Swift | Silent | Deadly

AAR: Pistol-Training.com On Demand Performance w Simon Golob

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This past weekend I had the privilege of attending Pistol-Training.com On Demand Performance. Taught by Simon Golob (aka SLG), this class was geared toward giving the shooter the ability to train for a cold shot, or to perform on-demand.

Full disclosure: I met Simon back in February at a closed-group shooting class that we both attended. He invited me out to shoot On Demand Performance, free of charge. He did not ask me to review the class, and this review was not coordinated with Simon in any way. Additionally, I have no financial relationship whatsoever with Mead Hall Range, Simon Golob, or Pistol-Training.com.

The quick details: Pistol-Training.com On-Demand Performance was held on June 08 and 09 at the Mead Hall Range in McLoud, OK. There were 11 attendees. This was the first class taught under the Pistol-Training.com banner since Todd Green’s death.  Let’s get into the AAR of the course.

The Facility

I was able to travel with my dear friend, Mr. Rich Brown of the American Warrior Society. Roughly a 10-hour drive from Rich’s house, we arrived the day before class. We were happy to learn that the range was a 10-minute drive from our hotel. The class was held at the Mead Hall Range in McLoud Oklahoma. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Mead Hall, and it absolutely lived up to its reputation.

The Mead Hall is not a public range – it was designed specifically for hosting classes like the Pistol-Training.com On-Demand Performance. Bill Armstrong, the owner, takes great pride in having a facility with everything an instructor and students might need. Tables, padded chairs, good acoustics, and TVs and projectors outfitted the classroom. We only used a small portion of the range – 25 yards and in – but the range complex has a bit of everything.

The weather was in the 90s and sunny both days. Fortunately Bill had planned for the heat. There was a shade structure and a grove of mature oaks, both with plenty of picnic tables. The shade structure was insulated and had plenty of fans. The bathrooms at the range were actual running-water bathrooms. They were also well air-conditioned and very cool, providing an excellent break from the heat.

Rich Brown (left) and Bill Armstrong, owner and operator of the Mead Hall Range, and student in Pistol-Training.com On-Demand Performance.

The Mead Hall Range has all sorts of amenities, too. The range provided a cooler full of ice and waters for the taking. Bill’s wife provided official “Mead Hall Range cookie bars,” several of which I helped myself to. The classroom boasts a full kitchen, too. I don’t have a single complaint about the facility – it exceeded expectations.

Simon Golob

Pistol-Training.com On Demand Performance was and is taught by Simon Golob. To be honest, I’d never heard of Simon prior to meeting him in February… or so I thought. Simon goes by “SLG” on his blog, Pistol-Training.com, the site formerly run by Todd Green (“TLG”). Simon took up maintenance of the blog after Todd’s death. Since Ernest Langdon is retiring from instruction, Simon is also the holder/issuer of the famed F.A.S.T. coin. It’s also maybe worth mentioning that Simon holds F.A.S.T. coin #01…kind of a big deal, right?

Simon Golob.

I was immediately impressed with Simon’s knowledge and passion, even before I knew any of his credentials. It became apparent really quickly that he had a deep level of handgun knowledge. Watching Simon shoot further backs up this notion, and he has trained with a veritable “who’s who” of firearms trainers. Additionally he has made his living carrying a gun since the late-1990s, so I was interested to hear what the man had to say about shooting a pistol.

Simon Golob administering a timed course of fire.

Aside from his impressive credentials, Simon is a great guy. He has a very easy, conversational style of instruction and seems right at home on the podium. This made Pistol-Training.com On Demand Performance a joy to attend. After a safety brief and range brief we went around the room and did introductions, then jumped into the meat and potatoes.

Pistol-Training.com On Demand Performance: Classroom

If you have watched my shooting videos or shot my Ten Second Standards, you know I value shooting cold. The training goal of the class was to be able to deliver on-demand performance, with a heavy emphasis on cold performance. Cold performance and on-demand performance sound the same, but they are not. They frequently go hand-in-hand, as well, but they are not identical. Shooting “cold” is shooting with no warm-up before hand. Shooting on-demand is when the situation dictates that you shoot, whether you are cold or not.

I don’t care how fast you do something, I care how well you do it. ~ SLG

If you find yourself responding to a lethal force threat, your performance will be on-demand, but how cold it is depends on you. For any law enforcement officer, operator, or armed Citizen, this seems like an incredibly important goal. He who delivers accurate shots on target first, usually wins.

Some shooters will spend more time tinkering with the gun that learning to shoot it. Don’t do that. Train. ~ SLG

Training to build a better cold/on-demand ability began in the classroom. The main emphasis of this program was how to train yourself once you leave the class. We spent very little time in the classroom, but I have a ton of notes. I wanted to write down nearly everything that was said. I’m not going to steal Simon’s thunder (not that I have the ability to), but the key to on-demand performance is training. You MUST train and the frequency, volume, relevance, and recency of training will impact your cold/on-demand abilities. Other things that impact cold ability? Your recovery (sleep and diet) and some some extent, your equipment.

Aside from the first hour of the first day, the entire class was spent on the range. This was intermingled with frequent breaks and instruction from Simon, but this was clearly a performance class.

Pistol-Training.com On Demand Performance: Day 1

Day One began with the “in test,” putting five rounds on a 3×5 card at 5 yards. After this we moved into a (nearly) cold run of Cold Heat. Five yards, two seconds, from concealment, as many rounds as possible on a B8. Sounds simple, right? In Simon’s estimation being able to get one shot on target is where an average LEO or CCW holder might be, two rounds is where a SWAT guy or instructor might place, and three rounds or more is an expert level of shooting. Keep in mind these are arbitrary standards, designed only to give you some sort of real-world context.

Friend, American Warrior Show co-host, and casual hero Rich Brown.

After one run of Cold Heat we got into the core of the class: the press out. The press out is an extension of the draw stroke, and involves prepping the trigger as the gun is extended out. The goal is to break the shot simultaneously with the gun reaching full extension. Numerous iterations of this were practiced, including shots on low-probability targets, and faster runs on larger scoring zones. This eventually merged into multiple shot drills and increasing distances.

Simon coaching Lane, an incredibly skilled shooter and one of the two winners of an Advanced F.A.S.T. pin.

Interspersed with this was some purely accuracy-focused group shooting. Simon made the point repeatedly that at the end of the range session, he wanted to know exactly where he could put a bullet. The last major movements of the day were refinements on strong-hand-only (SHO) and weak-hand-only (WHO)(which Simon calls “control hand”) shooting. We broke around 16:00, then Bill hosted us for burgers and hot-links in the Mead Hall kitchen.

Round Count: 375

Pistol-Training.com On Demand Performance: Day 2

Day 2 began with a run of Cold Heat. This was in keeping with Simon’s philosophy that you should take every opportunity to do a cold run at full speed. I was pretty proud of my performance: 2 shots, with a third falling just over the par at 2.08, all hits. Next we shifted back into the press-out. After a quick review, some complexity was added in. Rather than stand static, we began adding movement into the press-out, with the shooter taking a step while pressing out. The desired end-state is to arrive at full extension and break a shot just as you come to a stop. Though we didn’t get there, this can be the terminus for movement of any distance.

SLG demonstrating a the F.A.S.T.

Just before breaking for lunch we shot the F.A.S.T. Requiring two shots to a 3×5 card, a slide-lock reload, and four body shots, F.A.S.T. seems simple but is unquestionably difficult to clean. To earn a coin you must shoot it clean, in under 5 seconds, and shoot it not once but TWICE out of three runs, making it insanely difficult. It also must be shot at a sanctioned Pistol-Training.com event. Currently there are only 26 F.A.S.T. coin holders. Although our class did not earn a coin, two shooters earned Advanced pins for clean runs in under 7 seconds. I had two spectacularly ugly runs.

Justin Dyal – F.A.S.T. Coin #05 – stands by for the buzzer.

After that we broke for lunch. Most of the afternoon was spent on steel doing one-on-one shoot-offs. This definitely induced some stress, something that is impossible to get when shooting by yourself. In keeping with Simon’s philosophy, we wrapped up the day with some accuracy-oriented groups, then cleaned up the range.

Day 2 Round Count: 430 (805 total)

Other Students

One of the most impressive aspects of Pistol-Training.com On Demand Performance was the caliber of student Simon attracted. Consisting of several current state and federal LEOs, former military, and some hardcore enthusiasts, this was an incredibly skilled group. One of the students who you will recognize by name, Justin Dyal (holder of F.A.S.T. coin #05 and author of drills like the 5-Yard Roundup), estimated that the attendees represented a cumulative of 250+ classes attended. Of course this was a guess, but it showed in the safety, speed, and accuracy of the class. Simon was able to recognize the overall skill level of the class and adapt the curriculum to meet it which was appreciated by all.

It says an awful lot that Tom Givens (left) and Justin Dyal (right), two highly respected firearms instructors, attended the class. That leaves precious few excuses not to train with Simon.

I want to give Tom Givens some special attention here. Despite being in his 70s, Tom stood on the line in the oppressive heat and humidity with people roughly half his age. He shot every drill and test, jammed mags, hung targets, and did range cleanup. Most impressive, he never once interrupted to add his own take. There are few firearms instructors with half of Tom’s experience. Yet few of them, though far less experienced, could resist offering their two cents at a class like this. To be clear, no one this in the class offered unwelcome interjections, but it impressed me to death that a literal living legend was “just a student” alongside everyone else. If you haven’t trained with Tom… fix it.

Guns & Equipment

Most reading this, like me, are gun guys. You are probably curious what guns were used. I know I’m always interested to see the guns on the line at a class like this. First, there were no .40s, .45s, 10mms, or .357 Sigs – everyone was shooting 9mm. Although I may have missed a gun or two, I saw the following:

  • 5 Glocks, Glock 17s, 19s and 45s if memory serves, including Simon’s Glock with RMR and TLR-7A
  • 3 Sigs, P365 and P320, all used by the same shooter… It’s a good thing he brought extra guns (sorry, Lane)!
  • 2 Berettas, a 92-style full-size decock-only gun (the exact model of which I’m afraid I don’t know), and a Langdon PX4
  • 2 S&W M&Ps, including Tom Givens’ M&P Metal
  • 1 Walther PDP -F
  • 1 1911 (me)
Formidable firearms instructor Simon Golob demonstrates a technique with his RMR-sighted Glock.

What about irons vs. optics? This was a very optics-heavy class; so much so that I am considering giving pistol-mounted optics a deep-dive. Tom Givens and Rich Brown were using irons, putting me in very good company. To my knowledge, everyone else was using an optic. There seemed to be a roughly even split between Trijicon RMRs, Aimpoint ACRO P-2s, and various Holosuns, plus one Trijicon SRO. It’s possible I’ve missed something, but I think that’s about it.

I shot my Nighthawk Custom 9mm 1911 using Wilson Combat magazines and S&B 124-grain FMJ ammo. I shot from my JM Custom Kydex George holster and JM Custom Kydex magazine pouches. Thankfully my gun made it through the class without a malfunction – never a guarantee with a 1911, regardless of who made it.

Closing Thoughts on Pistol-Training.com On Demand Performance

After the range was clean, we retired to the classroom. Awards were given for F.A.S.T. and winners of a steel shoot-off. And with that it was over. So what did I take away? I learned a lot about my own technique in this class. Simon was able to help me refine some processes where progress has been slow for me. This alone was well worth the cost of admission. Surprisingly, this class also completely altered how I clear my cover garment – something I thought I had “down” years ago.

A bunch of really talented shooters and firearms trainers and me, just happy to be invited.

Would I recommend this class? The short answer is undoubtedly, “yes!” Additionally, I would certainly consider taking this class again – something I don’t say about many classes. The longer answer is that to some extent, that depends on where you are as a shooter. This is probably not the best class for entry level shooters. If, however, you are intermediate or advanced you can get a lot out of it. Simon indicates that he is not going to be running a ton of classes in the future. If that is the case, their low volume will make these high-value events. I expect seats to future iterations of On Demand Performance to be scarce, so keep your eye out and book fast: Pistol-Training.com On Demand Performance is absolutely worth your time and money.

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