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World Class Pistol Skills Class With Robert Vogel


Little known fact:  One of the best pistol shooters (and arguably the best) grew up on a farm about 2 hours North from me in St. Mary’s Ohio.  I refer of course to Robert Vogel of Vogel Dynamics.  Vogel has won World and National Championships in the Practical Pistol Disciplines of IPSC, IDPA and USPSA.  He’s also been s full-time Law Enforcement officer and trainer for his department.  So when the fine folks at Defensive Training Solutions in Troy, OH announced they’d be hosting Vogel for his 1 day World Class Pistol Skills class, I immediately signed up (if only I was as fast on the trigger as I am on a mouse…).

Vogel begins his class with about an hour of lecture on safety and introduces the class to many of the principles he’ll be teaching on the range.  If you’ve seen any of Vogel’s YouTube videos, you know he’s a big proponent of a strong grip, as well as his own technique for getting the support hand more forward on the gun.  He’s also a big believer in “faster is better.”  Most would associate “going fast” with being purely a competition related pursuit, but Vogel believes that speed with accuracy has practical benefits for defensive shooters/LEOs as well. Often the one who wins a gun fight is the first one who lands a shot on target.

After the “theory” discussion, we headed out to the range.

Much of the range session was spent performing drills designed to 1)establish a benchmark of performance for the drill, and 2)give the student an opportunity to see how they perform against the benchmark.  For example, we did one drill where we fired three rounds into the target, performed a reload, then fired three more rounds.   The drill was timed to measure both the student’s draw from the holster as well as the shot to shot time to perform the reload.  The benchmark for performance here was one second for the draw, and one second for the reload.  On the clock, I performed a 1.30 sec. draw, and a 1.06 reload which I was reasonably pleased with.  I was also able to identify some improvements I can make which should get me closer to a 1.0 second draw which was great.  I noted that Vogel was very “hands on” in the class and worked closely with each student to critique and offer suggestions:

Given that Robert used to be a trainer for an Ohio police department, he was well versed in the Ohio police firearms qualification test – a 25 round course of fire which all Ohio police officers must pass.  He did the test with us – if for no other reason to punctuate just how not very challenging the test is for anyone who regularly practices and competes in the practical shooting sports:

One of the particularly enjoyable drills we did involved shooting on a swinging target or “swinger.”

This was particularly useful practice for me as the weekend following this class I was shooting in a match which had stages where swinger targets were employed.

World Class Pistol Skills Class was both enjoyable and useful for me, and I came away with several nuggets which should improve my pistol performance.  Just seeing someone at Robert Vogel’s level performing is quite valuable…and entertaining as well.  I’d highly recommend anyone (competitive and non-competitive shooters alike).  As Vogel says, whether it’s in a match or on the street, faster is better.

Many thanks to Defensive Training Solutions for hosting this course.

About John B. Holbrook, II

John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of, as well as and

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