I’ll begin my review by answering my own questions.
#1. Would I recommend training with Pincus? In a word: absolutely.
Two of my training mentors discouraged me from training with him. The one gave no reason. I dismiss this. The other stated that Pincus seems to be teaching the latest fads. I don’t know if that’s true or not because I don’t know what the latest fads are. What I experienced was this: everything Pincus taught was followed by a detailed rationale for teaching that particular technique. Every rationale he provided made good sense. While there might be a couple of things that I can see a different perspective than Pincus taught, he had a clear rationale for what he taught and he is definitely more of an expert in all of these matters than I am. In one instance I found myself affirmed by Pincus in the dissonance I had with previous training experiences.
Pincus’s training was challenging. If you want to know the basic ideas he taught, look up Fundamentals of Intuitive Defensive Shooting. The course description will give you an accurate high level overview.
#2. How does Pincus compare to my other training experience? In some areas he is different and some areas he is similar. Pardon the vague description.
They are similar inasmuch as my previous training experiences were excellent and so was Pincus. They taught some of the same things such as stance and grip. One example of a difference is that Pincus doesn’t teach staging the trigger/come to the pressure wall taught at TDI. (Look up Chris Cerino’s training videos. TDI teaches the same fundamentals.) Pincus teaches to steadily press the trigger rearward until the shot goes off. Another example was I got “fussed at” once for shooting while I was still moving. For this class Pincus taught us to move, get into our stance, extend the gun and only fire after arms were locked out and stance was correct. Previous training had us moving and shooting. Likely the difference was that this was a one-day no prerequisite class. I assume at some point Pincus teaches shooting while moving. A third example is that Pincus teaches out of the gate that you only use your sights when you need them. I wouldn’t call this point shooting. I would call this teaching the student to recognize when he needs his sights and when he doesn’t need his sights. Previous instructors recognized that you might not use your sights in a real self-defense encounter, but blamed that on training that didn’t focus on teaching you to use your sights. They advocated using sights all of the time. This seems to indicate one advantage of training under different instructors with differing philosophies. I’m not saying either system is wrong.
#3. There was some discussion in this thread and on other blogs of Pincus’s demeanor/personality in training. I will say that Pincus isn’t the gentlest instructor I’ve ever sat under. However, Pincus isn’t mean. He is direct. He uses copious amounts of sarcasm, humor, and profanity. He is not shy on correcting students and doing so publicly. Nearly every student got singled out for something they weren’t doing correctly. Pincus didn’t correct you for little things that he didn’t teach unless it caused you to miss your shots. I didn’t always fully extend my arms and lock my elbows when shooting. However, I was making my hits. He never criticized me for not locking out. He did, however, point out when I self corrected this with positive reinforcement. However, if you didn’t do what he taught you to do, expect his verbal redirection to escalate. He might even make you do the drill solo in front of the rest of the class. After being singled out in front of the class and still never getting the technique right, I won’t forget what he taught. Isn’t that the point? (I got singled out for my reloads. He taught a different technique. Trying to change techniques for this class after hundreds of reps under a different methodology didn’t come easy for me.) At first his demanor can embarrass the student and come across as demeaning, but when you realize he’s going to do to it to most of the students in the class, you tend to loosen up, realize this is his style, and roll with it. There was one individual in the class that took a lot of this from Pincus. He seemed to be getting pretty upset at one point and, perhaps, Pincus took it too far. On the other hand, he’s trying to help you survive a potential deadly encounter. Some of this style seems to be the constraints of the class. There was one instructor for about a dozen students. At my previous training experience, there was a lead instructor and a team of other instructors. The ratio was about 2 or 3 students to 1 instructor. So there was a lot more one on one instruction. Those classes were also multi day classes. So you had more time for individualized instruction taught in a crawl, walk, run format. Pincus hit you with a lot of information over 8.5 hours (the class went long—we got our money’s worth). So it’s just different.
Would I train with Pincus again and recommend his training to others? Absolutely. Do I look at my previous training experiences with less appreciation for them because Pincus teaches some different things? Absolutely not. Both perspectives are valuable.
The facility was an indoor range. The disadvantage was we were shoulder to shoulder on the firing line. It was almost too tight, but it was well-run so that isn’t a criticism. Some drills we did with half of the students off the line so we could move. If I had my druthers, I’d personally prefer an outdoor range with less claustrophobia potential. Yes. I’ve trained at an outdoor range in a downpour interrupted by a thunderstorm. So there are advantages to an indoor range.
My only criticism is the copious amount of profanity used. I get that I was going to a defensive shooting class and not a Sunday school class. I also get that profanity is normal in the shooting community. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it or agree with it. I also admitted above that Pincus has a reason for everything he does. So I am sure he has a reason for that too.
Pincus began and ended the class with three questions.
- What am I already good enough at?
- What should I be better at?
- How do I get better at it?
It was his goal that by the end of the class each student would be able to answer these three questions for themselves and have a plan of how to improve at home after the training was over. He met that goal as far as I’m concerned. I have definite answers to all of those questions.
I have left every training class I’ve ever took with the sense that 1) training is a journey, not a destination. And 2) I need more training. I don’t see how I will ever be trained enough.
I personally wouldn’t call this training class “fun.” But I’ve never walked away from a training class and thought it was fun. So that’s a reflection on my own personality rather than the instructors. I see training as something that is teaching you to do something wonderful (protecting yourself or your family) by preparing you for the possibility that you might have to do something horrible (shoot another person) in order to do that. Parts of the class were fun. Typically the later in the day, the more fun the class is for me after I’ve loosened up.
If you have specific questions, I’ll do my best to accurately represent what he taught. If you have experience with Pincus and what I say doesn’t jive with your experience, please give Pincus the benefit of the doubt.
One more thing, when you walk into this class, Pincus has his name and personal cell phone on the whiteboard at the front of the classroom. He invited questions by text and I have no doubt that it was a sincere offer.
A sincere thank you to all of you who have provided input in this discussion.