When I heard the Illinois State Rifle Association was going to host a GLOCK Armorer’s Course and Pistol Operator Course, I was so excited. I didn’t believe I needed to take another armorer’s course, but the thought of learning everything about the newer GLOCK Generation 5 Safe-Action-Pistol intrigued me. I was intrigued but it was late November and it might be cold.
I went online and registered to attend the courses at the ISRA. I would need to practice some and the course was just days before I was scheduled to compete in a Tactical Police Competition so hopefully, it would get me ready for the match.
When late November arrived, it was cold with snow on the ground. I was assisting the ISRA in welcoming GLOCK Instructors Scotty Banks and Jeremy Bennett to the range. They both left the warmth of the south to come to Central Illinois cold.
Day one of GLOCK would all be indoors with a high temperature in the teens outside. Each table was set up with GLOCK Gen 5 pistols for students to learn about, take apart and put back together. When Scotty Banks introduced himself, you could tell class was going to be good. He’s a very well spoken, knowledgeable man who knew the complete line of GLOCK pistols. He made the training seem simple. If any of you have never taken an Glock Armorer’s course and want to know all about your equipment, I strongly recommend taking this course.
After a morning and afternoon of instruction and practice disassembling and reassembling the GLOCK pistol it was test time, a practical exercise doing what we repeatedly practiced under the clock. If done incorrectly, the instructors would tell you to try again until done correctly. A written exam was next to complete the course.
Day two of GLOCK, the Pistol Operator Course started in the classroom with introductions and course outline. This training course was developed in February 2017 and is designed and intended for public safety professionals and GSSF members who have successfully completed a basic pistol training course and are looking to improve their own skills. This is not a beginner’s course for those wanting to learn to shoot. It's a course that expands your firearm skills, fundamentals and mechanics. The training does not address tactics or legal issues, as both are constantly evolving and, in many cases, regionally specific. Banks stressed trying something new. And new is what we (I) got. Stance, grip and movement are what I changed most.
Now, I don’t normally attend a class with a new gun, but there’s a first time for everything. I purchased a GLOCK Model 17 Generation 5, 9mm pistol for the class. I’m not a big fan of factory GLOCK sights so I installed a set of TRUGLO TFX Pro Tritium Fiber Optic Handgun sights on my new pistol. I’ve tried several combinations of TRUGLO sights on other pistols and the new design caught my eye.
After Banks talked about equipment, range safety and procedures, he gave the class the reasons why GLOCK pistols are excellent fighting tools. Anybody can look at a display case full of pistols and handguns and choose something that looks or feels good, but Banks explained what makes one gun better than the other. The line of GLOCK pistols has increased to fit almost every person’s needs for a self-defense, duty or competition firearm, from the compact G42 in .380 to the G20 in 10mm. Grip frames have changed to make the standard GLOCK fit almost anyone’s hands. I especially like the oversized beavertail for my new G17.
We started on the range with a simple target, plain paper with a body target (nipple-to-nipple, draw a circle) and a brain box. Shots needed to be in the box to count. The majority of our shooting was at 7 and 10 yards, with work on the mechanics and fundamentals. To quote Banks, “It’s on the gas when doing mechanics, and off the gas doing fundamentals.” Drawing, presenting, reloads and malfunction clearing are where you can really “press the gas.” Practicing dry a couple of times each day or week (depending on your schedule) can really improve your skills. Learn to speed up your shots by learning where and when you can go fast and slow to get accurate hits and at 15 and 25 yards, fundamentals are key.
The class finished the day shooting about 350 rounds. We drew from the holster and fired so many times I had sores on my hands. It was good training. Banks worked on our grips and stances asking us to try his way for two days, telling us it’s “A way, not the way.”
Day three of GLOCK started with shooting indoors with dummy rounds while wounded (clearing malfunctions with one hand). This training definitely let you understand why the GLOCK pistol is a fighting tool.
On the range we got right into shooting on the move. Banks and Bennett would always demonstrate the drill(s) we were going to complete to show what is expected of students. I like that an instructor can shoot well and ask the same from their students. Shooting on the move is always difficult because we don’t naturally shoot on the move. Banks stressed, “just bend the knees.” We practiced a lot before we went to live fire shooting. I will admit, Banks’ method of having me bend my knees had me shooting my best groups ever while moving.
Next was shooting while backing up heel-to-toe. Get on the gas early and shoot quickly to stop the threat as we move back. It was downright fun, and boy can you burn through some ammo from 3 to 10 yards. It seemed ammo management was after every drill.
The last exercise was to incorporate the box drill with shooting on the move. Now, were not moving in a box, were shooting a box. Starting on the 10-yard line, on the whistle, we advanced on two targets while shooting two to the body on each target, followed by a brain box shot on each target to complete the square.
The GLOCK Operator Pistol Standards test was now ready to be completed. This test incorporated everything we covered the past 1,000 rounds of ammo. Now Banks requested we do not release the details of this test, which consisted of drawing and engaging the targets at 7 yards, a total of 22 rounds fired center mass and brain box, with malfunctions, reloads, multiple targets and shooting on the move. The test was humbling, to say the least. I was very impressed by the shooting ability of our entire class. Our top shooter was Micah Jensen who finished Level III, beating me by a full second. We completed the test twice, with most improving on their scores by a second or two.
If you have not taken a pistol shooting course or have not recently refreshed your shooting, I strongly recommend the GLOCK Pistol Operators Course. It will get you to try something new that you can improve on. Banks “Fast Four” list is: Access (get to your grip in the holster), Draw (get the gun up and moving towards the target), Acquire sights (lock up arms and wrist with sights lined up), and Reloads (slide stop empty, magazine out - new magazine in, release the slide) will get you having more time on fundamentals (sight picture and trigger press). The course is, without question, worth the time and cost to attend.