Hey, this is Myles with Tactical Hyve.
A couple of months ago, I attended Jared Reston's Performance Gun Fighting Mod 1 class.
Jared has been a police officer since 2001 and an active member of SWAT since 2004.
I didn't immediately recognize Jared's name when I heard he was holding a class in San Diego, but a part of me thought that Jared was the same guy I watched in a video once about surviving a gunfight.
Jared knows gun fights. During one altercation, he was shot six times by a suspect–three times in the chest, and another three shots hitting him in the face, hip and thigh. Despite this, Jared was able to return fire, killing the suspect.
To say I was excited to train with Jared is an understatement.
Jared's class really surprised me. I went in thinking that it would be structured similarly to other classes I've attended, and that there would be a lot of overlap in instruction.
While did cover the same core topics as other instructors do, his approach and the details he covered and/or emphasized make his class stand out from others.
Jared's class was safe and organized. His instruction was clear and followed a logical progression that helped students improve their core skills.
Class requirements were reasonable. At a minimum, students had to bring a pistol, a rifle and sling, magazines and mag pouches, a range belt, OWB holster, ammo, and eye and ear protection.
Unlike many instructors who teach the fundamentals from 5 to 7 yards from a target, many of Jared's exercises were conducted at distance, for example at 25-yards with a pistol. I liked this approach because it easily highlights any shooting deficiencies because of the distance. In the same manner, it's easier to see improvement in performance as a student makes changes to their technique or mechanics.
His class covers a good amount of material with a pistol and rifle, and there is a lot of shooting from further distances. Because of this, I feel the class is best suited for intermediate to advanced shooters. Beginners may not be able to keep up or they may get discouraged.
Jared started the class with a safety brief and talked a bit about how he organizes his classes. He takes the best elements that he's learned from others and combines everything with his own experience. He encouraged students to be open to new and different ways of doing things, which I thought was a great point to emphasize.
We started the life fire portion of the class with three courses of fire with our pistols. From 25-yards, we slow fired 25 rounds at a bulls eye target as a warm up and to establish a baseline for accuracy.
Jared then spent time on covering stance. He emphasized having our shoulders, chest and hips squared to our target. He also wanted students to avoid shrugging their shoulders and to keep our shoulders in our shoulder pockets, which leads to a more stable shooting platform. I really liked how Jared mentioned this because it is a vital detail that many instructors either do not know or do not cover.
I also liked how he talked about having a ‘flat face' when shooting. By lowering our heads, and looking at our sights from the corners/edges of our eyes, we can create parallax, especially if someone is wearing eye protection and using a red dot. In layman's terms, parallax refers to the difference in the apparent position of a target versus the actual position. This means that if you have parallax, you might think you are aiming at a specific point at a target, but you really aren't.
After, we shot the second course of fire from 25-yards to see if we improved our accuracy from the points Jared taught us.
Jared then discussed grip. He talked about where and how we should apply pressure and discouraged students from being so preoccupied with how much pressure is needed. He spoke about his preferred method of clasping both hands together to establish his grip. He likes feeding in his support hand from the back, touching the heels of both of his palms first, then wrapping the fingers of his support hand forward. I noticed that members of different military units use this method, but the vast majority of shooters do the opposite–they wrap their support hand fingers first, then connect the heels of their palms.
After Jared discussed grip, we then shot another string of fire from the 25-yard line to measure improvement.
This was the general progression of the class. Conduct an exercise to establish a baseline, then implement teaching points, and reshoot the course of fire after each lesson to see if we improved. I liked this as is allowed all students to see themselves improve from Jared's instruction.
We prepared ourselves for another set of three strings of fire from the 25-yard line. This time, Jared covered sight alignment and sight picture, prepping our triggers, and resetting and prepping our triggers, and follow-through. Again, after each lesson, we implemented all the teaching points and shot another string of fire to measure improvement.
We changed gears and started to work with our rifles. Jared talked about how to set up our rifles, then discussed zeroing our rifles and the effects of zeroing at different distances.
He talked about the prone position, discussing how to get into it and the details of being in the postion, followed by a talk about natural point of aim.
Similar to what we did with our pistols, we then moved on to establish a baseline with our rifles from 50-yards using a bulls-eye target. Jared then talked about trigger control, sharing several tips to help us improve our accuracy. We fired our second string of shots then moved on to another instructional segment followed by a third-string of fire. We end the morning's rifle portion with 10 slow fire rounds, from 50-yards for score.
In the afternoon, we moved on to working on our draws to 1-shot on target. Jared emphasized how important our first shots are from a holster, so we spend a good amount of time learning to shoot faster by preparing ourselves to shoot sooner.
Because the first shot at an assailant is so important, he spent time teaching key details such as how it's vital that we see exactly what we need to see before breaking a shot. We are accountable for every round and we need to know what we are shooting at. One, this helps ensure we land an accurate shot at an assailant, and it helps ensure we do not send a round anywhere we do not want to.
He talked about having locked wrists and driving our guns out with fully prepped triggers. He did not want our “guns waiting on us” when our arms are fully pushed out. Instead, by the time our arms were fully extended, he wanted us to break out shots while being able to see our sights.
We followed a natural progression to work on improving our speed and accuracy from the holster. We started with a 2-second par time from the high-ready or imminent threat position. On the buzzer, we had 2 seconds to push out while seeing our sights. By the time we fully extended our arms, we were to break our shot. 2 seconds was enough time for us to really focus on building proper mechanics.
Then, we moved on to working from the holster, while Jared shared key points to improve our first shot's speed and accuracy.
The class moved back to working with our rifles. Jared talked about grip and the use of the low-ready position. Depending one who you train with, you'll likely encounter different low-ready definitions.
Jared discouraged the use of the low-ready position where a shooter's muzzle and sights are just slight below eye-level. In my experience, some people refer to this as high-ready. I've noticed a lot of people in the Army describe the position as high-ready.
Jared prefers and recommends a low-ready position where the rifle is lower than what I just described, where the rifle should form a 45-degree angle with the shooter's body. This provides for more situational awareness, as the previous position described can get in the way of spotting someone who is crouching down, let's say, in a corner of a room.
Jared also discussed the importance of snapping or driving the rifle up to position rather than swinging the rifle up from the low-ready.
The class practiced single and double shots from the low-ready to work on the techniques and mechanics Jared taught us.
We then talked about and worked on rifle to pistol transitions, and discussed common reasons behind a failure to fire; followed by Jared covering emergency and tactical reloads and his preferred method of doing them.
When reloading, he likes to can his firearms so that the mag well is sideways, which makes it easier and more consistent to insert a magazine. He encouraged us to try the technique throughout the class.
We ended the day working reload drills with our pistols and rifles.
The next day, we started by warming up at the 25-yard line with our pistols with two strings of 10 slow fire rounds. Jared shared some additional pointers, then we added time to the mix. We first fired 5 rounds in 20 seconds, then we had 10 seconds to land 5 rounds.
We moved to use our rifles and revisited shooting from the prone position, but this time we needed to move faster as our exercises would have a par time. Jared shared several additional tips then we moved onto four strings of fire. Each string of fire required us to shoot 10 rounds at a bullseye target. We started with a 60 second par time, the moved on to a 45, 30, and 20 second par time. We had to land all our hits within the par time with the goal of landing a score of 100.
As I mentioned earlier, I liked how Jared organized the class. The progression made a lot of sense and gave people ample amount of time to understand and apply the techniques and mechanics that were taught. When a timer was brought into the picture, students didn't feel like they needed to shoot faster because they became more efficient with their movements.
Jared then had us work from the SBU Prone position, where he discussed how we have to always consider our bullet's trajectory when shooting a rifle that is canted, in this case, a 90-degree cant.
When a rifle is canted 90-degrees, especially at further distances, one's point of aim will not match the point of impact. It's important to adjust your point of aim high and to the magazine side to account for the change in trajectory.
We ended the morning by working on shooting from the kneeling position. Jared showed us a method to establish a natural point of aim while kneeling that I've never seen before. It involved getting into a comfortable shooting position while kneeling, and rotating our entire body as if it were on a turntable. It worked really well.
Jared had us carry out a string of live-fire drills to work on shooting from the kneeling position, ultimately working towards the goal of landing 5 accurate shots on target while kneeling within 20 seconds, starting from the standing position.
In the afternoon, we reviewed working on landing a fast and accurate shot from the holster. We started with baby steps again, first from the ready position, then quickly moving to work our draw to one-shot. We then added in reloads with a 1 reload 1 drill.
The class moved on to using rifles, and we reviewed what we covered the previous day–shots from the low ready and reload drills.
Jared then had us work on rifle to pistol transitions and reloads with a number of different drills.
The class moved on to working on cadence or shooting with a rhythm. As mentioned earlier, Jared emphasized how important it is to have a fast and accurate first shot. Once the first shot lands, then we worked on landing shots with a steady rhythm.
We are accountable for every round, so if faced with an assailant, the idea is that the first fast and accurate shot should slow them down enough for us to land accurate shots at a steady rhythm. We want to be accurate and shoot within the limits of what we can actually see and process.
With both our pistols and rifles, we worked a 1-second, half-second, and quarter second cadence. The progression allowed students to shoot faster without feeling like they were shooting faster. We just became more efficient.
Next, we worked cadence but this time with multiple targets instead of one static target. The idea here was to simulate a moving target as an assailant will be moving–they are not going to be stationary. We worked the same 1-second, .5, and .25 second cadences with our pistol and rifles, and Jared had us focus on the transition to the next target during recoil for efficiency.
After, we worked a series of drills with our rifles and pistols that combined all the major areas we covered. Jared would call out a drill, and we had to execute. This helped students bring everything they learned together, nicely.
The last topic of the day was shooting on the move. I really liked Jared's take on the topic because in many classes I've attended, shooting while on the move happens very slowly–in other words, the shooter moves very slow.
Personally, if I was in a gun fight, I don't think I would be moving that slow, and Jared confirmed my thoughts. The pace is the pace. If one has to move fast, they have to move fast. One's shot cadence should change instead.
Jared talked about how he feels people should move faster when training to shoot on the move because that is what's going to happen in real life. It's a necessary evil, as he described it, in that moving faster we will be less accurate, but it's something we have to train. Instead of slowing down, we should focus on other things such as changing our shot cadence, using shorter or narrow strides, and working on other mechanics to help us land more accurate shots.
Jared wrapped up the class with several shooting on the move drills where we were to move at a moderate pace, rather than a slow pace you might have experienced in other classes you have attended.
I really enjoyed Jared's class, and I picked up some great techniques and ideas. He did an excellent job at combining pistol and rifle, and he covered a lot of material for 2-days.
The class was organized and run at an ideal tempo–students didn't feel rushed nor was there long periods of downtime.
As I mentioned earlier, I also liked how he has a different approach to working the fundamentals. Working at the 25-yard line easily highlights deficiencies but also improvements.
His insights into real life deadly encounters were valuable and helped me understand why certain techniques exist and why certain movements and drill are done the way they are.
I thought Jared's class was great, and I highly recommend taking his class if you want to improve your shooting skills and gain insight from a man who has survived deadly encounters.
Till next time, this is Myles, signing off.
The Final Verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED