When I heard that Rob Leatham and Chris Cerino were going to be teaching a two-day class based around the Hellcat family of pistols, I jumped at the opportunity to be involved. What’s more, the class was being taught at the Gun Talk Media’s HQ, Range Ready Studios just outside New Orleans, Louisiana.
I carry a Hellcat Pro pistol every single day, and I regularly train drawing from concealment as well as placing accurate shots with an elevated heart rate. But I will be the first to admit, my pistol skills are by far my weakest discipline in the shooting sports. It’s a very perishable skill and there is a lot of nuances to being a good shooter.
Getting to learn from world champion shooter Rob Leatham is a rare opportunity, and one I wouldn’t miss out on. Adding to the roster of amazing talent was Range Ready’s own Chris Cerino, a respected trainer and two-time Top Shot runner up. Chris is a very accomplished shooter and comes from a law enforcement background with over 30 years of instruction.
In the Mix
The class had a mix of first-time shooters and veteran shooters alike. Generally, in a class with this kind of make-up, you move at the rate of the most inexperienced shooters. This was actually very interesting to watch, though. It was a treat to watch Chris and Rob quickly assess the shooters’ abilities, what they were doing right and wrong, and setting them on the correct course for successful shots. Also, let’s face it, we could all use some refresher basics to shake the dust off and run a self-diagnostic check.
We were provided with a mixture of Hellcats, including the original as well as RDP and Pro models. Since I carry the Pro every day, I decided to patch up my skills with the original micro compact Hellcat, as well as try out the RDP (read our Hellcat RDP review here). We spent the first half of the day having some great conversations in the classroom discussing theories, best practices and understanding some basics about firearms and the mentality of carrying every day.
Getting a firehose of information from Chris and Rob with their vast experience was a unique experience. I really enjoyed their back-and-forth dialog as well when one of them had a differing or slightly unique perspective on a topic. They encouraged debate and appreciated each other’s viewpoints, which added to the learning experience.
On the Range
After our classroom time, we got to tour the Range Ready Facility. We got a sneak peek at the studio where they shoot a lot of the Gun Talk Media’s shows as well as the offices and the soon-to-be indoor shoothouse. I am very excited to see how the Range Ready facility grows over time as there is so much to offer with the team and property.
After the tour, it was time to get our hands on some pistols and hit the range. We began with some warm-up drills on paper, which allowed Chris and Rob to see which students needed what help and how much. As the day went on, they were guiding the class into some timed drills with specific round counts.
This drill showed them how many students were rushing shots and missing the target. Chris and Rob then dug into why it is so important to be accountable for every single round you fire and where that bullet strikes. Throughout the rest of the class, they laser focused in on making sure that every single student was able to begin making accurate hits 90% of the time.
It was quite an experience to watch Rob take a student from anticipating the shot to hitting bullseyes. I would watch them run through each technique they have learned to teach until they landed on the right one for that specific student. They were very intense and unrelenting, but ultimately encouraging and celebratory once the information was digested and success was created by the student.
Something that blew me away was the beginning of day two when Chris went student by student around the room, remembering their name and what he witnessed and wanted them to improve upon. He did this with no notes and was spot on with his information. The guy cares so deeply about the success of his students that he stays up late digesting information from the day to bring back and help each and every student. That’s pretty amazing.
Another aspect I really enjoyed from the class was that Chris and Rob spent a good amount of time demoing the drills and the concepts. They didn’t just walk the line expecting results, they put themselves on the line to show exactly how it was done and that it is possible.
If you haven’t already checked out the vast array of shows that Gun Talk media produced, do yourself a favor and check out their content. Range Ready is also ramping up their public classes so if you are ever in the New Orleans area check out their schedule and sign up for a class. You will be sure to gain a new perspective and walk away being a more well-rounded and prepared firearms owner.
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