1911 Driver Course with AJ Zito of Practical Performance

The last class of the year for most of us took place this last weekend. Going into it I was excited to learn more about the 1911/2011 platform but I was also kinda bleh and ready for a little break from shooting so much. I am so glad this class happened when it did. It was one of the best classes I have ever been fortunate enough to be a part of. I don’t think the class is the right description to use, the workshop is more appropriate.

I have had amazing classes with Donovan from Point1 Tactics, Scott from Modern Samurai, Gabe White, and Shane Cardwell. This Class with AJ Zito was amazing and right there with my favorite classes. The delivery of information is not like a normal class. Like I said before, it is more of a workshop. No coaching or instructor mode here, it was more like: hey your buddy is one of the best in the 1911 game, he’s going to hang out and shoot with you and tell you why your gun does what it does, how it does that, why it will do that and what you can do to make it perform better and keep it laid back the entire time. No stress of shooting to perform, aside from your own ego and being able to destroy the ego of a friend with better shooting and trash talk.

I want to do a full synopsis of the class but I do not want people to have spoilers, you need to take this class for yourself. So instead here is what AJ has listed in the class description. Now due to the weather, our format was a little different than this but we really only did not go over the one-handed shooting.

  • Safety
  • Equipment Considerations (Holsters, maintenance, sighting systems, etc.)
  • Effective zero’s
  • Embracing and managing recoil
  • Trigger press as it relates to performance
  • Efficient presentation of the handgun (Draws)
  • One-handed shooting
  • Efficient methods of reloading the handgun
  • Dealing with malfunctions and what caused them
  • Assessing your skills

In most classes, I learn a thing or two or head into it with a couple things I want to take home. I also really look forward to shooting standards or for a patch or test. Personally, I shoot better when the pressure is on. A perfect example in this class: I shoot an M&P 99.9 percent of the time. My draw to shot is around .89-95 consistently, my best is around .75ish and if I focus on control and “take my time” I am around 1.15. With my Staccato, this is not the case, the beaver tail, the way it is shaped, the weight, and lots of different factors limit how fast I can actually get that thing out of the holster and get a shot off. I have never been better than 1.3 with 2011. This weekend when it came time to perform in front of the class with everyone watching I was able to do 1.05 clean dead center of the A zone. Not the fastest in class but it was my personal record. It also showed me I can make a couple tweaks and get into the sub-second range for sure.

The shooting is always fun, the best part of the class aside from AJ’s way of teaching was the classroom mechanical portion. We got to learn what makes a 1911 work, why it works the way it does, how to take care of it, how to not break it, and much more. This whole section of the class was something I would pay to take without any shooting involved. The 1911 is complicated but at the same time is not. Taking apart a firearm can be intimidating, even more so when you get to the 2500-dollar-plus world. I consider myself very capable of working on firearms because I enjoy learning how something works and getting my hands on it. I like making a firearm mine, dialing it in to make me shoot better.

I wish you readers could have been in the class, it was so much fun. Tons of great info, tons of great shooting, and tons of people having some sort of lightbulb-on moments where something just clicked. I think every single person in the class came out not just as a better 1911 guy but a better shooter as well. 2 for 1! I look forward to AJ coming around again and also trying to convince my wife I need to take his armorers class.

Stay tuned for some 10 questions with a couple guys from the class!


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