Training with Trebor!

Training questions, approaches and reports

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Training with Trebor!

Post by Jeriah » Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:33 pm

Last weekend, Stephanie and I drove up to Michigan. We met Trebor at a machine gun shoot, ran a mag through the Thompson, and the next day we headed to the range to do some training. What we did was basically a short, "digest" version of what he covers in the classes he teaches, and it was AWESOME. I shot some pictures of Stephanie training (and also of her shooting Trebor's M1 Carbine and her .25 Beretta). They're posted to this Facebook album:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2 ... =672826227" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

What we covered, in brief:

Stances

Trebor showed us Weaver, Modified Weaver, and Modern Isosceles stances. We did most of our shooting in Modern Isosceles but he showed us enough of Weaver so we knew the differences, and how to do Weaver properly if we were going to do it. I'm not going to describe Weaver here, as much has been written on it, and we didn't do that much of it.

What we focused on was Modern Isosceles. This is how we did it: Weak foot forward pointed toward target, strong foot back, perpendicular to target, placing the hips at 45 degrees to the target. Shoulders square, both arms extended (forming the isosceles triangle).

Grip

Trebor taught us the thumbs-forward grip. It felt awkward as all hell at first, because I was used to doing a push-pull Weaver thing. But this is how he taught us to do it: make "the Fonz," that is two thumbs up (this part is just to show us how it was done, you don't have to make the Fonz every time!), then grasp the butt of your pistol with the strong hand. You're still making the Fonz, so your thumb is up, out of the way, not on the pistol. You then supinate your weak hand about halfway (that is, palm facing up and towards the grip) and place the meat of the thumb on the exposed grip of the pistol, behind the fingers of the strong hand, with your thumb facing forward. Then close the fingers of the weak hand. Then you close the thumb of the strong hand, bringing it down so it's parallel to the thumb of the weak hand, which is parallel to the barrel.


Trigger Reset

We started out firing from a fairly close distance, working on using "trigger reset." The trigger of most semiautomatic weapons has a "reset point," which is how far you have to release the trigger for it to fire the next round when pulled. Easing off on the trigger only to this point, rather than completely releasing the trigger, makes follow-up shots faster and more accurate. This is what we did: fire the first shot double-action, since that's what happens real life. Hold the trigger down, do not release it. Then, slowly back off the pressure, easing it forward until it "clicks." This is the reset point. Squeeze the trigger from there. This will give you faster and smoother follow up shots. If you do it wrong, squeezing too early, and nothing happens, ease off the trigger as far forward as it will go and fire from there. (This is apparently common in people who are first learning, although it didn't happen to me, I'm sure it's just a matter of time.) In no case should you ever release the trigger entirely (finger off the trigger).

Drawing From The Holster

The next thing we worked on was drawing from the holster. Steph borrowed Rob's leather holster, which is meant to be carried inside the waistband, but she got better results wearing it inside her belt but outside her waistband. Of course, it wouldn't be concealed this way, but that's not an issue at the range. (Note: Neither Stephanie nor I carry concealed firearms, as permits for this are not issued in Illinois, where we currently reside. Rob resides in Michigan, and so can, with a permit, lawfully carry a concealed pistol.)

Drawing from the holster begins in the isosceles stance, hands loose, wherever you had 'em. The first thing you do is place your weak-side hand on your chest, to keep it out of the way of the muzzle when you draw. Then you pull your strong hand back over the butt of the pistol, push firmly downward to ensure a solid grip, and then pull the pistol straight up, clear of the holster. You then rotate your arm 90 degrees forward and push forward, swinging the gun up in front of you with as little wasted motion as possible. (This part was difficult for me.) As it comes up, your weak hand comes off your chest and assumes its proper supporting role in the thumbs-forward grip.

To reholster, you first bring the pistol straight back, into your "work area" by your chest. Then perform a "tactical scan," a cheesy term for "check for a guy sneaking up behind you with an axe," and if it's all clear, then decock your pistol (using the decocker lever, if it has one) and holster it. Obviously if it's not clear, shoot until it is. One of the drills we did for this was looking over our shoulder, and Rob would be behind us, giving either a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Thumbs up, holster the weapon. Thumbs down, shoot.

Reloads

Reloading starts the same way as holstering: bring the weapon straight back to your "work area," on your chest. Hit the magazine release and allow the magazine to fall to the ground. Don't grab it, try to stick it in your pocket, or anything. Just let it fall. It will get dirt it in. That's normal. Anyway, with your weak hand, you draw a fresh mag from your belt pouch (should be on your weak side, bullets facing forward in pouch). Roll your pistol so the mag well faces your weak side, insert the mag and press firmly. Reach over the top of the pistol, grasping it at the rear of the slide (don't cover the ejection port!). Lastly, pull the slide to the rear with your weak hand as you push forward aggressively with your strong hand.

Malfunction Drills.

A malfunction is treated just like a reload, except you don't insert a new mag. Instead, you bring the pistol back to your work area, roll it so the mag well faces your weak hand, and tap the bottom of the magazine to make sure it's seated. If you're right handed, that means theejection port is now facing down, toward the ground; if you're left handed, you now need to roll it so the ejection port faces down. Reach over the top and pull the slide to the rear, just like a reload, while pushing forward with the off hand. Rob used two different types of artificial simulated malfunction: dummy rounds, and partially ejecting the magazine. The partially ejected magazine (held in place with a bit of tape) was done first, to get us into the habit of tapping the baseplate. The dummy rounds were added later, simulating bad ammo or whatever. In either case the drill was the same: tap, rack, bang. (Tap the baseplate, rack the slide, and it should go bang.)

Cover

Another thing I did was using cover (again, not pictured). We used some plastic barrels that we were pretending was a concrete column in a parking garage: plastic barrels might provide concealment, but not real cover. (Concealment means they can't see you, cover means they can't shoot through it.) Put the cover behind you and your opponent, but don't hug it too closely if you can help it. You need to roll the pistol so the ejection port faces away from the cover, so spent brass doesn't bounce back in. Shooting from the right side of cover gives better protection, but you need to alternate to avoid being where the bad guy expects you to be.

Kneeling

We also did some kneeling shooting, which is pretty basic. Go down on one knee, or both knees, drawing your pistol in the early part of the motion so your holster hasn't moved yet. Pretty straightforward. (Pic is just more of Steph doing the basic draw-shoot-reload-holster thing.)

One-Handed Shooting

The stance we practiced is called "Stress Fire." One handed-shooting requires, obviously, a different grip. "Thumbs forward," one handed, isn't. Just grasp the grip "normally," they way it fits in the hand. Whichever hand isn't being used should be placed on the chest and clenched firmly. This apparently lends some support, it can also be used to push an attacker back. You draw the weapon with the hand you're shooting with, extend your arm, and lean aggressively forward. Pretty simple. The hard part is drawing, firing, and holstering your weapon with your weak hand, from a strong side holster, and avoiding sweeping the instructor with your muzzle while doing so.

Distance and Movement

The next thing we talked about was strategies for being approached on the street. Rob's big thing about this was to have a prepackaged response to anyone who approaches you. I like his suggested line, "I'm sorry, I can't help you," delivered in a firm tone that ends the conversation. Don't even listen to what the person was saying. It doesn't matter if the guy is asking for five bucks or talking crazy or whatever; if a sketchy looking character approaches, and starts to talk to you or whatever, just firmly state, "I'm sorry, I can't help you," and walk away. If the person attempts to stop you, you are justified in defending yourself. (There are some legal fine points here that we didn't really get into, but the gist of it was, don't stand there talking to someone who might be trouble. Just firmly give your planned response and walk away.)

The follow up to this strategy was the 21' rule and the Tueller Drill. The Tueller Drill is basically a demonstration of the validity of the 21' rule, which states that inside of 21', an attacker armed with a knife may be able to stab you before you can draw your holstered pistol, or maybe even from the low ready, and shoot him with it. So Rob stands behind me, and I'm at low ready. And when he starts running, I start shooting. He stops running when I fire my second shot. His distance from me, is how far an attacker could cover in the time it took me to shoot those two rounds. In our case, due to my slow shooting, it was well over 21 feet. The point of all this? At 21 feet, a person with a knife is a potentially lethal threat to a person armed with a gun. Don't let a person brandishing a knife get that close to you.

The last stuff we went into was moving and shooting. If a dude is running at you, say with an axe, backing away while firing isn't going to buy you much time. Instead, move laterally or diagonally, forcing him to change direction. This buys you more time. We practiced reloading while moving, clearing malfunctions while moving, and shooting while moving. All movement should be aggressive, not timid little steps. To shoot on the move, basically move, come to a halt momentarily just as you squeeze the trigger, and continue moving. Don't stop, whatever you're doing, keep moving. This movement could be towards cover, out of the line of your opponent's fire, whatever. But any movement is better than standing there flat-footed.

Summary

This training was AWESOME. The main thing I learned, honestly, was how much I have to learn! Prior to this training day, I was pretty good at shooting. At practical distances I can put a fist-sized group in a person's center of mass. But as Trebor pointed out, that's a very different thing from fighting. Fighting involves much more than accurate shooting, but as you start adding elements like speed and movement, your accuracy starts suffering. So the trick is to get your accuracy respectable, then add a variable, then practice it until your accuracy gets back to respectable levels.

My follow-up plans are as follows: Next Wednesday I'm going to the GAT range with some Chicago ZS guys (and gals?), and I'm going to work on practicing the isosceles stance, thumbs forward grip, and trigger reset. I'm going to go through a few boxes of ammo (whatever I can in an hour) and get those skills honed a bit. That way I've at least got my marksmanship fundamentals down, and hopefully this will correct the old problem I was having where I would shoot off towards my weak side if shooting strong-side, and visa versa.

Next month I'm going to the MILCOPP training session, and while I expect the focus to be on carbine, it should involve some pistol work too. Even though this day with Trebor was just a small sampling of the kind of things he does in his classes, I feel INFINITELY better prepared for the MILCOPP course after this day with Trebor. Now Dave will just laugh at me, rather than pants me and give me a swirly in front of all of my friends.

Seriously, though: get yourself some training! Range time doesn't count as training! New guns are no substitute for training! Find a practical course near you. This stuff is SO much more rewarding than just blasting at tin cans, punching holes in paper, or playing with a bunch of tacticool accessories you got in the mail. Am I the last one to know this stuff? Do you all have tons of training and I'm the slow kid? If not, let me tell you: it's well worth it. And Trebor is awesome.

Any errors in this description are due to my being dim, not poor instruction on Trebor's part. And I'm certain that, if I've made any, he'll point them out here. Anyone else have any insight into any of this stuff? Analogous training experiences? Other stuff I can work on at a static (no holsters) range? Disagree with anything in here?
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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by Braxton » Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:28 am

You have made me look forward to MilCopp that much more!!! After we do the carbine class this has inspired me to try to get a Pistol class together. I need to train!
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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by Jeriah » Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:01 am

Braxton wrote:You have made me look forward to MilCopp that much more!!! After we do the carbine class this has inspired me to try to get a Pistol class together. I need to train!
Totally! I'm going to the GAT shoot next week, which isn't training but it'll be good to practice some of the stuff we learned.

A local (to Chicago) range that allows drawing from the holster would be good to know about. Know of any?

Some other opportunities to hone skills are competing in matches. Once we've gotten some basic skills, we could shoot on ZCON Range Day (I've been twice so far, it's relaxed, not like a hard day of training at all, but it's still worth doing), and also we could enter some of the matches at Knob Creek if you go to that.

Imagine a "Zombie Squad" team showing up at all the matches at Knob Creek, and shooting decently well? That would be cool.

So, that's my plan: next week, GAT. September, MILCOPP. October, Knob Creek. After that, we'll see...
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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by Gingerbread Man » Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:19 am

Now that you've come to know trigger reset, go to a gun store and try a Sig with a short reset trigger.
Last edited by Gingerbread Man on Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by Jeriah » Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:21 am

Regular Guy wrote:Now that yoou've come to know trigger reset, go to a gun store and try a Sig with a short reset trigger.
Ooh...the last thing I need is to really want another new gun. I think I'll be avoiding checking that out, thank you very much. :lol:



Damn it, too late. I'm already tempted. I'll try one out next time I can.
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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by Braxton » Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:02 am

Jeriah wrote:
Imagine a "Zombie Squad" team showing up at all the matches at Knob Creek, and shooting decently well? That would be cool.
You have seen the future. And I like.
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Actually I think under some circumstances people sometimes don't even know themselves, but that's a bit existential for this thread. :lol:

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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by Gingerbread Man » Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:27 am

Jeriah wrote:
Regular Guy wrote:Now that yoou've come to know trigger reset, go to a gun store and try a Sig with a short reset trigger.
Ooh...the last thing I need is to really want another new gun. I think I'll be avoiding checking that out, thank you very much. :lol:
Damn it, too late. I'm already tempted. I'll try one out next time I can.
DO WANT, you will be. You will.....
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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by Jeriah » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:41 am

Regular Guy wrote:
Jeriah wrote:
Regular Guy wrote:Now that yoou've come to know trigger reset, go to a gun store and try a Sig with a short reset trigger.
Ooh...the last thing I need is to really want another new gun. I think I'll be avoiding checking that out, thank you very much. :lol:
Damn it, too late. I'm already tempted. I'll try one out next time I can.
DO WANT, you will be. You will.....
As nice as I'm sure it is, I'll be buying ammo and .22 analogs long before I buy a new pistol. And that will still be some time out.
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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by Trebor » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:43 am

Good write up, J. I can't think of anything we covered you didn't discuss.

It was great working with you and Steph.

One thing to work towards, that we didn't have time for, is to work on shooting *while* moving without stopping. I teach stopping for that brief pause while you are putting rounds downrange as an intermediate step. It's better then just planting your feet and gets shooters used to the idea of moving. The next step after that is to just not stop moving. I'm sure Dave will work with you all on that.
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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by Jeriah » Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:53 pm

Trebor wrote:Good write up, J. I can't think of anything we covered you didn't discuss.

It was great working with you and Steph.

One thing to work towards, that we didn't have time for, is to work on shooting *while* moving without stopping. I teach stopping for that brief pause while you are putting rounds downrange as an intermediate step. It's better then just planting your feet and gets shooters used to the idea of moving. The next step after that is to just not stop moving. I'm sure Dave will work with you all on that.
I was wondering about that. I am concerned that my groups will go all to hell as soon as I try that, but I'm sure Dave's got some tricks. I'm going to work on stance, grip, and trigger reset at the range on Wednesday, so that should help some.

Thanks so much for having us! It was great. And we'll definitely come up there for that MG shoot in the spring if we're around.
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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by Jeriah » Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:54 pm

docdredd wrote:Jeriah If you do come down to Ky for a knob creek shoot, send me a Pm I live about 20 min away.
Peace
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Will do. We haven't missed one since our first (October 2007), so we'll be there.
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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by UndeadInfidel » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:08 pm

Nice walkthrough of some basic tactical shooting skills. I hope he doesn't mind you broadcasting some of his trade secrets. :)
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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by Bearcat » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:36 pm

Jeriah wrote:
docdredd wrote:Jeriah If you do come down to Ky for a knob creek shoot, send me a Pm I live about 20 min away.
Peace
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Will do. We haven't missed one since our first (October 2007), so we'll be there.
Isn't there like a 5 year waiting list to just get in?
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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by SimonZayne » Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:48 pm

Bearcat wrote:
Jeriah wrote:
docdredd wrote:Jeriah If you do come down to Ky for a knob creek shoot, send me a Pm I live about 20 min away.
Peace
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Will do. We haven't missed one since our first (October 2007), so we'll be there.
Isn't there like a 5 year waiting list to just get in?
There is a pretty decent waiting list to get a spot at the firing line, but they let pretty much anyone in to peruse.

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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by Trebor » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:04 am

UndeadInfidel wrote:Nice walkthrough of some basic tactical shooting skills. I hope he doesn't mind you broadcasting some of his trade secrets. :)

"There are no trade secrets. Just proper execution of the fundamentals."

It's in quotes 'cause I stole it from Steve Fisher of MDFI, but sums up my feelings exactly.

I didn't invent this stuff and there's lot of guys you can learn from. Just make sure to get some training and make sure your trainer knows how to get the info across. If I have any strengths, it's that I can tell when the student doesn't "get it" and can ID their problems and figure out a way to get it through to them when standard methods fail.

But, really, none of this is secret stuff. The guys who try to sell you "super sekrit Ninja skills" are really selling snake oil
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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by UndeadInfidel » Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:18 am

Trebor wrote:
UndeadInfidel wrote:Nice walkthrough of some basic tactical shooting skills. I hope he doesn't mind you broadcasting some of his trade secrets. :)

"There are no trade secrets. Just proper execution of the fundamentals."

It's in quotes 'cause I stole it from Steve Fisher of MDFI, but sums up my feelings exactly.

I didn't invent this stuff and there's lot of guys you can learn from. Just make sure to get some training and make sure your trainer knows how to get the info across. If I have any strengths, it's that I can tell when the student doesn't "get it" and can ID their problems and figure out a way to get it through to them when standard methods fail.

But, really, none of this is secret stuff. The guys who try to sell you "super sekrit Ninja skills" are really selling snake oil
I know it's not. It's the same basics you'll learn at any basic tac carbine/pistol course. I was just giving him a bit of a hard time.
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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by Trebor » Fri Aug 20, 2010 8:12 am

UndeadInfidel wrote:
Trebor wrote:
UndeadInfidel wrote:Nice walkthrough of some basic tactical shooting skills. I hope he doesn't mind you broadcasting some of his trade secrets. :)

"There are no trade secrets. Just proper execution of the fundamentals."

It's in quotes 'cause I stole it from Steve Fisher of MDFI, but sums up my feelings exactly.

I didn't invent this stuff and there's lot of guys you can learn from. Just make sure to get some training and make sure your trainer knows how to get the info across. If I have any strengths, it's that I can tell when the student doesn't "get it" and can ID their problems and figure out a way to get it through to them when standard methods fail.

But, really, none of this is secret stuff. The guys who try to sell you "super sekrit Ninja skills" are really selling snake oil
I know it's not. It's the same basics you'll learn at any basic tac carbine/pistol course. I was just giving him a bit of a hard time.
Yeah, I figured you knew that. Just thought I'd mention it though 'cause not everyone is tuned in and who knows who will read this thread.

Like I tell my students, I'd love to work with you and have you pay me but, I don't care if you train with someone else instead, AS LONG AS YOU TRAIN!
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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by Gingerbread Man » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:24 pm

Did you guys talk about when force is justified, non-lethal options, or anything like that?
I like non-lethal stuff, just wondering.
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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by Jeriah » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:41 pm

Regular Guy wrote:Did you guys talk about when force is justified, non-lethal options, or anything like that?
I like non-lethal stuff, just wondering.
Yes! Trebor knows, of course, that we're from Chicago, so a concealed carry firearm is a non-option for us. He asked if we carried pepper spray; I do but it's old and a no-name brand; Steph doesn't. Trebor recommended Fox brand, and then talked about when it was appropriate to use it.

This came up when we were talking about the preplanned responses to being approached on the street. Long story short, a guy walks up to you on the street spouting some line like, "Hey man I can I bum five bucks for gas?" You are not, at that point, justified in pepper spraying him. You give your preplanned response ("I'm sorry, I can't help you.) in a firm voice, and do not stop or slow down, continue walking. If the person attempts to get in your way, block your movement, or touch you in any way, you are justified in pepper spraying them. Spray them and then get the hell out of there.

We didn't get a whole lot farther than that; he may in his full classes, however. We also didn't talk about when to pepper spray and when to draw your CCW, as we told him we don't, and can't, CCW in Chicago. So we focused on the fighting aspect, and not on the justification of lethal vs. non-lethal force part.

But, long story short, I would say my rule of thumb would be if presented with non-lethal force (punching, unarmed threatening) I'd use the pepper spray; if presented with lethal force (knife, gun, baseball bat, get me on the ground and try to kick me in the head) I'd draw my pistol. Hypothetically, that is, if I could CCW, which I can't. (This part is my personal thoughts, not part of Trebor's training.)

We then went on to the Tueller drill, which was about range and being faced with an edged weapon. Long story short, this convinced me that an edged weapon at 21 feet or less is a lethal threat and should be answered with lethal force. Since pepper spray etc. can't go much beyond that range, I do not see pepper spray or a taser as a good answer to a knife.

HOWEVER, all of this CCW-related stuff is moot for me. I live in Chicago. Non-lethal or less-lethal options are my only options, other than knives. I may invest in some Fox pepper spray when I can spare the bucks, and I'll get one for Steph as well. I do also carry a knife for lethal threats but I REALLY hope it never comes down to that. If I pull my knife, I'm expecting to get cut, and maybe dying. That's a shit-ass situation. Pepper spray is for preventing a fight/assault, the knife is a last ditch, "I REALLY wish this was a gun!" kind of situation. Honestly I only carry it because it's useful as a tool; as a weapon its role is secondary at best.
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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by TheLastRifleMan » Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:53 pm

Damn, man, you should have PM'd me to let me know you were going to be in the area! I would have loved to have come out and met you both and chat with Trebor for a while. :D

He is a great instructor and you could not have gone wrong with him. Glad you learned some good skills and had a great time.

I am going to have to get some of the guys in the newly formed ZS Michigan Chapter to set a place, date and time for a get together and schutzenfest. It is long over due!
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Jeriah
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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by Jeriah » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:24 pm

TheLastRifleMan wrote:Damn, man, you should have PM'd me to let me know you were going to be in the area! I would have loved to have come out and met you both and chat with Trebor for a while. :D

He is a great instructor and you could not have gone wrong with him. Glad you learned some good skills and had a great time.

I am going to have to get some of the guys in the newly formed ZS Michigan Chapter to set a place, date and time for a get together and schutzenfest. It is long over due!
Let me know, Steph and I would probably be up to drive up there for that.
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Jeriah
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Posts: 18722
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 4:12 pm
Favorite Zombie Movies: Original Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead 04, and 28 Days Later are my top three, in that order.
Location: Chicago, IL
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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by Jeriah » Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:49 am

I'm writing my review of the MilCopp course right now, and just wanted to add into this thread, that training with Trebor was GREAT preparation for the MilCopp Level II Carbine course, other than the carbine-specific stuff of course. I would have been seriously lost without this background.
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Re: Training with Trebor!

Post by Trebor » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:55 pm

Jeriah wrote:I'm writing my review of the MilCopp course right now, and just wanted to add into this thread, that training with Trebor was GREAT preparation for the MilCopp Level II Carbine course, other than the carbine-specific stuff of course. I would have been seriously lost without this background.
I'm glad it helped and very gratified to hear you say that. Thanks.

Like I said earlier, TAKE SOME TRAINING PEOPLE. Whether Dave & Doc, me, or someone else, as long as it's reputable, it's the best money you'll spend. We tend to focus too much on the hardware and not enough on the software.
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R.I.P HK33K - Gone, but not forgetten.

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