How Training with Randy Harris Helped Me Pass Rogers Shooting School
While most people in the shooting community have heard of Rogers Shooting School, many are unaware as to the level of training, practice, and preparation needed to be successful. Really, until you go there and make it through your first day, you really don’t have any idea if you have “the right stuff.”
Rogers is considered to be by many one of the top shooting schools in the world. Built around Bill Roger’s innovative disappearing target system, the school pushes shooters to the limit of human reaction times. Multiple targets pop up and disappear during one of the nine drills that make up the Rogers test. Each drill has its own challenges to test every aspect of what you may encounter in a gunfight.
While many of the world’s best shooters have trained at Rogers, I was an unlikely candidate. I have always loved shooting but was primarily a competitor in NRA high power rifle, mid-range prone, and John C. Garand matches. Shooting pistols was just for fun and concealed carry. A desire to learn more about shooting on the move in a more defense-oriented setting led me to come out to one of the monthly training groups put on by Harris Combative Strategies.
It was there that I met Randy Harris and a lot of other extremely talented individuals. It was also there that I first realized that I was way behind the curve when it came to speed and equipment. You don’t know what you don’t know until it slaps you in the face.
My first experience with the training group was both intimidating and inspiring. Shooting in front of others who are more talented than you can be intimidating. However, every time I stepped up to the line, I got plenty of tips and encouragement from Randy and the other shooters. I managed to make it through the day with only one problem.
That problem was that I was, as fishermen say, “gut hooked.”
One training group session turned into a whole lot more, including a class or two along the way. I was fine with a rifle once I got my gear sorted out, but pistol shooting at speed was always a challenge. Accuracy wasn’t a problem. Glacial draws and slow, deliberate shots were hard to overcome. After a few months of slowly getting better, I decided to give myself a goal to reach for.
I emailed Bill Rogers and asked if he would consider running an advanced pistol class during my vacation week. To my surprise, he immediately responded back that he would set up a class for that week. This gave me five months to train.
Figuring that I needed a lot more help if I were going to survive at Rogers, I told Randy what I had done. He didn’t say much at first, but I could see the gears turning in his head. My goal was now a goal for him.
The next five months of training was what I needed to get ready for the speed and focus required to succeed at Rogers. I had the basics down for the most part. Randy fine-tuned my grip, stance, and target transitions. He also helped me work through my gear to make sure I was prepared. Timed drills helped track my progress. Man on man duels during training group added that extra bit of stress I
needed to keep my wits about me when pressured. Shooting multiple targets with both my strong hand and my weak hand pointed out where I needed a lot of work.
Randy also strongly encouraged me to start shooting IDPA. From drawing at a signal to making accurate hits fast under time pressure, Randy knew that this would help me prepare for what I was going to face. After all, Randy was high shooter in his class at Rogers. He would know.
A funny thing also happened. Randy came out of semi-retirement to shoot at some of my matches. His experienced eye allowed him to see where I was having problems and to suggest corrections. He also managed to win the 2022 Tennessee IDPA state championship in the back up gun category after being back for such a short time.
Finally, the big week came. The Sunday night meeting beforehand with the Rogers Shooting School staff and all the students was intimidating. Looking around the room all I saw was experienced shooters that all looked like they had “been there and done that.” Finding out that the US Secret Service Shooting Team walked off after their first day at Rogers made me question my sanity.
To make a long story short, I made it through the week just fine. I was prepared for the incredible amount of stress shooting at Rogers puts on you. Those targets pop up and disappear far faster than you are initially prepared for. Shooting with incredible shooters also pushes you to your limit. Nobody wants to be “that guy.” You want to belong there.
Randy was in constant communication with me throughout the week. We texted back and forth, with me providing my score on the test each day and Randy asking questions and making suggestions. I made steady progress during the week with his help and a lot of coaching from the staff.
My goal at Rogers Shooting School was to gain speed and confidence. I was under no illusion that I was going to be high shooter or complete the course with an advanced rating. I am just not there yet. My hope was to walk out with a basic rating, which meant at least a 70 on the test.
Thanks to Randy helping me on the road I started around a year earlier, I scored an 83 and passed with a basic rating. My ability to hit targets at speed also improved tremendously.
Rogers Shooting School was one of the bigger challenges of my life. If you have been there for the week and shot the test each day, then you know what I went through. Had you seen my skills as a pistolero at the first training group I wandered into, then you wouldn’t believe that I made it.
Without a continued focus on making my self better and Randy’s dedication to making sure his students achieve their goals It would not have happened. I don’t think anyone can walk off the street and pass at Rogers. We all think we were born with the God given skill to shoot like John Wayne. Maybe some of us have that innate skill, but nobody is born with the John Wick skills you need to succeed at Rogers Shooting School. You must train hard to get there.
The motto of Rogers Shooting School is “Be fast. Be accurate. Be the best.” That sums the school and it’s training up perfectly. However, if you want to be ready when you walk up to the firing line, hear the hiss of the air cylinders, and see those seven targets start to appear, you need to train with Randy Harris first. He has been there and done that and his training can help you achieve your goals.