My Gunsite 250 Experience

Ever since I first walked into a classroom at Gunsite Academy, I knew it triggered the start of something big — a desire to train and learn a gunfighter’s mindset. Attending Gunsite training — renowned internationally as a personal defense training academy, and based on the teachings of the legendary Jeff Cooper — meant I had prepared to enter a new world. I wanted to become a gunfighter, instead of a gun owner. This is my account, in photos, of the last trip to Gunsite that I made in February. Previously, I had only attended sponsored media trips with specific guns for testing. On this, my fourth trip to Gunsite, I took the 250 Defensive Pistol course, where I was on my own dime and my own time.

Revelation Gunsite

Named for books of the Bible, the classrooms at Gunsite mean business … except for the “John,” of which I’m sure you can surmise for its meaning. (Jason Baird photo)

 

Hanneken Range

There it lies … an opportunity to improve gun shooting skills under the eyes of master range instructors: The Hanneken Range. (Jason Baird photo)

What is the Gunsite Academy 250 Defensive Pistol Course?

This is the classic core course upon which many other options are built for improving shooting skills. The 250 Defensive Pistol course is 5 days of range work, some classroom lecture, low light and night shooting, flashlight techniques and learning how to work through a building or house to check that it is clear. I fired almost 1,000 rounds of ammo, and drew at least 1,200 times (dry fire and safety checks).

On the Range

range masters gunsite

Instructors Chris Currie, Lew Gosnell and Eric Ingersoll ran the 250 course. Note: Instructors at Gunsite must be invited to pursue a series of  intensive training courses required to qualify. I can see why these 3 made the cut, and this was the first time they’d worked as a team. I say, keep this team together. (Barbara Baird photo)

 

Gunsite 250 Barbara Baird

I love this shot of me on the range, with Lew Gosnell in front of Gunsite specific targets. You can buy these targets from the pro shop, and they do take some getting used to … but you learn to group your shots on these, and not pay attention to numbers and rings. (Jason Baird photo)

 

RP9 and bucket

What gun did I run for 1,000 rounds? I chose to test the new RP9 from Remington, which did not have a single malfunction. As you can see, I used Remington ammo exclusively — from the target 9mm Luger to its frangible loads for the shoot house experience. Not a single malfunction, folks. It ran fast and accurately, and I love the feel of it in my hand. My hands were not chafed, sore or otherwise beaten up at least a thousand fires and even more draws. (Barbara Baird photo)

 

Beth Alcazar

Here’s Beth Alcazar, from United States Concealed Carry Association, who has opened the door and is doing an inspection before entering. (Barbara Baird photo)

 

on the line gunsite

This is an on-the-line photo, of a group practicing from the 7-yard line. Notice the attention that the instructors have on the students. (Jason Baird photo)

 

Remington RP9 Barbara Baird Gunsite

Here I am at the shoot-off. Came in 3rd out of 15. I credit the RP9 and its accuracy for that feat. (Jason Baird photo)

Other Reactions to the 250 Course

Gina Miller is a radio and television voice professional from Mississippi. “My husband and I took handgun classes in Mississippi. The man who taught them could not stop talking about Gunsite. He sold us on it … and we knew we needed more training.”

Gina shot a Ruger 1911 in 9mm. It was new to her, since she’d only been shooting revolvers in the past. “I never dreamed I would learn so much. We learned how to handle a semi-automatic pistol — speed-loading drills, malfunction drills, all the basics of handling a firearm have been presented.”

door training gunsite

Here’s Gina, from Mississippi, who is learning how to approach a door in order to clear a room. She will continue and pie (move in a circular fashion) around the door area before entering. It was important to do this on the range, before taking it into the shoot house. Notice, the one-on-one instruction and the extra set of eyes from the rangemaster Lew. (Barbara Baird photo)

Another class member, Cindy Jerrems, from Tucson, is a new shooter (last October) and has taken a few private instruction classes. She started on a semi-auto. She signed up for this course a month after she started shooting. “In many ways, this experience has been overwhelming, yet wonderful. I learned everything I’d like to be able to do at a competent level. Now I know what I have to go home and practice.”

Janelle Cooper Visit

Janelle Cooper daughter Lindy

I had the honor of interviewing Janelle Cooper — wife of Jeff Cooper — and her daughter, Lindy Cooper Wisdom, while at Gunsite. Watch for an interview with her in the near future. (Jason Baird photo)

Where to Stay at Gunsite: The House on Gunsite Road

If you decide to take a course at Gunsite Academy, and there are many to choose from, you might consider checking to see if this house is available. The House on Gunsite Road is located half a mile from the main gate. We stayed there for the week, and found it to be a place to relax and unwind at the end of each day. You can stay in Paulden (20 minutes driving time) or Prescott (35 to 45 minutes driving time), but that extra half hour of sleep or more every morning — especially by the end of the week of training and after the long day that includes night shooting — made a huge difference. The 3-bedroom, 2 bath home sleeps 6 adults. It is laid out in a way that welcomes relaxing, from the leather recliners in the living room, to the back patio with gas grill, to the generously stocked kitchen area. As shooters, we appreciated the gun cleaning bench in the garage, complete with brushes, jags and cleaners. We also liked being able to throw in a load of laundry, so that we didn’t have to pack a week’s worth of range clothes. And the view? Breathtaking.

House on Gunsite Road

(Jason Baird photo)

View House on Gunsite Rd

What a gorgeous view from the House on Gunsite Road. (Jason Baird photo)

For more information about Gunsite Academy and its many classes, in Arizona and around the country, visit Gunsite online here.

 

  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. She is a contributing editor at "SHOT Business," and her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications, including NRA, NSSF and Field & Stream.

     

The Conversation

3 Comments
  • Bill Bowers says: April 19, 2017 at 4:41 am

    Excellent article and photos! Nicely done.

  • Julie Godfrey says: April 15, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Great article! I completed the 250 course back in December and am headed to Gunsite in a week for the 350 course. I also trained with Chris and Eric and they are truly great instructors. The gun I trained with was a Wilson Combat Professional Elite.

  • The "How-To" Gun Girl says: April 10, 2017 at 10:44 am

    Love the photo and the detailed descriptions! This makes me want to go back for more training…