by Gila Hayes
On Tennessee’s northern border where the state line meets Virginia and Kentucky, Valor Ridge is inspiring patriotism and self sufficiency through the leadership of instructor Reid Henrichs. His name comes up quite frequently in answer to our question, “How did you learn about the Network?”
Henrichs was a recreational shooter before he joined the US Marine Corps at the age of 17. He remembers learning the fundamentals of shooting during rifle training and realizing that he was being exposed to “just the tip of the ice burg.”
“It was a little overwhelming,” he grins. As a young person, he followed the writings and videos from master instructors. Years later, he was fortunate to be a student in the last class Chuck Taylor taught and he talked with Taylor at length while finalizing work on his book Pistolcraft.
When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Henrichs was chosen to be part of the law enforcement task force sent from the state of Illinois. He vividly recalls arriving in New Orleans, and being sent to the 9th Ward (where locals told him they would refuse to go) to patrol at night. There was minimal backup and the conditions were surreal, he relates. The demands there made much of his foregoing military and police training seem “sterile” and underscored his growing realization that fighting was the skill required, not marksmanship, although marksmanship had been the focus of most of the previous training he had received from the military and police.
Henrichs’s classes emphasize fundamental skills. “There is beauty in the basics,” he teaches, adding that “flubbing your draw” during a class or match is recoverable; if facing a deadly assailant, the skill of effectively drawing and presenting your pistol has to be available on demand. During class, he doesn’t push students to perform faster than they are able, noting that a hurried trainee will habituate incorrect technique. “We start with dry fire, where we polish the technique,” he explains. Only when technique is perfected does training move to live fire. “You have to earn your live rounds,” he comments.
Shooting the gun is the “least important part” of defensive pistol work, Reid stresses. Once Henrichs’s students have mastered the fundamentals, he presents movement drills, muzzle positions, target discrimination and force-on-force exercises. “You have to be able to think first, then shoot second,” he emphasizes. Whether teaching first time gun owners or police firearms instructors or SWAT in-service, Reid works to build and reinforce solid basic shooting skills in his students. Marksmanship, speed and distances in gunfights have pretty much remained unchanged for hundreds of years, he explains.
Get to know Reid Henrichs and explore training opportunities with him at Valor Ridge where, according to his website https://valor-ridge.myshopify.com/pages/valor-ridge-training-calendar classes fill up quickly.
Carry License Training Gets ‘Em Hooked
In Michigan, Dean Craig brings over three decades of experience as a concealed carry licensee himself to teaching the curriculum for the MI CPL certificate required of carry license applicants. His firearms school name is Got CPL? Defensive Firearm Training and he gets great reviews!
Dean’s carry classes are a great lead in to his more advanced classes, which are designed specifically to teach private citizens to defend themselves if attacked. He teaches on his own private range, so his classes are not hampered by the usual shooting range restrictions against drawing, moving, multiple target engagement and other constraints not present in armed self defense. Dean describes himself as an avid student, commenting that the best instructors are dedicated to continuing their own education. Learn more at https://www.gotcpl.com/about/ .
When we first met John Rigney of Federalsburg, MD’s All Things Firearms, LLC (http://allthingsfirearmsllc.com/), he was just starting to teach and was building up his student base as an instructor. Since then, he’s built a great reputation as a patient and supportive instructor. It has been fun watching his classes grow and as his business increased, so have the numbers of new members he introduces to the Network. He specializes in the concealed carry licensing course for MD, and offers the multi-state reciprocal Utah permit class, as well.
Northeast of San Antonio, TX, Eric Lamberson offers the TX CPL range instruction and qualification, but the training opportunities at his Protective Pistolcraft Academy go much deeper, with a focus on proven, real world techniques including low light pistol techniques, classes on self-defense law, shotgun, and he hosts Massad Ayoob as a guest instructor.
Eric started earning shooting medals 40 years ago as captain of the Army’s 97th ARCOM pistol team, going on to compete in IPSC, Second Chance, IDPA, PPC and more. He has studied at American Pistol Institute and later Gunsite, and with John Farnam, Massad Ayoob, Tom Givens, KR Training, Dave Spaulding, Gabe Suarez and many more. In addition to his classes, Eric maintains a very informative blog at https://protectivepistolcraft.com/blog where he writes about training, use of force incidents ripped from the news headlines, techniques and lots of more useful information.