“How do I prepare for my Gunsite 250 class?” We hear this all the time, and we hope the contents of this page will help you.
When you come to school we’d like you to “empty your cup”. By that we mean, “No matter what you already know about firearms or how long you have been shooting, please be prepared to accept a completely new set of ideas.”
The Gunsite Doctrine informs everything we teach and every drill is designed to impart that knowledge. So, we strongly encourage you to open your mind to a new system of learning. Later on, you may come to your own conclusions, but at least TRY the techniques we suggest.
So, come to school prepared to accept the Doctrine. When asked to do your homework in dry practice each evening, do the work. We guarantee your skills will improve dramatically if you do these things.
If you’re an experienced shooter, DON’T PRACTICE SHOOTING before coming to school. You may only succeed in further imprinting bad habits. At the end of their 250 class, some people with no prior experience in shooting prevail over those who consider themselves long-term shooters. How do you think they did that?
We won’t ask you to do anything you don’t feel you can do. This is not boot-camp. You will be asked to assume one of several kneeling positions, and if you can’t do any of them, tell your Instructors.
We have had some very successful students who attended class in a wheelchair. If you have special challenges, let us know and we’ll do all we can to help you succeed.
You will need a sturdy belt, at least 1 ¼” wide. We strongly recommend the Wilderness Instructor’s belt. If you don’t have such a belt, they can be bought at school.
You will need sturdy boots or shoes and the proper socks that wick moisture away from your feet. Open toed shoes are not allowed.
Be advised that you may not carry concealed during your 250 class. You may do so in all subsequent classes, but in 250 we remove the complication of working around your clothing.
Safety equipment: Eye and ear protection is required on the firing line and whenever otherwise directed by your Instructors.
Your prescription glasses are acceptable, with polycarbonate lenses preferred. Wrap-around eye protection is highly desirable. If you’re one of the lucky people who need no corrective lenses, then a decent pair of sunglases such as Oakley’s are just fine.
You will need some sort of sunglasses, because our sunshine is bright at all times of the year. If your prescription eyeglasses also adjust to ambient light, that’s excellent.
You will also need clear shooting glasses for your night shoot and the indoor simulators.
For your 250, active hearing protection would be best.
What gear to bring: In addition to your sturdy belt you will need a proper holster for your firearm, a pouch or pouches for at least two spare magazines and perhaps a dump pouch for expended magazines.
If you are a serving Law Enforcement officer, your duty gear is perfectly acceptable. At your option you may shoot from civilian carry.
Here are some guidelines for all other students:
A proper holster means one that is expressly designed for your firearm, that holds it securely in place with NO CHANCE of it falling out. This generally disqualifies most bargain holsters.
You may bring either a single double-mag pouch or a number of single pouches which fit on your belt on the support side. The choice is up to you, but the magazine must be inserted into the pouch with the cartridges down and the projectile portions of the cartridges towards the front. There must be enough magazine free of the pouch that you can grip it with the thumb and second finger of your support side hand. Magazine flaps are discouraged (unless this is part of your duty gear).
You will need a sturdy flashlight, and a belt pouch for it. The Surefire 6P was once the standard at school, but there are a host of others now available. A momentary-on switch is strongly recommended. A strobe function is not. A lanyard allows you to secure the flashlight in your hand so that you can work on manipulations without having to “holster” the flashlight. White light is acceptable. A red or blue filter is optional. The Gunsite Pro Shop offers a number of options if you wish to purchase a light at school.
You should bring the most powerful handgun that you can control. Typical calibers are .45ACP, 9mm Luger and .40 Smith & Wesson.
9mm Kurz (also known as .380) is not an acceptable caliber, nor is .22LR.
Semi-automatic pistols are preferred for many reasons, but you may bring a revolver in .38 Special (or larger caliber) if that is what you carry.
Which firearm fits your hand? This is the single most important question to answer. Every one of us has a different physique and hand topology. What works for a man may NOT work at all for a woman.
All too often, a lady will show up with a pistol that her husband picked out for her and which is totally unsuitable. She may not be able to reach all the controls. It may present too much recoil for her tastes. These are barriers to learning.
This is a good time to point out that Gunsite DOES rent firearms by the day. If what you brought just isn’t working for you, we can supply something that will work, which we have trained with ourselves and that you will be able to continue your class with.
If you have questions on any of the above topics, especially your selection of the proper firearm, by all means call us with questions. We’d much rather save you money and time wasted by helping you get it right the first time.
Class starts at 7:30 on Monday for registration. Tuesday – Friday class starts at 8:00. Classes are usually over around 5:00 each day, sometimes earlier if all the information has been covered. On Thursday you will get out at 4:00 (ish), go to dinner and come back around 5:30-6:00 for the night shoot which lasts about 90 minutes.
On Day One of your class you may arrive armed. Arizona is an open-carry state. If you prefer, you may arrive unarmed and we will help you gear up later in the day. DO NOT HANDLE FIREARMS IN THE PARKING LOT. If your handgun is in a shooting bag, leave it there. We’ll make sure that everyone is able to prepare safely before the first live-fire session.
Lastly, please be punctual in all things. Plan an extra fifteen minutes into your trip to school every day. When the Instructor says “We’ll meet here at 08:00 tomorrow” he or she means that people will be on the line at 08:00 ready to shoot. If everyone is punctual, everyone learns at the same pace, and no one is left behind.
Let us offer you a provisional welcome to the Gunsite Family. We look forward to helping you learn a whole new skill-set in a supportive, but challenging environment. We’ll make every effort to safely learn how to protect yourself, your loved ones or those whom you are sworn to protect.