My amazing first time experience at SIG Sauer Academy
I attended Armorer’s Courses and Practical Handgun training at the SIG Sauer Academy on 15-August through 24-August, 2016. I wanted to share my experiences with their group. It’s tough to summarize 10 straight days of training classes, however, I will say that it was worth the 32-hours of travel and every penny spent!
15-August – 1911 Armorer’s Course – First off, I’m new to firearms, at least at the Armorer’s level. This course takes the 1911 down to the frame, and the instructor (Mr. Scott Reidy) made the time to thoroughly explain the safety components of the Series 80 1911.
Prior to taking this class, I heard horror stories and various opinions, mostly negative, about the Series 80 design (firing pin safety) and the external extractor use on the SIG. However, after taking the class, it appears to me that the SIG 1911 is not as bad as some make it out to be. It’s a cake walk to disassemble to the frame level, and put it all back together again. No Humpty Dumpty story here!
Great class, very knowledgeable and helpful instructor.
16-August – P320 Armorer’s Course – I purchased my first P320 on or about May, 2016. It was a different shooter (my first SIG was a West German P226), being my first striker fired pistol (okay Glock lovers, don’t go hating). Although I enjoyed shooting the P320, taking apart the “gun”, especially the sear group, was intimidating. After taking the P320 course, I now know just how simple the design is. Mr. Scott Kenneson, Director of Training at the SIG Sauer Academy, took time off from his administrative duties to teach our group. Scott is an excellent trainer and takes the time to make sure that his students throughly understand the processes involved.
17-August – M400 (M16/M4/AR15) Armorer’s course. This one was vey interesting, at least for me. I’ve never fired a rifle of any type! No kidding! I had no idea of how shoot a rifle like this, so taking one apart was not something I would consider. I actually won the “most challenging questions award” during the class!
To be fair to the others taking the class (we had 18 persons in class from various police departments, the military and a few regular people like me), I kept some of my questions to myself and asked for answers from the instructors during breaks. That is until they suggested that maybe the other folks in the class may benefit from the questions I had. By the end of the training day, I understood why so many firearms enthusiast love the AR-15. However, it was so much fun being ignorant!
Mr. Scott Kenneson also taught this class. Even with my very limited experience in this field, it was clear that Scott is the “goto” guy on anything M400.
During a short break, we were introduced and got to see, and hear, the MCX (300BLK) suppressed, in action. “I want one of those”…went through my mind. I was standing 6′ from my instructor as he went through twenty rounds in full auto mode. No ears! That rifle was so quiet I could here the action cycling! Really cool!
18,19-August – Law Enforcement Armorer’s course – Classic Line Pistols – This was a two day class covering the entire Classic Line of semi auto pistols from SIG. Mr. Steve Gilcreast taught this class and completely eliminated the fear I had with taking apart my P226. Steve covered all the P-Series pistols, ensured that we understood the design concept of the pistols, how to take them completely apart, maintain and repair these fine firearms.
20-August – No break on the weekend! Saturday was H101 – Handgun Orientation day. What the hey?
Yes, I know what a pistol grip is. But I was already at the Academy, and frankly, there’s always something to learn, no matter which “Emperor of the Universe” level in life we are at. So even though H101 was really a entry level class, our instructor, Tina Perrone made sure we were having fun. I will say, she didn’t skimp on safety. In fact, that class was all about firearms safety! I know a lot of guys that go to the Chamorro Shooting Range that could, and would, benefit from attending Tina’s class!
Oh, and let me tell you, the woman can shoot! Tina introduced us to one-hole shot groups. I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see her shoot myself! I ran with a P320 today and went through more rounds with that gun than I have with my personal P320.
21-August – Brisk Sunday morning! H102 (Basic Handgun Practical Skills) today, taught by Mr. John Fain.
More firearms safety…always! If you didn’t get the “finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot” idea yet, you had no business holding a firearm! The day was spent in the indoor shooting range. We went through about 300 rounds! Loads of fun! At the end of the day, well, let’s just say we impressed ourselves with our newly earned skills!
The test? Cut a B27 1/4″ cardboard target in half, edgewise! Impressive! I ran with a P226 Elite SAO! What a trigger! What a trigger reset!
22-August – 58-degrees Fahrenheit! Oh boy!!! This was definitely not Guam weather! H103, Intermediate Practical Handgun Skills day! If two to the chest doesn’t stop the bad guy, one into the cranial cavity will. Aim for the eyes. Hits to the forehead didn’t count!
This class was serious stuff! Multiple targets. Intro to shooting on the move. Lots of ammo down range. Lots. My hands were hurting by lunch time.
Oh yea. Today was with a P226 Elite SAO (or course)! You’ve really got to try that gun!
After lunch, we went through another 250 rounds, and really, really impressed ourselves at the day’s end. Our instructor, Mr. Todd Rassa (Texas boy) expected our best. He took the time to help those that needed more attention, while the rest of us were under the watchful eye of his adjunct instructor. I was so tired after class, it was straight to the shower, then to bed. The last day was ahead!
23-August – Another cold (for me at least) day at the Academy! H104, Defensive Handgun Practical Skills was the order of the day.
We were on the Upper Deck at 0830, and went straight through till lunch. Multiple targets, more shooting on the move…faster, much faster! Multiple positions, rapid fire and yes, you’ve got to register more hits than not. Todd was walking around with his really cool knife.
This was a very challenging course. Over the years, I developed a bad habit of stepping off the firing line after I finished my drill. That wasn’t so bad, but stepping back up to the line, draw and shoot really irritated Todd.
All I heard was…”Santos! If you do that again, I’m going to stab you in the back of your head!”
Todd explained that adding the “step up” to my firing sequence was a habit I didn’t need, or want, if ever I found myself in a combative situation. So he help me, quite quickly, eliminate that part from my (then) shooting sequence. Whomever said that you can’t break a bad habit in one day never met Todd!
We did it all. Every handgun combat scenario was covered by both Todd and his adjunct instructor Jenn. And boy, my knees were hurting!
I went with the P226 SAO again that day. I really liked that gun.
After class, I went to the Pro Shop and to purchase a P226 Elite SAO. But wait! “What’s that? A P226 SAO Legion? Can I hold it…please?”
I left the Pro Shop that day with a receipt for a P226 SAO Legion chambered in 9mm, MCX Patrol rifle chambered in 5.56NATO, and a plan to stay out of trouble!
How did I stay out of trouble with the wife? I also bought her a Gen2 P320 fitted with a Romeo 1 optical sight! Yup! P320-RX!
You guys know the rule guys, …happy wife, happy life!
I left with a clear understanding of the one warning all instructors gave us throughout the week. DON’T GO TO THE PRO SHOP!
CANDY STORE, that building is.
The next day was spent resting up for the long trip back home. I must have slept all day! This trip was well worth the expense and time away!
Will I go to the Sig Sauer Academy again? Absolutely! If you get a chance to attend a class there, make it so! You won’t regret it!