M3 Strategies Course Review HG1 and HG2

jds

New Member
Nov 12, 2013
1
1
Handgun 1 (Fundamental) and Handgun 2 (Intermediate)

Instructor: Stephen Pineau
Dates: November 9 and 10, 2013
Times: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm both days
Range: CCC in Cresson, TX
Cost: $200/each + range fees
Ammo: 350 for HG1 and about 400 for HG2. M3 had ammo available for purchase at a very fair price which was very convenient

Gear: I won’t list it all out but it is everything you would expect. The only gear difference between HG1 and HG2 is that HG2 is oriented towards concealed carry so you definitely need your EDC rig for day two. Bring at least 5 magazines just to save yourself some trouble and don’t forget to pack a lunch.

***Recommendation*** I am as guilty as anyone of wanting to try out all of my toys on the range but do yourself a favor and limit your gun selection. This class has a huge focus on marksmanship with a dose of marksmanship and finally…you guessed it… a little dash of marksmanship. With that said, if you are shooting different calibers on different guns with different sights you are only hurting yourself. I’m pretty sure most of us (civilians in Texas anyway) don’t use an HK MK23 in a drop leg holster for EDC so don’t bring it for HG2.

Day 1- HG1:
After introductions, safety brief, nomenclature, mindset discussion and gear organization Stephen got us going. He brought us to the line and simply asked us to assume the grip and stance we normally use and we fired off a few rounds. What I didn’t realize at the time was that in those 30 short seconds Stephen accurately assessed where we were individually and as a group. We launched into drills that focused on grip, stance, sight picture, sight alignment, recoil management, clearing malfunctions, reloads, and balancing all of that for speed and accuracy. The pace of the class was fast enough that the more advance shooters were never bored and slow enough that those of us with less experience were able to keep up. Stephen seemed to magically appear every time one of us reverted and took immediate corrective action to get us back on track. I found that every time the group started doing well he would layer on something new. When we thought we were doing well with recoil management POW he threw in reloads. When we got pretty comfortable with reloads, BOOM, he added malfunctions. It was a constant layering and building of skills throughout the entire day with the foundation being fundamentals and marksmanship. One of the last drills we ran was the dot torture test which in itself is not revolutionary and is extremely frustrating but upon reflection you realize it is one drill that sums up an entire day of learning. I was fortunate enough to witness greatness as one of my classmates (a competitive shooter) ran the drill COMPLETELY clean (no rounds even touching the lines) for only the second time in any of Stephen’s classes. We ended with a debrief, discussion and looking forward to the next day.

Day 2- HG2:
*** One other guy and myself showed up about 40 minutes early and Stephen was already there and ready so he asked us if we wanted to have a little fun before class. Duh…of course we did! We did walk backs on steel starting at 10 yards and increasing by 5 yards each shot with Stephen casually giving us pointers the entire time. Some little reminders of what he taught us the day before and minor corrections on our mistakes. He is a gifted instructor because I didn’t even realize that after a few minutes I was pinging C-zone steel at 70 yards with a Glock 19.
The actual start of HG2 began with a safety brief and some continued discussion around mindset as it is something he and the M3 team take seriously. We were able to forego the introductions because it was pretty much the same group from HG1. HG2 is a leap forward in the skills continuum. The foundation of fundamentals and marksmanship is without a doubt the core but we added two very significant layers of skill and difficulty - concealment and speed. After some really solid skill building on safely drawing and re-holstering from concealment, he taught us the difference between doing things sooner as opposed to doing things faster. I could not do the explanation justice so just take the class. We went through several of the drills we had done the day before but let me be absolutely clear that they are not the same. When you add concealment, a few more yards of distance and a timer, what looks similar in a syllabus is completely different in reality. The foundation remains - fundamentals and marksmanship but now you “get your hits” sooner…and from concealment. This is the part where you realize just how world class Stephen Pineau is. With the eyes and ears of an apex predator he seemed to be everywhere at once. He heard me “pinning” my trigger from 3 people down the line. Moments later he saw, from the complete opposite end of the line, a guy running a 1911 improperly and inadvertently holster an unsafe weapon and immediately took corrective action. We then ran a timed proprietary qualification drill, we learned valuable lessons about shooting on the move, did some positional shooting and several more advanced versions (via either target size, target distance or both) of drills we did in HG1. We ended the day on a drill starting at 25 yards zig-zagging forward to 10 yards and then back for a total of 10 shots and what added up as probably 150 yards of balls out sprinting between the 10 shooting positions. The class averaged about 8 of 10 hits per student and I am supremely confident that if we ran that same drill the morning of HG1 the average would have been no higher than 2.5 of 10. We learned a tremendous amount in two days from a guy who truly is a student of the gun.


Conclusion- HG 1 & 2:

To be blunt, if you are looking for a handgun course that will make you feel like a badass internet ninja power ranger, this is not the one for you. I’m sure there are guys out there that do that; however, it is not HG1 and HG2 by M3 Strategies and Stephen Pineau. These classes were all about making us better shooters through solid fundamentals. They were about getting “hits” through proper draw, grip, stance, sight picture/alignment, recoil management and trigger press. I walked away feeling accountable for every round that leaves my gun and with the understanding that my sights tell me when it’s time to shoot. I went home a much better shooter than I came and would highly recommend these classes to anyone who wishes to do the same. We had law enforcement, competitive shooters and regular guys like me, all of whom left improved.
 
Thanks for the review. I will be returning to Texas around the end of the year so I am looking for classes to take.
 

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