Mind your mind (or, what I got from the BP2 class at KR Training, 11 Aug 2012)
Saturday August 11, 2012 was another fine day at KR Training. This time it was Basic Pistol 2. Class was sold out at 16 students, and we had a great mix: about 1/3 women, various ages, various ethnicities, various backgrounds. Yeah… keep trying to stereotype gun owners, keep showing your ignorance by doing so.
Class went well, and went just about as most BP2 classes do. Students learning fundamentals of sights and trigger control, and basic manipulations and shooting skills towards helping them pass the Texas Concealed Handgun License test. And the usual stuff crops up, of slapping/yanking the trigger, breaking old habits, not getting going fast enough, learning that DA/SA style guns are harder to shoot, and so on.
I want to expand on that last point for a moment. Hardware. It matters and can affect your skill, both positively and negatively. Many people come with DA/SA style guns and come to realize that first long heavy double-action trigger press is just difficult to manage, but you can’t avoid it and have to learn it. And then you also have to learn to change gears and shoot single-action. You have two things to learn, it’s harder, it’s more time being spent on things you don’t necessarily need to — have one trigger press and learn that sole thing and save some time so you can spend your finite time focusing on other areas that need work. Oh sure, you can be awesome with a DA/SA gun, look at Ben Stoeger, but are you willing to put in that much work to get there? If so, awesome. If you’re like me and have only so much time in a day, maybe you should look at something that permits more efficient use of your time.
As well, we had some folks come with guns that just weren’t right for them. A young lady came with a Glock 27, which is a fine handgun but is not something suitable for a beginner. It’s small, it’s harder to shoot, it’s going to be very snappy (.40 S&W, small gun). We loaned her a Glock 22 to use and things went much better for her. I think she’s now in the market for a Glock 19. Another lady in class had a M&P9c, but it was proving difficult for her to work with. I loaned her my full-sized M&P9 to shoot, and instantly she did better. Small guns are fine, and it’s understandable for people to buy them because we’re trying to be frugal and spend our money wisely, we’re thinking about concealed carry, and so we think “buy a small gun”. It’s what I did. I learned, and these folks learned, that it’s better — as a beginner — to get a bigger gun and learn your fundamentals with that larger gun. Once you have those down, then you can work on learning with the smaller gun because now you just are learning the gun, not learning the gun AND learning to shoot.
Hardware matters. It can make you shoot worse, or it can help you shoot better.
But the biggest thing that came from class was attitude.
We all want to do well. We don’t like it when we mess up. I saw many students get upset with themselves, shaking their head, muttering, and otherwise chastising themselves for messing up.
Please don’t do that.
You are learning. That’s why you came to class, right? You admitted you didn’t know something and you wanted to gain knowledge. So why get mad about not getting it? What happens then is you have a mental conversation like “Damnit! Messed up again!” and then it’s time to shoot again, and the only thought in your head is about messing up. So what do you think that’s going to lead your mind and body to do? Succeed? Unlikely.
Instead, learn to let it go.
Acknowledge you didn’t do something right. Yes it might get you a little steamed or frustrated, but let it go. Let the frustration pass through you and out. If you dwell on it, that means you are making yourself stay in a state of frustration, and that will not help you. So let it go.
Then, tell yourself what you need to do. Be mindful of phrasing here. If you are having problems yanking the trigger, don’t tell yourself “don’t yank the trigger”. Instead, tell yourself “press the trigger smoothly”. You need to know what TO do, because if you only say what NOT to do, it still doesn’t tell you want TO do, and what TO do is what matters.
So while hardware matters, really what matters more is you and what you do. Your mindset matters much more than anything. As you are learning, as you are practicing, don’t be hard on yourself. Be honest with yourself, and work to know what TO do; direct yourself in that way.
Apart from that (and being wicked hot out), a great day. Much thanx to Ed for driving. And great to run into Rog and Dock at lunch. Makes for a good day.