When I first got started learning how to shoot I had a very military approach to everything I did. Eventually, I realized that though I was proficient at shooting my rifle, I needed to seek out training for my pistol work. Since then I’ve been through a dozen or so courses, and what I realized later was that I was not proficient back then. What I realized is these skills are all perishable, and that if I’m going to be honest, I must seek out training on a regular basis.
It seems as though Mike Green of Green Ops would agree with me, but he takes it to a different level. Green Ops isn’t a course where you’re going to blow through a thousand rounds, this course is designed to give you the most to walk away with, and the least to burn through. The stated round count for the course was 300 rounds, but with my experience this was likely to be a bit low for me as in the past I’ve cut it close or had to lend out ammo to a few trigger happy classmates. That said, I brought my standard, 1000 rounds. Turns out this was going a bit overboard, as we only used about 250 rounds. Wait, how much?
250 rounds. That was how many rounds we used. If this class was any indication of their other courses, one of the takeaways was that every single round counts. Every round has a mission, and every round has a target. Going through thousands of rounds means nothing if you don’t have a plan, which was lesson two.
In the past I usually thought up goals and drills to meet those goals, timed or accuracy related. Usually I would add some situational variables, but nothing to complex. Mike added a new layer though, the understanding that there is a difference between combative shooting and sport shooting. On the surface, this may not seem significant. But the fact of the matter is when you have targets that attack back, the fundamentals of sport shooting go out of the window and everything you do changes.
Breaking down the draw, something that any good instructor will go through at the beginning, wasn’t any different here. The only thing of note for me was that each position was detailed as to what to do, why to do it, and what would happen at each step in close range. The standard off-angle rib anchor was used, but with modifications to point of aim depending on proximity and back drop considerations.
As for the class itself, it was slightly more advanced than beginner, and easy to keep up for the most inexperienced shooters that attended. The pace was consistent and focused, no one got left behind or felt rushed. One of the aspects I appreciated the most was the class ratio; there was one primary instructor and one secondary instructor. An observer was in the rear of the class waiting for his part to begin later that day. This ratio was about 6:1, which over the years has in my opinion worked out to be the best possible ratio for both instructors and students to get the most out of the class as possible.
Of the students I talked to, most of them traveled from a good distance to attend. There were a few “locals” that showed up, from about an hour or two away. But there were also some that traveled as far as Central Pennsylvania and the Carolinas, about 3-6 hours or so. I usually pay very close attention to this seemingly insignificant detail, at it shows how much those students valued what the instructor brought to the table.
Lunch time broke and we changed the AO significantly. One of the concepts Green Ops pushed was that having a gun is great, but there may be times where the fight has already started, and you need to train for that as well. For Green Ops, the gun not the only answer, and sometimes it’s not the right response at all, first you have to gain control of the situation. How do you do that? Same as learning how to shoot a gun, you train.
Everyone reading this has their own reasons for being interested in guns and self-defence or hunting, but a surprisingly small percentage of people actually seek out training from experienced instructors like those staffed at Green Ops. You can’t be a one trick pony, and they reinforce this concept in class with the help of Matt Larsen from C4 Combatives.
This portion of the class involves grappling and creating situations where you are in control, giving you the opportunity to draw whatever weapon you see fit safely. Watching the class and the instructors, everyone was getting it in. Not one single team was going gently into the good night, as it were. Listening to the various examples Larsen used to illustrate the techniques truly brought to light the utility of the techniques used, and how to gain the most leverage over the situation.
The skills taught during this portion come from myriad of sources like BJJ, Muay Thai, and Army Hand to Hand Combat manuals. Each drill is done to exertion, and at no point were we allowed to let our partner succeed without a fight. Larsen emphasized the need to keep these drills as real (and yet safe) as possible so that if the time ever came, there would be no hesitation in their implementation. There was no “going through the motions” here.
Of course there’s more to this than what I’m putting in this review, and truth be told I could go for a few more pages on the fine details that Green Ops highlights, but words wouldn’t do it justice. Nothing can replace professional in-person training, and Green Ops digs into the finer details that get you on target. Check their schedule and get it in with Green Ops asap, their classes fill up fast.
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