Standards…YES YOU CAN! Personal Performance class with Claude Werner

Standards and tests are a part of everyday life. There are performance standards in school, driving, work, fitness and many other aspects of life. These tests measure skill, knowledge and ability. The benefits are numerous, and more importantly, they develop confidence when tested. Shooting should be no different.

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I had the honor of teaching a class with the Tactical Professor, Claude Werner. He is a master of his craft. It is a privilege to watch him teach and simplify the lesson to its core fundamentals and essentials. We have titled it Personal Performance and it focuses on the NRA’s Defensive Pistol Qualification’s first levels named Pro-Marksman, Marksman and Marksman 1st class. This class is for ladies only.

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Each shooter earns a rocker with each successful course of fire. We did some basic coaching on the fundamentals at the beginning of class, which was some of the first professional instruction that some of the shooters have received. Then immediately to the course of fire, and having to execute the fundamentals on each course. Check the targets, and shoot it again. Fatigue, stress, and pressure all play a role in each shooter’s ability to perform the task. Having a goal to reach really helps each shooter focus on the task at hand. In a matter of 3 hours, I watched these ladies learn the fundamentals, cheer for each other, and celebrate the small victories of improved performance. Never underestimate the power of having a written standard and a system that recognizes performance.

I am often mystified by shooters that argue against performance standards. How do you know if your training works if you have nothing to measure? The most important benefit is the confidence built by ever increasing difficulty in the standards. If you carry a gun, understanding what you are truly capable of doing under pressure, leads to making better decisions and understanding your true capabilities.

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It was a great pleasure to watch these ladies improve and build their confidence. I always enjoy working with Claude and I am looking forward to the next Personal Performance on October 7th, 2018. Several ladies have continued to practice and have earned another rocker. This is the nature of teaching, to clarify the basics, and to help others learn how to improve through proper practice.

“Stress” by Shelley Hill

Hi all. This is Shelley Hill, Brian’s wife and I wanted to share a little story about my 2 encounters with BIG TIME STRESS in this past week.

We all have it. We carry it with us at all times. There are many different levels of stress but I am going to touch on the 2 most common…UNWANTED stress and WANTED stress.

Earlier this week I experienced a rumbling tummy, clammy hands, tunnel vision and an increased heart rate due to UNWANTED stress. I brought stress on myself by not following my heart and my normally positive attitude. I regretted doing this and fortunately, was able to fix it immediately. Once I went back to what was comfortable for me, I no longer experienced the negative impact it was making on my mind and my body. WINNING!


At Tac Con 2018 I experienced the same rumbling tummy, clammy hands, tunnel vision and increased heart rate due to WANTED stress. I competed in the ladies division for the first time and it was a BLAST! Friday was my first “paper qualifier”. This was a HUGE deal because this was to eliminate all BUT the top 8 scores. This was in no way the “end game” but it was the perfect way to select the top 8 female shooters for the official “shoot off” on Sunday….which WAS the “END GAME”!


Guess what? I made the top 8 female shooters and once again I felt that ole so familiar rumbling tummy, clammy hands, tunnel vision and increased heart rate because I was about to shoot again on Sunday! EKKKKKK!

We 8 ladies arrived on time and were invited onto the range to get some instruction from Rangemaster’s Tom Givens. This was a very important part to me because sometime stress can make me miss important details. I should not have worried because Tom knows EXACTLY what he is doing and walked all 8 of us through the course. He explained everything TWICE….he confirmed our goal, he pointed out the “target area” on each body and even showed us how the targets fell by pushing it over with his hand in the “sweet spot”, he showed us the 2 different areas/locations that we will be shooting from and WHY we will change locations, he explained the “phone drop” prior to “go time” and he went over all the important details that our brains needed to set us all up for success.

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When it came time for me to shoot I was excited and looking forward to seeing how I will handle the stress of competition. I did very well and shot to the level of my practice and training. I am so very honored to be a part of Tac Con’s 20th Anniversary “shoot off” and equally honored to experience my first competition stress with 7 incredible shooters like Lynn Givens, Gail Pepin, Melody Lauer, Elizabeth Saunders, Sara Ryan, Susan Anderson and Kelly Brown right there beside me!


The moral of my tale? If there is any way to control the UNWANTED stress then DO IT and then LET IT GO! When the WANTED stress hits, which may hit just as hard, then ride the wave and embrace it baby because you never know what is waiting for you on the other end! WINNING!



Difficulty and misfortune are a part of life, and how we react to them shows the nature of our character. I have found that positive changes are the most difficult to get started, and negative are the easiest to start, but the hardest to stop. Training is always plagued with adversity, finding the time and the money, traveling, submitting to the discipline of learning, and lately Mother Nature. With all the reasons to miss training, the weather is the one we have the least control over in outdoor classes.

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The last 3 pistol classes I have taught, it has rained, all day long. One of the classes was 33 degrees and raining. That’s a good reason to stay inside, or to drop out of class. Now here is the surprising part, not one person missed class. In fact, one of our shooters heading to our annual Alumni Appreciation Day at our range in Dahlonega totaled his car on the way to class. Someone T-boned him, and while the car did not fare well, thankfully he was not injured. When the Sheriffs department finished the paper work, he told the deputy he was going to walk the 2 miles to class, and the deputy kindly gave him a ride to the range. My wife Shelley made sure he was ok and hydrated. He had also left his lunch in the wrecked car, so everyone pitched in to make sure he had food to eat. In the AAD class shoot off, everyone competes, including our coaches, and top shooter will win a beautiful knife from our friends at Two of the coaches had the top score by 1%, but decided to give the knife to top student, which just happened to be our car wreck shooter. These wonderful people had turned a bad day, into a special day for him, with selflessness and kindness.


Nothing will stop these fine men and women from training, and taking care of each other. Regular Janes and Joes, citizens, and no amount of adversity will stop them being self reliant and compassionate. The rain became the adversary, helping all of us to move beyond our discomfort, and forge our discipline. No one complained, and more importantly the shared adversity bonds a group of complete strangers together in to a community.

The next time difficulty or misfortune plagues you, remember to simply keep going, be courageous in the small things, take care of each other, and we will all benefit and grow together.