I spent last weekend in Pat McNamara’s Sentinel course.  If you aren’t familiar the Sentinel course is designed to give you survival techniques to protect you and your family.  Rather than give you a play-by-play of everything we did in two days I’m going to hit some of the highlights.  I’m not sure I’ll even be able to fit in all the highlights!

First let’s just talk about Pat.  If you have watched the dozens of youtube videos on Pats youtube channel you are used to seeing amazing feats of strength followed by amazing feats of marksmanship.  Pat’s personality in those videos is also just as entertaining, or as my wife perceived “a bit scary.”  I found Pat to be very personable and a great sense of humor.  I was completely engaged as he spoke the whole weekend.  You can tell there is an immense wealth of knowledge and experience from the get-go and you just want to soak as much up as you can.  Pat set up a target and shot every single drill with us.  First he would shoot as an example. Then he spent half the time watching us so he could help and then back on the line shooting.  I learned a lot just by watching him shoot.

The thing I enjoy most about training is being pushed beyond my limits and exposing my weaknesses.  And then having someone much better than me to critique and fix it.  In short, I like going to training to fail.  Training is exactly the right time to fail.  I can learn from that failure so the next time I can either self asses the same mistake, or hopefully not make the same mistake.  Pats course will absolutely push your boundaries no matter what your skill set is.

For example.  On the first day we spent some time doing some static drills.  Prone with a rifle, then talk about the drill. Kneeling with a rifle, then talk about the drill.  Standing with a rifle, then talk about the drill.  Repeat with hand guns.  At the end of day one I felt pretty good about my self.  Sure I need to spend some time on trigger control so I can shoot a golf ball sized group at 25 yards with a pistol like Pat.  But overall I did well.

Day two we are taking everything we did in the 6 hours on the range the previous day and putting them into motion in one single drill.  On top of that we are going to be moving, running and doing memory drills.  This-will-make-you-fail.  Or at the very least expose your weaknesses.  

This is how many of the drills went on the second day.  I along with the other guys attack a drill like this.  Sprint, stop, shoot, sprint, stop, shoot, repeat. We time our drills and the best of us are in the high teens and the slowest in the high 20 seconds.  Then we watch Pat do the same drill that could be explained only as a waltz & walk.  Fluid, smooth and looked slow, only to run the same drill in 11 seconds flat.  The lesson here is that you don’t have to move fast to be fast.  Be smart and minimize movements.  Shoot accurately

Throughout the two days Pat had something he calls “mini blocks.”  These mini blocks were either a white board session or a demonstration that was open to the whole group to discuss.  The mini blocks were Automobile, Pats Combat Strength Training system, Hand to hand/CQC, Home Invasion.  This was a great time to sit down and change gears for a bit.  I took just as much away from each of the mini blocks as I did the rest of the training.

This is my mantra after this course (and many others I have taken).  When things go sideways and lives are on the line we must have a quick mind, quick feet, and bring the necessary force swiftly and accurately.  We will not get this skill set from watching youtube videos or even range days on our own.  We need to spend time with people more skilled than us.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to comment below!

Carry On, Graig