I recently completed the AR15/Carbine Operator 1 (ARCO1) course at Range Ready with Chris Cerino serving as the instructor. Nerves ran high before the course not knowing how the course would play out and how I’d perform. I’m happy to report the expectations and reality of the course didn’t disappoint. Here is my review of the course and the operation of Range Ready. It’s important to note that I will hold nothing back, even though the boss may kill me.
Expectation – Ease of entry is key to any operation. I expect a flawless sign-up process when attempting to engage in activities. A firearms training course is no different.
Reality – I signed up about a week before the event without any hiccups. Once I enrolled, I received an email with all the information about the course. If I would’ve read further in the email, it would have told me to bring a cleaning kit, which I did not. If you read everything within the email, you’ll be well-versed in what to bring and expect.
Range Ready did an excellent job touching base with each participant of the course. Chris just yelled across the hallway to me, but he called each attendee to make contact and ask if they had any questions. It’s a nice touch to get students excited for the course.
Expectation – I anticipate a welcoming environment with a nervous energy. There’s something that happens when folks roll into a course. Everyone begins sizing up the class, instructor, facilities, and range. I don’t know why, but that has been my experience with most courses I’ve taken.
Reality – As usual, I arrived early to get the day started. Chris was already there with donuts and coffee. Not much of a coffee drinker, but the sentiment is welcomed. I didn’t’ feel the air of false bravado that typically surrounds a course like this. Students filed in and it felt like I was surrounded by friends. There weren’t egos in every seat. Everyone there was just ready to learn.
Expectation –At any training facility, I expect there to be a classroom and adequate restrooms. That is all I ask because there are some phenomenal ranges out there that don’t have either.
Reality – The Range Ready facilities are huge. I believe there is enough room in the classroom to host an indoor soccer match. The bathrooms are pristine and just as big. I did appreciate that you are never far from a trash can or restroom.
You’d think an old slaughterhouse would have an odor to it, but it smells brand new and is well maintained.
Expectation – Every firearms course you take should include a bit of classroom instruction. It’s a necessary evil. We want to get out to the range and start blasting, but safety and knowledge builds in the classroom.
Reality – Highly intriguing! Chris brought examples of bad gear, good gear, and everything in between. He first discussed what he likes to see in an AR, which made us examine our own kit.
The class broke down rifles after instructed and proceeded to deep clean the firearms. We spent much of our first morning discussing different training principles and understanding the why behind the action.
Expectation – Typically, attendees are on their own or receive a sandwich and chips.
Reality – Completely catered. There were fresh donuts and coffee each morning to help energize the crew. At lunch, Range Ready brought in some authentic Cajun cuisine. The options included BBQ ribs with boudin rice or BBQ chicken with boudin rice. The second day was fried catfish or crawfish fettuccini alfredo. I had the BBQ ribs and crawfish fettuccini. Both were great and more than enough for two meals.
Range Ready provided beverages throughout the course both in the classroom and on the range.
Expectation – Most ranges are decent, and I anticipated much of the same.
Reality – Range Ready's training range is massive. We had a class of seven, so we had plenty of room. We could really stretch out and not get in each other’s way. When it started raining the end of range got muddy, but we were alerted by Chris that weather conditions on the second day weren’t ideal. However, when the weather got nasty we tucked away under the awning at 60-yards and kept training.
I love the fact that we didn’t have to drive from the classroom to the range. You literally step out the backdoor and it’s right there.
Expectation – If I am paying money for training, I expect the best. I’ve always seen Chris train and instruct others, but I’ve never taken one of his courses.
Reality –Chris is genuine and won’t hesitate to correct you when you mess up…trust me. Just because I’m friends with Chris doesn’t mean he takes it easy on me. I can’t put a finger on his teaching style because he blends many styles into one. He possesses an uncanny ability to detect different learning styles and teach the individual student in that manner.
Chris is an example on the range. In other courses, some instructors refuse to show you how to do the drill before telling you to shoot. If an instructor won’t show the drill, I’d be suspicious. Chris ran the drill just like all the students and shot like a pro. He didn’t waste our time with war stories, but he did provide plenty of comic relief.
It has to be difficult to run a course by yourself, but Chris handled it and ran the class efficiently. There wasn’t any wasted time, even if the rain was blowing sideways.
Expectation – I expect anything associated with Gun Talk Media to excel.
Reality – This class experience did not disappoint. I did my best to put this course up against any top training facilities across the country. Top to bottom a great experience and one every shooter should experience.
The one fault of the course fell on my shoulders. Certificates of Completion are handed out at the end of each course. However, this time students did not receive their certificates at the end of the course because I forgot to pick them up. In the overall evaluation of the course and facilities, Range Ready that ain’t half bad. In fact, I know I’m a better shooter and learned more in two days than most courses pack in a full week. ~ KJ
Kevin Jarnagin (KJ) hails from Oklahoma but quickly established Louisiana roots after joining the Gun Talk team. KJ grew up as a big game hunter and often finds himself in a different venture often. His early career had him working with one of the finest PR agencies in the outdoor industry – Blue Heron Communications. Before that, KJ molded the minds of business school students at the University of Oklahoma. Quickly learning he had to grow up sometime, KJ dedicated himself to the outdoors no matter what it took.
Sporting his flat-brimmed cap, KJ traverses the country in pursuit of the greatest game and best adventures. Whether it’s making his way to British Columbia for elk or training with pistols, KJ always seems to find a gun in his hands and adventure on his mind. KJ is a skilled communicator and connector in an industry that he has loved since a child.