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American Handgunner Sep/Oct 2011 Digital Edition - Page 62
occam’s raZor Jeremy d. clouGh Clint recommends doing a large part of your practice, even in bright daylight, using a flashlight. After all, it’s an unnatural act, and if you’re no good at it in practice, you can expect to be really lousy at it when you actually need it. Photo: Heidi Smith. Thunder ranch defensive handGun enerally credited to a 14 thcentury Franciscan monk, Occam’s Razor is the name assigned to the almost-intuitive principle that the simplest explanation for something — is usually the best. It’s also the firm foundation, in principle if not in name, underlying everything Clint Smith teaches at Thunder Ranch. Located in Lakeview, Ore., in the southern part of the state, Thunder Ranch is an 880+ acre firearms training facility, teaching a broad variety of shooting disciplines, from long-range rifle to defensive handgun and urban rifle — this last one being a concept Clint pioneered. With some 40 years as a firearms trainer, which began while he served with the Marine Corps during Vietnam, Clint 62 G Smith is one of the best-known names in the field, and among the shooting schools, Thunder Ranch is Ivy League. Unlike many other big name shooting schools having many instructors, if you come to Thunder Ranch, it’ll be Clint. You’ll spend a lot of time with him and his wife Heidi, who will be your primary contact person as you make arrangements for the class. This 1-on-1 attention and the small class size (usually no more than a dozen people) creates a strong family-like atmosphere, and adds to the unique learning environment. It also means classes tend to fill up quickly, so if you want to go, apply early, and be willing to take a cancellation slot if one comes open. Once you’ve got a seat in the class of your choice, the second order of business is travel arrangements. Lakeview is close to, essentially, nothing. There’s just no easy way to get there. Reno is only a few hours drive, but when I attended Clint’s 3-day Defensive Pistol class, I had business in Portland, on the far corner of the state. I drove some eight to ten hours from the Pacific coast across the Cascades and through the Oregon Outback, a 100-plus miles of high desert so empty you can turn out your headlights and not see a single point of light anywhere on the horizon. It’s dramatic, beautiful country, and well worth the drive. For a hotel in Lakeview, there’s really only one choice: the Fremont Inn, which is nearby, and will send a sack lunch with you each morning. Logic The first day is the lecture, which establishes the philosophical framework WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER2011