No Fail Pistol- Chuck Pressburg
Sept 15th & 16th, 2018
Written by Erik Tweedt- Owner, Archetype of the Gun
Handgun- Sig Sauer P320 (factory upgraded trigger), full size, Romeo 1 RDS
Weapon light- Surefire x300A
Handheld light- Surefire Tactician
Holster- Bawidamann Gotham w/ RCS wedge and claw
Mag carrier- RCS Copia double, neo mag holder left front pocket
Belt- Ares Gear Aegis
Magazines- Factory, 3x17rd, 1x21rd
Med Gear- Soft-T wide, Dark Angel Pocket kit, Mini- Trauma shears, Hyfin entry/exit chest seals, 2 pairs nitrile gloves, carried in Ryker Ankle rig
Ammo- Fiocchi 115gr, shot approx. 900rds
The entire course was shot from concealment.
Prior Experience: 37yo, medically retired Chicago Fire Department, IL paramedic/lead instructor (18yrs), owner of Archetype of the Gun. Past training with Clint Smith, Tom Givens, Massad Ayoob, Andy Kemp, Bob Houzenga, Dave Spaulding, Varg Freeborn, Robert Militello, TEMS, TECC recognized educational partner, Critical Care Paramedic, UTM Instructor/professional training organization, NRA Instructor, Rangemaster Instructor. Rifle, shotgun, handgun and executive protections classes from the above. My normal carry is a Sig Sauer p229, 9mm with the holster as above,1 spare mag in a neo mag holder left front pocket. Ryker med kit on right ankle
Range: Article II range in Lombard, IL. We secured private range use and privileges. 8 lanes wide, 25yds from inside the stalls. The staff let us stay longer than reserved on the last day, because it was slow and my prior relationship. Lots of looky loos at the windows of the range…Chuck gathers a crowd.
Class Demographics: 11 shooters, 2 relays comprised of armed citizens, Leo/Mil (active and retired), Leo/ Civilian instructors. All attendees had a decent amount of professional training; ranging from 1-2 classes when they can, all the way up to I train for a living. There were also a few students from some big-name industry retailers.
Preparation: 200-300rds through gun for function check and rough zero, cleaned and lubed gun. Mags were loaded 3mags of 10 and the last to capacity. There was significantly more work as class host, not because Chuck was needy…I just wanted to make sure everything went smoothly.
To start off, I showed up as a bad student. I had a newish gun…function checked and played with for basic familiarity and a rough 10yd zero. I did not put any real time into learning how to use a pistol mounted red dot. I did not zero my ammo. Function check and rough zero was done with 124gr…I brought 115gr. I did not inform Chuck of this and basically taught myself how to use it on the fly, trying to remember what I had read prior to purchasing the gun. I purchased with the intent to experiment with RDS pistols prior to spending a significant amount of money having one built. I could blame this on any number of real-world reasons, but I should know better. This was a significant failure on my part as a student, and I preach to others that this should not be done. Students need to show up to class with working and known equipment as to spend their time focusing on new lessons and not a new toy. I refused to let this slow the class down, there where better uses of his time and this wasn’t a “Intro to rds” course . It was evident on day one that I was not shooting to my ability. Chuck saw this and would whisper gently into my ear…YOU FUCKED THAT UP!!! Seriously though, he reminded me of things I knew, but was not doing. By day two this had resolved…It was obvious to other students and Chuck.
Course overview: Chuck’s No Fail Pistol course is designed around making a high risk/ high reward, low percentage shot….all the marbles, you miss and innocent people die, loved ones. Think hostage rescue or shit head with a bomb. This class, while not super physical/run and gun, is very taxing; both mentally and physically. This class pushes you to your limits and beyond. This class is for intermediate and advanced shooters, you should show up knowing how to shoot and have you range/class etiquette locked down.
I will not talk much about specific drills or testing. You will have to take his course for that.
TD 1: Class started on time with student and instructor introductions, followed by a safety briefing/medical plan and a short, concise lecture from Chuck. Expectations were well thought out and explained. The rest of the time was spent shooting with teaching points brought up when/where required. The entire class was shot on IPSC and NRA B8 target centers. We started with warm ups at 25yd on B8’s and used them through the rest of the day. Chuck follows the crawl, walk, run philosophy, assessing our abilities and adding new skills/ problems as we progressed. A tried and true teaching method of chuncking learning/ stacking tolerances. Today was focused solely on accuracy and the high standard expected from us was clear. By the end of the day fatigue was setting in and was evident in our groups. We broke for the day and Chuck gave us some parting thoughts.
TD 2: One handed drills, multiple targets, shooting on the move, threat assessment and shot placement/calling while shooting. Today built on the same skills as yesterday, now with more speed and no fail/hostage targets. We were encouraged to drive it until the wheels fell off and gain control again. Finding our limits and then performance on demand. Chuck reiterates that he can only teach us to what to practice and doesn’t expect large improvements from us. Though, he is pleased when we push through and achieve new levels. Today the range was kinds enough to let us stay late because it was slow, Chuck took advantage of that without missing a beat. He filled in with extra course work and made sure we weren’t to gassed to perform our final test. We can’t ensure learning occurred without metrics…that means testing. Testing was done on B8 target centers, individually and timed. I feel there was significant improvement class wide. At the end there wasn’t a disappointed face in the group. We were tired and sore, but everyone was grinning from ear to ear.
Final thoughts: This was Chucks inaugural, open enrollment No Fail Pistol. This did not deter from the content or his performance. Chuck has a way of motivating his students and making them perform at levels they didn’t know they could. If they did know that they could perform, he made you better, faster and more consistent. While nothing we did was “new”, the skills and drills used and taught by Chuck held us accountable for everything we put out. By the end of class even the casual students where shot calling with accuracy and self-diagnosing their hits and misses. While there was levity, and everyone had a good time; the importance of the lessons learned were not lost on anyone. I personally received confirmation of my teaching methods and abilities. When some of my students glanced at me after Chuck hit a teaching point they had previously heard from me it gave a feeling of ease that I was providing them with the best information and skills that I could. I gained new insights and have already incorporated what I learned into my lesson plans.
Chuck brought us into his world, both professionally and personally. His lessons challenged us physically, mentally and emotionally. This course, like all great teachers, was eye opening.