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  • Writer's pictureMemphis Beech

AAR: Pistol Intelligence, with Riley Bowman

Originally written: May 8, 2023

Riley T. Bowman knocked it out of the park with his Pistol Intelligence class. It didn’t feel like a class. It felt like a range day with some cool friends.

Assisting him was Tyler D Tharp of Synergy Training Group. Tyler is a phenomenal instructor in his own right. His mental management and emotional intelligence made him an ideal choice for an AI.

I owe a very special thanks to Keith Tyler (pictured below in grey) of TFI Academy for hosting Riley’s class. His private range had enough equipment to possibly host a local match. As a USPSA Grand Master, it speaks well to his character that he invited Riley. It also speaks to Riley’s instruction that he was the very first instructor in his list of instructors to invite. That says a lot.

Goals: Skill Building, but WAY deeper.

Usually, classes are a test of things. (Skill, gear, etc.) This weekend was all about exploration and discovery. Man, what a breath of fresh air.

Requirements: LOTS of note-taking materials.

The class costs $400, which is low for a two-day nation-traveling instructor. Yes, you'll need just under 1,000 rounds. You’ll also need all the normal equipment for a standard draw-n-shoot class, and you can go OWB or IWB. I ordered a KSG Armory Lexington, and Riley was cool enough to hand-deliver it to his class. So on Day 1, I simply shot from my USPSA rig and Day 2 was from my PHLster standard Enigma with the Lexington mounted.

Acclaim: Not as much as it deserves.

Most classes have some of “Here’s the thing, now you do the thing. I’ll be watching your form, and if you miss, I’ll shame you publicly.” But this class was “Let’s just try to achieve this, and however you can get there, try to discover what works best for you.” And that was really nice.

We finished with a short USPSA stage, and that really brought everything together. Icing on the cake. I had an absolute blast!

Difficulty: Slightly above beginner level.

You’ll basically need to be able to pass the Gila Hayes’ 5x5 on demand from the holster. If you’ve ever shot IDPA, USPSA or 3-Gun, you’re more than qualified. If you’ve never been to a class before, maybe sit this one out.

Efficacy: Extreme. This broke through a ceiling for me.

I had permission to fail. I had room to ask deeper questions and explore things further. It was like a laboratory for shooting skills, and it really stretched my understandings of why we shoot the way we do.

Summary: HIGHLY Recommended!

I’m trying to cut down my training schedule to an annual rotation. Riley’s Pistol Intelligence is definitely one of those classes. I’m coming back to this one.

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