Was out all day today, thus the lack of blog entries.
One thing I did today was “beta test” some handgun drills/tests. For an idea of what I’m talking about, check here (and the PDF files linked to on that page); those aren’t what I shot today, but it gives you an idea. It’s handgun shooting drills, timed, to assess knowledge and skills.
I have to admit, when I was told I was going to be beta testing the drills I got nervous. I was going to be watched, judged, my performance evaluated. *gulp* Furthermore, I would be shooting with two other gentlemen whose experience and skills are far more vast than mine, so I was just hit with this feeling of pressure and nerves. But a few seconds after that all washed over me I said to myself: “Don’t worry about it. This isn’t a contest. This isn’t to compare you against them or anyone but yourself. Just shoot the best that you can shoot. Take your time and get hits. Be accurate. Don’t rush and try to shoot fast, even if the other guys can and do shoot faster than you, else you will mess up and shoot poorly. So, just stop being anxious and just shoot your best.” Just had to let the wave of nerves and apprehension wash over me, then be washed off me. 🙂
We went out to shoot. I kept my mind calm and didn’t worry about anything. I’d shoot however I’d shoot, and as long as I didn’t work myself up I’d shoot fine. Just focus on that front sight, good trigger press, and that’s all you can do.
We shot the tests. If I remember correctly, I scored a 97%. Was I surprised? A little. I didn’t think I’d shoot that well. What surprised me was that I held my own with the other guys. Not that this was a competition or a need of an ego stroke, but that I’m my own worst critic. I will be hard on myself in assessing my skills, abilities, and knowledge in anything. These guys have always told me I shoot well, and while I never thought they were blowing smoke up my skirt, I didn’t think I was good enough. They might say “You shot that well”, but I knew what mistakes I made, I knew I could do better. But now to see me shoot and hold my own with these guys, it did show me my skills aren’t as bad as I think they are. These guys gave me a neutral measuring stick, so to speak, that I could measure myself against instead of just always telling myself “no not good enough”. Note: I do believe these gentlemen could still outshoot me in competition, don’t get me wrong.
I also know that I did shoot well on my own accord. I just kept to the fundamentals, e.g. “cleardistinctfrontsight-press-cleardistinctfrontsight”. I did NOT look at the target at all while shooting (it’s a habit I’m working to break); I kept my eyes focused on that front sight. Good trigger presses. Stayed relaxed and calm, focused on nothing but myself and my shooting. I was aware of all of this as I was going through the drills, and that made me most pleased. I was especially pleased in that I did not care about how I was performing. All too often I get caught up in how I’m performing and that causes me to screw up the performance. I just shot and didn’t care what happened, at least until well after the shot was over. So that’s what surprised and pleased me most. It was me performing as I should perform, and it paid off. So I was happy. It wasn’t an ego stroke, but it was certainly a good gain of confidence.
In the end, I realized I’m not as bad as I thought I was. Sure I’m still going to be hard on myself, sure I’m still going to work to improve myself. But it was nice to have something that gave me a bit of a reality check, to put things in some sort of perspective.
In related news, I am very pleased with the modifications done by Springer Precision. The improved trigger certainly helped, but what helped most were the sights. There’s no question in my mind regarding today’s drills/tests that I would not have shot as well as I did if I still had those XS Sights on (that may be (part of) my problem… having those XS sights on as long as I did and my shooting sucking as much as it did, that may have brought my confidence and “belief in myself/skills” down). The bright red fiber optic just draws my eye to the front sight. The rear sight is clear and unobtrusive. The sight picture is just great. I do believe having better tools helped me.
I’ve also been working on my grip, especially my left hand. I’m placing my left palm heel a bit higher on the grip/frame, which gets more of my left palm in contact with the frame and allows my left hand to have as far forward a cant as possible. I’m finding a “sweet spot” for where to place my left hand in terms of how it wraps around my right. And I am working with the Todd Jarrett “grip 20% harder” rule. I believe it’s making a difference in recoil management and thus ability to reacquire my sight picture. Heck, I shot some quasi-Bill drills (6 shot rapid fire strings) today and had no loss of left grip, no need to reset my grip, and good sight picture reacquisition and control.
Bottom line for the day: I got a nice idea where my skills are, and that my practice and work is paying off. So with that, off to practice more.
And the sun was shining. The weather was great. I got about 120 miles of motorcycle riding in. A good day.