Another day, another group of enlightened students.
May 5th was a bit of a different day for us, having Basic Pistol 1 in the morning and Defensive Pistol Skills 1 in the afternoon. Usually we’ll run BP2 and DPS1 back-to-back, or BP1 and something else entirely unrelated in the afternoon (e.g. AT-4). And apart from being unseasonably hot out, it was a good day.
There are a few things I want to talk about that came out of the two classes, but after thinking about them on the drive home I realized they’re going to make for whole articles unto themselves, so I’ll be writing about them in the coming days. But for now, I can discuss a few small topics.
One thing I always like to point out is demographics. We had men and women, and a lot more women than usual especially for a DPS1 class. We had young folks and old folks. We had folks of various ethnicity/race. We have people of different political persuasion. I point this out because so many people want to stereotype gun owners as redneck, knuckle-dragging, old, white, men. It’s just not the case. Gun owners are all types and kinds, and no question the largest growing demographic is women. Frankly I’m thrilled to see more women shooters coming out for classes beyond basic classes, because all too often they get the basics and stop for whatever reason. Seeing more taking true self-defense classes, not just fundamental skills classes, is wonderful.
Since I have my new M&P Shield, I brought it out. I wanted BP1 students to try it to see how it fit and how a variety of people could manipulate it. And in the afternoon, there was a student that borrowed it for the whole class. She had come out previously to a Basic Pistol 2, had a Sig in .40 (IIRC), but all I recall was it being too big for her petite hands. I let her my M&P9 that day and she fared much better, but even that was still a wee big for her, so we lent her the Shield for the day. This Shield stuff will be topic of another article.
Most of my comments and observations tho are typical for these classes, because much of the same mistakes happen and revelations come to students:
- If you have a CHL, carry your gun. You don’t get to choose when and where the fight is going to happen. The fight will happen unexpectedly, you have to react, you will be behind the curve, and well… if you aren’t prepared, you’re screwed. This isn’t to say if you are prepared you still won’t be screwed, but you need to do all you can to work things in your favor.
- Do not be married to your equipment. This is life-saving material, so ego cannot and should not be involved, nor should money be a barrier. That doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy a $5000 Wilson Combat gun, but don’t buy cheap shit… unless I guess that’s where you value your life. Be willing to discard the gun you have (thankfully most have good resale value) and find a gun that works best for you, THAT FITS YOU (read this), that you can shoot well and are willing to practice with. We work to steer people down this road in BP1. When we get to DPS1, this is where you find out not only that guns with levers and switches and dohickies and gizmos are more problem than solution, but you also find out that your holster sucks, your magazine pouches suck, and you need to do better. Your skill is affected by your gear. No, you won’t be a Grandmaster IPSC shooter on gear alone, but no one made Grandmaster with crappy guns and gear.
- When racking the slide, don’t help it. This is another topic I wish to elaborate on in another article.
- Yes, you have to aim.
- Bottom line: you need to make acceptable hits. All this fancy self-defense stuff means nothing if you can’t hit what needs to be hit. That means marksmanship fundamentals remain well… fundamental to it all. It’s at the heart of what we’re doing, just that much of the self-defense stuff means you have to do it faster, perhaps a little more coarse on accuracy (but still accurate enough), and with some other flourishes and such. But trigger control and sight alignment are still key.
- If you didn’t shoot as well as you wanted to, at least did you have your eyes opened? Perhaps was it a bit humbling? If so, do NOT consider this a bad thing. You now have an idea of what needs to be done, of the level that you need to attain. Now it’s time to work to get there. Consider it all knowledge and learning.
- In the Texas heat and sun, wear sunscreen and stay hydrated. Also consume some things to keep your energy up. It got into the mid-90′s, so drinking say a 1-to-1 ratio of Gatorade and water would be good, so you keep some sugar, electrolytes, and of course water in you.
As a final point, I got to meet “That Guy” from Rock in a Sea of Chaos. How cool!
Updated: That Guy posted his AAR of the class.