OFA 15 Years Old! Insights/Observations/Reflections...

Discussion in 'Oregon Firearms Academy' started by OFADAN, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. OFADAN

    OFADAN Well-Known Member

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    2011 is just about to conclude and 2012 is 'bout to begin. OFA was born on Jan 1997 or 15 years ago and just felt the need to reflect and report.


    When OFA started there were very few options or opportunity for training, at least training at the level OFA provides. At that time there were two schools in Washington, one in Philomath/Corvallis (they went out of business over 10 years ago), and one in Clackamas which went away for a while and then re-opened under a new organizational structure. That's about it...oh and about half a zillion NRA instructors ranging for those who only teach two classes and then never teach again to those who deliver on a fairly regular basis.

    Today, well, there are plenty more schools and who knows how many instructors with well over a full bazillion NRA instructors, and NRA related businesses and more start ups and newer businesses than ever before. It seems now folks are starting up training businesses faster than a teenagers gets pimples. I'm not sure which is growing faster, start up holster makers or trainers. Anyway, I cracked up recently over the extraordinary marketing claims of a newer start up training business because they claim "they have the best instructors" – well, that’s a mighty bold statement coming from a new business whose team of instructors have never worked together and within a new organizational structure with most of them never training private citizens - only cops.

    Hardware changes are certainly different now...when OFA started the primary handgun of choice was about 1/3rd 1911s, 1/3 GLOCKs, and the remaining 1/3 was S&W Revolvers, Berettas or SIGS. A few HKs. Today, the trend is more toward striker fired polymer framed pistols either a full size or compact. Our most dedicated student's generally carry a smaller back up because they know how quickly things can go "sour!" (The Adjudicator will do that to folks!) Rarely do we see anyone seriously training exclusively with the smaller lightweight 5 shot revolver or smaller .380 or equivalent size pistol other than as BUGs (Back up guns). Calibers have stayed just about the same with trends remaining in the 9, 40, & 45 camp. Ironically in 15 years we’re still hearing the inferiority of the 9 and the superiority of larger caliber cartridges – so some things never do change.

    Long guns...back when we started, standard AR's in 20" and 16" with standard buttstocks and iron sights with a standard two point sling was the mainstream. If someone showed up with a six position buttstock then they were considered high speed. Early on, if someone showed up with a red dot it seldom made it through the class and often failed or fell off. Today, after several wars it is a rare day to see an AR without resembling an AR of 14 years ago. Today we can expect to see chest pouches, various slings, drop leg pouches, suppressors, two or more red dots/optics on one gun, tactical pistol grips, verticle grips, gizmos, gadgets, camo paint and everything else to make the “private civilian operator” even more high speed. Very few students in the old’n days used M1A’s, AK/AKMs, or HKs. Today, you never know what might show up for class.

    Back in '97 people came to class, especially rifle classes, looking like, well normal people. They wore jeans, standard shirt, and a Columbia type fleece vest and trained like they live. Magazines pouches for ARs really didn't exist...we just used the pocket in our jeans and our vest - go figure. People looked like someone who is working in their back yard and then when there is trouble they’d just grab the shotgun, handgun, or carbine and “go to work.”

    Today, I swear sometimes most of the class looks like they just "fast roped" out of a black helicopter and are members of some super ninja SWAT/Delta/SF/SEALS/SOG team or whatever. I wonder, seriously, wonder if a private citizen when called into action at 2:07 AM because someone is breaking into their home would seriously take the time to put on their MAV or Battle Vest, thigh holster, drop leg pouch, and other gear...or take the necessary time to power up all the devices they have or would they be more inclined to just grab what their trembling hands can pick up and go to work?


    Yesterday, many of the students coming to class were IPSC experienced and wanted to convince us that they’re mastery of IPSC is the same as home defense tactics...oh the discussions we had. Today, most of our students don't even know what IPSC is and never seen it. Rarely is this conversation a matter of break time discussion. Today our students are instead serious, dedicated private citizens or police officers who are driven, focused, and determined to mitigate their liability and legal/civil exposure while at the same time be able to bring to bear a multitude of skills and options to stop a problem - preferably before it starts. Few are “gamers” like of old.


    Back in the beginning classes consisted of mostly men, rarely a women training along side men. We had to have or were told we had to have special "women-only" classes or they just wouldn't come to OFA. Today, it is a pleasant mixture with conservatively 40% women and they are equally and often more drive to learn and master the skills than the men. Rarely do we hear the words “we need a women’s only class”. Most often the women do better in force-on-force simulations. Speaking of force on force...back in 97 that was never heard of and square range training was considered the norm.


    OFA firsts....we were the first in the USA to offer a GLOCK only course to private citizens...today, many others are following suit. OFA was the first to open up and offer a tactical simulator in the Northwest which can be used for live fire and force-on-force other than perhaps in California – but I don’t consider it the Northwest. When we started using force-on-force it was well before anyone else (on the forums or elsewhere) was even considering it. I'm not saying we started the phenomena or began the trend as we most certainly did not. I'm just saying we started using this modality of training long before there was an owner's manual. We did it via trial and error. We learned a lot and are still learning.

    And then the students and friends of OFA are our greatest joy, hope, and inspiration. We owe you a great debt of gratitude for your passion to learn, grow, and change and for your support to OFA, its staff, and mission/ministry. We truly appreciate you! You are what keep us going! If it wasn’t for our dedicated staff and faithful students OFA and this forum would have gone by the wayside many years ago. When we see you show up to OFA for the first time, you laugh at our signs, get tickled over our graduation ceremony, and we see the "lights come on" when you finally realize there is more to this discipline than just pulling the trigger...well, it motivates us to excel and do better.

    From all of us at OFA and OCC - thank you for your support! Have a very Merry Christmas, Happy New Year….and may God Bless the USA, God Bless our Service Men/Women and God Bless you and your family's!

    OFA/OCC Staff
  2. wichaka

    wichaka Moderator Staff Member

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    Congratulations on the first 15 years! My hope is that there will be another to celebrate!

    There's a reason why OFA is still going strong, and in many ways getting stronger. It starts with the quality of the instructors that strive to improve themselves, and the training they provide. The versatility of the range, and the top notch equipment they have and offer round out a very well balanced facility.


    I have noticed instructors and shooting schools coming out of the wood work. With more people than ever carrying guns, folks are looking for serious training which is a very good approach to sensible gun ownership. The problem we see are the plethora of schools with novice instructors or those that borderline on the 'charlatan' side of things, and with many unsuspecting new folks looking for training, a few train wrecks are sure to occur.


    I've been thru training with some of the patriarchs in the biz; Cooper, Taylor, Awerbuck, Rogers, Smith, to name a few...and the one thing that I saw when I went to visit OFA a few years ago, was the same dedication and basic skills grounding that I received from the above...that speaks volumes to me.

    You've done well Dan, keep it going...and we'll celebrate a 20th real soon!
  3. bruzer

    bruzer Active Member

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    Excellent. Hope to see you in person some day.
    Mike
  4. MikeE

    MikeE Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Great write up, Dan! Congrats and thank you.
  5. civilian75

    civilian75 Well-Known Member

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    As an OFA student I can say that my most important investment I've made is not the collection of high quality firearms stored in my safe but the foundation laid by OFA. Will always be grateful. And, if it weren't so darn hard because of high demand to get enrolled, I'd still be taking at least a class a year. (I know, excuses :))

    And, if I ever take one of the rifle classes, i'll be one of the odd balls wearing jeans and shooting a stock M4, with a milspec two point sling, extra mags in my back pockets. :)

    Congratulations!!
  6. Joe Link

    Joe Link Administrator Staff Member Platinum Supporter Life Member

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    Great post Dan, congratulations!
  7. thelendog

    thelendog Member

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    Great post!

    Based on your comments about long guns & associated gear, I take it it'll be ok if I just have a mag in my rifle and one in my back pocket this September ...
  8. OFADAN

    OFADAN Well-Known Member

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    That just might "pep Rick, Joe, & I up some!" :) I'm confident you'll be happy with that system. Just observe how much gear is put on/carried or "needed" on Sat morning and compare it to Sunday afternoon.
  9. Kevatc

    Kevatc Well-Known Member

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    I learned a lot about my gear choices (just a couple pistol/AR mag holders) and where to position them so that when going prone I didn't have a mag jabbing me in the gut. When I first got to my AR class lots of guys were wearing assault type vests or Brokos belts. I felt a bit "under dressed" at first. What I did notice is that as impractical that type of gear choice might be for a home defense scenario it was a good choice for a fast paced AR course. They seemed to have spent a lot less time feeding mags.

    Dan, have you ever did a part of class where you had everyone drop the fancy gear and go with pockets only for mags?

    One thing I would like to compliment OFA on is the behind the scenes work that Vivian does. She is great to talk with on the phone. When I had a health issue she was great to work with and made it very easy to attend a later course.
  10. thelendog

    thelendog Member

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    Yeah, I hear you. I was talking to a guy at DH3 about gear for the carbine class and he mentioned the same thing. I'll just load up 40 magazines ahead of time and bring a few empties to boot.
  11. greenLED

    greenLED Member

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    I probably took close to 10 classes at OFA. Still very much impressed by the materials taught, and specially the way they teach their classes.

    My hat's off to the OFA Red Shirts!