I wanted to toss a couple questions to the new black belt patch winner Peter Woolard!
1. What is your prior firearm experience?
I’ve been shooting seriously for about 4 years now. I have attended multiple classes from some very high-level instructors including Donovan Moore of Point One Tactics, World/National Champion Bob Vogel, World/National Champion Ben Stoeger with Joel Park, and now finally Scott Jedlinski aka the Modern Samurai Project. I’ve been shooting USPSA for almost three years now and shooting in the Carry Optics Division for the last two. Near the end of last season, I reached the rank of Master which translates to being in the top 15% of shooters in the division.
2. What firearm/setup were you shooting?
For the first two days of class, I was shooting my Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 4.25″ that was optic cut and chunk ported by Monsoon Tactical. I have a Holosun 509t red dot, Streamlight TLR-1 HL flashlight, Floyd’s Custom magwell, and Apex Tactical flat-faced trigger installed. For a holster, I was using my Axis Elite from Tier One Concealed with Discreet Carry Concepts clips. On the third day, I used my competition setup which is another M&P 2.0 4.25″ also optic cut by Monsoon Tactical for a Trijicon SRO. Also installed are a Streamlight TLR-1 and Apex Tactical flat-faced trigger. The belt I use for the competition is a Shooters Connection two-piece competition belt with a Henry Holsters hanger and a Trex Arms Ragnarok holster. My mag carriers are from Double Alpha Academy.
3. What did you hope to learn going into this class?
I was hoping to learn how to diagnose problems with my own shooting as well as be able to do the same for others. On top of that learning Scott’s draw and his grip on the gun specifically. I had heard it from multiple friends who have trained with him before but I wanted to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak.
4. What was your biggest takeaway from the class?
I had a couple big takeaways. One was from Scott’s explanation of his grip. He teaches his grip in reverse which I think is very helpful because it takes the draw completely out of the picture until you have the fundamentals down. His “wave” technique has been explained to me before but not in the exact terms that he uses which I think are very precise and easy to understand. My other main takeaway came from just listening to him as he was helping the other students as well as myself. If we were having issues with something he would diagnose what has happened very quickly and give us a clear path on how to fix it. On the flip side of that, if everything was going very well and we weren’t having problems he wouldn’t try and find something to nitpick like some instructors would.
5. What area did you improve the most?
I think my biggest improvement in the class was, again, learning how to diagnose problems in my own and other people’s shooting. I have a couple adjustments to my grip that I plan on implementing as well. Rather than just trying to crush the gun with my support hand I want to try and focus specifically on applying upward pressure with my pointer finger and inward pressure with my pinky.
6. Is there anything you thought you would learn but did not?
7. What did you think of Scott’s teaching style?
You can tell that Scott’s curriculum has been pretty much perfected through hundreds of classes with everyone from FBI agents and other Law Enforcement to your average citizen who just wants to be more proficient with their handgun. He makes concepts easy to understand by not using big confusing words that don’t really mean anything and keeps things relatively light with his terrible jokes. He makes sure to demo each concept live in front of the class so you can see exactly what he means in action.
8. Are you interested in taking the instructor class?
I would love to take his instructor class. Teaching people how to be more proficient with their firearms has been a goal of mine for the past few years after I started taking shooting more seriously. Even after this class as I have mentioned, I feel much more capable and confident explaining different concepts to people who might not be as far along in their journey as I am.
9. How did you feel going into the standards, did you have nerves of steel or jello?
The first day going into shooting the Black Belt Standards I didn’t feel too much in the way of nerves until right after I finished the third iteration which is the Bill Drill. After I passed that then I definitely got a little shaky. Walking to the 25 I looked back and the target looked tiny. I ended up missing that shot by about 1/2″ in 1.43 seconds and walked away with a 3/4 patch. On day two I tried to boost myself up all day constantly thinking about how I was going to crush it and it worked out. Once again though when we got back to 25 the target looked small, but not as small as day one. Doing a couple practice draws and checking my dot brightness I noticed that it was the most I had ever seen the dot shake that I could remember so I took a couple deep breaths to try and calm myself down. As soon as I pulled the trigger I knew it was a good hit but wasn’t sure if I made the time constraint so when Scott yelled out “1.47” an instant wave of relief hit me. Coming into day three I was on top of the world. I wanted to be the first person to get two Black Belt patches in one class as well as the first person to get one from AIWB and OWB. Running my competition setup meant that I had to do every iteration .1 second faster than from concealment though so I knew I needed to push it. I passed the 3×2 by a very good margin and stepped off the line to wait for my turn at the single shot from 7 yards and proceeded to get in my own head. I focused too much on pushing myself that I ended up throwing the shot low right in .7 something seconds. I should’ve taken a mulligan and reset but I wasn’t patient enough. I passed the Bill drill and 25-yard shot so I ended up with another 3/4 patch which was a good consolation prize but definitely left me feeling upset with myself.
10. What’s next for you?
The next step is continuing my own training. I’m going to start implementing the techniques I learned in this class to become more consistent and be a better shooter overall. On top of that, I’ll be passing on things that I have learned to my friends who are also committed to improving and willing to put in the work. My main shooting goal currently is to make Grandmaster (top 5%) in Carry Optics which I definitely feel I am prepared to do.