Redback One – Ladies Intro to pistol course review
Written by guest author Jehnifer Ehmann of Ehmann Outdoors
The 1-day Ladies Intro to Pistol course began at Birchwood Shooting Range in Chugiak Alaska. Equipment required to take the class included a pistol, holster, 3 magazines, magazine carrier, basic cleaning kit, 500 rounds of ammo, ear/eye protection, and appropriate range attire. Redback One’s creator and lead trainer, Jason Falla, opened the class with a brief bio of himself and introduction of guest instructor Jeremy Zastrow. Like many of the women in the class, Jason’s extensive history in combat and advanced training was not lost on me. Having the opportunity to take a class from someone as skilled as Jason is rare and lends to immediately instillingconﬁdence in his students. We moved quickly into a safety brieﬁng and description of what to expect throughout the day. We signed appropriate safety waivers and reviewed PR policies.
Next, Jason took the opportunity to go around the room and ﬁnd out why we had taken the class or what we hoped to get from it. Many women said they wanted to know how to better defend themselves, some said they had a pistol but wouldn’t know what to do with it in an emergency, and some cited bear protection. The list was varied but the class had attracted a group of like-minded women eager to become competent in the use of a handgun. What is unique about Jason is that he seemed as determined to teach an intro class to ladies as he is to teach the most elite of our Military and I think that motivated our group to work hard throughout the day.
After introductions, Jason rolled into class room instruction and a safety overview. He started with the basic building blocks of how to clear and safe a gun, then dove into parts nomenclature and identification, and tailored the information to the ﬁrearms he knew the class had brought to complete the training with. If you are wondering which pistol to use/purchase for the class there isn’t a requirement. In fact one of Jason’s mottos repeated to us throughout the day was, “use what you have, we will make do with it”. However, Jason uses the Glock platform of pistols for his own personal use and much. Much of the instruction is given using the Glock pistol as a guide, and then tweaked to be applicable to whatever people brought. My current recommendation based off of what I learned about the pistol and learned about pistol manipulation during the course is to use the Glock platform or something similar like a Springﬁeld XDM. As far as the caliber choose something that is comfortable for you to shoot 500 rounds from so a .40 cal might be too much for an all-day training scenario, and you might be better suited with a 9mm.
After a few hours in the classroom, we took a break from indoors instruction, and we were asked to move outside to the range. Here we were asked to all set our pistols and carrying cases in front of us to be cleared and made safe by them. This gave them the opportunity to explain various safety mechanisms and different characteristics/nuances of the firearms present. This was valuable since the vast majority of women in the class were new to the ﬁrearm they had brought. Once he had established all pistols were safe and clear, we went back inside to round out class room instruction.
In this next section of instruction, Jason explained all the basics of shooting fundamentals, which included how to properly hold a ﬁrearm, and offered an explanation about ready positions. Jason’s delivery of information is a crucial element to the success of his training. He takes the time to thoroughly explain why it is he was teaching what he was teaching. For example, he won’t just say ‘hold your ﬁrearm like this’ but took the time to go through and explain not only the reasoning but the body mechanics involved. With use of a power point presentation, Jason was clear concise with the information given. There was no wavering in his explanation about why he was recommending these fundamentals to us and later that day on the range he made believers out of all of us. Accuracy failures always pointed back to a fundamental we had over looked and when he worked with us to follow each fundamental there was a drastic improvement in accuracy.
The group was given a break for lunch and were then instructed to meet up at the range to start our live ﬁre training. Jason started out by giving a range safety brieﬁng which included designation of students with medical training should someone be injured and where to locate the medical kit. Jason takes safety to a new level which is a must in a this type of setting.
The group walked down range and started working on the basics of loading/unloading and ﬁring our ﬁrst rounds. Subsequently we worked on applying our knowledge of fundamentals and control. We worked on several marksmanship drills, ready positions, how to properly draw from a holster, reloading, and stoppage drills. One of the main reasons I personally was hoping to learn from the class was what to do should I pull the trigger and I encounter a stoppage (or in other words, when it doesn’t go bang). Jason set up the drill so we would intentionally encounter two kinds of stoppages, where we learned how to identify and rectify them. After a bit of practice, it was clear that our skills were improving as we were immediately fixing stoppages once they were encountered. The conﬁdence of the students was gaining momentum. Students be warned, Jason is tech savvy and he was able to record each of us doing the drills on an iPad and then took the time to review the short clip with us to identify where the breakdown in the fundamental was. I, for one, found it interesting how quickly being watched could jolt my fundamentals and like Jason pointed out, “This is nothing like the pressure you will feel in a real life emergency”.
Jason ﬁnished the day with an emphasis for all of us to practice, practice, practice. He explained the opportunity to continue training by taking the next building block in Redback One’s pistol training: the 2-Day Basic Pistol course. Again, I cannot say how much I appreciate the level of expertise and professionalism Jason brought to this training. I would highly recommend this class to any women who is without ﬁrearm training. If you don’t know how to use your weapon (or even if you think you might know) it may very well be of no use to you, please consider making an investment in your safety.
Thanks again to Jehnifer Ehmann of Ehmann Outdoors for the text!