June 19, 2020 | Alex A
This class was held on a Friday prior to Jared teaching a Saturday/Sunday Performance Gunfighting class. I was one of six students. I’m fortunate that this class was able to happen in spite of the low enrollment(global pandemic and all). Of the six of us, half were former military. Four of six were shooting some flavor of red dot on their pistols.
This was my first class with Jared Reston. I took Scott Jedlinski’s class last year, and I know that the two teach together here and there, so I assumed a pistol class with Jared would be worthwhile. During his introduction, Jared stressed that this was a marksmanship class, not a tactics class. I think he does a great job of defining the parameters of the class and staying within them. Most of our shooting was done at 25 yards with B-8 targets. As Jared explained it, the goal of this class is not to make the student a really good B-8 shooter; the goal is to use the B-8 as a reasonable metric of performance and take the feedback gained from shooting it at distance to improve marksmanship.
We started off with a cold B-8 run(5 shots in 10 seconds from the holster, run twice for a total of 10 shots). After each run, all day, we would tape and score our targets. Jared would offer feedback on each. Jared then went into a lecture and application format, where he would discuss a fundamental and we would shoot our 10 rounds while working to apply everything we discussed for the day. Stance, Grip, Sights, Trigger, Follow-through, and Draw all got an explanation followed by a practice session.
We broke for lunch after the fundamentals. Afterward, we worked on some cadence drills(one-second beat, half-second beat) then moved into single-hand shooting. We ran a lot of strings shooting strong hand only, then took a break. Temps were pushing 90 and there’s not much shade at this range, so breaks were worked into the class appropriately. One of the students half-jokingly said to Jared while we sat in the shade, “So what’s next, weak hand only?”… Jared smiled and said “Yep!”
The rest of the day was spent with a few runs of weak hand only, and I think we were all surprised that we shot these better than expected. We then had 3 chances to shoot a 90 or above to win a Reston t-shirt. My best run of the day was a 96. Jared told us we could shoot a few more if anyone wanted to stick around- all six of us loaded magazines back up and headed back on the line. At the end of the day, by my math, we shot about 340 rounds- right under the recommended 350 rounds on the equipment list.
Facility notes: Ridgeline is a great spot, but it’s a little off the beaten path. Don’t expect air conditioned classrooms and running water. Bring what you need for the day. Look up the directions beforehand and don’t rely on plugging the name into Google maps- the guys in charge told us that they keep fixing their location on Google but it defaults back to a spot a few miles down the road.
Takeaways: If I can fix something small that I’ve been doing wrong, or find a better way to do something, or learn a new way to train at home, I think my course tuition is well spent. This was my first time ever shooting timed B-8s, and I think it’s something I’ll keep in my toolbox for accuracy work. Most of my strings for the day were in the high 80s and low 90s, so I was in a good position to fine-tune what I was doing and didn’t really have to reinvent myself during the class.
I don’t want to give away Jared’s secret sauce here, but the biggest thing I took from this class was his breakdown of trigger prep. I always sort of brushed off trigger prep as “take the slack out and press”, but Jared really digs into prepping the trigger during presentation. As he says, on a factory Glock trigger, trigger prep isn’t just taking up the slack, it’s taking up the first 5 pounds. He explains the “how” and “why”, then drives this concept home throughout the class especially on the single hand only strings. I don’t think there’s any chance I would have been consistently hitting the 9 and 10 rings at 25 yards using only my left hand if I weren’t going through the prep process that Jared broke down for us. I also jotted down a few bits of wisdom on stance, presentation, and so forth. Take notes during this class.
Recommendation: Take this class if you’re looking to dig into pistol fundamentals. Take anything with Jared Reston if the class description interests you because the man can teach. Reston Group is planning another 3 day weekend at Ridgeline in the fall, with a one-day pistol-themed class followed by a two-day Gunfighter class.