Last week I participated in a SIG SAUER® Academy shooting development handgun skills course in Epping, New Hampshire. It was a beneficial and interesting experience and I want to share it with you to help you decide on your further training. My wife who is an NRA Certified Instructor also attended the course. That’s her on the right with one of the instructors, Hana. Our goals were to add to and further develop our handgun teaching strategies and drills to help our students and to refine our personal handgun techniques and accuracy. We purposely chose the 102, second-level practical handgun skills course, to match our goals.
Sig offers courses in several different areas for law enforcement, military, credentialed armed professionals, and for civilians. Courses vary from 4 hours to 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5-days in length and tuition starts at $215. each per person and depends upon the course. Most courses have pre-requisites and several are very physically (and mentally) demanding, in a professional and relaxed environment. Whether registering online or by mail for a course, applicants are required to provide at least 2 weeks prior to class one of the following: copy of current, valid law enforcement credential; copy of current, valid concealed carry permit; copy of current, valid firearms identification card; letter signed by Law Enforcement Officer from applicant’s jurisdiction stating that applicant has no criminal history and is of general good character; or notarized and approved Criminal Record Release Authorization Form.
Some of the course categories with some example courses include:
- Armorer Certification- Various pistols and rifles
- Instructor Development- in Pistol-Rifle-Shotgun and Concealed Carry
- Specialty Training/Shooting- Revolver Skill Drills, Close-Quarter Pistol Techniques
- Specialty Training/Non-Shooting- Personal Survival and Hand-to-Hand Combat
- Skill Enhancement- Skill Builders in Pistol-Rifle-Shotgun and Precision Scoped Rifle
- Shooting Development- Handgun Orientation, Practical Handgun Skills, Defensive Handgun, Advanced Tactical
- Scoped Rifle Training- Police Marksman-Sniper and Precision Scoped Rifle
- Competitive Courses- Mastering Low-Light Skills, Intro to Steel Challenge, and Speed Shooting
The 8-hour class we took started at 8:30 a.m. and finished about 5:15 p.m. with an hour for lunch. We spent about 4 hours in the classroom and about 4 hours shooting in the indoor range, with Instructors Dylan and Hana. Muzzle management and trigger finger discipline were emphasized and I felt very safe in class and at the range. We did come back the next day for some follow-up contacts and extra work on our own. There were objective-based goals and performance-based requirements at the range. It was a second-level practical skills class designed to follow the basic handgun orientation course, but it did include drawing-presenting-recovering the handgun from and to the holster, various reloading procedures in different scenarios, malfunctions clearances, and trigger control and accuracy techniques and drills. We spent a lot of time at the range shooting and did not have time for the cleaning and maintenance topic. We each fired about 250 rounds of required frangible, lead free, non-jacketed, non-toxic ammo. Keep in mind that not all frangible ammo meets these requirements. To save time and possible airport and state hassles, we bought about 500 rounds of the frangible ammo there from Sig for $25. a bag of 50. They let us borrow their holsters and mag pouches, as well as their guns without a charge. Given the strictness of MA, the area, and the airlines there, we decided to use Sig’s ammo and guns and not transport nor ship ours there. There were 14 students (10 males, 4 females, and some couples) in our class from several states, including MI, CA, NY, MA, NH, FL, etc. There backgrounds, experiences, and ages varied, from much experience to little and included an ophthalmologist, nurse, firefighter, military, and trainers. I am guessing that ages ranged from late twenties to sixties, with yours truly being the oldest there. Our civilian group had no law enforcement personnel in it. Several had their concealed carry permits. One student was attending our course for the second time and said she will take it again. Although we paid $215. each for the course tuition, I should mention a good benefit of the course was receiving a 20% discount on Sig firearms, accessories, and parts, but not on other branded products. There were other discounts mentioned below. The Pro Shop Manager Travis was very helpful and is a good contact there. We also enjoyed meeting and talking with Adam Painchaud, Academy Director and George Harris, Retired Director.
Here is the course description and information from the SIG SAUER® website.
Karen and I were fortunate to borrow from Sig the new for 2014 Sig P320 full size pistols in 9mm for the class. The Sig P320 carry size pistol in 9mm was not distributed nor available then for our class, but we really wanted to handle one. These guns are the first striker-fired guns for Sig and we were anxious to shoot them to see if they lived up to their excellent accuracy claim. Sig actually made the Sig P320 carry model just available for dealers the end of the week we were at the Academy. The 320s performed very well for us, were super accurate, and some have already requested I review and compare the full size and carry guns, so I will have a review article with details about them soon. Hint: their modular features and accuracy are very fine. Here is what they look like.
I certainly recommend the SIG SAUER® Practical Handgun Skills 102 course, especially for shooters with some experience and those wanting to hone their draw, loading-reloading under stress skills, clearing stoppages response, trigger-finger discipline, and accuracy techniques. Also, the drills and techniques were helpful to us as shooting instructors. The course focused on efficient and effective shooting and accuracy beyond knowing your pistol and revolver and handling and operating them safely. I hope this helps you with deciding on a proper training course for your next training. Handgun training is a continual and never-ending process because there is always something to learn or improve upon when shooting. It is so easy to become complacent and neglect our shooting development, so I hope you don’t fall into that trap. I know I want to take some type of handgun training course to further develop myself and to improve my shooting every year. I hope you do as well.
SIG SAUER® Contact Information:
SIG SAUER® Academy
233 Exeter Road
Epping, NH 03042
Pro Shop Phone: 603-610-3456
Photos by author.
This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney in your state or jurisdiction for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense, stand your ground law, and concealed carry. This is not legal advice and not legal opinions. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.
© 2014 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at ColBFF@gmail.com.