I went to the Defensive Handgun 1 class at Thunder Ranch in 1998. If have to borrow the money, GO. You'll never regret it. I'm not saying its the only training facility worth attending but it is, IMO, one of the very best.
Be prepared to sign up for your second class while you are at your first class....so say all my friends who have gone to multiple ones. Go to the 5 day Def Handgun 1 , it is so much more than the very excellent 3 day.
I along with many others have reviewed the Thunder Ranch classes on the 1911 Forum. I'd suggest you take a look and run a search over there. Bottom line is it is a terrific value and the superior education and experience will be with you for the rest of your gun-handling days. Do it!
I have been to Gunsite. Have friends who teach at both Gunsite and TR. Both are outstanding schools.
AZ is hot. So is Texas, but even more humid and with more chance of rain. There are no guarantees. More places to stay and eat around Gunsite. I'll probably take a carbine course at TR next when the guys at DOE go out to instruct just to have a more balanced view
I echo the comments about being ready to sign up for additional classes before you leave! My wife and I have taken Defensive Handgun (a/k/a Handgun 1) and Team Tactics and are scheduled for Team Tactics again next April. (We signed up before we finished the same course in April of this year.) My wife even went back to Handgun 1 Ladies Only course so a friend of ours would go; that's how sold she/we are on the school. We're also going to take Handgun 2 later next year and I'm going to sign up for the Urban Rifle and Precision Rifle courses.
As others have said, just do it! You'll be planning your next trip to TR as you are leaving the ranch. The facilities and the people are excellent.
My wife said it best when she filled out the coures evaluation form at the end of Handgun 1 (her first time): "I came under duress and leave feeling like everyone should take this course!" She was right!
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