In May of 2016 I took part in the GORUCK Firearms Day (Pistol) event that was offered for the Seattle, WA area. The event actually occurred a good 40 minutes south of Olympia (about 100 minutes from Seattle) at Evergreen Sportsmen’s Club which is a very nice outdoor range. Start time was 8 am and the event was slated to run until 5 pm or so… which meant we had a very long and fun day planned.
This AAR will be broken up into five sections. The first will be about my familiarity with firearms, the second will be about the first portion of the day (pre-gun), the third will be about the main portion (gun time), the fourth will be about the finale, and the fifth will be a summary.
Cadre Garrett “Machine” and Cadre Mikey Bee were the two cadre from GORUCK at this event.
I go shooting… rarely. I love the sport and am comfortable with pistols. However, between all that I have going on I’ll be the first to admit that I do not get to the range enough. It’s definitely something I’m working on though so don’t give me too hard of a time.
This is the second GORUCK Firearms Day (Pistol) that I’ve been to. The first was a custom event for the Arden Tough weekend and was a bit different than this one. Both were amazing, although very different, experiences.
FAD Pistol Intro (Pre-Ammo: 2 Hours)
The event started off with a long and detailed introduction. Cadre Machine walked us through the important parts of a Glock 19 and how to operate it. He spent a good hour on how the gun works, how to be safe with it, how to draw it, and what now to do with it. We practiced a lot of these drills using our hands and pretending there was a gun there. This was great, in my opinion, as there were people present who had never shot a pistol before and who may not instinctively know some of the safety rules.
After working with our hands we began moving what we learned to our unloaded pistols. Facing the edges of the range we practiced drawing, reloading, aiming, and other drills. We spent another solid hour working this approach so that everyone would be familiar with their weapon before live ammunition was introduced.
FAD Pistol Main Content (6 Hours)
After a quick snack we began the portion of GORUCK Firearms Day that involved ammunition. We were told to bring at least 3 magazines and 400 rounds of ammo so that we’d both have enough and wouldn’t delay the event by wasting time reloading. It was expected of everyone to have at least 30 – 40 loose rounds in their back pocket and reload their magazines to a given number (usually 5) when they were not on the firing line. This was great because it really allowed Cadre Machine and Mikey Bee to teach more drills and concepts throughout the day as almost no time was spend reloading.
The GORUCK Firearms Day Pistol course started out with basic firing drills which allowed the Cadre to watch for any safety issues. Safety infractions were met with harsh words and stern looks and I was truly impressed with the level of safety they were able to bring to the event. There were no times that I didn’t feel safe which is something special when you’re dealing with a lot of beginners.
After some basic drills (think drawing + firing + holstering, drawing + firing + reloading + holstering, etc.) we practiced what to do when our gun jams. This was “simulated” by picking up to spent cases from the ground, cleaning them off, and putting them in our magazines. One case went in third and the other went in forth then we were back to the firing line. Obviously when the case chambered there was an issue which allowed us to follow the Cadre’s instruction on how to fix the problem. My favorite part here was that everyone (especially the beginners) learned how to safely troubleshoot a jammed gun. Let’s be honest… there’s almost nothing worse than someone waving a gun around because it’s jammed and doing this prevented that from happening.
From there we went into some situation drills when involved pushing through “crowds” then taking shots and other more advanced team drills.
One of my favorite of the more advanced drills involved maintaining the plank position for roughly 30 seconds then hopping up and taking four shots on target and a fifth at the target’s head on the ground.
FAD Pistol Finale (1 Hour)
The final portion of the event was a stress situation where we ran roughly 250m then took 14 shots (from 7 locations) at a target. Each person went individually and their shots were scored to determine a winner. It was a great way to end the day and really a fun challenge. The previous FAD I was at ended in a similar fashion and it was awesome to see how much people had improved since the start of the day. One of my friends at the event hadn’t shot a gun before and during the stress test only missed the target once. It’s impressive what solid coaching and some real time behind the gun will do for people.
One of the perks of having a great photographer at the event is that you may end up with a picture where it appears the Cadre is holding you.
GORUCK Firearms Day (Pistol) was a freaking blast. I didn’t write an AAR after my first FAD (which I regret) because I didn’t think I could do it justice. Honestly… I learned so much that I didn’t feel confident enough to convey it in a way that would honor the program. After the second GORUCK Firearms Day I think I can finally write something that at least won’t disrespect it… something that will get people excited to sign up for one because it’s truly a great time.
More photos from this event, and other GORUCK events, can be found on David’s Flickr account.