My training experience a few weekends ago!

2 weekends ago I traveled to Waverly, MN to take Evolve Pistol 1 and Evolve rifle 1 with Kevin Dixie (KD) of No Other Choice firearms training so I thought I would share my thoughts and takeaways on the class if you’re looking to get similar great training.

Day 1 was all pistol and started like most level 1 courses do, with some basic firearm discussion and really breaking down the basics. We slowly progressed from dry fire to live fire, moving and shooting as well as forced malfunction clearing (loading spend cases in magazines). It was the first course I have taken with my new Red Dot and it was eye-opening to see how far I have come, but also the things I need to work on.

Day 2 was all rifle and as the pistol course, it was a slow progression all the way up to running and shooting. We worked on ready-ups, kneeling and shooting, and also lying down while shooting. We forced malfunctions again and learned how to work through them as well as transition to pistol since sometimes that may be faster if you can’t get your rifle running quickly. At the end of the day, we ran as a group down the roughly 100-yard range together as a group and shot from different positions. The goal of this was to get our heart rates up so that it would be similar to the effects of the adrenaline dump that your body will experience in a real self-defense incident.

There is a lot that I took away from this course, mostly realizing the things that I need to work on as well as finding what I naturally do well. My favorite part was when we worked on clearing malfunctions. The reason I loved this so much was that KD didn’t sit and talk for hours about the different malfunctions and the way to clear each one. In a self-defense incident, you probably won’t have time to stop and identify anything other than the fact that your gun no longer shoots and you need to take action to get back into the fight, so instead he talked about the progression of clearing the malfunction and then we forced our guns to jam, so we could just get hands-on practice clearing whatever happens to cause the malfunction. Some were double feeds, some were so bad that the empty casings flipped and went back into the chamber (I have pics if anyone cares to see).

KD spent a lot of time talking about mental processes and thinking your way through the fight. There was no “blueprint” to anything since we all know, no incident will be the same as the last. My question for you all is, what mental training do you do, and what other courses have you taken that you feel have best prepared you to be ready to defend yourself or your family?


No courses here, not much offered in my area, and hey… somewhere along the way I got old. I do watch a lot of YouTube for ideas, Reid Hendricks, Polaner Tactical, WPS, Garand Thumb etc…as well as the general dry fire/draw practice. Forunately retired and get to my club weekly, often solo which has it’s tactical benefits. Finding casings throughout the field has me realizing I’m not the only one running and gunning…knees ache, but practice going offhand to kneeling to prone…mentally, no drugs, no alcohol, stay pretty upbeat… physically, 62 with a lot of damage, docs had me dead at 23, paralyzed by 35, but I didn’t listen and walk or run 3-6 miles most days, or bicycle 13-20, and do a lot of reps with fairly light weights…or cut, haul, and split firewood by hand.
Got an old timer headed to the club next week with me, former Army, saw him today and asked when he will be joining me. He has a new 9mm, but feels rusty and a bit fearful. I explained “no worries” , we’ll run safety procedures beforehand, start slow, stay safe, switch to .22 if needed, or to simply have fun while getting his mojo back. He asked why I would do this…just helping a brother out. He’ll be fine.


Good for you, @Tim_D_USCCA :muscle:
It’s always great to read about classes that are focused on actual needs and simulate reality.
Basics and fundamentals can be practiced and trained everyday, but you never know if you can apply those properly when needed.

I already found myself in the position where shooting stationary targets at the range line doesn’t make sense to me. I do still use it for firearm and ammo testing or practicing reloads, but as we know, life is not stationary at all - I’m focusing my training on more challenging classes.

Fortunately I cannot complain about such training availability in my location. For last 2 years I have isolated 3 different Companies / Instructors and kept training with them.
The training idea is usually the same as you have experienced with NOC. No extra talking, just action, which give very quick feedback about my abilities.

I love private classes with fried of mine Instructor, who puts real stress on me imitating real environment - Police sirens, crowd, screams, pushes, kicks, etc. It seems to be fun… but actually it’s not a fun at all - it’s just reality. Expect unexpected. Don’t make your training easy. If it is easy, push yourself to the point it’s not easy anymore.

Recently I’ve been introduced to Travis Haley’s training programs and after reviewing them I signed up for one of his classes. I’m hoping to find something new, something I’ve never experienced so far.


That’s awesome. I’ve been itching to get into another class myself but haven’t been able to. It seems the pandemic really thinned out training companies.

Luckily I got a membership to a range where you can use 50 yard x 20-yard bay and do what you want. In my last session I started with some fundamentals and then spent time on Marine Qualification drills which were challenging and fun.


@Jerzy I’m with you on that. Stationary certainly has its uses and you can still get a lot out of those days, but live fire on ranges that allow you to do more such as move and shoot or draw and fire bring a much higher level of training. Glad you are able to get great training. Don’t get me wrong, KD talked about a lot of things but they were mental training and thoughtful discussions, not lecture-style talks.

@mattm That’s understandable and glad to hear you are finding other ways to supplement training. I love to hear that you are taking him to the range and helping him feel confident with a firearm again. Any specific drills you plan to do?

@Jason148 What drills are you able to do at that range? All of my ranges near me are single lanes and very controlled fire. Not a whole lot of room for moving and absolutely no holster fire is allowed.

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Yeah. I was also thinking about such talk.
By “no extra talking” I meant - no basic teaching but analyzing different or just one proper solution in certain situations.

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Tim_D_USCCA via USCCA Community Wednesday, May 4, 3:56 PM
Any specific drills you plan to do?

We’ll see where things go, but imagine simply getting a feel for the gun. Joe is probably 75 or so, and hasn’t shot for awhile. He seems familiar with .223 and mentioned shooting his .22 rifle at 100 yards, had his own range up 'til 20 years ago, so think I’ll pack one or two of my 5.56 guns, and since he seems quite interested in the 2 and 300 yard distance with .22, we’ll pursue that. If we go Monday, I have a neighbor who I introduced to shooting and recently got his temp permit (NY transplant) who may join in as well. Dennis stayed safe our first outing, stayed on .22 for pistol, but will get him on 9mm. Rifle, he already shot my .308 RPR which is my hardest kicking gun. Not pushing any drills on these guys besides maybe some moving at the falling plates (pistol) range. Rifle, no movement, I only do that solo, but they can go prone, bench or offhand from the firing line.

It’s an outdoor range and part of if they have individual bays that are 50-yards long by about 20-30 yards wide. When I go I park my truck within the entrance. Aside from the basic stuff I started doing these Marine qualification drills. I have it written down at home, not fully to memory but drill one is something like.

One Target

  1. At 50-yards 2 chest from standing, kneeling, prone.
  2. Run to 25 yard line, 2 chest from standing, kneeling
  3. At 25 yards, 1 to the head
  4. While walking to the 15, 2 to the chest
  5. At 15, 2 to the chest
  6. Walk 15 to 10 2 to the chest
  7. Walking 10-5 2 to the chest 1 to the head.
  8. Walking 7 yard to 3 2 to the chest 1 to the head
  9. Draw pistol 2 to the chest

Don’t quote me as there are a couple drills and I could be mixing them up as I don’t have it in front of me. But it’s challenging, especially the shooting while walking.

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