This article is ambitious in terms of trying to convey what students experience at Graham Combat’s Three-Day Pistol & Carbine course. I avoid hyperbole when reviewing firearms or training, but in this case, I can’t avoid a few superlatives. I will sum up Matt Graham’s course by stating that, in nearly two decades of attending firearms courses, it is this course that has raised the standard and rejuvenated my commitment to seeking out training.

Graham’s credentials, the ones he can report publically, lend legitimacy to his methods. He is a former police officer from Washington state and a recipient of the state’s Medal of Honor. Motivated by the 9/11 terrorist attack, he served as a Federal Air Marshal. Now he is currently a private contractor providing firearms and tactical instruction for the U.S. Department of Defense, and as such, he is not that well known outside of law enforcement and military training circles.

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In each class, Graham tries to teach as much as possible to his students. The three-day course I attended consisted of 14-hour days that included night fire and low-light evolutions. From the very start, he offered valuable nuggets of information. Graham takes pride in addressing things that other courses overlook or assume their students already know. He embraces the class as a band of brothers, putting everyone at ease and facilitating the smooth flow of instruction. This belies an almost obsessive attention to detail when it comes to his method of instruction. He builds a solid skill so craftily that students are often unaware of it until a culminating exercise puts that skill to the test.

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This article is ambitious in terms of trying to convey what students experience at…