Gunsite vs. Tigerswan, part 2
This is part 2 of my comparison between Gunstite and TigerSwan. Part dealt with doctrine, and can be found here. Part 2 will deal with the class itself.
In some ways, comparing Gunsite 250 and the TigerSwan introductory pistol course is an apples-and-oranges comparison. 250 is a 5-day course, TigerSwan is a one day course. Having said that, there are some notable comparisons.
Gunsite begins with the school drills. The Gunsite basic drills are:
3 yards, 1.5 sec, 2 shots COM, from the holster
5 yards, 2 sec, 2 shots COM, form the holster
10 yards, 5 sec, 2 shots COM, from the holster
15 yards, 7.5 sec, 2 shots COM, kneeling, from upright and from the holster
25 yards, 10 sec, 2 shots COM, rollover prone, from upright and from the holster
Obviously, since the drills include kneeling and rollover prone, that kind of implies that the school teaches kneeling and rollover prone. Gunsite also teaches turns and some barricade work and use of cover. Gunsite begins with dry-fring, and then rapidly progresses to timed fire through the school drills. 25 yards is the furthest shot, and it is from the prone. Gunsite also teaches some multi-shot drills, including the Dosier drill and the El Presidente drill. The class also includes four different simulators (shoot-house exercises) and a night shoot.
The TigerSwan course is, necessarily, a little simpler. Without the simulators, I would put the Gunsite training at two and a half days versus one day at TigerSwan. Still, they manage to get in dry fire, basic drills, draw from the holster, and getting two well placed hits on target by the end of day one. They also teach basic malfunction drills. Not bad for a one day course.
The major difference from day one is that Gunsite emphasizes “good enough” accuracy (A zone hits from the distance above) combined with more complicated drills, footwork, etc, whereas TigerSwan emphasizes perfect accuracy from the beginning, and only then moves on to the more complicated skills. Students see rapid progress in their marksmanship. I was making 6 out of 10 10 ring hits at 25 yards. Anyone who has seen me shoot will tell you that is nothing short of amazing for me. Now that I have a solid base, I’m ready to start on speed.
The student/instructor ratio is higher at Gunsite. We had 2 instructors for 11 students at TigerSwan. I’d like to say that Gunsite was 4 for 12. Despite that, I didn’t feel like there was not enough feedback; Paul and Brian caught me making mistakes enough to say that these guys didn’t miss a beat.
Gunsite runs a hot range from the first moment you step on the line. TigerSwan runs a cold range in the morning, and transitions to a hot range in the afternoon. The range at TigerSwan is a little looser than they are at Gunsite, in the sense that because Gunsite adds the clock early on, drills are pretty much synchronous. Everyone does the same thing at the same time. At TigerSwan, it was not uncommon for a drill to start and have a shooter join the drill mid-way through. Both schools have high levels of range safety, and I was completely comfortable with the safety of both schools.
At the end of the day, both schools offer something different. Having been through Gunsite 250 and 350, I can say that they offer top notch instruction. TigerSwan managed to perfect my marksmanship to a level that I didn’t think was possible. I can’t wait to take the TigerSwan two day tactical class, if for no other reason than to broaden my experience. Gunsite offers more simulators, and does a great job teaching you to shoot under stress. From a financial perspective, Gunsite it worth the money, even including airfare, hotel, and car rental. TigerSwan, at $200 and change for the day, is simply ridiculous. It would be worthwhile at two or three times the price.
I’ve loved my experience at both schools, and I wouldn’t trade anything for the experience I’ve gained at both. As an armed citizen, I feel that it’s my duty to continuously improve my shooting skills, and so I will continue to maintain an annual training budget. Plus, gun school is just plain fun!