"I like intimate and personal... so honestly I was a tad nervous about taking any gun class taught by men, simply because I have run across a large portion of guys I've shot with now for about 20 years or more and they tend to become testosterone absorbed douche bags once guns and chicks are involved. Now with that being said...


These guys involved in the classes I've taken with this group are hands down great guys. Never once did I feel threatened, or made to feel like I couldn't do it. They are very professional down-to-earth and extremely helpful in teaching and helping one improve on past learned skills.


I avoided handguns prior to this class because I thought (and was told) my small wrists couldn't handle a bigger caliber pistol... Jay and his other instructors proved that to be WRONG. I'm grateful to have met these men and look forward to many other classes with them.


I highly recommend taking Jay's classes whether you're brand new at shooting or have been doing it for years. Everyone has room to grow and improve on any skill in life and this guy is the one for shooting and protection."

- Sherri C.





"An NRA Pistol Instructor's brief review of [Protective Shooting Concepts Protective Carbine Development] Class, 3 Aug, 2013:

Class Size: 6

# of Instructors: 2

Sights: Iron sights only

Class length: Approx 8 hours

Overall Grade: A...if you read no further, be confident that this class will be well worth your time and money.

Class started promptly at 0900. Jay started off with covering several topics including history of the AR15, how manufacturers have differing QC standards and what to watch for when choosing an AR15, why you might want to use an AR for home defense over some other weapons system, the characteristics of the 5.56 round and what happens to it after it leaves the barrel, and above all, strenuously impressed upon us the importance of safety using his slightly modified version of Jeff Cooper's famous 4 rules of safe gun handling for clarity.


Shooting started in the prone position with instruction on how to acquire natural point of aim, then proceeded to the process of zeroing our iron sights for 100 yards.


This was done at 25 yards and considered a "rough" zero. For students who may have been a little pessimistic of the effectiveness of this "rough" zero, Jay demonstrated with a 100 yard shot on steel with each student's weapon: 2 shots per rifle with 2 hits per rifle.


Pessimism squelched. The courses of fire throughout the day were carefully designed to teach students how to compensate for the ballistics of the weapons we used at the distances of the target. Groups got increasingly tighter as we progressed.

Among some of the other training were courses of fire that forced us to think about more than just hitting the bullseye, i.e. initial preparation of a confusing confrontation you may find yourself in when defending yourself and your family.


We were additionally taught different shooting positions meant for stability, and shot both paper and steel in those positions.


When a student cross-fired on another target, Jay brought it to our attention how it was a violation of one of the "4 Rules" having not confirmed his target. When my AR malfunctioned, Jay and Ashton quickly dissected the problem, and instructed me and all students how to correct it.


I state these examples to illustrate that Jay and Ashton were Johnnys-on-the-spot throughout the day, quickly pointing out problems and making corrections. Both of these professionals were attentive, conscientious, and possessed and shared their combined enormous wealth of knowledge and techniques.


When asked what could be improved, I can think of nothing! The course flowed nicely, and all of the instruction was perfectly suited considering the title of the class.I enjoyed myself thoroughly, and highly recommend this class!"

- E. Cooper, Certified NRA Instructor





"I had a great time at the [Protective Pistol Development] class this past weekend. The instruction and the staff were fantastic. I left a much better shooter than I arrived. Can't wait to practice the skills I learned. Hope to see you again soon."

- Jim P.





"Jay teaches his course differently than most carbine courses out there and in my opinion we all need to take a course from his point of view. It is more along how we in the States will come to use a M4 or (M1 Carbine, now that was cool btw) in a defense situation."

- Scott T.





"The week before Christmas I received an email from our friends at [Protective Shooting Concepts] with regards to some personal training opportunities on Dec 27th and 28th. I immediately emailed Jay and asked if we could do some refresher pistol training on the 27th. We agreed to go shoot an early morning session in some balmy 30 degree weather.

We started off the two hour session with a thorough safety briefing that detailed emergency procedures, the cardinal rules of gun safety, and Jay really emphasized muzzle discipline since we were shooting handguns that day. It was a great start to our session and it is always nice to hit home the importance of basic safety rules. After the safety brief, Jay wanted to start the day by shooting some slow fire so he could evaluate my stance, grip, and trigger control. This was the first time that I have had handgun instruction from Jay and he was quick to notice my flaws. Jay has a great eye for detail, and he quickly noted that he had some improvements that needed to be made to my grip and trigger control. We then started shooting some drills. We ran some trigger control drills, worked on reloads, "Bill" Drills, 3 two 1 drills, dry fire 5 times followed by 1 live fire, and finished with some more dry fire tips. Jay also worked with me on resetting the trigger during recoil and breaking the habit of "riding the reset" in my Glock. Thanks to Jay's trigger control tips my speed increased. All draws were made from concealment thanks to our lovely Pittsburgh weather.

The training that I received from Jay was very thorough and detailed in just a short two hour session. It was great to get out and get some instruction to help me get through the "Winter Time Blues." He gave me several key areas of my technique to work on in the future: 1. Improved Grip 2. Trigger control and reset during recoil 3. Reloads, Reloads, Reloads (I need lots of practice) It was a great training session with Jay, and I would recommend his training to anyone especially if you are in the Pittsburgh area. Jay greatly improved my reloads, grip, and trigger control in a short 2 hour session. Jay pays great attention to detail and his "No BS" type of instruction will improve your shooting. I look forward to attending some of Jay's classes this year. If you want some great instruction around the Pittsburgh/Tri-State area send Jay an email. You will not regret it!"

- Justin D.





"[Protective Shooting Concepts Protective Carbine 1

My GF (and I, as the creepy dude onlooker) attended Jay's [Protective Shooting Concepts] Women's Only Carbine this past Saturday at the BV Rifle club way the hell and gone up in western PA. Despite the five and half hour drive from the GF's place, and the 4 hours it took me to get there, it was well worth the trip. Jay was kind enough to let me stay and observe his teaching/training style and curriculum, even though it is just a little more than creepy for a dude to be hanging around an all women's training course. Fortunately, none of the ladies got scared enough to call the police, stab/shoot me, or ask me to leave. This fundamentals class was EXACTLY that. Jay and his staff did a great job of presenting the fundamentals of the AR family to relatively new carbine shooters in a manner that was straight forward and easy to understand. The morning started pretty typical of most training, safety brief, range rules, etc. I found Jay's interpretation and explanation of the "Cardinal Rules" very comprehensive, and especially useful for these women who all knew the Cardinal Rules from pistol shooting and training, but I think many probably followed them to the letter without understanding a lot of the ideas and concepts in Cooper's rules. Jay remedied this with his approach and explanations to this important issue.

Then it was off to zero. Most of the gals could shoot well enough to get some decent groups, and I was amazed at how quickly this part of the course went. Even as chatty as most women I know tend to be, this group of ladies was not a lot of nonsense or gabbing, and they finished the zeroing event faster than any male dominated carbine course I have ever attended or taught. This is including "advanced" courses for LE/MIL where the students are instructed to arrive with a properly zeroed carbine. Three of the women shot full powered 5.56 carbines, while two elected to use M&P 15/22's. Jay's curriculum flows well, and covers the essential information for establishing a solid foundation for follow on training, but can also serve well as a stand alone course if the special lady in your life is not going to pursue carbine training beyond this fundamentals class. There was nothing really "out of the ordinary" or "new" to me. But Jay and his cadre did a great job of getting the information to the shooters, and producing results on the targets down range. It really reinforced my belief that some of the best training available focuses solely on the fundamentals and the basics.

The day was a mix of paper, and steel target shooting, with some scored events, eventually leading up to engaging (correct me if I am wrong Jay) "A/C" zone steel gongs at 100 yards from the standing position. There were some equipment issues, as the M&P 15/22 needs to have ammo it likes. Find the ammo that your gun likes, and stock up. The ladies using the .22's bought bulk packs somewhat in the blind as they were using loaner rifles and probably didn't know what brand their particular carbine would like. Then during the mini-monsoon that hit mid-afternoon, the 15/22's showed they don't care much for rain. Other than those few minor irritations, the guns ran smooth for the most part. There was a gal running the 15/22 who had brought her 5.56 carbine in hopes to get it zeroed at the lunch break as it was brand new to her, but elected not to run it during the course for the very understandable reason of ammo costs. Turned out to be a very wise decision. Or perhaps just lucky I suppose.

This young lady brought out her Bushmaster, and Jay picked up on a discrepancy with the receiver extension, buffer, and spring. This turned out to be the result of some home armorer work, and was easily and quickly addressed. However further inspection revealed the typical shitty assembly I expect from Bushmaster. Working on this gal's gun I couldn't help be be embarrassed for the poor employee's of that company. What a shit product. The guns themselves are generally fine, but their QA/QC and assembly methods just suck. The gas key staking was pitiful. One surprise did pop up though. The 5.56 NATO marked barrel actually gauged out as a 5.56 NATO chamber. Still, it took about 20 minutes to turn this sack of shit assembly during production to turn her Bushmaster into a functioning and decent carbine. If only BM could spare the extra 20 minutes per gun to do the same thing we did on a picnic table, they might cease to build such shitty guns. Bottom line, I wouldn't take a Bushmaster if it was a gift and came with a B*!

This was the first time I have ever sat on the range all day and was neither student nor teacher. Next time I think I will the nearest Barnes and Noble. Besides feeling like the creepy dude stalking the all women's course, I found myself bored to tears at times. Not wanting to be in the way, or appear any creepier than I already did, I stayed far off the line, and well away from the action most of the time, which also meant I missed out on Jay's little nuggets of knowledge and wisdom as they popped up during training. I am quite sure I missed out on a lot of worthwhile information. Being half deaf certainly didn't help matters as I tried to eavesdrop from a distance to score some more information. At the end of the day, my girl walked away with a new level of comfort and confidence in the carbine and her ability to hit realistic sized targets out to 100 yards. This was her first real training, or trigger time (other than the bench) with her AR, and she definitely came out swinging. She thoroughly enjoyed the course, learned a ton, and is already talking about "the next course".

Thanks to Jay and his cadre for putting on a great course for the ladies and for letting me creep. I highly recommend this course to any lady looking to get familiar with the carbine, and learn the basics and fundamentals the right way, the first time around. Awesome course Jay!"

- Sean M

Military Special Operations Trainer






I'll again say thanks. It was a great class for me. After reflecting on the class I can say it did 3 things for me. 1. The class confirmed things I thought I knew. 2. The class completed my knowledge with things I understood or was aware of, but didn't have a complete grasp on or knew the reason behind it. 3. The class taught me some brand new things. So an all 3 accounts "learning occurred" as the saying goes. I'm looking forward to range time to personally work on my skills, as well as looking forward to the next step up in training when the time is right. I'll keep my eye on your training calendar, so I'm sure you'll see me again. As critique of you as an instructor, you have things pretty well squared away. The drills were appropriate and progressive in design; successive drills built on the previous. You had good control and authority over the firing line. And you took the time when needed, or asked, for personal attention and questions. Ditto for Ashton. Take care."

- Greg A.





"[Protective Shooting Concepts] VSM 1 Day Carbine

June 4th @ Beaver Valley Rifle and Pistol Club (BVRPS.ORG)

Instructor: Jay Cunningham

This class is described as: “An entry level course for carbine shooters. This class is geared for those who have not had any formal instruction. “, which described me to a T. I have a few pistol classes under my belt but no formal training in carbine.

It was a pretty warm and sunny day, with 14 students present. One gentleman was on oxygen, and at least one or two students had never had any firearms training what so ever. There were varying types of AR’s present: one SBR, one gas piston, two left handed Stags, several Colts, several DD and several Franken Guns. Jay lent his Vickers DD rifle to one of the new shooters with no experience.

First thing covered was a safety briefing and the first rule of Vickers Shooting Method –Real World Firearms Handling. Jay covered the four rules of the range and real world safety rules and Professional firearms handling. We were admonished to observe the rules constantly through out the day, and encouraged to coach each other on it. The brief included discussion plans to do if someone was shot and a backup plan just in case the primary went south.

We then moved in to zeroing our rifles. Jay described the procedure, and demonstrated on target for us. We used a 100 yard zero by firing 5 rounds and adjusting, firing again, and so on. We spent a better part of an hour getting everybody a rough zero. The class as a whole was using optics.

For the next hour or so, we went over the proper field stripping and lubrication of the AR-15. Jay demonstrated and took the time to explain the components and truths/fallacies of the AR. We had a Subject Matter Expert on lubrications there explaining the differences in oils and greases. He had free samples and answered group questions.

Positional shooting was a good portion of the day. We concentrated on prone, sitting, kneeling, and standing positions. We discussed the other two rules of the Vickers Shooting Method- Accuracy is Final and You are responsible for every round you put downrange. Jay demonstrated each position and gave us tips on how to get comfortable and encouragement to work through any difficulties we had in getting into or maintaining a position. He also covered: stances, reloads, malfunctions, offset, correct firearms handling, and trigger manipulations. We were constantly reminded about safeties and registering a strong off trigger finger position until ready to shoot. During breaks, Jay took questions about everything from gear selection (magazines, slings, etc.) and placement, to where to get lunch. We participated in a walk back drill using a SW 15-22 on a 6 inch steel target. The lucky winner won a Vickers Sling. We all got a sweet Low-Speed High Drag Hat!

I was impressed with how smooth the class went. Nobody got hurt and everybody seemed to be having a good time. Judging by the targets, it was obvious that everybody had also improved accuracy. I would recommend anybody would benefit from taking a class with Jay. He kept it light but serious. Looking forward to the next time."

- Rocco P.





"Jay, Just wanted to say thank you for class yesterday. The class material was laid out and flowed well, I was impressed w/ your presenting and teaching skills also. I will be training w/ you again in the future for sure. Take care,"

- Todd M.





"Hi Jay,Great class! I truly appreciate your patience. I realize everyone else had some experience, and I am amazed at how well you balanced the differences. I was worried about holding everyone back with the very simple things. I usually like to be little more self sufficient in any kind of class setting out of respect for others, but I suppose there has to be first. Thanks for guiding me through it! The only thing I could have done different, is to have gotten a couple hours of the very very basics ahead of time. Like "register position" becoming an automatic grip, ease of trigger finger to firing to switching safety on in a smooth manner, loading, reloading and the difference between when we did a load when we hit the empty round versus loading with safety on, unloading and clearing the gun. (oh and also that damn charging handle that didn’t like me :-) ). I think drilling though these things first, would have allowed me to concentrate more on the technique you were teaching as opposed to the basics of how to even generically perform the step. Of course this has to do with me not the class. I am very happy with everything, and again appreciate how well you balanced this all out. I am sure how people learn makes a difference as well. I am a think before you do learner, but once I have some knowledge I know how to make decisions.Anyway, I will say it again - Great class and thank you!"

- Melanie W.





"Wanted to give a little testimonial about the time I've spent training with Jay. I didn't grow up around guns, didn't grow up shooting them so let me be the first to say I'm a novice. Jay's philosophy to instruction is something you should consider exposing yourself to regardless of your current skill level. The reason I say this is I taught western boxing for some years and also high performance driving so I've plenty of experience being a teacher and more importantly a student. Let me say Jay is first and foremost a teacher and I think a great one. I've gone from really having no idea what I'm doing other than a gun has "dangerous end" to being a decent shot. Jay's instruction has made some pretty drastic improvements for me. The one round in the bottom left of the target was already there "not mine". This grouping was done at 27-28 yards with a Smith and Wesson 1911. The other 5 hits were 5 for 5 with just store bought Remington 185 grain. I know it's not a ragged hole but before working with Jay I can pretty confidently tell you the only hole would have been the one that was already there. Just wanted you to know that there is no way I could have made those hits before training with you and thanks."

- Chris S.

Former driving instructor, current U.S. Army Ranger





"We had a really great time today! You are a great instructor and we learned a lot. I have a feeling next time I may not even be as nervous lol :) Anyway, let me know when you will be free again cuz we are looking forward to the next session. Again Jay, thanks for everything!"

- Kristi P.





"I've worked with Jay a few times now. I've owned AR's since 1991, and THOUGHT I knew what I was doing... until I met Jay, in July, 2009. Compared to what I've learned SINCE meeting him, I realized my previous 18 years were a mere drop in the bucket. If you want to be able to ACTUALLY deploy your rifle when the need arises - as opposed to fumbling everything and wetting yourself - this will be the BEST money you can spend, outside acquiring the rifle itself! Jay is a great & patient teacher, and this training will GIVE you the skills and confidence to tackle a longer course, and avoid becoming, "THAT guy" when you do."

- Bob M.





"Hey gents I saw some people calling a particular AK rifle setup as the Vickers AK - I must point out that I got the idea to set mine up from Jay Cunningham in one or more of my AK classes after seeing several custom AK's - I felt then as I still do now that it is the best all-around package. Just wanted to set the record straight. Now back to regularly scheduled programming......"

- Master Sergeant (ret.) Larry A. Vickers

Vickers Tactical





AAR: [Protective Shooting Concepts] Vickers Shooting Method Kalashnikov Basic ~ Beaver Falls, PA ~ December 18

My previous experience: I should start out by saying that as far as training goes, I have had around 80 hours of training this year, mostly handgun, but some carbine as well. My interest for this class mostly came from wanting an AK and being presented the opportunity to shoot not only the type of AK I want to buy, but one of the nicest out there. That gets the biggest checkmark that one can fit in the "WIN" column. In addition, I regularly try to participate in IDPA matches at the host club, Beaver Valley Rifle and Pistol Club.


It should be noted that Jay is among a few people I give much credit for getting me started into training, as well as helping me with things along the way. I feel most people that know me will see that I am more than objective about the reviews I write, but you never know what someone will say. I try to keep my reviews as close to my perspective, that of a paying customer who is hoping to get what was posted about the class and anything else that can be squeezed out of the time I paid for.

Class details:

The class was hosted by [Protective Shooting Concepts].The total cost was $150 for one day of training. Given that the instructor has a nice collection of AK's, 5 loaner guns were available as well. This made is possible for myself and two others to shoot a gun we are interested in but do not own. The students were required to bring 400 rounds and 3 magazines with a means to take a spare magazine to the line. Given the fact that I was running a loaner gun, this point was great, no fancy nylon and kydex were needed. I will get more into the gear in a bit, but this was a BASIC class, BASIC gear was needed. Fast roping was not on the course description.


We started out in the clubhouse of the range with intros and the usual gun talk. Things got rolling at the advertised time, and actually got rolling well. We had a quick review of the expected safety standards. Given that this was a "foreign platform" (or weapons system if you prefer), a brief history was presented, with many parallels to the Stoner rifles most of us own many of. This part for me, despite spending a good bit of time investigating the gun, presented a good bit of new info on the subject. The most shocking differences I saw was the comparison of the AK magazines vs the STANAG magazines.

The next step was getting into the guns themselves. We had 6 or 7 different AK's in the front of the room that all had features unique to them, as well as a "modernized AK" and a suppressed AK. After comparing the differences, two AK's were left on the table to go over the internals, field stripping, and any other quirks to the design. Given that there was a well worked over AK-105 present, various upgrades were discussed and shown to the class. For myself, this was nice to see a bunch of the parts I will probably end up with for the AK I intend to obtain.

After the inside work, the live fire portion begun with zeroing and an explanation of the zero that is preferred and some discussion concerning effectiveness in between. Given that this was a basic level class, we were doing everything under 25 meters, which is where we zeroed. With the western PA weather being cold and snowy as usual, it was nice to see everyone not only dressed properly for the occasion, but everyone went prone in the snow without issue. After a few strings of zeroing and adjustment, we broke for lunch and warmed up for a bit.

It should be noted that the 25 yard rough zero was presented as just that, a rough zero. Verification at range was the proper way to check the zero and this was discussed. For our purposes, learning the basics with the gun, shooting to 200 yards or more was not worthwhile.


The afternoon continued some sling discussion and presenting from various slings, as well as the quirks of the AK, especially the safety that appears to have been designed to not be used. I was using a SWIFT lever, so I had minimal issues in this area, and I doubt I will own an AK without one. The class also had a few people who were left handed, so folks got to see how the ergonomics of a gun are drastically different if you are left or right handed.

After presenting the gun was discussed, we went into offset/holdover. This was similar enough to the AR for me that the concept wasn't new, but having the sights closer to the barrel made shots on the 1x1 square in the head were a little sketchy at first. Couple that with me trying to win the fastest shooter award and you get a few less than desirable hits, and you may or may not be made into the wrong type of example. All with the benefit of learning for others. A few more strings of fire took us into reloads with the AK.

Reloads with the AK are a little more work than the AR, but they were shown to be pretty easy. I have seen a few fancy reloads with the AK on YouTube, as many probably have, and they were shown as well, but the preferred technique taught was quite simple and far more fool proof.

During reloads, there was one AK that had a few malfunctions that led us right into clearing malfunctions with the AK. And yes, I said we had an AK that malfunctioned. It was a 5.56 AK which goes to show that when you change a design from one thing to another you can drastically increase your chances of having problems. This is a big point that I feel would be blindingly obvious to most people here, but others would still not get it. I am confident the students in the class now understand why you don't want to mess with something so much if you intend to stake your life on it.

One of the final things we worked on was turns, both 90 degree and 180 degree turns. We ran many iterations of turns in order to present a few reloads to the students and then worked on standard vs non-standard response at a distance to where the offset/holdover would come back, but with a few of the other skills learned tied into it. The big learning point was that accuracy was important and people shouldnt forget what is involved in making accurate hits, more so, what may be at stake when those hits need to be made.



As noted above, I had to come back to gear. Given the fact that one cannot purchase competency, we all get worked up over the first useless thing we can, and that is normally gear. I have been fed up with the availability of quality kydex gear as of late and was originally going to dedicate some time to making a few mag pouches to take this class. It was later mentioned that that would be unnecessary and that the class would be taught in a manner that did not require the latest nylon contraption or any of my HALO gear. Holding true, the instructor demonstrated everything from a pair of cargo pants, just as most guys were dressed.

Guns... The AK I was loaned was an AK-105 with an UltiMAK optics mount, an Aimpoint T-1, a Surefire G2 in a Vltor-ADM mount, topped off with a VCAS sling. After much discussion over the past 4-5 months along with the usual internet browsing this is about what I decided I had wanted for an AK anyway, so it was great to use it for a day.

The Swift lever was great, and there were a few to loan out if the gun would accept it, as well as the opportunity to try it with live fire was available as well.


Overall, I very much enjoyed the class and learned more than I have on the internet (SURPRISE!) about the gun in a few hours in the morning. Many of the nuances about using a different gun were highlighted and methods to use the gun were shown to be very easy.

As mentioned earlier, I hope to remain as objective as possible, so in doing so, comparing the class I took to other VSM course reviews I read, along with other basic reviews from classes taught by Larry Vickers himself, I got everything I had paid for. The structure and pace was good and I noticed many times guys that own AK's and have used them for a while were still learning, even in a basic level class. This is probably why "guys who know" will suggest taking more fundamental based classes over taking another Advanced Tactical Truckbed Off-road Platform Shooting Dynamics class. Taking the class with a new gun, or a new way to screw with ones head is another way to also drive home the idea that the basics are key.

- Tom K.





As someone who has twice benefited from Jay’s outstanding ability to organize and host classes, I cannot say enough good things about him. Great things ahead for [Protective Shooting Concepts]!"

- Todd Louis Green





"Since it's approaching winter I don't know how many of you have classes lined up in the coming months and weeks. As has been covered in preceding posts I've been getting together with Jay pretty regularly to prepare for a Viking Tactics Nightfighter Class I finished last week. It's hard to understate the value of consistent practice and preparation for a training opportunity. Some guys go to classes to work out the kinks in their technique but I think this is a flawed approach especially for people like Kyle Lamb. The class was so intense that if I had been working out kinks during class I would have been falling behind and missing out on training. Jay's method is pretty simple and if I may say much like engineering. The Japanese have a word "kaizen" which means a process of modest, continuing improvement rather than revolutionary change.


Basically Jay and I went through my technique to identify and correct problems which at the end of 4 weeks resulted in significant improvement. Because of this I knew my gear would work, I could operate my light and weapon equally well from either hand, my reloads and transitions were smooth and my marksmanship was as good as I've ever been (broke back prone, offhand shooting under a car at 100 yards with first shot hits). When Kyle looked at me and said "You've gotten a lot better, it's coming together for you isn't it?" I was humbled by the compliment, but I also knew it was the result of putting in the work and practice with Jay. Having someone else watch you execute technique gives you two sets of eyes and two brains to troubleshoot technique. This is far more efficient and effective than just going to the range alone. Talking things out and experimenting with what works and what doesn't helps you understand why certain things are done the way they are. Thanks again Jay."

- John B.




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