I recently had the chance to be an instructor for the NSSF Fantasy 3Gun Camp. I write this sitting on the airplane heading home, and I am already trying to figure out how I can attend the next camp. I had a huge amount of fun, learned so much and enjoyed myself to a degree that I haven’t reached in a really long time. I want to go back to the next camp, and I am pretty sure after you read this you are going to want to sign up for the next camp too.
The Accomodations, Atmosphere and Level Of Care
The NSSF Fantasy camp gave attendees the unique opportunity to come to sunny Las Vegas, NV, for three nights and two days of learning how to shoot. 30 participants were brought together with 7 different instructors and about 10 different NSSF staff and given the opportunity to learn, ask questions and get one on one coaching to either improve or introduce them to the sport of 3Gun. The participants ranged in level from beginner, never shot a rifle, to already a competitive shooter looking to polish and knock out the last few small techniques.
We stayed at a beautiful hotel that was close to the Clark County Shooting Facility. The Clark County Range is a 5 start NSSF range, and they live up to each and every star. The range is beautiful, manicured, clean and has a real classroom, bathrooms and plenty of places to sit in the shade! The ranges were perfect and all of the staff was helpful and friendly. THE Range Master did a fantastic job of making sure that we had every paper, steel, clay target we needed and much, much more.
The Food. I have to mentions the food specifically because it was truly in a class all of its own. From breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks and even snacks not a single thing was forgotten. We had tacos, BBQ and a chocolate cake that made me want to marry it! The coolers were always full of cold drinks, every meal was hot and tasty and I don’t think anyone could even think of being hungry.
I have had the opportunity to be an event manager in events that range from Thanksgiving dinner to world class business parties and I can say without a doubt that the staff at the NSSF are pros! They remembered everything: the big stuff like food (even vegetarian and gluten free options) to the small stuff; magazine loaders, sunscreen, gun oil and snacks in nice little Tupperware boxes on EVERY SINGLE STAGE. You really did feel like you were at a premier event.
While the accommodations and care were limitless the real reason that everyone was there was the shooting! The NSSF didn’t skimp there either. There were 6 different shooting stations and over 30,000 rounds in ammunition provided. In addition, a host of vendors and sponsors got involved so there were even extra guns. New to the sport of 3Gun and don’t have a rifle or shotgun? Not a problem, there were loaner guns set up with all the bells and whistles (including optics) ready for you to use. Don’t have a pistol or holster; not to worry NSSF will make sure you are outfitted and ready to participate in all the activities.
The 7 different instructors for this camp were Diana and Ryan Muller, Tommy Thacker, BJ Norris, Robert Vogel, and myself and Chris Chang who ran around and assisted with almost all the stages. The one disappointment I had when it came to the shooting was; I wasn’t able to take the classes all the other instructors taught! With 6 different instructors you were given the chance to hear 6 different points of views, suggestions and explanations that might help each student find the perfect moment of understanding and inspiration. Not only did the instructors talk about how to line up the sights and pull the trigger, the instructors gave insight into what they think about, what their body does and how they keep all of those factors in alignment to be a great shooter.
It was two full days on the range. First day the students were broken into groups of 5 to spend time with each instructor individually focusing on a single subject. Students visited all 6 instructors where they learned about pistol, rifle and shotgun shooting as well as techniques like picking up and setting down long guns, transitioning and basics of grip, stance and sight alignment for all three guns.
Day two, the students were broken up into teams and stayed with a single instructor and traveled to 6 different stages. The morning of the second day was all about practicing the stages applying the skills that they had learned day one, while being coached by their instructor and fellow students. The afternoon, the groups moved through the stages again but this time for score. All the marbles on the table, time for the rubber to meet the road and see what the last day and a half has helped them learn.
Here is what I LOVED about the way the students were grouped together. Day one people were grouped by their ability, which was determined from an interview before the camp even began. Interview questions were based on pistol and included factors such as “have you ever drawn from a holster”, “have you ever shot in a competition” as well as many others. I think it was perfect to group people based on skill the first day. It gave every one a chance to be relaxed and focus on learning, and helped the instructors define the level of the class to meet the needs of the students.
Day two, they switched it up. Day two they mixed the levels so each Team had beginners, good shooters and great shooters. Here was another NSSF stroke of gunius! By mixing the students on the second day of class everyone had gotten comfortable with each other and it gave students the chance to take the next step in learning; seeing and applying. Over the years I have seen that a lot of learning happens not when the instructor is focused on the student, but when the student can apply what the instructor has said by watching someone else! First you hear it, then you feel (it by doing it under the focus of the instructor), but the final step is when you get to SEE it in another student. For a lot of people all three steps are key in helping to drive a point home.
In addition to the two full days on the range, you had lots of access to the instructors in the down time. During a meet and greet on sign in day, breakfast, lunch, before dinner drinks, dinner, transportation time to and from the range, were all moments students could ask questions, talk or even listen to the instructors cover a whole range of topics, stories, ideas and thoughts about shooting.
Continue reading Why I Want to Go Back to the NSSF Fantasy Camp, and You Should Too!