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You know you will always have a safe time shooting at this police training center. Offering classes and a well kept range.
You have to shoot their ammo, which is expensive.
Good selection of modern firearms for rent.
Have to use their ammo, it is a strict policy, if you plan to challenge it then go elsewhere. You must bring your own firearm as there was a suicide by rental years ago. They still have a wide selection of rentals available.
Once you sit through the mandatory safety video you are pretty much left alone, (but a large group of young men inclined to hold the gun sideways in one hand, extended, drew the FSOs focused attention immediately, so they are paying attention).
As mentioned previously by another reviewer, it has a heavy public pool vibe which I think should be universal in every neighborhood. It is run by the local sheriff so is used regularly by cops for training.
I'm just getting back into sport shooting with an emphasis on personal defense which includes obtaining a CHL. I bought my first handgun in November of 2016 and began looking for a place to shoot it. I did extensive research on local options, including 'A Place To Shoot' in Delta Park where I'd shot several times back in the 90's. In the end, the only two places that meet the price/access test (least expense without having to be a member) was Threat Dynamics near Sherwood and the PSTC. I've shot at both shortly after my initial purchase and found, even though you have to buy their ammo, the PSTC had the best mix. I found Threat Dynamics to be a bit too trendy, like a slick fast food restaurant, and at almost twice the price (lane fee plus buying their target ammo) their actual lanes where small and crowded feeling and their 'house' ammo very, very dirty with several FTF rounds. If you really need to fire your own ammo (testing your carry ammo in your EDC weapon) or want to shoot a center fire rifle up to .308 in believe, then go to Threat Dynamics, but otherwise the PSTC is where you want to actually practice with your handguns. I love the atmosphere; kind of reminds me more of a local Parks and Recreation public pool than a 'range'. The staff, who work for the Clackamas Sheriffs Department, are awesome. Friendly, well informed; and most importantly, unrelentingly safety oriented. The ammo prices aren't too high, the lane fee for non-members is the lowest I've found, and while the range is older and well used, it's well light with plenty of elbow room. I also like that they have a series of windows that run most of the way along the back wall of the range to not only can friends, family, and other shooting enthusiasts watch all the fun, the range staff also has an excellent view and I take great comfort that they have my six and will put a stop to any dangerous behavior . . . even when it's mine. There are other, cheaper options at the expense of safety and other shooting needs that the PSTC can't address, but for all your handgun practice needs, it's great.
After having heard about the class offerings at PSTC some time ago, I spent a lot of time considering getting into them. Through chance, I wound up interacting with Gabriel through another forum, and was extremely impressed with what I saw from him there. A 101 class opened up soon after this, and I decided to start working through their offerings, starting from the beginning.
What PST 101 is:
This is a 1 day, "getting familiar" class. Basic handgun and ammunition anatomy, basic operation. LOTS of safety discussion, for obvious reasons. All of this classroom stuff takes place before students get on the range, of course.
By nature, the above material is more suited to lecture delivery than two way discussion. Some students were clearly starting from a place where they knew zero. Gabriel did a fantastic job of doing the one-way bit in a way that held everyone's attention. He communicates clearly, quickly, and with a lot of volume and tone changes that keep students from zoning out or losing focus. I have a very short attention span, and despite the fact that the first half of the class covered material with which I was very familiar, Gabriel was easily able to keep me plugged in.
The range portion of the class was done very well. There were 8 students, 1 instructor, and 2 assistant instructors. The instructors smartly set those of us who seemed most familiar with firearms in the outside lanes, so that they could more easily keep an eye on those who were more likely to benefit from extra attention.
We did a lot of repetitions of basic functions like loading and unloading, with Gabriel using those same vocal tools (via a mic set up) to keep everyone coordinated, safe, and focused on what they were doing.
After that, we shot at varying distances between 3 and 10 yards. During that time, Gabriel slipped over to us individually and made helpful observations, or delivered helpful tidbits. His comments made it obvious that he was paying attention to everything that was going on, and was able to quickly offer tips for individuals, based on what they were doing.
Class wrapped up with students shooting a graduation standards course.
Gabriel showed two other things that I would really like to commend him for:
1. He was VERY gentle and respectful with everyone from the new shooters to myself and another guy (who I believe had a mil background, and who had previously taken all of the PST classes). He was very appropriate, approachable, and easy to connect to. Any time he would answer a question, he would say something along the lines of, "Did that answer the question for you?" and pause to give them an opportunity to continue. Any time a student had a question, Gabriel was very intent on giving them the information they needed.
2. During the class, there was a student who unintentionally posed some challenges. She was coming from a place where "she didn't know what she didn't know", and was a bit of a pitbull. An example was a moment where she asked a very poorly phrased variant of the "if someone breaks into my house, I can shoot them, right?" question. The way she phrased it sounded very much like a challenge, and it seemed as if she was looking for validation of her (wrong) understanding of how things work. Gabriel did a great job of explaining why that was a complicated question, and connected the answer to 'legal advice'. She was persistent, even as the other 7 people all knew immediately where Gabriel was coming from. Gabriel remained patient with her, and did the best he could to guide her toward further learning (to be clear: it was obvious that his motivation was to get her educated, not to specifically get her into another class at PSTC).
The guest instructors were very helpful, and similarly respectful. I found it especially refreshing that they approached their roles as support, rather than trying to be "co-instructors'. They were great in that way, and supported what Gabriel was saying and demonstrating.
The class was very safe. Every round went the right direction.
When all was said and done:
- a couple brand new shooters shot well. One gal, in particular, took to everything very quickly. She had no problem shooting the class standards, and seemed like a totally different creature by the end of the day.
- myself and the repeat student each benefitted from the class. The other guy was pretty much stacking rounds the entire class, and I shot a 5 round, 1.5" group from 50 feet my first range trip after the class, largely because of things that Gabriel said during class. That is by far the best group of my life.
I STRONGLY recommend attending any classes that you can get into with Gabriel White as an instructor. I've now seen him communicate topics ranging from 101 material to truly advanced topics, and his passion and intimacy with the material is incredible.
For those who like to know what kind of shooter an instructor is, the following link is about the FAST drill, or "Fundamentals, Accuracy, and Speed Test". This link will show Gabriel as Coin Recipient #9. I have seen video of him shooting this drill considerably faster than his listed time, and very nearly eclipsing the record speed.