Handgun Employment Theory One

I’ve been looking forward to this class for quite some time now and that moment has arrived. It’s like waiting for that U2 concert that is almost a year away, only wishing for that day to get here sooner. As the date was getting close, I remember spending the entire week prepping for Costa Ludus Handgun Employment Theory One.

Looking back, I remember when I bought my first handgun; I also bought the Magpul DVD based on a friend’s recommendation. So in the anticipation of class, I started to re-watch the Magpul DVD. But in reality, I couldn’t wait to at least start working with the beard man at some level to improve my skills.

But I will admit that during the course of a year, I was able to get training that did cover a lot of stuff I saw on the DVD. While those instructors were great to work with, I knew that at some point in my shooting career; I still need to go meet the beard man.

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The beard man is none other than Chris Costa.

The training facility was once again at Altair. And I will have to say; I really enjoy going there for training. Everyone at that place are just too awesome. They’re not the typical gun club or some cheese ball resort; but rather the club is owned and operated by veterans. These folks are really the hidden gem within the Naples area for training.

TIP: Be sure you check the local weather at the training center periodically during the week. And pack your clothes accordingly.

When I finally made it to the center, we all sat in the classroom and introduced ourselves. Costa was wrapping himself up with Rock Tape, while I was grinning to myself knowing that I too am sporting my own kinesiology tape. At first glance, his slim athletic demeanor gave me this sense of awesomeness that was about to be dropped on us. Although I was really quite surprise that he wasn’t taller. Instead he and I are pretty much the same height, except I’m better looking.

As people were introducing themselves, I noted that my class was made up with a lot of diverse background and experience. We had one person getting into competitive shooting, a retired LEO, an active Sheriff and a few veterans. Others were shooting for quite awhile, others were repeat students, some were new to the world of shooting, and a young Marine recruit who will be leaving us in May.

We even had students flown in from Alaska and Minneapolis. Now, does that say something about the instructor when the students are willing to fly in from really afar for some personal training?

The first hour of the morning, we dedicated the classroom setting to the safety briefings before we headed out. But once we were on the range, we still went over the safety briefing. And he had no problem asking us to recite it whenever we’re doing a brief. He emphasized that if you respect the rules, others around you will do that same; especially if you are in your own home.

Costa asked us what we wanted to work on during the class. Everyone wanted accuracy and speed. I was thinking and muttering to myself something about flinching. I will say that my flinching comes and goes like a bad case herpes. Some days, I can knock it down good, other times; I’m shooting like a rookie discovering masturbation for the first time. Either way, the first half of the morning proved to be a challenge as I was really battling fatigue as well as my flinching.

I’m sure that having just 2 hours of sleep the night before might have made it difficult. But just when I was thinking that my gun might be giving me a problem, Costa had no problem proving me wrong with my own gun.

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But somehow, I managed to earn the nickname “Tokyo Drift” for my flinching.

It wasn’t until after lunch, that I was starting to get my second wind and surprised some of the other students next to me. They were quite shocked that I was starting to knock it out.

During the 3 days on the range, we actually did follow the course outline that was laid out on the Costa Ludus website.

• Life Safety Brief
• Proper gear selection and placement
• 7 fundamentals (Accuracy Drills, Axis and Mechanics of Recoil)
• 3 Core Fundamentals
• Acceptable Accuracy Drills
• Balance of Speed and Accuracy
• Speed reloads / Tactical reloads
• Instinctive Shooting and Mindset Drills
• Malfunctions
• Weapon Hand and Reaction Hand shooting
• Movement Drills
• Improvised shooting positions

TIP: The recommend ammo count for class is 1800. Bring 2000 or more but be sure you break down your ammo into ammo cans prior to class. It’ll help save you time.

The class wasn’t just about just loading up, shooting the drills, and then kicking it back and talking guns. From what I got out of it are the little life lessons that somehow Chris would sprinkle in on each drill. I will say that Chris really emphasized a lot of his teachings based on his own personal experience.

If you listened closely, you can hear a lot of correlation being referenced between using a carbine and a pistol or even at times, his love for skydiving. And if you are really dialed in to his words, you can pick up some of the TTPs he mentioned. Looking back, Chris’s personal stories are very memorable. He also made it a point to illustrate each drill with a story or scenario as to why. However I find it really interesting that each scenario is about him and his kids, but never about his wife. (His explanation as to why was too funny!)

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However, a lot of the stories that Costa shared are stories that drove home how important mindset is when training and especially self-defense. With that being said, Chris really had no problem in calling you out on your mistakes and then challenging you to correct yourself and while pushing your own skills further.

But I will admit that the motivation behind every drill is more than just doing it right. Rather doing it consistently correct!

Everything about each class began and ended with mindset. That’s what Chris Costa stressed as the most important attribute to have as a shooter and it resonated with me more each time I stepped off the range and decompressed after each full day. And at the end of the entire weekend, the Magpul DVD does not compare to the actual hands on training that Chris Costa offers.

As great of a shooter as he is, among his celebrity status, I was quite surprised how humble Chris is. More importantly how hilarious he can be at times. Of course when it came to safety and class time, he’s business. Yet Chris somehow makes the three day session entertaining, challenging, and interesting. And despite my skills sucking, Chris also took the time out to notice my improvements, until I suck again.

The moment that I received my certificate from Chris and the covenant coin, I was excited that I completed his course but yet starting to feel a little bummed out that it’s over. In way, it was like saying goodbye to an old friend you won’t see for a while. And additionally, while I may or may not see my fellow classmates again, I really did enjoy spending my weekend training with each of them.

But for now, it will be up to me to do my due diligence and practice what was taught to me over the weekend. After all, the next step from here will be HET2.