This review is for fathers and mothers. Years ago, I took the 250 Defensive Pistol class. It was an unforgettable, incredible learning and personal experience. I have gone back to Gunsite many times since that first class for various classes and range days. This past week, however, was different. I took my youngest daughter with me. She had just turned 15 the week before. Our 250 class was lucky to have Jeff, Vince, John and Bob as our instructors. All from the great state of Tennessee. I have never been to Tennessee, but I sure want to visit after spending a week with these guys. We learned to understand “southern,” and I don’t know if it is a requirement in Tennessee to be funny, but these guys made the class instruction so fun and entertaining. I wish I had a video of Vince’s presentation on flashlights. I have sat through a lot of stand-up comedian routines that were far less entertaining. That is not to say that these guys aren’t all serious business keeping us safe on the firing line, they just made the sit-down oral lectures super engaging and entertaining. I looked forward to going through the class and standing by my daughter’s side for the weeklong experience. Our class had a few parent/child and husband/wife duos. The first thing our team of instructors did was to separate the duos into two different relays. I could see the wisdom and the rationale behind that decision. After all, I brought my daughter to be taught by the experts instead of trying to teach her myself. Prior to the first day of class my daughter had shot less than 100 rounds of pistol. I had taken her to the range only twice so that firing a pistol wasn’t a complete unknown, but I wanted her to be a blank slate and unmolded clay for the instructors who know what they are doing. Being in separate relays also allowed me to see her progress from a distance and allowed my daughter to rely solely on her instructors. As the week progressed, so did our separation. My daughter would go off to shoot outdoor simulators, clear houses and be tested in drills like the School Drill or the El Prez. I am not going to lie and say that there wasn’t a part of me that wanted to be with her, but here in lies the reason I wanted to write this review: She grew so much. She learned to be so self-reliant. She was not my daughter going through a class with her dad. She was a self-assured young woman finding her own independent strength and confidence in herself. It was an absolutely moving experience to watch as a father. The protective father in me quickly dissipated. I did not need to be by her side, for the way Jeff, John, Vince and Bob doted and watched over her, she had 4 fathers out there this past week. 4 expert fathers keeping her safe and teaching her a skill that will keep her safe for years to come. I must have got some sunscreen in my eyes as I watched her focus as she overcame a malfunction, multiple mag changes and stay in the fight to win a shoot off paring on the last day. She did better than I did. That same sunscreen bothered me again when she was awarded the classification on Marksman at graduation. I will always cherish this past week. This is one of those experiences that is priceless, and I will be forever grateful. Thank you Gunsite. Thank you, Jeff, Vince, Bob and John! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Karl Mueller, 250 Pistol Class, October 2, 2023, Gunsite, Paulden, AZ