Stephen Pineau / M3-Strategies
Rooted in mindset, marksmanship and manipulation, M3 Strategies seeks to build better shooters through proven techniques, a quality curriculum and superior instruction. We are dedicated to providing performance-based training solutions to shooters of all skill levels and backgrounds. With a focus on safe, intuitive and efficient weapons handling techniques, our courses cater to the specific needs of the individual end user.
The scope of our instruction includes Fundamental and Accelerated firearms training in the context of defensive applications. Classes are often structured in a 1-day format unless otherwise noted.
While we are based out of Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, our mobile training team is capable of hosting classes throughout the Continental United States. For information on hosting a course in your area, please contact Stephen@M3-Strategies.com
Whether as a sole effort or through industry collaboration, we aim to fill the gaps in the current equipment market through quality product development. We strive to innovate; working alongside trusted industry partners in an effort to develop relevant products, evaluate them in rigorous trials and bring them to market.
M3 Strategies offers consulting services directed at industry manufacturers requiring developmental input and product testing. Our experience and understanding of the rigorous standards that your product must meet in today’s market allow us to provide relevant feedback on your product both positive and negative. The volume of shooting that we conduct on a yearly basis affords us the ability to expose any potential flaws or shortcomings in a design while simultaneously allowing us to offer realistic solutions and design improvements to the client.
Stephen Pineau is the Director of Training and Lead instructor for M3-Strategies and the Owner/Operator of 21st Century Gunfighter
- Available for classes at your range
- Fast and responsive to customer needs and feedback
- Contact us with your needs!
- M3 Strategies = Training/ Consulting
- 21CG = Gear/ Apparel/ Ammunition
“People often get wrapped up in “Defensive This” or “Tactical That” versus “Competition Something Else”…..whatever happened to just being a good shooter? I fail to see how simply being good at shooting would ever be detrimental, regardless of the particular duty or circumstance.”
- Stephen Pineau, M3 Strategies
Fundamental Handgun - This was my first shooting class that I’ve ever attended, so my perspective from being under the tutelage of Tier 1 Super instructors is nil. I am your typical CHL holder that visits the local indoor range once maybe twice a week on my lunch break and had reached a plateau for improvement gleaned from YouTube instructional videos and tips gleaned from friends and family with more experience (Brother = USMC Scout Sniper, LEO friends, NRA Instructor Friends). I signed up for this class half thinking that this would be an entry level introduction to handguns and a taster to more advanced classes. Boy was I wrong. This Fundamental Handgun Class, and according to other attendees (LEO and Active Duty) had something for everyone. Class is 10 hour information packed and implementation full knowledge dump. Stephen is a great and approachable guy, at no time did I feel like I needed to drop and do 20 when asking even pedestrian comments. There were around 12 students of above beginner level so I think that helped get the curriculum off to a good start. Everyone knew how to load and fire. Class started in a build up methodology explaining the topic, the desired execution, the logic behind the choices, the pros and cons of the decision, pros and cons of alternate stances and finally the implementation and adjustment to the individual. IE Stance: – The building blocks of stance – Feet – Hips – Shoulders – Elbows – Wrists – Sight Alignment – The perfect setup for ideal shot and what it allows you to do. – What happens when there is deterioration due to exigent circumstances? – What is fundamentally required to still get the shot you need to take and can accept? – Recoil Management – Enabling Accuracy (accuracy is most important) – What is Stephen’s Theory of Execution – Clear Definition – What others have taught – What are the quid pro quod and pros of cons of both that enable you to be successful in shot choice. – Range time implementing his desired effect with evaluation and correction. Everything was executed in this deliberate and methodical way. Topics breakdowns were as such: Stance Grip Sight Picture Trigger Setup Recoil Management Reloads Draw Break Down (5 Stages) Draw and dry Fire Draw and Fire Weapons “Refunction” (Malfunction Clearance) Moving toward Target Moving to shooting position Every topic has 2-3 shooting drills incorporated for practice, all timed and all scored on accuracy. This added an exceptional amount of accountability to the execution of the drills. Aim small miss small, in some instances, targets were 1″ or 3×5 size index cards. A valuable an honest assessment at how one performs under pressure and any inconsistencies become blatant when aiming at such sized targets. I also found that this helped to develop better visual acuity when developing target localization and sight picture alignment. Personally, this class opened up Pandora’s Box of drills, desired effects, and where I need to improve to become a better fundamental shooter. Very challenging mental and physical integration with the timing and scoring of everything. I thoroughly enjoyed this class, and for those of us out there that can barely get away from everyday life due to funds being directed to wives, kids, work etc… this class is excellent both from a time and economic investment. I am looking forward to the reps I can now take at the local range to improve as well as taking a carbine fundamental class. Impressions of Stephen: He is very interested and invested in being a quality instructor. He takes open criticism of classes at the end of the class, which is great to see. He is actively looking to give the customer an excellent product and I appreciate that. Class is executed in a congenial and relaxed atmosphere in between reps. Class progresses with the students allowing for extra reps or further break down when requested. It was the fasted 10 hours I’ve experienced in a while.
- Travis W. (CCC Range, Cresson TX - 6/14)
Fundamental Carbine - I attened Stephen Pineau’s one day Fundamental Carbine class on 6/29/14. I’m not going to give you a step by step break down of this class, if thats what you are looking for read someone else’s AAR. If your goal in reading this AAR is to decide rather or not to take this class from Stephen, spoiler alert, do it…this class is fun as shit! Stop reading now and sign up! I very highly doubt you will be disappointed. Not to mention, if you are disappointed with this class the rumor is Stephen will refund your money. You have nothing to lose! Except not taking this class from a good instructor and having a blast. This class is very reasonably priced and only takes a day out of your life. A day filled with information about being honest with yourself and how you use your rifle, some of which I wanted to stubbornly resist. I had to remind myself that I didn’t spend time and money to show the instructor how I do things. Once I put my ego in check I noticed an immediate improvement in my accuracy, recoil management and speed. I had more “ah ha” or “light bulb” moments in this class than I have had in any other training classes. I judge instructors in a few different ways. First, how tactical is the instructors beard? Stephen’s is pretty good but has some room for improvement. Second, how well do they manage time and keep the class moving? Stephen manage our time very well. I never felt bored or anxious. The class moved very smoothly with no down time. Third, how well does the instructor connect with me and make his points? I felt that Stephen went above and beyond on this one. He spent time with me explaining how small changes in my shooting technique can improve my speed and accuracy. He told me things like “Dude that high elbow C Clamp grip your rocking makes you look like a douche.” and “Hey man 2009 called and they want their dynamic mag changes back.” Ok, only JOKING Stephen never said any of that. He did however take the time to give me and all the other students some one on one instruction. Fourth, how is the attitude and vibe of the instructor throughout the class? Again, I feel Stephen did a great job. Never losing sight of safety or what we were doing. While maintaining a light hearted and fun atmosphere. It’s amazing how a few well timed dick jokes can boost moral on a very long hot Texas day. After leaving the range the good times continued at the local Chilli’s with beers, buffalo wings and new friends. Stephen is one of the nicest guys I have met with a passion for teaching. I will continue to take his classes.
- Stefan S. (San Antonio - 6/14)
Fundamental Carbine - Attended the M3 Strategies Fundamental Carbine Course hosted by Stephen Pineau in San Antonio. First off let me say that Stephen is a very talented teacher and his intentions are to get you to think outside of the box in order to increase your accuracy and speed when shooting the AR platform. He starts by introducing the theory of ballistics in relation to zero in order to provide the student with a fundamental understanding of bullet trajectory and pairing the proper zero with the proper intent of use. The POIs in the course started with basic sight alignment with the user’s optic, then moving onto to shooting positions and distances. The evolution of the POIs went from basic marksmanship up to increasing speed while remaining accurate. The course was heavily influenced by the need to increase speed while remaining accurate. A majority of the drills are timed and designed to get the shooter to think about how long it takes to place shots while reinforcing accurate shot placement. Malfunctions were probably one of the biggest eye openers, and Stephen’s methodology is one of the best I’ve seen. Stephen really makes an effort to ensure each student understands the concepts and ensures the student is progressing through each POI, and offers his knowledge and insight to correct any issues anyone is having. M3′s overall structure and philosophy really adds value to any shooter at any level.
- Bob (6/14)
Fundamental Handgun - As a relatively new shooter (I started shooting in June of 2013), I have managed to collect and shoot regularly on a decent array of calibers and brands. Since catching the bug I’ve shot .22, 9mm, .38, .45 ACP, .45 Colt, 12 guage shotguns, several AR-15′s and an AK-47. I am fortunate enough to live near a range and for 6 months I went to that range at least 5 times a week. I picked up my home state CCW (including Utah) and holster certification at my local range. I also took the Sig Sauer pistol armorer’s class and will soon attend the Sig Sauer 1911 and Glock armorer’s classes. From a training perspective I’ve taken a one-day class with Larry Vickers, the Massad Ayoob MAG-20 class and the Sig Sauer Handgun 103 and 104 classes. When I was looking for another training class I looked at a lot of options. One main consideration was travel distance and obviously the reputation of the trainer. I ran across Stephen Pineau while looking at the magazine release his company was producing for the S&W M&P 9. When I read that he wasn’t former law enforcement or military I was intrigued. Don’t get me wrong, I have mad respect for both of those groups but just because you were one or the other doesn’t mean you know how to shoot or that you can teach. I was hooked when I read that his main goal was to make you a better shooter. I wasn’t interested in hanging out of a helicopter or clearing a safe house. I didn’t need to practice hostage rescue or hand-to-hand combat. I also wasn’t interested in a “fan boy” experience where everyone stands around and asks the instructor a million questions about everything that he/she has ever had an interest in or what toothpaste they use. I signed up for the “2 Day Fundamental Handgun” class that Stephen was teaching in Gold Hill, NC. Living in Virginia meant about a 3-hour drive which was reasonable to me. Unfortunately the weather was going to play a big part in the educational experience. On the first day of the class we were greeted with cold rain most of the day while standing in 2-3″ of good old fashioned NC mud. Stephen was a ball of energy from the first minute of the class until the last minute. He was probably a little more than half my age but was obviously extremely experienced in the art of shooting. I was very glad to not have heard the words “tactical” or “combat” the whole two days. Stephen kept the class moving both days with lots of interesting and unique drills. With a full class of around 20 people it was a chore to keep everyone safe and engaged but he managed to pull it off. Sometimes during drills we would all be in a line firing at targets and at other times he would break us into groups where each group would practice a given skill set in 3 different areas of the range. Each group rotated through all of the different areas. The second day of the training produced high winds that kept blowing down the targets but enthusiasm was still high among all participants. Having been a teacher in college I know the challenge of keeping a group of people engaged and participating in each event. Stephen was constantly asking for feedback and kept pushing us to learn more. I can honestly say that by the end of day one I was wiped out but he was still going strong. While most people left at the end of day one and day two, Stephen was happy to stay and work with individual students after the class days were over. Having witnessed some really bad teaching habits from other instructors I’ve had it was refreshing to see somebody who truly wanted to teach what he knew and was able to do it while having fun. Safety was stressed over and over and at one point he actually stopped a drill because he saw students doing things that could have caused a problem. Best of all, he did it without shouting, cussing, making the students feel ashamed or stupid, and was able to teach a safety lesson in the process. So how did Stephen rate as an instructor? Well, the best way I could say it was that I told him he doesn’t charge enough. It’s like going to a buffett where they keep bringing you food even after you’re full. He truly wants to teach and help you learn and that is a rare gift. Don’t let the lack of LEO or military experience keep you from signing up. He can shoot and he can teach you how to shoot better and that’s what you’re paying for after all. And you get this training without the pretentious egos that can sometimes make the experience less than pleasant. You know who you are….just saying. I would recommend that anyone who wants to sharpen their shooting skills take any class they can with Stephen. He is definitely an accomplished shooter, has tons of energy, a willingness to go the extra mile to make sure you learn all you want to learn and you will have fun doing it. I think there is a misconception among some instructors that teaching has to be a laborious chore and it sometimes looks like “Full Metal Jacket”. If you want to learn, have fun, and feel like you’ve accomplished something in the process take a class from Stephen.
- Bryan M. (Gold Hill, NC – 03/2014)
Fundamental Handgun - Training is something only 1% of the firearms community currently embarks upon annually. I regularly see several shooters whose proficiency does not correlate to the number of rounds they have fired. Here is the shred of advice I can give those that want to be good at shooting. Everything in this world that can be measured competitively has coaches and every great participant utilizes a coach. Firearms instructors are our coaches in shooting. Use these instructors and you will see exponential improvement in your abilities in shooting and in life. I have taken 160 hours of training in the last 10 months under the guise of competent instructors at the time of this AAR. I have experience Range Time Tactical, Tactical Response, Combative Weapon Solutions, NOLA TAC, M3 Strategies, and Haley Strategic. Out of that group of instructors I have found that they all teach a specific mindset and all do an excellent job. However, the one thing in common they all instruct is fundamentals. Stephen Pineau of M3 Strategies has vast experience in instructing others. He has involved himself deeply on establishing a true foundation for shooters coming to him for training. Without immaculate fundamentals you cannot progress as a shooter. Stephen has gone beyond the firearms community and identified fundamental shooting, clearly defined it, and streamlined its delivery to the students in measurable terms. When compared to other courses I have taken the quality of the material presented and clarity of which it was presented both times Stephen was instructing in both pistol and carbine was of the highest quality. Stephen is a firearms instructor for a living. His passion to be the go to instructor in Texas leads him to establish class material that is unequal in quality. If you have taken a class with him in the past you will be thoroughly impressed and the level of development he has invested in his material. The class was smooth and deliberate, minimal downtime and Stephen is well organized. There was plenty of time to cover extra material at the end of the course and move on to more advanced applications. Everyone had an opportunity to ask ample questions, redo drills they felt they needed to hone and plenty of time to fix anything they had improved on. The best part is you can record with a real value your time and your hits on every drill so you can test and evaluate how you have improved to balance speed and accuracy. I witnessed shooters with 10 and 20 years of shooting behind them learn more in the first 150 rounds with Stephen than they had in thousands of rounds fired in recent years. You need to take a fundamental course with Stephen; if only to prove to yourself that your foundation in fundamentals is solid and to have an excellent instructor confirm and solidify that for you. Shooting with Stephen is also incredibly fun. Everything Stephen does has some sort of enjoyment or performance or competitive aspect to it. Sign up for a course, sign up a friend or two and you’re going to have a great time.
- Wesley (Cresson, TX – 04/2014)
Fundamental Carbine - Let me just say first and foremost that this class was awesome. Being a former Cavalry scout in the United States Army, we focused heavily on becoming the best we could with our weapons but there was always something missing, and this class showed me what it was.It opened my eyes on what I need to work on Fundamental wise and what I could do to work with the rifle to make myself better at using one. Also this is my first written review so forgive me if I ramble at parts. The class was held at Triple C Tactical Shooting in Cresson, TX and Instructed by Stephen Pineau. I’ll have to say I was a little nervous going to this class. I wasn’t sure how I would do or how Stephen would be as an instructor. When the class started Stephen had us introduce ourselves and asked if we could tell the class why we were there. There were civilians, law enforcement, and prior military and for the majority of people and myself we just wanted to become better shooters with are carbines since they are not our primary weapons system. Stephen talked with us and told us what we all knew but may have also been worried of saying. We were there to have fun. Having us say that at the beginning of the class really set me in a comfortable and relaxed mood so I was able to taken in everything I could. At the start Stephen went over safety and how it was important to be at all times. As I saw in the class nobody broke any firearm safety rules and knew what they were doing. He also went over zeroing at different set distances and where the bullet would impact at certain distances. He even had a really good aiming system if people were using a 4 MOA red dot to shoot out to at least 400 yards easy. He also discussed how it really depended on what you were using the rifle for and what zero would benefit you the most. I used a 50yd zero during class but feel that I will be switching to the 100yd zero since I don’t see myself shooting any farther then maybe 150 to 200 yards max. After going through these talking points Stephen had us make sure we were on paper at 25, 50, 75, and 100. I had a little trouble since I have trouble seeing at far distances and the rain kept getting all over my optic. At one point Stephen showed everyone how if you had a two point sling to use it as a sort of tension to keep the rifle extremely stable. I will have to say that I had a single point and was wishing I had a two point by the end of the class. Of course you should train in every case cause you don’t choice the moment. After making sure we had zeroed are rifles we started going over shooting positions in the sitting and kneeling. Stephen explained how these positions can be extremely stable but took time getting into. As we shot in these positions we had continuous hits at 100 yards easy. Once we shot from these positions we shot standing and went over grip and placement of the rifle in the shoulder. I will have to say I wish we could have gone over this just a bit more as I was having trouble getting the consistency of the grip. When I did get it I was completely blown away on how the quickly I could get back on target. We then went over a few other drills such as reloads, Tac reloads, not pinning the trigger, malfunctions, and offset. A quick note with the malfunctions, in the military they go over a long process of! taking care of a type one malfunction. Stephen showed us a simple tap the magazine to make sure it was seated, rack and roll, were you rack the charging handle and roll the gun so gravity can help get whatever is in the gun out, and then bring it back into the fight. These drills are some of the biggest things I’ll take away from this class. His malfunction clearing for complex malfunctions seemed a little complicated at first but once we started putting them to practice it was one of the best ways I could even think of clearing a malfunction. After awhile we started running some of Stephen’s drill to incorporate what we learned and to see where we needed help at. I’ll have to say that I personally need to work on offset, placement of the rifle, and also to not pin the trigger which I do a lot. One of the many drills that we ran that I enjoyed was the Bermuda Triangle. Of course Stephen has showed this drill on his youtube page, having us run it was an eye opener. I’m not the heaviest guy in the world but I sure know I need to work on my cardio after that drill. As the class came to an end we all got to shoot our certificates as a final drill. I really enjoyed this cause it is a constant reminder of what I can work on and to always remember to apply the fundamentals. As we wrapped up Stephen asked us to give him good feedback, bad feedback, and a way he can improve as an instructor in our eyes. We all gave him feedback on what we liked and didn’t like about the class. Other then the rain and cold weather the class was a blast and like I said in the class it will not be my last with M3 Strategies. Some notes I have from the class are: • Bring a two point sling. With the way he teaches you will take so much more away if you have a two point sling to use. Make sure it is an adjustable one. • Make sure you in moderate shape. I’m not saying if you’re a little heavy don’t come I’m just saying if you want to run some of the drills you need to be able to run/jog at least 50-100 yards. • Bring an AR-15 style rifle. If you only own an AK or some type of other intermediate cartridge rifle then bring it but to get the full benefit and really learn all you can, try and bring an AR style rifle. • Fundamentals can sometimes be forgotten. I remember on some of the drills I would look at my target and realize that I’d forgotten to shoot during my respiratory pause, and missed my shots. It’s not bad to go to a class like this even if you are a “shooter” The fundamentals can always be worked on. Some takeaways I took from the class. • Work on offset. In the military when we shot at close range is was just bring rifle up, bang, bang, bang, and bring rifle down. From this class focusing on shooting at smaller targets really help focus on where the dot needs to be placed and working the trigger instead of just slapping it and hoping for the best. • Breath! I learned that I liked to just get on the trigger and hammer away and I need to remember to shoot during my respiratory pause instead when I just feel like it. • You don’t need to pin the trigger. Stephen had gone over why pinning the trigger actually slowed you down when it came to follow up shots. I know I was one of those people who would constantly pin the trigger back after every shot instead of letting it reset in recoil. I’ll be sure to work on this from now on. In Closing if you are looking for a great class on working your fundamentals and putting them into practice then GO TO THIS CLASS!!! For the price point and what you are going to learn I see no better option. Get out there and train!
- Ethan J. (Cresson, TX – 04/2014)
Fundamental Carbine - I have taken 4 classes that specifically dealt with carbines. These included: DRFT(Carbine 101), Tarrant County Sheriffs Department(Civilian Use of Combat Carbine 1 and 2), and one with an undisclosed group of bad-asses(Advanced Combat Carbine). Each being very unique and very helpful in their own ways. At the start of the day, the range where the class was held was kind of hard to find since it is relatively new and did not have any range markings. The address, that was given in the class conformation e-mail, lead us to an old oil well and left me and a buddy cussing because we thought we had been scammed. However, we were able to find a man who told us where to go and, after a nice drive through a cattle ranch, we found the range. We unloaded our gear and introduced ourselves to the other students while we waited for Stephen to get through hanging and bagging our first targets, it was raining so the bags helped keep the targets intact. When he arrived, he said hello to some of the students who had taken a handgun class the day before and introduced himself to us. He had us go around and say why we were there and I felt that helped Stephen assess where the class stood as a whole so he knew where to start with the instruction. We moved on to a safety brief, which I appreciate because I have been to a class where the instructors safety talk was, “y’all know firearms safety right?” and that was it. So, it was great to know that he took that very seriously. He then asked who had a med kit and, more importantly, the training to use it should we need to call careflight in the event of a student getting wounded. That was a great thing to see, I personally have had one combat first-aid class and I hate seeing dicks who think its a cool piece of kit and carry an Combat First-Aid/Trauma Kit yet they don’t know what to do, in case they have to use it. Then he moved on to practicality, what we would use if we actually had to deploy a carbine in a defensive role. We don’t want to be the idiots that show up to a class in a kit that a DEVGRU operator would be jealous of, decked out in multicam, with ops-core helmets with NODs flipped up looking like we were going to HAHO jump into the local Staples to refill our ink cartridges. That was also great to see because, I have been to a class with the local Sheriffs Departm! ent where they REQUIRED plate carriers. Totally unnecessary for the type of class we were taking but, I guess it was a liability thing and they just wanted to cover their asses in case a student took a round to the chest. Then we covered basic ballistics, and we “rough zeroed” @ 25 with an understanding of trajectory just to get close, but “fine zeroed” and confirmed at our actual zero distance of 100yrds. This was a GREAT talk. 1 because some guys that zeroed at 50 were also able to see where their rounds impacted at 100, which helps in developing a better appreciation for necessary hold overs/unders. And 2 because, out of the 4 other rifle classes I have taken, Stephen was the first one to actually show on paper what your dot would look like at different distances. I run a 2MOA Aimpoint PRO. Before the class, I never put together the different aiming points to compensate for dot size. If you don’t know what I am talking about then I guess you need to take the class . We also did multiple drills from a 100-10yrd drill utilizing different shooting positions and the Oh-So-Popular “Bermuda Triangle” to a few more advanced drills covering accuracy and fixing malfunctions. I am not going to go into detail of some of the drills in order to secure class functionality and drill privacy on the side of the instructor. On another note, the flow of the class was a little slow do to the mud and the rain but I, along with maybe one or two other students, liked the weather. It helped us learn what to do when our optics get wet and if our rifle gets gunked up because of the muddy magazines or accidentally getting mud in the bolt. This was real world shit and I was 100% glad to get the knowledge. Also, I FUCKING LOVED the way Stephen ran the class. Like I said earlier, I have been to 4 previous rifle classes and I can still admit that I am not perfect. When I, or anyone else for that matter, was doing something wrong, he didn’t call you out and make you feel like a complete idiot in front of the entire class. He woul! d just co! me up to you, tell you how to fix it, tell you a reassuring, “Easy Day” *fist bump*. That, to me, was awesome. On Scales of 1-10, 1 being the least and 10 being the greatest: Instructor Knowledge – 9. There was an AK guy in the class, he felt a little left out because the instruction was mostly for AR guys. also the lefties felt a little left out as well. He did say that those were good points and he was working to remedy them. Class Fluidity – 8. That is not the instructors fault. The mud and the rain did make it hard for faster transitions to different drills. Knowledge for future use – 10. The drills for rough zeroing at 25m for 50 and 100 yards was a valuable lesson that I will remember for the rest of my life. As well as all of the improvements in my shooting, stance, and different position. my favorite being “Cinna-sticks”. Like I also said earlier, if you don’t know what I am talking about, take the class. Overall Enjoyment -10. the class was fun as hell and it was a very friendly environment both from the instructor and the fellow students. I have been to a class where the instructor intentionally created a hostile environment where the student was left feeling panicked and confused. This class was not like that and i appreciate it very much. All in all- Stephen WILL get my business again, no doubt about it. GREAT guy, GREAT class, GREAT knowledge. Reading this, you obviously cant hear the tone in my voice for how much I loved this class. It was hands down the best carbine class I’ve participated in. I would and will recommend M3 Strategies to anyone looking for a great training organization. On my list from 1 to 5, 1 being THE BEST and 5 being THE LEAST, the list goes at follows. 1. Bad-asses Class* 2. M3 Strategies 3. DRFT 4. TCSD 2 5. TCSD 1 *the only reason the Bad-asses Class holds top spot is simply because of the group of guys that I was with and the list of instructors included personal friends and former Army CAG operators that I worked with.
- CLT H. (Cresson, TX – 04/2014)
Fundamental Handgun - My feedback on M3Strategies Fundamental Handgun training in North Texas Hello fellow firearms enthusiasts, this writing is to provide you information on some great fundamental handgun training I just received in Cleburne, TX (just outside of Dallas/Fort Worth). Although, this training was held in North Texas, if you are located in other areas of the US, you may still want to read on because I have seen them schedule classes outside of TX. The training was provided by Stephen Pineau of M3Strategies (http://www.m3-strategies.com). This type of instruction is not easy to find and if you did find it, you may still be hesitant. Is this training for you? It could be if you seek training that will improve your handgun marksmanship and handling…whether that is for defense, sport or competition. If your job involves carrying a handgun, I think you would find this training valuable. Chances are if you are reading this post, then you are the type of person suited for this class because you have a keen interest in firearms and gear which this class will help you get better at using. If you are new to firearms and have taken several classes and lessons at your local indoor range and are asking, what’s next to get to the next level? Then M3Strategies is for you. The range location is outdoors and well setup to allow much better freedom of instruction then one would find at a typical indoor range or classroom. That combined with Stephen’s from the heart and gut delivery provides the group a fast paced and dynamic setting. There are no chairs (unless you bring your own foldup), no projector, no foils which have been scrubbed by management and lawyers so that every word has been ultra-cleansed for the masses. Those things would only slow the class down and Stephen likes to stay on the move. He is not reading anything…its marker on target board with the group gathered around as he explains in detail the site picture or trigger pull. Stephen tries to cram as much into the day as possible. New targets go up quick, reloads just as quick. No breaks. While you sit on your ammo can and wolf down a sandwich around noon, he will continue to lecture the group on some important aspect of firearms manipulation. This environment is rather Spartan when compared to the A/C cooled, cushy chaired environments of some classes. But, if you want to break a sweat, challenge yourself, get deep and go through some of the most comprehensive drills you’ll find, then this is the perfect setting to get down to business. I don’t think I have been so focused on any subject for a whole day as I was that day, personally or professionally (and I work in IT). That is because once Stephen starts, it soon becomes apparent this guy loves doing this, he is ALL IN. He wants to teach it as bad as you want to learn it and pretty soon everyone is ALL IN. He holds nothing back. What he knows, he wants you to know. And what he has to say may not always be “main stream” or “text book”, but it is what he believes through experience. You realize that you have entered firearms training Nirvana and whether you are rookie or experienced, you will find yourself fully immersed. There is no room for day dreaming here guys. He keeps the pace moving, so there is no time to look at birds or check messages on your phone. Stephen has obvious lived it, he has sent endless rounds down range, he has competed and he has received information firsthand from top shooters in the country. But he is still a regular guy….you will be hard pressed to separate him from the students until he starts. There are no formalities with him. The entire range is his classroom and the place to teach is the place where Stephen stops to make a point. You literally move all over the range and the variety of experiences keeps it fresh. Listen, I don’t want to go overboard here. For months I have been a sponge off sites like this for information from guys like you on so many things (thank you). I’ve come across something good and I want to spread the word. Plus, when someone gives there all to teaching me something, I want to give something back. I am new to firearms but this fundamental handgun class is far from being just for new guys. It is fundamentals deep dive with live fire drills which goes way beyond typical self/home defense and CHL training. There was a LE officer in the group who stated this 1 day class taught him things which his formal training did not. There was a student which had taken serious training before and he learned new things from Stephen’s delivery both in marksmanship and manipulation. Most of us have probably had basic training on malfunctions. I’ve had 5 other pistol/AR classes in the past 3-4 months (been on a binge) and each one covered malfunctions with dummy rounds and minor practice…I was familiar but did I know enough to clear a malfunction under stress? NO! Hell a week ago I bought dummy rounds because I knew I needed to practice. But let me tell you, after Stephen’s malfunction drills…I now know. Everyone in the class now knows. And that’s what he does, he takes you from “I think I know” to “I know”. He does this by going into more detail than normal, yet in a clear way, demos the concept himself with enthusiasm and then hammers it home into everyone through a series of very effective drills which sometimes involves speed and time. If you are in Texas and want some serious handgun training (they also have AR training which I hope to take), I would encourage you to go check out M3Strategies (http://www.m3-strategies.com). If you are a group, club or organization (including LE and Security) with people needing this training, I would encourage you to get Stephen over. If you are out of state and think you can round up enough people to sign up for this type of training, I would check with M3Strategies if they will come over and do a training in your state. You will get your money’s worth and then some. We each shot about 450 rounds that day and it was agreed by all that no round was wasted. Do not be intimated if you are new, do not think you know too much if you are not…if you want to get better with firearms just get into one of these classes. At the very least, you will have a great time running through several drills with your firearm and what you already know will be greatly reinforced. At the end of my day there, my main thought was WOW, how awesome was that? I am not associated with M3Strategies in anyway nor do I personally know them other than as a student for a 1 day class. I have not and will not be compensated in any way for this write-up. This is a personal view which I will post on firearms related sites which I am a member of our visit for information regularly.
- Mike N. (Cleburne, TX – 4/14)
Fundamental Handgun - A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to take the fundamental handgun class offered by M3 Strategies, Steven Pineau. I went into this class with a working knowledge of my firearm. I am ex army and had only had true experience with my M4 carbine and hadn’t really trained with a pistol. I do have my CHL and looking back I’m surprised I even considered myself qualified to carry, until now. As a side note, because I found this out more as the day went on, this class had a wide array of shooters. Some of us new to actual training with a handgun, some of us had even taken Steven’s classes before and wanted a refresher and to learn the new things Steven had learned from the last class. We even had an armed security guard that wanted to hone his skills. We started the morning with range set up, and a thieving goat standing in the front seat of Steven’s car eating his breakfast. The goat is a story you’ll have to ask about when you take a class from Steven. After we had hung targets we loaded up our mags and got our range gear on, eye pro, ear pro etc. Steven began the class with a safety briefing. He used the age old model from the NRA but with his own version that makes you understand the rules in a real world way. We were after all on a live range with loaded guns, this is not a class given from a bench. The first round of fire was simple, 10 rds from 5 yards as fast as you’re comfortable with. This was a basic assessment of can I even draw and shoot straight. Steven then went into a discussion over proper grip and stance. He even went into different variations of the grip. This part stood out to me because he made sure that everyone knew they don’t have to shoot this way or that, but in a way that was best for you. We took to the line again and were asked to fire 10 rds again with the focus on proper stance and grip. I will say that a lot of us shot a little worse. The problem with doing it the way I was it was inconsistent. I had no way to know what I needed to focus on to adjust what i was doing wrong. This played into the rest of the day from then on, good groups and being able to know why they were off to the left or right, high or low. Already early into the day and being able to diagnose what was going on. Steven makes a good point to check all shooter in the different stages of firing and giving individual tweaks to either the stance, the draw and the grip from the draw through to the firing. We went through the day practicing from different distances, different target sizes all the while Steven’s focus being accuracy. You can shoot fast and miss all over the place, or you can slow down and get a quarter size group. Steven teaches us the balance between the two which bring me to M3′s 50 point test. This test is from the draw, shot on a B-8C target. Steven uses a competition timer and goes to each shooter on the line individually to test us. This is where the class got even more fun because now there was an element of competition. We fired 5 rounds, all focused on accuracy with the element of time added. We did this for a few rounds which really hammered the skills into place about the balance of fast shooting versus accuracy. After this we moved on to reloading drills. Steven grouped up together to show us the basic way to grab and load a magazine and even how to preform a tac-reload. You will use your equipment here, it will get dirty dropping your mags into the dirt, again this isn’t shooting at a bench. We started with the basic reloads, fire a few rounds, drop the mag, grab the fresh one reload and continue firing. Every shot you fire will be at an ever changing target so there is no wasted round, you will get your moneys worth. These reload drills evolved into a sequence of different round count mags on a charging pattern of targets. This caused us to not only focus on the reload but on the changes in targets as well, surprising not as easy as it sounds. Steven does make sure that you don’t have a lot of static shooting situations which will evolve your training to real world and competition shooting. The next evolution in training was malfunction drills. Steven talked about the different types of malfunctions you may see in everyday shooting and gave us a break down of his two way to clear all of them. We staged malfunctions in our weapons by placing expended brass after a few rounds of live ammo. This would cause a failure to eject and allow us to go through the process of removing the malfunction while retaining our good magazine. We went through a drill Steven called ‘Malfunction Mayhem, which was probably the most exhausting part of the day. 3 full mags loaded with live and expended rounds fired on a human sized target with three hit boxes. You begin at the head, then move to body, then pelvis changing the order each time, with the mags all loaded differently. It a huge cluster at first because your trying to keep up with shooting order while your weapon malfunctions randomly. I feel this is probably the most effective way to even attempt a solid base of what to do when the gun doesn’t go bang. The last part of the day was spent training on how to shoot with a single hand, strong and weak. Sadly, I found out that weak hand only was the best shooting I did all day. Go figure. After a couple of rounds of practice with these shooting styles we moved on to “Dot Torture” This was a test fired from only 3 yards onto a page of small circles. Doesn’t sound hard but it was a culmination of everything we had learned through the day. 5 rounds per circle from various shooting styles, depending on your weapon you would have reloads in the middle of some of these and we even had someone stovepipe and got to add his training into it. We all laughed at the 3 yard distance, and no one shot the course of fire cleanly. We moved onto the final course of fire for the day. 3 distances, 3 mags one with 5 rounds one with 10 and one with 15. at 20 yards we shot normal stance, at 15 we shot strong hand only, and at 5 we shot weak hand only. We choose which magazine we used at each distance and had 30 seconds to fire each line. This test was a culmination of every fundamental we had been taught and everyone was happy with their performance. I don’t know how long each activity took us because there was no point that I felt I wanted a break. Steven has a way of making you feel like a sponge and I didn’t see anyone that wasn’t eager to keep going. I haven’t had many classes, but after this one I can’t imagine ever taking one from anyone else. As I said before people had already taken this class and come back again. Steven doesn’t ever stop learning and refining himself and he directly puts this into his classes. It doesn’t matter who you are this class will benefit you and I for one will be back. See you on the firing line,
- Josh C. (Cresson, TX - 2/14)
Basic Handgun - I attended the M3 Strategies Basic Fundamental class 2/22/14 because of recommendations from people who took the course in the past. They kept encouraging me to attend the course, so I went ahead and signed up. As a woman, I was a bit stressed about the course because I figured it was going to be all tactical, hardcore firearms teaching. However, to my surprise, the course turned out to be very informative. As I was the only woman in the class, Stephen made me feel comfortable and helped me when I needed individual attention. As a novice shooter, this class helped me with recoil management and other techniques I needed to work on. I will continue to practice the techniques learned. The only disappointing thing of the course (which Stephen had no control over) was the fact that ammo is difficult to find. There could be some additional dry firing drills to conserve ammo.
- Tina L. (Cresson, TX - 2/14)
Handgun 1 & 2 - It’s clear that when you watch Stephen teach that he care about the curriculum. He is articulate and thoughtful in his presentation. Anyone seeking to increase their performance should seek out his instruction.
- Kyle H. (US – 2014)
Handgun 1 & 2 - As an officer in the US Army, one would think that oodles of training are available. Not so. Restrictions on dollars, priority to deploying units and other anomalies are effecting the ability of units in certain locations to go out and spend real time at the range. Based on that reality, it was highly recommended to me that I go train with Stephen. After 2 days of long training, expert advice and lots of trigger time I came to a few conclusions. The most glaring was that: STEPHEN’S CLASS IS TOP NOTCH!!! I have never received the type of training in the military that I did with Stephen. His fundamentals are fantastic and his training curriculum is based on physics, his technical expertise and the mentorship he has received from big names in the shooting industry. I would highly recommend you TRAVEL to one of his classes and see for yourself. You WILL be a better shooter, your mindset will change and you will become a more conscientious confident citizen capable of exercising your 2nd amendment rights.
- Kevin R. (Cresson, TX - 2014)
Trauma Treatment, Advanced Handgun Manipulation, Defensive Handgun - To start of with, Stephen has caught flak over the years that he is not military and most people think one needs to have worn the uniform to teach. I myself, am a medically retired NCO and I can tell you first hand other NCO’s in my Unit could barely teach a private how to tie their boots, let alone fire a rifle effectively. Stephen is a student of the gun, and he IS one of few people that evolve and change his curriculum if he finds that there is a better way to do a specific task. He conveys the information to the student in the most direct and simplistic manner so the student does not have to over analyze what they are learning. During the time that I’ve known Stephen, both professionally and personally, he has been an outstanding mentor and friend. During the two classes I’ve attended, Stephens attention to detail and safety is second to none. He does not overuse the word tactical, and takes a more practical approach, even at one time asking why people were at a certain course of his instead of taking an open hand defensive course, or a class in tactful speech. During the classes, drills and courses of fire are staged and planned to reinforce the lessons of the day and to continue repetition of the topic at hand. I highly encourage anyone that is looking to maximize their proficiency with their chosen firearm platform to seek out and train with Stephen.
- Mathew C. (Round Rock, Texas / Las Vegas, NV - 2013)
SWAT Firearms Training - Stephen is a brilliant instructor. He shoots extremely well and imparts his knowledge on other in a way that everyone understands. I would highly recommend any class he teaches. The courses of fire he presents will not only make you a better shooter but a faster, more accurate gunfighter. M3 is the way to go.
- R. S. (Rockwell, TX - 2/14)
HG1 & HG2 - Having never trained with M3 Strategies, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Stephen is a younger trainer in the industry but he has the experience and the know how to make great shooters. You can tell he has done extensive research on each of the topics discussed. He knows not just how to implement each drill but why. That is something that will bring me back to his classes in the future.
- ChadZ. (Pinckney, MI 10/13)