. Having attended and successfully completed several other classes by Victory First, I found myself looking forward to attending their one day pistol workshop. The range day was held in West Virginia, at the Echo Valley training center. This was my first time training at the echo valley facility, and had heard a lot of good things about the owners and range layout. Built into the rolling hills of WV, it is nestled away from any houses or towns. The range is a premier setup which supports a wide array of different shooting disciplines, and has the feeling of a well kept secret.
Because this was only a one day class, things moved quickly but kept a good tempo. Everyone helped set up the range, hang targets and stage steel. Matt Jacques kicked off the safety brief, medical brief and we commenced with the obligatory meet and greet of each student. The workshop was comprised of military, law enforcement and switched-on civilians, which is always my preferred assembly. With different backgrounds, you get different perspectives and questions which often help everyone attending. With the scope of training explained, and the briefs complete we hit the range.
For this course of fire, I wore my trusty old custom .45acp 1911 and archaic Raven Concealment Systems phantom holster. Hung off my Ares Aegis belt, this is my preferred lead-out for EDC and has served me well over the years. The 8 year old kydex holster (one of the first they ever made) is a testament to RCS quality, and the beat up 1911 it carries has had fewer malfunctions then most of my other handguns.
The scope of the workshop, shooting clinic, or mini-class as you might call it, is to cover most of the same drills as one of Victory First’s two day courses. The curriculum is not sacrificed; it is merely compressed for time and ammunition. What this means is that you will learn many of the same drills, but there are fewer iterations and rounds spent on each string of fire before moving on to the next. Matt is by far one of my favorite instructors and is a master at herding cats. He kept the tempo even and smooth, without a rushed feeling. He made time for individual questions on the line, and answered them in a complete and through manner. I always appreciate his style of mentorship, his humor and experience is what keeps bringing me back to his courses. There is no such thing as good enough, he will spend the time and give feedback on the line so that everyone is up to speed before progressing. Luckily, the other shooters on the line were squared away, and the course flowed wonderfully.
Several of my fellow students were new to shooting from concealment, and some were trying different carriage setups unfamiliar to them. Jimmy Smith, owner of F3 Tactical in Chantilly VA was trying the new Vertx concealment bag as his primary means of carry. It was amazing to watch him gain speed and fluidity with the bag-draw method as the day progressed. It was very reaffirming to see that this carry mode is a viable method for men and women alike. Other shooters punched paper and range steel with their new blasters, and upgraded holster choices. For some that are new to appendix carry, it can be a daunting challenge to gain proficiency after years of on the hip carriage. I honestly enjoy other students having eureka! moments and noticeably increase their skill on the range. Everyone is there to get better, and by the end of the day it was apparent everyone had.
Matt Jacques is a phenomenal instructor, and what I consider to be one of the foremost authorities on fighting from concealment. Although the workshop is a great period of instruction, it does not replace the longer course. A wealth of experience and information, it is simply impossible to cram all the drills and lessons into one day. The workshop is, however an excellent primer to his two day courses, and an affordable sustainment style refresher to those you have already attended. I cannot recommend any of Victory First courses highly enough. The one day pistol workshop encompasses the core elements of fighting from concealment with a handgun, and refining your fundamentals of accuracy. It is the perfect class for Military, LE and CCW holders.
I have the feeling that if you attend any of VF’s classes, that you will catch the bug and return for more. Check out the training schedule here, and we’ll see you on the range soon!
Mad Duo Nate
About the author: Nathan “Mad Duo Nate” Murr is a former USMC Sergeant who recently transition to being a nasty civilian. He lives largely on nicotine, whiskey and hate and can be frequently found orating Kipling poems to frightened hipsters who have no idea WTAF he’s talking about. A graduate of the Camp Lejeune School for Wayward Boys, he was a Marine NCO, Infantry Platoon Sergeant and Scout Sniper team leader. He has many years of experience as a Lead Farmer spiral tube tech, is a fully qualified American Jedi and handsome badass. He has numerous deployments to the Middle East and Africa (combat and CFID), is something of an idiot savant when it comes finger-fucking stuff to make it work better than its original designers could, and is probably best described as a sociopathic philosopher with vestigial cutthroat (though poetic) tendencies. Thus far Murr’s writing career has included such publications as Breach-Bang-Clear, Military.com, RECOIL Magazine and Penthouse letters.