Our new Handgun Mastery Levels

For 2019 we have re-structured our Handgun Mastery Program to have defined skill levels that students can work thru.

This is something we’ve been aiming at for about two years (at least). We’ve moved slowly because we wanted to do it right (or as right as we can sort out how to do).

Students aren’t required to proceed thru the levels. It is their choice.

What’s important to know, though, is that we WANT you to succeed through them.   Our role is to help you, honestly, get there. And we’d love the chance to try.

That said, a student could take one or more Handgun Mastery Courses and get great benefit.  The levels  provide something to aim for and a way to “know” where you are.

For those considering progressing through the levels here are their rough definitions (more detail is over at the Handgun Mastery Program page):

Level 1 – excellent static fire control with knowledge of doctrine

Level 2 – add dynamic situations, the student moving or the targets moving + advanced static techniques  and malfunctions

Level 3 – increase skill and lock in performance at a high level with unknown challenges and with high stress. This is primarily a mental and visual level.

Level 4 – custom to the students high level goals as operators, shooters, instructors, or competitors

We’ve set these levels up to build on each other and to be achievable by all students that put in the work. 

Here is another way to look at the levels, from a pragmatic view of where you stand relative to “known” skill levels:

Level 1 – better than almost all police officers in the USA, including SWAT and police firearms instructors.

Level 2 – among the best shooters on your range, only B class or higher competitive shooters will possibly be more skilled. You will know why you are good and have a plan to improve.

Level 3 – among the best shooters in your region at delivering high performance under stress. At this point you are uniquely skilled and with your doctrinal knowledge you can help others improve as well.   

Level 4 – among the best shooters in the USA/world. You know the doctrine cold. You can teach. You can perform. You are among the top 1%.



How does this affect class?

You train with others seeking the same level. One of the advantages of the leveling approach is we have a natural and objective way to give you more personalized training.  

Our goal as a school is to, even in group settings, make it as close to private training (from a functional perspective) as we can. 

We’ve done this through low student to teacher ratios from the beginning.    Levels now permit us to take students higher up the skill and performance ladder by knowing they are ready to do it and putting similar proven skill sets together. 

How do I progress?

Each level has objective standards associated with it. They can be summarized as:

  • a shooting performance test
  • an evaluation by an instructor that the test was performed properly
    (i.e. you didn’t shoot with wild abandon and get lucky). This is done through an objectively structured form/rating system. 
  • a lead instructor verifying you know the doctrine for that level
    This is possibly the most important part – it’s how we teach  you to fish and set you up to succeed when you return to your home range for practice
We WANT students to proceed. These aren’t high stakes tests. You get multiple chances to do them.  In some cases, it’s open book (learn to use the materials we provide).