UPDATE: As of 6/15/2014 FPF Training no longer teaches this class but National Shooters does! Be sure to check out our course listings to find the AR15 Rifle Class held at the same outdoor shooting range.
Since my first defensive handgun shooting class I’m addicted to solid, experienced, and reputable firearms instruction. Training provides the proper mechanics for employing our firearms as well as the confidence that our skills will work as expected when needed (think high stress self defense situation). With that said, I’ve owned an AR-15 (Modern Sporting Rifle) for a few months and finally found the right firearms training class to build a solid shooting foundation, Minute Man Rifle Class by FPF Training.
Good Firearms Training Starts in a Classroom
Just like the entry level handgun classes we teach at National Shooters, shooting beings with a classroom session. FPF’s shooting program begins at the Marriott conference room in Winchester, Virginia where Instructor John covers the basics of rifle safety, manipulation, carbine characteristics, accessories, and marksmanship. Instructor John does an excellent job entertainment the class with a insightful lecture and witty one liners teaming on the edge of inappropriate, yet hysterical. The lecture lasts about 3 hours and then students follow Instructor John from the hotel to the range, which takes about 30 minutes.
Like the a Military Basic Shooting Program without the Physical Abuse
This is not a tactical black rifle class with endless sessions of ballistic self-abuse. Instructor John insists the purpose of the program is the foundations of safety, manipulation, and marksmanship with the “fighting rifle” platforms. He claims the structure of training mimics a basic Marine Corps rifle training without drill instructors in your ears, death marches, and early morning PT. This allows students to focus more on shooting.
A Solid Foundation needs a Good Zero
Our range session began by shooting to find a good zero for our rifles. Instructor John promotes the 300 meter zero which excels for good reason. At any distance between 0-300 meters shooters only need to aim center of a 8in by 8in target to make hits. I arrived at class with only the knowledge I’ve read online and I had no confidence I could make accurate hits beyond 100yards but by the end of class I rang steel at 300 meters easily. See below:
Have the Right Gear to Tackle the Day
Students arrived mostly with iron sights, which Instructor John promotes, as well as with red-dot optics. Just be sure your gear can stand up to the weather and training program!
Echo Valley Training Center is located in the middle of the West Virginia mountains, where weather has a tendency to hang around.
Nothing sucks more than being wet and cold. Be sure to have proper equipment for outdoor shooting.
Average shooting distances for the class was from 7 to 300 yards. In the top left of the below picture you can see a parked car at about 200 yards. On the next range over there is s shooting stand to hit the targets next to the parked car.
The lesson plan was very attainable and practical for new shooters. Instructor Sean on the left in the following video:
Well Worth my Time and Money
The cost of training over its effective useful life is pennies (I’m an accountant by education… #nerdIknow). Johns class was without question the perfect foundation class for safety, manipulation, and marksmanship with the fighting carbine rifles. I’m now far more capable with the platform and feel more prepared for more training classes!