Training is one of those things that many of us seem to neglect. Some of us neglect it to an extreme. The fact of the matter is that you don’t know what you don’t know. There are a lot of new gun owners out there that feel safe because they bought their first gun. They don’t realize that they are in fact far from safe.

That is where training comes in. Training is one of those things that seemingly has a million barriers to entry. Especially these days under the new gun apocalypse where ammo is scarce. First you have to save up money for ammo, then you need to cover the cost of the class. Classes can be incredibly expensive. Into the thousands of dollars in some case. After that there is food, lodging, travel expenses, and then time missed from work in some cases.

I don’t have solutions for every one in every region of the country. As I see and interact with people proposing good solutions to these issues in different regions, then I’ll cover them. With that said, we do have a good option here in the great Pacific North West that I would love to talk about. This group is called the Goon Operational Group and what they’re creating is amazing.

Making Connections.

I’ll be blatantly honest. When it comes to things like training, I’m cautious about who I listen to and who I will train with. I don’t go for any old NRA certified instructor. I am looking for very specific things. As should we all when it comes to training after a certain point. When my buddy Cal told me that he was moving back to the area, I was stoked. It was one more person that I could practice, train, and collaborate with.

He sent me a text and it simply said to call him. I figured he needed some help, so I promptly called him. That is where this adventure for me began. He said that there was a class some friends were putting on in Idaho and asked me if I wanted to go up with him. After the painful 2 week process of trying to get the weekend off (Like I’ve been saying, I’ve been busy.), I finally got the okay.

The one thing that caught my eye was the price of the class and the actual requirements for the class. The cost of the class was cheap. I cant remember exactly, but I want to say it was $100 for the day. On top of that the ammo requirements were pretty small. Sub 500 rounds for pistol and rifle combined. That makes taking a class like this incredibly affordable even for people who are cash strapped.

In the end Cal had to bail, but I still went. I was a little nervous going solo, but I would soon find out that nervousness was unfounded. I got a hold of Elijah, the founder of Goon Operational Group, and he gave me directions to where we could meet up. Little did I realize, I was in for a life changing adventure.

Jayson, Elijah, and Zack. Photo by Jason Scott

The Goon.

I ended up in Idaho at Elijah’s place and to my surprise, they welcomed me in with open arms. That was something I did not expect. Elijah and his wife Tyanna own and run Goon Operational Group. At first glance of their website they do sell some pretty bad ass cloths, patches, and holsters, but they also offer up training. As I mentioned before, training be pretty expensive. Elijah holds the belief that the price of training shouldn’t be a deterrent and that it shouldn’t be a barrier to entry. That belief is reflected in his pricing.

Elijah himself is a shooter. He is a damn humble guy with his roots much closer to us normal folk than most people would probably guess if they saw him in action. I’m always interested in hearing how people progress to get where they’re at and why they went the directions they did. Elijah and I had a very long conversation about just this. He has always wanted to part of something and realized this early on. Like many of us, he started as a sort of adrenaline junky.

He progressed through life with goals and a direction, but like anything, as you go through life your direction can change and adjust. I’m sure we’ve all had this happen to us. Elijah had always liked guns, but fast forward, add a family, and things change. He felt the need to give back and to be a positive roll model for his son. He considered multiple avenues including military and law enforcement, but in the end he saw a need for good training and a lack of accessible training for normal people who needed it.

After much deliberation he made a decision that many of us wish we could. He quit his job and chased his dreams.

Community and Culture

After seeing that there was a void in accessible training, Elijah decided to do something about it. He started a company that not only sells clothing, holsters, and other stuff, but also offers training. That might not sound incredibly special, but it most certainly is.

Elijah uses his platform to be a positive roll model for members of the gun community that stumble upon him. One of the first things that I noticed about Elijah was his environmentalism. What does this have to do with shooting? It keeps all our spots that we shoot open to the public. When I hooked up with Elijah and Zack, one of the first things we did was bust out the garbage bags and clean up public land. Its amazing how inconsiderate some shooters are and how much garbage they leave behind.

Being a good role model and a good steward of the land goes a long way. I don’t know if he had planned it or not, but he has attracted a lot of people. Most of which are like minded. The newer guys coming in get a healthy dose of positivity. They see the importance of responsibility, training, and and being positive role models for our community. It will go along way to putting forth a positive image of the shooting/training/gun community.

One of the coolest things that hit me hard was Elijah’s philosophy behind being a tribe. It is about more than just yourself, we all help each other succeed. We all need to be good role models for our families and other people in the community.

Isaac and Jayson are both amazing educators. Photo by Jason Scott.

Training…

I know the thing most people are probably interested about is the low cost training. How does he do it? Its certainly not easy and he definitely vets the educators that he hosts. Despite a rough start, he has got solid people lined up to disseminate knowledge. What makes things even better is that the people he brings on as educators also have similar mindsets behind training accessibility.

When I went to train with him, he was hosting Intergalactic Operator, aka Jayson. Lets just say that Jayson is a good dude who is absolutely solid. He is a wealth of knowledge, has a degree in a field that is beneficial to training, and his military service is impressive to say the least. He is incredibly thorough in his teaching and he cares greatly about his students. I’ve now trained with Jayson twice. He makes things click for me.

His class was pretty damn cheap and low round count. The key to being low round count was making every round meaningful. The drills all had purpose and were designed to show you where and how to improve. By the end of the day I was able to take my pistol shooting to a much higher level and my ability to self diagnose substantially increased. There really was no need to blow a massive amount of rounds. I think the best way to describe the class was low round count extremely high value. All you have to do is come ready to learn.

For the prices they charge, its a no brainer. This is puts training in the realm of possibility for a lot more people. They also host a handful of good instructors teaching everything from basic pistol/rifle classes, medical, to low light shooting, and even CQB. Keep an eye out on their web site and their Instagram to see what classes they have coming up.

The Overall experience.

I think that is pretty obvious by now. As a group, Goon Operation Group is something incredibly special. It does many things that that are needed in the shooting world. It really all stems around helping people. I had a ton of fun hanging out with Elijah, Zack, Jayson, and the gang. It was a blast camping with them and doing goon sh*t, for lack of a better term. Then the incredible training was the icing on the cake.

I walked away from the experience with a handful of good friends. We all still keep in touch. The community aspect of the group is amazing. What makes it even better is that the environment is incredibly conducive to learning. You will definitely leave functioning on a higher level if you came ready to learn.

I would be lying if I said that there wasn’t good training here in the PNW, because there most certainly is a lot of very good training out here. Its not this cheap or accessible though. Goon Operational Group’s prices are incredible. Their Dec. 5th & 6th 2020 class is a mere $250 for both days. To top it off the total ammo needed is 500 rounds (250 pistol and 250 rifle). The gear required isn’t that bad either. Essentially you’ll need a belt, mag carriers, sling, holster, lights due to low light, and your typical PPE. The barrier to entry is about as low as it will ever be for such a class.

When you couple it altogether with the group of guys, the educators, and how accessible it really is, then its a no brainer. Especially for people who are feeling the financial burn lately. I will say, if you’re in the PNW, then this is a no brainer. Don’t pass them up if you can afford it. I know I’m going to continue my education with them any time I can get out.