My better half signed up for a concealed carry class on a GroupOn deal back in December with Firearms Training Associates (FTA) of Garner, NC, and took the classroom portions of it during two evenings earlier this week. She asked me to come out to the range qualification portion of it Saturday because she thought I’d like FTA’s instructor cadre, especially Ken Dodd, who runs the show.
She was right.
There were 60-something students in the course, so to make things manageable on the range they brought them down in time-staggered groups of 15.
Dave McAleer (a retired ATF agent) and Larry Wegman did a pre-range safety briefing with the group after a weapons check, and went over basic firing positions (Isosceles and Weaver), safe drawing from the holster, and the basic line commands. I thought they did a very good job of keeping the briefing informative and lively without distractions or unnecessary extraneous commentary.
When it was time for the group to move to the actual range area with firing line, Edmond Chin did a second weapons check, and directed students who needed to rent holsters or firearms (or buy ammo) to the appropriate range staff, went over some basic line commands, and then Dodd, the lead instructor stepped in. Ken’s larger than life (anyway you want to cut that) and has a very impressive background as a LEO and civilian instructor after a career that saw him retire as a Captain in the Wake Co Sheriff’s Department.
He was humorous, but kept the class to fast-paced schedule, and ran a safe line.
So how did the Mrs. do? Pretty darn well.
She put 8+ in the orange center. It was hard to tell precisely how many because she was overlapping shots. Compared to the rest of the class she shot as well or better than most, and there was only one couple (a husband and wife of 30 years) and one other guy that were markedly better shots, keeping everything inside the ten-ring.
Remembering that she was still on the mend from her recent surgical procedure and she tired quickly, I was very proud of her (then again, I always am. I married up). The two appendix shots just outside the 7-ring and two more inside the the 7 at 6 o’clock at 7 yards were a direct result of fatigue. If it wasn’t for those four shots in the last string of fire at the end of the course of fire, she would have kept all her shots in the 8-ring, with the overwhelming majority in the 9-ring.
Unsurprisingly, the most popular firearms on the line were about a half-dozen Glocks, followed by pair of Bersa .380s, a pair of Springfield Armory and several Ruger LCRs.
Interestingly enough, one of the LCRs was a newer one with a low round count, and it locked up tight and may require some gunsmithing. I’ve heard anecdotal stories of polymer-frame revolvers having some issues, but this was the first one I’d seen.
In short, I’d recommend FTA if you know anyone in the Wake County, NC area looking for a concealed carry course. They cut no corners, handle themselves with great professionalism, and manage to have a great deal of fun, to boot.
I’d note that they have a tombstone beside the range that gave me a laughing fit, but if you want to know what’s on it, you’ll have to register for a course of your own.