Advancing Your Shooting Skills

By Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch

Jonathan Wyatt heads the training department for Saddle River Range and is assisted by Glenn Wright.  Between the two of them they identify opportunities to advance the skills and knowledge of Saddle River Range members and customers.  I recently had the pleasure of talking with them about what they consider when looking for classes and programs for the Saddle River Range community.

Jonathan, what would you want our readers to know about the training programs at SRR?

We are constantly evaluating instruction and training processes in order to advance both first time gun owners and experienced shooters.  Teaching, coaching and educating our customers in a safe environment is our primary objective.

Tell us about what you hear most from SRR members and customers about training.

We often hear that the experience is more inclusive than expected.  Participants in our classes are very appreciative of the knowledge transfer from our instructors and trainers.  Many of our class attendees are repeat customers.  Especially women.  They come back to gain more understanding of the foundation and expand their level of experience.  Women will come in and focus on one facet of the firearm experience; then come back for another, and another. 

Glenn, tell us about the classes offered at SRR.

We offer classes on the use of the physical tool; such as “First Shot” for beginners, “Essential Hand Gun” and “Handgun Fundamentals” for those with a bit more experience. 

And of course we offer the “License to Carry” and “Defensive Shooting Fundamentals” to provide our customers with an idea of how to use this tool for protection if needed.

In these more advanced classes, we focus on training the brain.  Thinking about how to respond to a threat and the stress related to that threat.  We walk through the process in considering the options and alternatives of deescalating a threat; and we work on adapting a mindset for the use of that physical tool as a last resort.

We also provide a lot of private instruction to customize the training to the individual.

In addition to our firearms instruction, we offer several classes in Archery.  There is a basic group archery class every week. We provide instruction for kids, as small as 5 years old; however we also offer training for all ages and abilities.

What is the most interesting program you have been able to offer customers.

While we will offer some one off programs with high profile instructors in specific application on occasion; the most interesting program we have to offer is our advanced shooting simulator.  We can program the simulator with various scenarios to provide a near realistic experience in responding to a lethal force encounter; and then review the exercise with a post training retrospective. 

As we alluded to earlier, modifying the brain for a mindset that can recognize a threat and respond to a threat is critical in defensive firearms training.  With the exception of a real life encounter; there is nothing that provides that type of training better than our simulator.

If our members and customers have not experienced the simulator; they really should arrange for an introduction and private instruction.

What is one surprise you encountered in conducting a training class?

Surprisingly, we see a broad based general lack of knowledge and a lack of understanding the fundamental of the firearm as a physical tool. 

While most people know how to shoot a gun; we regularly see shooters with a gap in their understanding of the mechanics, the physical technique and the finesse of handling a firearm.

We recommend, whether an experienced shooter or a first time gun owner; schedule a private lesson to gain familiarity and confidence in your firearm.  Learn about YOUR firearm, and become competent with the use of that firearm whether you use it for punching holes in paper or protection; familiarize yourself with the tool.

Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to add?

We are blessed in this country and this state with the right, and opportunity to own a firearm.  Many other nations, and some states have restrictions and prohibitions on the ownership of a firearm.  Don’t take that right for granted.

We have had customers visit from other nations and it is rewarding to see their excitement and joy from an hour of shooting on the range.  Something they can’t do back home!

Thank you both for sharing your time and thoughts with our members, customers and readers. 

On a final note: shooting skills; whether for hunting or protection need practice.  Reserve a spot at an upcoming training class at Saddle River Range to keep those skills in peak condition.  And remember to ask about the simulator during your next visit.


Stay Aware, Stay Safe,

© Copyright 2021 Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch

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