St. George, Utah – November 2014
Taking on the sport of 3Gun the last two years has been a challenge for me. Being a rifle shooter I never had any proper instruction on handgun techniques and I pretty much have been figuring it out on my own. Well it has been a struggle. That section of the sport has been holding me back from better scores. I have taken several good handgun courses but nothing taught me a solid foundation for stance, grip and trigger control. They have been more for basic handling and self-defense. I struggled with a flinch which I chalked up to not mastering the fundamentals. It is especially difficult to find a course that teaches a competition model. A friend of ours we compete with moved from Seattle to St. George, Utah suddenly this fall. We realized he was going to be hanging out at the latest and greatest range and training facility called the Tactical Performance Center (TPC) at the Southern Utah Shooting Sports Park in Hurricane, Utah, 10 minutes from St. George. Hearing him brag on FaceBook about a 3Gun clinic he was doing made me check out the school in more detail and I contacted the owner Ken Nelson. 2000 rounds of 40cal from Nosler and Tactical Ammunition and a plane ticket later I flew down to Utah.
I had met Ken and his son Brian several times at matches but I did not realize they were behind the TPC. If you are in the 3 Gun world or most any competition circuit then you have heard of Practiscore software. Ken Nelson and his son Brian, a 3Gun Phenom at the age of 17, developed this software. Match scoring can now be done instantly from any smart phone device instead of writing on pieces of paper that get lost or rained on which then took hours to tally scores at the end of a match. As I researched TPC I noticed that the range has quickly become a mecca for 3Gun, USPSA, cowboy action and more. Since Ken and family have been there they have worked hard to make this range into a destination. Over a dozen shooting bays and all of the props you can imagine that are always available to use for its members and to the public. They are currently working on a partnership with more land owners in area to add a precision rifle location. Now all they need is a high power range (for me) and we are motivated to move there! Their grand goal is to build lodging for visiting shooters. Baby steps. The Park has hosted USPSA Handgun Nationals which has 28 stages and 550 competitors in September. They also hold the Berry’s Steel Open, 21 stages, in April, and the Southwest Multigun. For the last three years they have put on an Outlaw 3Gun event called The Purgatory Flats Hard As Hell Multigun, aka HAH, that has gained much attention for its creative course of fire. The match is held in early December and they had already started building the stages when I was there. I met “Wolfe” a cowboy action shooter that helped Ken to design stages. If we were not going to be in Hawaii in December I think we would have flown back for this. There is a “roller coaster” you ride on and shoot from. You also may need to brush up on your rope swinging skills over mud pits. Think Tough Mudder but with guns. You won’t get muddy if you don’t fall in. Just saying. This Shooting Park is the perfect location to have the TPC Academy.
Plagued by endless blue skies, mild winter temperatures, and gorgeous South desert red rock, you can’t beat the location for going to class. Ken Nelson has acquired a great team of people representing the range and school. Ron Avery has been with TPC a little over a year to help Ken put together a world class teaching facility. As TPC’s Director of Training, Ron has brought over 34 years of LE service as well as a professional trainer and consultant. He is a writer and world ranked competitive shooter. I really enjoyed his enthusiasm for teaching and he truly loves what he does. You can see it even when he is not in class. He lives and breathes it. It is a lifestyle. I was happy to see that our friend Donovan, the one who moved to St. George this fall, also had joined the instructor team. He is a self-taught Grand Master. He picked up 3 Gun not even a year ago and has excelled quicker than I have seen anyone do so. Now I am just jealous that he lives minutes away from a facility he can practice at daily with props waiting. I wanted to say thank you to JoAnn who is admin extraordinaire and just plain awesome and a new instructor to TPC. She took care of the 4000 rounds of 40cal ammo from Charles and I had to ship down there.
Although I really wanted to attend one of TPC’s 3Gun clinics, I had just missed their last one held in October. I knew it would be best to attend the pistol boot camp first anyway. That was my goal first to break myself of bad habits. I wanted a fundamentals boot camp not a self-defense class. So this was perfect. One nice thing about the format of Ron and Ken’s clinics is that they so far have never been the same. They are continually learning from us, the students, what works best from the success they see and the feedback they get.
We arrived at the Southern Utah Shooting Sports Park on Friday at 9am. A little cooler than normal this time of year but it was blue skies for miles. Normally only twelve students in a class we had only nine. I am guessing it is because we were one week prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. They rarely have empty spots. I was happy to have one other gal in the class. Kimber, (awesome name right?) has been competing in pistol matches for a year or more and is a regular at the range there. I am happy to say that we lived up to the motto “Shoot Like A Girl”. All of the students had experience but all of us needed some tweaking. We were competitors, LE and just enthusiasts. Noticing that there were 7 instructors there I realized we were in for almost one on one coaching. That is a treat. Most schools have at most 3-4 instructors for groups bigger than that. I really noticed that difference throughout the weekend. The days are not overwhelming. 3 hours in the morning and then again after lunch. That is a lot of time to soak in information, yet not get lost in it.
Part Two of the Boot Camp 3 Day class and Competition Camps will be tomorrow! I also will have a 30CALGAL discount code for 15% off classes held by TPC so come back!