NES Member
Rating - 100%
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May 16, 2011
West of Boston

Defensive Pistol
May 18, 2019

Weather: Everything… Morning raw 43 misty, cloudy, some sun in the late afternoon high 61 with wind.
Clothing: Jeans. Base-layer midweight top, T-shirt (Scooby-Doo), Hoodie, Merrell hiking boots. Morning wore a down vest.
Number of students: 11 (including myself) One student left durring the class due to his knees hurting.
Time: 8:00-5:00
Cost: $160

M&P 2.0 compact w/rmr, apex duty trigger
Ammo: Fiocchi 115gr FMJ
3 magazines standard capacity (15), 4 Mass compliant (10)
G-code owb mag carrier
NRS pocket mag pouch
Phlster AIWB
Mean Jean leather belt

Round Count: 500-550 Fiocchi 115 gr. FMJ
Backup guns if primary fails. Glock 19 (not needed)
Backup ammo if primary was bad lot Federal 124gr. (not needed)


First time at RIDGELINE TRAINING CENTER, Dalton NH. ( Beautiful ride up through the NH mountains. 3-hour drive from my home. Looks like it will be tremendous place once completed. Lots of dirt moving and digging going on making and improving many ranges. The range was hard packed dirt, easy to move around and not slippery as sand can be. A few puddles off to the side but no low spots on the shooting area of the range.

Met Ben at the entrance to the complex and he gave us directions to our range location. It was a large range with a dozen targets set up. Met the other students and made small talk as we unloaded our gear. All but one of us were alumni of a class taught by Ben. That says a lot about an instructor and his material. The group was varied in age (approx. 30-60 yrs old) with one married couple (ROCK ON! Shout to my new friends from Swampscott MA)

Ben introduced himself to the new student and collected the insurance waivers. We went around introducing ourselves and what we wanted to get out of the day. For me it was fundamentals.

As 95% of us had taken classes from Ben he skipped his bio and his normal introduction and work history with KIMBER. We listened to Ben talked us through the range orientation, what to do if there was a training accident and medical was needed. People were given jobs in the unlikely event something happened. Who to call, the correct words to say and the words not say.

Ben showed us a simple, safe draw from concealment- demo’ing it a few times from different angles. We talked a lot about the importance of grip. We spent some time really analyzing the proper grip and why it works. Ben would demo the correct grip and he also demo’d the incorrect way of gripping the pistol to show us why it works and how it works. BLINDED BY SCIENCE!

We worked with unloaded pistols for a while getting the grip and draw down correctly. Ben walked the line and gave everyone personalized attention and modification where needed. [I have taken classes where the instructor yells at you and sometimes humiliates you in front of the class if you are not doing something exactly correct. Ben is not one of those instructors. If you need to be adjusted or corrected he does it respectfully and treats you like a human being. NOT ALL INSTRUCTORS are like this.]

First shots of the day are from the 25-yard line into the black of a B8 target. Only in the black counts. OUCH! That’s a tough one from being cold. Most of us had not shot in quite a while so it was a humbling experience. Paraphrasing something Ben said “you’re only good as your first cold shot. If you need to actually pull the trigger in self-defense it’s going to be a cold shot.”

Before each drill, Ben would explain it, demo the entire drill and explain it again. I like that teaching approach. I like to hear the instructions and then see it being done correctly. There was absolutely NO ego with the instructor or any of the students. We were here to learn and he was there to teach and have some fun.

We did a lot of drills. One of the standout drills in the morning was setting your gun up with one in the pipe and no mag. We paired off with one person shooting and the other watched the front sight of the shooter's gun. No movement on the sight when the gun goes click. We always worked from the holster getting the practice. It was great, as I need the practice AIWB clearing multiple layers. Another drill I really enjoyed was the one hole. With your partner, one would shoot a hole in the target and the other person would have to touch his hole with your hole. (the jokes were plentiful) I felt I had the advantage as my partner Bruce was shooting a .45ACP (GOD’s caliber) His hole was big enough it was hard to miss :)

One of the many things that I liked and stood out from other classes, was Ben talking about the drill we were doing in real-world defensive situations. IE You are in a mall and this happens. You are in a bar or a concert and that happens. For me, it was the first time in instructor put us in the mindset of a defensive encounter, rather than just building the skill. We analyzed misses as possibly killed good guys by accident. The real world has consequences. As Ben knows my daughter from his medical class we took together he was able to put me a personal mindset and it worked. I found myself getting emotional. Weird?

We shot from retention right up against the target, if we had a mag change we practiced giving the target a big slap to the face with our pistol as we step back and perform the reload. BREAK his f***ing teeth Ben would say. I loved it. We took turns shooting the rubber dummy in the heart and face. Different experience shooting a 3d rubber humanoid target. Unique -VERY cool experience.

We incorporated movement while shooting forward and backward. Keeping the gun steady and in line with the other students was a new stress as the rate and rhythm of fire were a fast/constant. We learned how to run with our gun out safely and we did. We would run 10-15 yards to the line and then shoot. OH MY! My heart rate was up my muscles were sore and I was making hits. HOW MUCH MORE COULD I WANT? How about relay races? f*** YEAH! BRING IT THE f*** ON…. Hard packed dirt was easier to run on than sand. Thank you Ridgeline!

Ben talked about getting to the skill point of only thinking about your sight picture and holding steady. Everything else should just happen itself allowing most of your concentration to the sight picture when pulling the trigger.

This was a great class. I really liked Ben. He is super knowledgeable, skillful, funny, humble and sometimes appropriately inappropriate. As the day goes on his jokes go downhill. He is a down to earth dude, that is easy to talk to fun to be around.

I have taken this class a year ago and the material has grown and gotten better. It was not the same exact class. We did about 25%-40% the same drills. Most of the drills were new to me. I got a lot out this class, I really connected with his teaching style.

The NH black flies were out in mass. Irritating, need to keep my hood on (of my hoodie) my head to keep them off me. The deet bug spray does not work on them. f***ERS!

In between drills we were picking up the spent brass so at the end of the day it was a breeze to get the range back to clean and ready for the next class.

One of the standout moments of the class was when we were working with at “bad breath” distance with the 3d dummy. After the drill, Ben went around and asked what we thought of the drill. Kathy said she was a little uncomfortable being that close to the target. Ben made a point that if he was the bad guy and he was looking at the group he would target her because she was a female. He took several minutes demonstrating to her and the class how NOT to allow someone to get that close and how to use your hands to block and move off the X. Another student was a martial artist and they demo’d a lot of ways this could happen and how to counter it. Again, this was eye-opening and scary.

Gear issues: did not like the NSR pocket mag carrier. I found it too deep in my front pocket to get to fast. I ended up using the OWB carrier and my back pocket.

Absolutely the most fun training class I have taken.

For perspective, classes I have taken
Tactical Response (x2)
ICE Training (x4)
Cape Gun Works (x2)
Civilian survival School
DRFT Training (x3)
ON Target
Dr. William Aprill
I stayed at East Gate Inn Motel $119/night
Very pleasant workers
Clean basic room with TV microwave, coffee maker, refig. WIFI
Basic clean bathroom
Plenty of towels and pillows
Good flow in the shower
Food store and prepared foods across the street. SHAWs market 5 mins away.
15-minute drive to the range.
Last edited:


NES Member
Rating - 100%
4   0   0
Sep 18, 2016
Western PROM
Great review!
I was the new guy at the class. Everything said is the truth. Ben is an awesome instructor and I hope to take more of his classes int he future. I am still analyzing everything that I was shown and taught. There was so many things in this class you never think about but should. Ben really has a knack of getting things across. It was a great class and lots of fun.


NES Member
Rating - 100%
6   0   0
Feb 5, 2015
Number of students: 11 (including myself) One student left durring the class due to his knees hurting.

3 magazines standard capacity (15), 4 Mass complaint (10)

I've been meaning to take a course with them, thanks for the review.
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