AAR: Vickers Tactical 2-Day Handgun May 5-6
Class: Vickers Tactical 2-Day Advanced Handgun
Date: May 5-6 2012
Location: H20 Fowl Farms Range
I had the good fortune of being able to attend this wonderful class this past weekend. Larry is one of the best and most sought after instructors in the firearms industry, and you'd be foolish to pass up an opportunity to take a class taught by him. I'm not very good at AARs and my memory isn't all that great either, so other students please chime in on what we did and what order since I'll probably get some of it wrong.
On the first day, we began by firing a few shot groups at varying distances so that Larry could gauge the general skill level of the class. We shot at NRA B-8 Repair centers that were stapled on IPSC targets. Larry is very very accuracy oriented, and he explained to us that he expects all rounds to go in the black. Shots in the white are frowned upon, and anything in the cardboard is really basically a miss.
We then moved into the famous Vickers dime/shell casing on front sight drill. Of course the goal is to dry fire without the shell casing falling off of the front sight. In addition, Larry added a twist to it in that you had to pull the trigger at the beep and within 3/10s of a sec I think. This way people couldn't take forever to do this, and it made the drill significantly more challenging.
After this, we did the 3-6-9 drill. For this drill we shot at each distance where Larry would call out the command to put the gun on target, take the slack out of the trigger, and finally fire at the beep. At 3 yards, everything absolutely had to be in the X-Ring. If a single shot went out, you had to do dry fires before holstering. Then we moved on to the 6 yard line. At the 6-yard line, all rounds had to be in the 10 ring or you had to do dry fires. At the 9-yard line, all rounds had to be in the black or you had to do more dry fires. Larry explained to us that a good trigger pull is one where you can keep that shell casing on the front sight without falling off when you dry fire, and of course it must be within the allotted amount of time.
Next we did a trigger reset drill which was very unique and extremely helpful. We partnered into teams and then one person would dry fire. As soon as the hammer/striker falls, the other person would cycle the slide. As the slide begins the cycle, the shooter would relax his trigger finger so that he'll be ready to fire again when the slide is back in battery. If done correctly, you should not hear the reset click. After doing this for awhile, we moved to live fire where the only thing we would concentrate on would be to properly reset the trigger. Larry brought up the point that trigger reset is extremely important, and it's one of the things that's frequently glossed over or not taught properly at all.
Later on we did "The Test" and another drill call the "Half Test." For the test, it was 10 rounds in 10 seconds at 10 yds from low ready. All rounds were expected to be in the black. If you shot a 1911, it was from the draw since you only had 8 rounds. The Half test was done at 5 yds and 10 rounds but you only had 5 seconds.
Next, I think we did another drill a few times where we shot 5 rounds at 5 yards support hand only, 5 rounds at 10 yards strong hand only, and 10 rounds at 15 yards freestyle. Larry allowed us to dry fire a few times for practice. All rounds were expected in the black.
Larry went over reloads next and the different ways on sending the slide back forward. Larry prefers using the support hand thumb. It is faster than sling shotting, and doesn't suffer from many of the problems associated with using the strong hand thumb. Larry mentioned that some problems with using the strong hand thumb involve people riding the slide stop afterward so that the slide won't lock open on the last round, prematurely dropping the slide before the magazine is fully seated, and accidentally putting upward pressure on the slide stop so that the slide can lock open on a loaded magazine.
We also did the famous El Prez. The targets were about 10 yds away and placed roughly 3 yds apart. Instead of just shooting for A-zone hits, we kept the NRA B-8 repair centers up so that we were still shooting at the bulls. We shot this a few times and then went to another variation of it where we did headshots after the reload. Another drill we shot involved shooting 6 rounds, reload, 6 rounds, reload, then 6 more rounds.
I would like to add that Larry split us up into two teams. We performed team drills after individual runs at almost every course of fire and exercise. Team drills are very helpful in that they add a level of stress and also force people to perform the best they can since no one wants to let their team down. In addition, the other team members are looking at you and counting on you. We had teams, "Broke Dick" and "Short Bus." We were "Broke Dick" since I limped around all weekend on a spranged ankle.
Later that day, we also did a Walkback drill on steel. Larry was able to hit steel all the way back from where our cars were parked using a Glock 17. Simply amazing.
On the second day, we started off with a few shell casing on front sight drills, and we may have done the 3-6-9 drill again. We moved on to doing the El Prez drill while holding a handheld light. Larry explained to us that with a handheld light, things can get more complicated and that we're going to have to work around it. Most people wind up sticking the light under their armpit during reloads. Larry also mentioned that for a handgun, the weapon mounted light does have its drawbacks, unlike a carbine where there is almost no reason not to have a weapon mounted light. Once again, everything was shot at NRA B-8 repair centers so accuracy was a must. We did more team drills with this as well.
On the steel range, we shot steel plates from different positions and stations. This was to show us different shooting positions and also explain the proper use of cover. With 3 steel targets downrange, you would shoot the one on the right first, then middle, and finally the one on the left if you were leaning out from the right side of the barricade. We then had to do it shooting support side using your support hand. One student did something that no one had ever seen before. When shooting support side, he kept his hands the same, but just switched to using his support hand trigger finger. We all tried this, and some people liked it more than others. We named this the "Foster" technique since that was the name of the student doing it I believe.
We then moved on to shooting on the move. At first, we started off with just forward and backward movement. Larry explained how to bend your knees and to use your knees as shock absorbers. He also explained the wobble zone and how the movement of the gun is not what usually causes us to miss. Snatching the trigger (el snatcho) is what usually causes misses. Larry demonstrated by deliberately moving his gun in a circle and a figure-8 but still getting good hits in the black. After a few drills of shooting on the move, we went back to the steel range.
At the steel range, we shot a few figure 8 drills where we had to navigate around barrels in a figure 8 while shooting. Then we moved on to a triangle drill where it was 6 rounds on each steel while moving with 2 reloads in between.
We did another walkback drill at some point during Day2. Larry tried using the new "Foster" technique that was mentioned earlier where you just use your support side trigger finger. Obviously, no one had ever done this before, and Larry was able to keep hitting the steel even at the farthest distance at the parked cars using a method he'd never seen or used before.
Another great drill we did was a modified version of the 700 pt aggregate test. We shot it at 15 yds instead of 25 and skipped the prone section so it was a total of 60 rounds rather than 70. Just like every other drill we shot, the goal was to keep everything in the black at all times. We did this a total of 3 times.
There was so much material covered in the class that I'm sure I forgot to write a lot of it. During breaks, Larry told us some rather humorous stories as well. I think all the students agree that the class was worth every penny, and that everyone learned alot. Everyone was challenged and pushed to the limit, but no one was left behind either. I would highly reccommend this class to anyone who shoots a handgun and wants to take their shooting skills to the next level. Despite being injured and hobbling around the entire weekend, Larry was very accomodating and helpful. I couldn't reccommend a Vickers course more highly.
Last edited by FChen17213; 05-07-12 at 16:04