The 1911 – 101 Course Review


I had a great time, and a wonderful experience during the two day 1911 / Marksmanship class at Point Blank Range.


Brian “Gunny” Zins, head instructor for the class absolutely smash’s his new class and program out of the park once again! He created a custom class built around the venerable and timeless, 1911’s pistol platform. The class began with a very nice historical overview of John M. Browning’s 1911 auto-loading pistol, the .45 ACP caliber bullet, and their many uses throughout the last century of American history. It then transitioned into overview the shooting curriculum. The Gunny was was joined by KC Crawford who is a retired Marine of 22 years.


Quick background: Brian is a retired Marine MP Gunnery Sergeant of 20 years. He is also a twelve time NRA National Pistol Champion in the competitive shooting sports, also having competed in the popular hit television show “Top Shot” during seasons two and five. KC is a former chief instructor of the pistol section in Quantico, VA. He is a member of the pistol smiths guild.


The class had eight students with 6 in attendance. Each person brought a 1911. The level and pricing quality of the students gun varied so don’t feel intermediated in the slightest. Guns that made an appearance were a Cabot, two Dan Wessons, one Springfield range officer, and 40+ year old Ejercito Argentino (military issue colt pattern). It had more rattle in then then a spray paint can. Lol The main point, was is that it doesn’t matter what 1911 you had as long as you had a 1911 as not other model of gun would do in this class. As the Gunny would say, “Leave your Tupperware gun at home for this class. We are running 1911’s and we are shooting God’s caliber.” 🙂 Pun fully intended in this class.


On Day-1’s outline was broken into two parts. Lecture in the morning, and live fire in the afternoon. PBR/Gunny/Brandon brought in a delicious BBQ lunch, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, and also included bottled water and soda. (A+ on the training and the Lunch PBR. Big thank you!)


The Gunny’s 1911-101 class covers all of the basics. Grip pressure, Stance, Trigger Finger placement, Sight Alignment, etc. While our class consisted of guys that have taken training classes before our experience ranged from Intermediate to Beginner. Yes no problem if you are newer to shooting. If you are responsible and know the basics of safe gun handling and are decent in the fundamentals YOU will do just fine. Don’t hesitate to sign up and do yourselves a disservice by missing out. Go for it as it’s a great class! Most of our shooting was at the 7-Yard, to 10-yard mark. Let’s see, I can’t give it all away here because it’s important that you take the class for yourself. However, we did dry fire warm-ups, tons of drawing from the holster, two round fast shooting, reloads, and at least 4-5 other drills to wrap up Day-1. Throughout the class if there was any “Hey my gun is doing this, or a malfunction of some sort, KC would troubleshoot, diagnose, and fix your 1911 for you. In most cases if it was simple he’d do it for free. If you wanted any 1911 work done, KC had his mobile shop onsite and was willing to fix you right up. (Sights, File, Disassembly, Questions, How-To, Lube, Lockup, etc.)


Day-2 was a full 6-7 hours of more range time where we moved into more rapid fire drills, two handed, and one handed. The key here is that this isn’t a run and gun type of class, in true Gunny fashion the main emphasis is always accuracy. For lunch PBR brought in some awesome Mexican for us. We had cheese enchiladas, mini chicken burritos, Mexican rice, chicken tenders, and fresh quacamole. You don’t go hungry in this class that’s for sure! Oh yeah, back to the review…. For the back half of the day we did multiple target on a timer, IDPA style running and gunning. We had lots of other drills that each were challenging and fun. We ended the day pulling everything that we learned in the class all tougher and ran some competitive drills on a larger 6 target plate rack. Right to left, two handed, one handed, you think of it we did it.


We concluded the training class, having fun, talking war stories, listening to the Gunny and KC reminiscing about their many competition and gun adventures and stories. No egos here, everyone in our class loved it, was able to ask any and every question that they could think of. As we were doing our after class debriefings and round robins. “What did you learn, What did you like about the class, What can we do better on next time” type of thing, one perspective prevailed. We want MORE! We want a 1911-201 class and we want it soon!


In Summary, If you want quality training come on down to Point Blank Range and take a class with them. To the student that wants to learn Marksmanship, I am 100% sure that this is a fine class for you. If you are a Bullseye guy, same for you as you will learn lots of advanced and trick stuff. If you are a Tacticool guy, and you already have 22,000 Glocks, there is still hope for you. (I’m kidding, we have to have fun here right?!) All you Glock, Sig, and S&W guys, go buy yourself a 1911 at PBR, and enroll in the next 1911 class stat. To the owners and staff at PBR,  you are doing a fantastic job! You are running the best range in the Carolina’s, and better yet, you have World Class instructors. As I train more and more at PBR, I’m getting better in a sport that I’ve gotten to appreciate more and more of and love. In today’s world it’s not about the latest “Wizbang 2000” doodad and bolt on trinket as they can be found anywhere. It’s about the “Client Experience” and the Quality of Service. I’ll say it one thousand times, the training courses that the Gunny, and Daniel Richardson are teaching at PBR are outstanding. Please, please keep this going forever as it separates your business from the rest of the rest of the pack.


If you want a little more you can see a very brief YouTube review of the class at Search for “1911’s with Brian Zins”, and if you dig it click the Like and Subscribe button.


-Justin Stevens