My name is Rob and I have been involved in the shooting sports since 1994 when I bought my first .22LR bolt-action rifle for $75 when I was 19. Yes, this is a "late start", especially for someone who grew up in the South. However, just like the most passionate religious folks are the converts, the most passionate shooters tend to be those that came to the sport later in life and of their own accord.
I attended the University of Florida from 1994 until 2001 and during that long tenure I managed to get myself a Bachelor of Design degree from the College of Architecture and (if I ever get around to writing my thesis) a Master of Building Construction degree from the School of Building Construction. Since leaving school I have been living in Southeast Florida and working for a large general contractor building schools, condominiums, etc.
During college I worked for several years on and off at a local gun/police supply/army surplus store. This gave me access to all manner of firearms to handle, disassemble, and otherwise get a feel for. It was during this time that I bought my first "fighting" firearms in the form of a Glock 19 and an Arsenal SLR-95. This was during the years of the federal Assault Weapons Ban and as such the rifles were all neutered, all the guns came with 10-round magazines, and the standard capacity magazines were selling for upwards of $30 for ARs and upwards of $80 for Glocks. Tough times to be a shooting enthusiast.
I discovered IDPA in 2003 and have been shooting with the local club, Tropical Sport Shooting Association, since then. In December of 2004 we began hosting carbine/handgun matches under the name South Florida Defensive Carbine, or SFDC, and I have been match director and designing courses of fire for these matches since inception. We have modeled what we do at our SFDC matches after the Florida Defensive Carbine Club matches that I shot while in college. Much as IDPA has given me a chance to see a lot of rounds go down-range from a variety of handguns, SFDC has allowed me to do the same, albeit predominately from AR15-pattern rifles and, to a much lesser extent, AK-pattern rifles.
Sometime in 2005 I attended my first professional training class at the Southern Exposure Training Facility in Lakeland Florida. The class was a 3-day Handgun 101 class with Randy Cain of Cumberland Tactics. From this point I began to shift my emphasis with firearms from competition, sport, and "play" to a more serious and directed self, family, and homeland defense focus. I have since attended classes with Bill Jeans, Pat Rogers, Travis Haley, Louis Awerbuck, Frank Garcia, and Shannon Smith. I try to incorporate elements from each of these classes into both how I shoot at matches as well as the course design for our carbine matches.
In addition to the matches and attending classes on my own, I have been running a carbine drills/practice night since 2006. The goal of these sessions, typically for 20+/- shooters, is to convey information I pick up at the training classes but also to produce safe, competent, shooters for our carbine matches by demonstrating basic fundamental techniques and supervising shooters while they perform those techniques as well as offering feedback on ways to improve. Having a chance to observe, supervise, and help shooters of all skill levels has not only improved my own shooting and manipulations but also given me a unique insight into what works and what does not at the micro level. While not commensurate with what a national instructor would observe, intelligent observation at the matches and drills, along with an ability to analyze what we have observed, has given me a rather unique perspective on guns, gear, and basic techniques. Drills nights alone have given me over 150 hours of experience in supervising the training of others.
I am currently the Florida point of contact for Grey Group Training, a national coordinator of training classes for the likes of Kyle Defoor, Mike Pannone, Southnarc, Ken Hackathorn, and Pat McNamara, all of whom we are bringing to the state by the end of 2012. Please contact me for information on any of these classes.
Since 2008 I have been writing for various print magazines including SWAT Magazine, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement, Combat Tactics, Special Weapons for Military & Police, and others.
The Yellow Visor
It was after my first IDPA match that the yellow visor was born. I began wearing it as a bit of a tongue-in-cheek jab at some of the participants that appeared to take the event far more seriously that it really merited. Someone eventually called it the "tactical yellow visor" and it soon became my trademark and a bit of a good luck charm. I now wear it to any shooting-related events I attend, so keep an eye out for it (and me) at SHOT show, state matches, and training classes.