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An Overview of the Handgun I Training Course at Sim-Trainer


This past Saturday, I took Sim-Trainer’s Handgun I:  Mastering Marksmanship Fundamentals course, so I thought I’d write an article with my thoughts about the experience.

Handgun I is the third official training course I’ve taken from Sim-Trainer (I’ve also done some private instruction with Sim-Trainer  instructor Mark Avery).  Prior to Handgun I, I and my family took their First Shots course, and I took their CCW course which I wrote about in a previous article.

We began Handgun I in the classroom, as both Jeff Pedro (owner of Sim-Trainer and an NRA Certified Instructor) and Mark Avery (also an NRA Certified Instructor) and they spend about an hour or so discussing the basic fundamentals of good marksmanship – stance, sight alignment, trigger control etc.

Mark Avery (front) and Jeff Pedro (rear) of Sim-Trainer

As with any Sim-Trainer course, safety is a primary concern, so considerable time was spent going over safe firearm handling while on the range.  After the classroom time, we broke up into pairs and headed into the range.

The Handgun I class was well attended with students so the class was divided  into two groups – the first group would complete an exercise, then you’d switch with your partner and they would complete the same exercise.     At the beginning of the exercise, each shooter would get a target, place it on the target conveyor, and then follow the commands given by Jeff Pedro.  Mark Avery would observe the students as they worked through the firing excises and provide correction and guidance as needed.  The targets were placed at distances ranging from 15-25 feet, and normally no more than two rounds were placed in the magazine.  So the shooters not only got firing practice, but we also got plenty of practice loading our magazines, placing the magazines in our guns, retracting and releasing the slide to charge the weapon, and assuming a “low ready” position.  Here’s a photo from my target on the first exercise, from a distance of 20 feet:

I was grouping better than I normally do that night, so I was quite pleased with the class already.  🙂

Since many firearms owners are also CCW permit holders, gaining proficiency with drawing your firearm from a holster is of interest to many.  So we were given instruction on proper holster drawing techniques, and spent about an hour on firing drills where we repeatedly drew from our holster, fired, then returned the firearm to our holsters.  Here’s a photo of my target after my first round of holster firing exercises:

I’ve gotten a fair amount of practice in the Tuesday Tactical Training (T3) League at Sim-Trainer using a holster, and I think it showed.

The shooting exercises we performed largely mirrored those from the CCW class I took from Sim-Trainer, which makes perfect sense.  Shooting really isn’t “rocket science” but rather is comprised of some basic fundamentals which need to be performed correctly, and practiced with repetition to master.  The major difference I saw between the shooting we did in CCW and the shooting we did in Handgun I was simple the amount of shooting.  I think we went through about 2 boxes (100 rounds) of ammo in CCW class, and closer the three boxes (150 rounds) in Handgun I.

I think one of the key purposes behind Handgun I is to establish a baseline competency for students so that they can proceed to the next series of courses Sim-Trainer offers in the Handgun I-V series of courses.  Having crossed that threshold, I’m quite looking forward to exercises I’ll be exposed to in the training I’ll receive in Handgun II-V.  Handgun I was quite enjoyable, and you always meet really great people in these classes.  I feel very fortunate that we have a facility like Sim-Trainer with the caliber (no pun intended) of training which is offered here in the Dayton Ohio area – there’s only a handful organizations in the country that can provide this level of training.  The training is so valuable, and so enjoyable that students often repeat the courses – my Handgun I class had several students who had taken the course before.

Handgun II is in a couple of weeks – I can’t wait!  I’ll try and do a write-up of each of the courses in the series after I take them.

About John B. Holbrook, II

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

*All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.

  1. frank heath says:

    I can already see your name on the next T3″ Plaque” .
    Great write up, the best training anywhere!


  2. Thanks Frank!

  3. Actually, it IS rocket science…thrust, physics, trajectory, mass, momentum, velocity, ballistics – all that rockety stuff. Of course, it’s not orbital mechanics or celestial navigation, and at the distances in the range, we can usually ignore the gravity of the situation!

  4. Mark – spoken like a true Air Force geek! 🙂


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