Posts Tagged ‘Pistol Training’

I have to say when I get good service I like to let my readers know and today is one of those days. As some of you may remember when going over my thoughts on the Smith & Wesson Vtac I said that I was disappointed with the fact there was only 2 mags in the package. I like to have a minimum of 5 for each gun I carry or train with. I usually keep two loaded with my carry ammo and the other three are my practice/range mags and since most advanced classes require a minimum of three I have two spares that don’t get abused too much to fill in if one goes down or breaks. So I hit the internet last week to find some more magazines to fill the gap S&W left me. In my searching I was starting to get really discouraged. Everyone was either $35+ or out of stock.

Finally I ran across Quantico Tactical and found their three pack deal and jumped all over it. These are factory magazines but instead of being in the fancy packaging they came in individual ziplock bags.


I was a little leery to place the order because I was having a hard time finding any reviews on Quantico Tactical or their bulk packaged magazines but I ended up ordering them on a Wednesday and had them in my hand on Monday.  We taught a Concealed Handgun class on Sunday. Valkyrie Defense always has one instructor shoot the course of fire alongside the students to build confidence with the students that the instructors can perform everything that the students are asked to do. I did the shooting portion with the students on Sunday and put the new mags to use. (I will post the picture of my target on the blog’s Facebook page tomorrow afternoon to show the progress I am making with adjusting to the Vtac also) All three ran without a problem through out all the drills. I will get them to the range one of these days and step the abuse up and see how they handle it but I am betting they will be fine. If I do find any problems I will be sure to let everyone know but I doubt any issues will arise since these are factory mags.

I will go on record and say if you want some good quick service and want to get a good deal on some M&P magazines (around $26) Quantico Tactical gets my stamp of approval.

Be sure to head over the Book of Faces and like the page. We are coming up on 350 and we always have room for more. Also like the VDG page and check out some of the training dates we have available around Ohio.

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If you are following on Facebook you probably saw a picture I posted up on Friday morning showing off a new toy I picked up.

If you like the blog on Facebook you have see this.

If you like the blog on Facebook you have see this.

I have been looking for a revolver for awhile now. At first I was looking for a Smith Bodyguard or a Ruger LCP. I thought about it and realized that all the guns I really put to work are 9mm. My Dillon is set up for 9mm and is usually cranking out rounds at least one night a week to keep myself ahead of what I use during practice and classes. It became clear that I really didn’t need to add another caliber to the mix and I wanted to keep commonality across the board with my guns. Another reason I wanted a revolver was to mold myself into a more rounded shooter. I want to be able to make sure that when we get a student shooting a revolver I can help them the same as I can for a semi-auto shooter.


Taurus 905 9mm

I ended up settling on a Taurus 905 in 9mm. The 905 is a 5 round, double single action with a 2 inch barrel. My first impression when opening the box was good. The fit and finish is what you would expect from a new gun. When I was still out searching I ran across a certain brand that actually looked like the barrel was JB Welded onto the frame. Unloaded the gun is pretty hefty. The grips fit me pretty well and the trigger is what I expected from a band new revolver. The 9mm being a rimless cartridge needs a little help staying inside the chamber. The 905 utilizes moon clips and comes from the fctory with a total of 5.

I finally got a chance to shoot it out on our farm. I put about 30 rounds through it before it got too dark. I was using some of my reloads and was pleasantly surprised at the low recoil. The loads are 115gr RN from Xtreme Bullets being pushed by 4.0gr of Titegroup. I am thinking that if these rounds are too snappy for the wife I can even hold a little back on the powder and make it even more manageable but I am doubting it will be a problem. The accuracy is pretty much what I expected for a 2 inch revolver and me behind the trigger. Like I said above I am not a great revolver shooter but I managed a decent group at 7 yards.

The one small problem I did run across was the moon clip was having a hard time hanging onto the 2011 S&B casing. It held Blazer, Federal, and 2012 S&B casing just fine. I guess there is a slight difference in the 2011 specs. I didn’t run across any other problems and was pretty happy with the way it shot.

A closer look at the moon clip

A closer look at the moon clip

I am still up in the air if I am going to carry this gun at all just yet. I can see myself carrying it as a backup gun but not a primary. I don’t want to give up the capacity the Glock offers just yet. I hope to keep practicing and getting better in the way of the revolver, and I will be sure to keep you updated if I run across any problems. As of right now I think this is going to be a great learning piece and I can’t wait to get out and spend a little more time behind it. I intend to get it all cleaned back up and squirt some Slipstream into it and see what difference that will make with the trigger.

Any questions, comments, or tips regarding the Taurus feel free to email me or hit me up on the Facebook Page.

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VDG now has another way to be contacted for questions and class registration while we are still working on the website. We now have a Google voice number that we can be reached at. The number is 614-918-VDG1 (8341)

Make sure you head over and check out the Valkyrie Defense Group Facebook page and give us a like.



Just a small announcement I wanted to get out to everyone, Valkyrie Defense will be holding an Ohio Concealed Carry Class on August 10th in Coshocton  Ohio. If anyone is interested just send me a message for more details or head over to the VDG Facebook page and message us over there.  Be sure to pass it along to your friends if they are still without their CHL.

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It gives me great joy to finally bring to my readers what has gone on behind the scenes for so long now. Valkyrie Defense Group is now up and running. “What is this Valkyrie Defense Group?” is what I am sure you are asking yourself now. I want to take this post today to fill everyone in on what we are, what we intend to do, and why it has kept me from writing as much as I want.

Valkyrie Defense Group (VDG) was thought up by a very good friend and myself when talking about the lack of good training options in our area. We saw a need for that next step beyond the concealed handgun class. We see the Ohio Concealed Handgun License class as only a starting point, not an ending point, in Ohioan’s quest to becoming a properly trained concealed carry holder. All too often we were hearing horror stories from people claiming the Concealed Carry class was only 5 hours (when it is a mandatory 12) or that they were in a class with 30-50 and even heard staggering numbers over 100. We saw a need for proper quality training where people can go and get the attention that they need in a safe, knowledgeable environment. BAM!! Valkyrie Defense Group was born.

There are obviously many companies out there trying to cash in on the 1 million plus new gun owners, so what sets us apart from those companies? It is our mission to make sure every student leaves more knowledgeable and more skilled than when they showed up to whatever class it is they are taking from us. In order for us to do that we are not looking for classrooms full of 25-30 students. We are happier to have 6 exceptionally trained students leave our classroom than 60 uneducated, irresponsible ones. It is with that attitude we approach every class and strive to make sure all the needs of every student are met to their satisfaction and ours.

As I said, this company was a brainchild of a dear friend of mine and me and as of now we are the sole instructors. We are able to offer an extensive military background point of view along with the just as important civilian aspect and point of view. My partner and good friend Jason Groves is a NRA pistol Instructor, a Self-Defense Inside the Home instructor,  as well as a United States Marine. Jason was assigned as a Reconnaissance Scout for the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. Jason also served in the Marine Security Forces and held multiple billets in a dedicated security and anti-/counter-terrorism unit. With his very extensive background, he brings a ton of experience and knowledge to VDG and I am proud to call him a true friend. Jason is a great teacher and has ways to explain and show different techniques, which is rare in most run-of-the-mill trainers and instructors today. Combine that with is excellent military service, he is a great asset to VDG.

Other than what you can get out of my about page there is not much more to add. I too am an NRA Pistol instructor and have taken roughly 50 hours of advance pistol training this year alone with more already scheduled before the year is up. It is my goal to draw as much of the knowledge that I can from the many outlets I study, along with the advanced classes I attend, and bring it to my students and readers. I come from a large family full of teachers and it seems to have rubbed off on me. I take the title of instructor very serious and hold it to a very high standard and I do my best to deliver the best advice and knowledge I can each class. With no prior military experience, I feel it is my duty to study harder, teach better, and shoot perfect every class or I feel I have let my students down.

Seeing that we are just getting started, and still on the ground level of our business plan for Valkyrie Defense, we are hoping to be adding some more instructors to the roster in the future. When we do, you can be certain that each person that bears the title of “VDG Instructor” will have the same dedication to delivering top-notch performance and knowledge in the classroom and on the range to our students.

The list of classes offered now are limited to pistol. We are ready and willing to teach Ohio Concealed Handgun classes now along with our own advanced pistol class we have titled VDG Pistol 1. (VDG Pistol 2 is in the works also) By next year, we will be looking to expand to rifle and shotgun, but for now we want to focus on perfecting the business and making sure that each person that chooses to take a class with us gets the most out of it.

We will be based out of central Ohio, but are always willing to travel. As I said earlier, we are not concerned with large number of students, if you have at least 6 people attending, we will hold a class. If you have a safe place to shoot and adequate space for a classroom setting, we will also be willing to come to you. If you are a substantial distance away, call us and we will work something out. We are tossing around the idea of holding a VDG Pistol 1 class in Missouri before the end of the year, but we will make that announcement after more plans have been hashed out.

In closing, I want to again say that we created Valkyrie Defense Group because we saw an apparent gap in what training many people are receiving for concealed carry and what we feel is necessary. Basic concealed carry classes give you the ability to carry a gun to defend your life,  and we want to make sure you have the knowledge and skills if that time ever comes. We plan on offering the best instructors and classes to prepare you for that life or death situation whether it lasts 3 seconds, 30 seconds or 3 minutes.

I encourage you to visit the Valkyrie Defense Group Facebook page and give us a like. The VDG website is currently under construction and we are working hard to get the lights on over there so you can get better class descriptions, more in depth bios on all the instructors, along with some photos of our recent classes. While you are clicking around, make sure you head over to the Absolute BS Facebook page and give me a like there also. I hope to see you on the range soon and in one of our classes. If there are any questions at all you can contact me with the contact tab at the top or on either of the afore mentioned Facebook pages. I look forward getting back into the flow of writing more now that a lot of the administrative stuff to get VDG off the ground is finishing up. Thanks for sticking around in my spurts of absence.

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I have been to a number of classes this year as you all have read. I was coming into this class at the S.T.A.R.T. wondering if I was making the right choice in spending my hard earned money on a “Basic” class after doing a couple advanced classes recently. I have absolutely no problem with going back and taking a basic class every now and then to get back to the basics and brush away bad habits that easily form, but after coming out of a VSM Pistol 2 class I was worried about being bored and feeling held back by some of the newer students in the class. BOY WAS I WRONG!

S.T.A.R.T. (Special Tactics and Rescue Training) was founded by Frank Hoagland in 2005 in Steubenville Ohio, and is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) dedicated to bringing jobs and business opportunities to the Ohio Valley. S.T.A.R.T. is prepared to train anyone from the new Concealed Handgun License holder to the battle vetted tiered warrior.

Frank Hoagland (second from Left) Founder and CEO of S.T.A.R.T.

Frank Hoagland (second from Left) Founder and CEO of S.T.A.R.T.

The owner, founder, and lead instructor is Frank Hoagland. Frank served 20+ years with the Navy with most of that time Operating as a SEAL with Teams 4 and 6, he retired with the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer. Frank has trained government agencies such as the D.O.D, worked closely with the Federal Air Marshals, and was handpicked to develop and administer courses of instruction for the U.S. Department of State Crisis Response Team and the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Mission Vessel Boarding Search and Seizure Mission. Frank is a man of many talents and specialties and brings a world of knowledge to the firing line with his students. Hopefully, I can sit down and talk more with Frank and get a little more information to pick his brain a little for a future article. (Frank I hope you are reading this.) One other fun little fact about Frank can be found in the March 2013 issue of Guns Magazine on page 103. SSK Industries and Frank partnered up and came up with a very interesting AR style rifle appropriately named “The Hoaginator”

The START facility is top-notch. There is a small pro shop, a couple administrative office rooms, a kitchen area, and an excellent top of the line classroom. I can only dream to some day to be able to teach in a class room of this caliber. In a day full of shooting and gun play you would think that the quality of the facility would be the last thing brought up and talked about among the students, but I kept overhearing everyone making comments about how great of a facility START was offering up. All too often when a range is being built most of the focus is on the shooting areas and the classroom is mostly overlooked. My hat goes off to START for building such an amazing facility that not only provided plenty of opportunity on the range to learn as well as in the classroom.

The class I signed up for was labeled as the Basic Urban Tactical Pistol Shooting Course. As I said earlier I was a little leery going into the class because of the title. The class starts out like every class should, a short classroom part to discuss safety, take the money, sign the liability release forms, and a brief summary of the course outline. As Mr. Hoagland was writing the course outline on the dry erase board I was laughing because I actually thought he was kidding. We had a rather large class of 17 students and we were divided up into 2 groups. Adam from NUoSU concealment and I were put into group one with Frank leading our group. The other group was led by Jamie, one of the many assistant instructors there to assist you with any tips or tricks to help you improve your shooting.

We headed out to the range and started off with 20 1″ dots on the targets. This was all on command slow fire to get a good warm up in and for the instructors to gauge the level of the students accuracy wise. From there we moved on to drawing and reloading. We went through a lot of one bullet magazines. Reloading to me is a huge skill set that I don’t believe is touched on enough at some of the other classes I have attended and I was happy to see so much time spent in this area.

By now the temperature was up around 90 degrees and it was time for a water break. After the water break we covered malfunction drills and detailed the different levels of malfunctions and the proper way to address each one. Frank’s easy way of teaching made understanding very easy for the newer shooters of the group which showed during the drills when everyone was cussing and swearing at their guns trying to clear all the real world malfunctions we were able to achieve. After that, it was lunch time and we headed back into the AC for a cool down and discuss some of the questions we might have had from the morning session.

Up until this point the class–besides the malfunction drills–was what you would expect out of a basic class. The way the lead instructor presented and explained the drills while giving reasons as to why he feels it should be performed those ways kept everyone engaged. There were two others there from the first VSM class I took and we were able to talk over lunch about the similarities of the curriculum and the differences in the presentation that made it more engaging and easier for the newer shooters to understand. Between the three of us we came to the unanimous conclusion that already the class was well worth the tuition and the bullets so far and we were only halfway through the day.

After lunch is when the class started picking up skill level wise. If you remember the summary of the VSM Pistol 2 class I attended recently I talked about some of the drills we performed. START’s Basic Urban Tactical Pistol Shooting Course covers above and beyond what skills I learned in that class. The afternoon session started with stepping to cover. After students were comfortable with that we were moved into turns.

Real life is a lot different than a square range where the threat is always in front of you, there may be a time where you have to engage a target from your right or left and possibly even from your rear. Turning around is something we do on a daily basis so it is commonly overlooked as a natural thing to do with a firearm. Just by adding a turn and a draw into shooting opened a lot of eyes to the newer shooters. Doing the turns was one of my favorite drills of the day along with the reloads. Frank again had a very simple way of teaching a complicated technique that had the newer shooters very fluid and comfortable quickly.

After the lesson on turns we covered shooting forward and side to side. When we covered moving rearward there was a unique way of moving your feet that I have never been shown at any of the classes I have attended. It was more of a sliding motion over a stepping motion in order to keep from stepping on anything or falling over any objects.

At this point in the class most students were assessing their ammo levels. The class was a 300 round count class and by this time we were going onto 500 rounds. I can honestly say those were 500 unwasted rounds. There was never a drill that I felt that was over done or just a time waster. I have been to classes where you are pulling the trigger and feel as though you are not accomplishing anything, this was not the case on Saturday. The instructors knew we were well over the round count for the day and huddled every one up and took us back into the classroom for another briefing. This is the part of the class outline where I thought Frank was joking.

START has just added a new shoot house to their facility. The layout was thought up by Frank himself and is very challenging and complex. Every inch you move changes the entire dynamic of the situation you are in. Every student was able to go through the house once dry to get a feel for it and then live to get the whole experience. This created some down time so to keep everyone going, Simunitions were brought out and the duels began. If you have never been able to use Simunitions I highly recommend you find a place to give it a go. Think of it as a more intense game of Paintball. There were a few people in the class that were very uneasy about having a gun pointed at them. It really is a test of putting all your skills and knowledge to the ultimate stress test. Not every class gets to experience these two parts of the class because it is based on the skill level of the students as a whole. I was very fortunate to be in a class with a great group of shooters that set the bar very high for a basic class. After everyone had run through the shoot house and used the Simunitions, we met back in the classroom for our debriefing and to receive our certificates of completion.

I can’t recommend Frank and START enough. After talking with three other students over dinner afterwards everyone made the comment that this class was the best class they have ever attended. I know for me, hands down this class fit every bit of criteria that I hope to fill when attending a class and choosing an instructor. Another aspect that was agreed upon by the four of us at dinner was the cost. In the world of firearms you get what you pay for. In this case you are getting a hell of a deal. I would expect a class like this with the skill level of the instructors, the state of the art facility, and the course material to cost 2 to 3 times more than it did. This is the best money I have spent all year towards training and I did not hesitate at any moment coming home to make sure that my readers know and understand this. On a side note, we also found out over dinner that with all the Oral I.V. controversy being discussed on the internet right now there is only a certain amount of salt you can add to a persons drink before it becomes unpalatable. Who knew?

Thanks again to Frank and his team for the great day. I am already looking forward to contacting them and getting into the next class. Again I hope all my readers contact START and get into a class as soon as possible. When you finish that head over to our Facebook page and like us over there. Don’t forget about Shooters Legion also where you can win a chance at a Head down Products AR if you sign up before the 10 thousand member drawing happens. As always thanks for reading.

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