Extreme Pistol

I was out at the KR Training ranch all day today. Much to tell.

First, I arrived early because I wanted to shoot my new Buckmark on the steel range. I think between me, the TXGunGeek, and Tom we blew through an almost new brick of .22 (so, probably just shy of 500 rounds). Boy, that gun is just too much fun to shoot, and on steel it’s a blast.


Second, helping with a Basic Pistol 1 class. It was a BP1 class, but one of the highlights was meeting Howard Nemerov. Howard was actually out to help with the class, but he’s better known for his work as a researcher and author. You see, he used to be a big gun control advocate but after doing research and looking at the actual data out there he converted. He wrote a book titled Four Hundred Years of Gun Control… Why Isn’t It Working. If you click that link and visit the amazon.com page for the book. Howard actually has an “author comment” on there explaining his background. Howard also writes regularly for the Austin Gun Rights Examiner. He had a few copies of his book on him and since I’ve wanted to pick up a copy of the book I bought one right there, autographed too. Anyway, we got to speak a bit. Very nice, soft-spoken gentleman. After class I let Howard shoot my Springer Precision customized XD, and he liked it.  🙂  Howard, it was a pleasure to meet you and Grace and I look forward to seeing you both again.


Third, the big reason I was there today, taking AT-4 Extreme Pistol. First, many of the other students were folks I’ve seen before in classes, so that was cool to see folks again. A couple of the repeat folks are docbot’s friends, so that was cool to discover. Frequent blog commenter and my friend foo.c was there too. The class was intensive and certainly made you aware of your faults and weaknesses, as well as introducing some new things and, most of all, pushing you further. Here’s what I got out of the class.

I’ve been working a lot on speed, and my speed isn’t bad… certainly I have room to go faster (I’m no IPSC Grandmaster), but I’m fairly fast, fast enough that now accuracy is starting to suffer. The interesting thing? Big John noticed that when I would shoot a drill with no timer, I would shoot great. Shoot the same drill with the timer? My shooting would degrade, but interestingly, I was shooting it about as fast as I was without the timer! So basically the mental pressure of the timer was getting to me, causing me to rush (gotta beat the timer!), thus accuracy degraded. So I’m now at a point where I’m going as fast as I can go and still be “accurate enough”, so now I need to back off my speed a bit and crank up the accuracy.

A large portion of the class was shooting the Two Target No Reload Standards. There’s two ways you can shoot it. First, can you shoot it at any speed? Just ignore the timer and shoot 100% on it. Second, can you shoot it at speed and then at what speed? then once you can shoot it at that speed, can you shoot it faster and still maintain the level of accuracy needed. When we shot this for score, I ended up with an adjusted score of a 63%, which is about a “B” level IPSC shooter (Google-fu is weak right now, I blame my sunburn; but IPSC grading has Grandmasters shooting 95% and over, Master over 85%, A level, 75% – 84.99%, B level 60% to 74.99%, C level 40% to 59.99, D below 40%; most people are C level). So if my performance is any indication of my skill level, that’s pretty cool. But, I’m not satisfied with this… and what’s more important is: can I do this again?

That’s another key thing from today: consistency. It’s one thing to shoot 2 5-shot groups a@ 15 yards and always hit the A-Zone on an IPSC target, it’s another to be able to do it cold every time. I wish to strive for greater consistency. I don’t believe I wildly fluctuate, but to ensure I can do this every time would be good. So for instance, make it a habit every time I go to the range that the first 10 shots I fire are 2 5-shot groups @ 15 yards and that I can do that every time…. or, that I can improve every time, either tighter groups or going faster or both! Always improving.

Now just a list of some things for me to work on:

  • Shooting at longer distances, like 10 yards, 15 yards, and 25 yards. Any sort of shooting, just longer distances.
  • Bring accuracy up. If that means slowing down, do that. If it means the buzzer sounds before I finish, fine… better to have a slow hit than a fast miss (or a fast didn’t-hit-what-I-wanted). When I made conscious efforts to slow down, of course I shot better… it may have only been half a second, but if that meant I got the right sight picture, fine. I need to go back and reread Brian Enos’ stuff about the different sight picture distances.
  • When presenting the gun, when “punching” the gun out in front of me I don’t actually want to punch it… it should be a deceleration. It should be fast when leaving the ready position (close to my chest), but slow down as my arms reach their full length. This way when my arms hit full extension there isn’t a “bobble” at the end, which not only means you have to steady things before shooting (and lose time) but there’s less hunting for the front sight.
  • Don’t forget to work all my prior skills: e.g., after shooting, leave the gun out there and scan, then pull back to ready and reholster.
  • When reloading, do not drop the magazine before I’m sure I have another magazine. So when reloading, left hand goes and gets magazine and brings it up to the gun, THEN I drop the magazine in the gun, then insert the fresh magazine. Why this way? In general you don’t want to run the gun to empty and you want to top it off (e.g., get in the habit before any reholster to ensure she’s full, thus next time you have to draw, she’s full). Well, what happens if you dropped a partial magazine and then you reach for the spare magazine and find out it’s not there? Now you’re really in trouble.
  • Remember, when changing targets while shooting (e.g. shoot on target A then switch to and shoot target B), move on the recoil and let the reacquisition of the sight picture be on the second target.

Yeah, I’ve got a lot to work on, but it’s nice to have a goal and direction to work to improve yourself. 🙂  Speaking of which, how did I do in my goal for the class? I didn’t meet it, but I’m OK with how it went. I didn’t meet it because there was a lot going on in the class. The class was meant to be a learning situation, having to remember the drills, remembering the things I did wrong and need to improve upon the next go-round, and so on. I should have known better than to think I could be totally “no mind” during a class. However, if I didn’t set this goal for myself, I don’t think I would have done as well I did. To remind myself of my goal, to keep myself relaxed, it certainly helped. I’d find myself up on the line feeling a little tense, so I’d consciously relax my muscles and of course when I was loose I was better. Or I would try to keep my mind from getting too bothered by how I was doing, “did I hit it?”, how were others doing, not to care how others were shooting, etc.. So it was still good I set this goal as it still provided a good mindset for me.

Oh, for those who were in the class that are looking for the dry fire stuff I mentioned, click here.

BTW, Karl was shooting (preparing for next weekend’s Polite Society Conference). I don’t always get to watch him shoot but man… he’s fast and accurate. 

Apart from forgetting the sunscreen and now being a nice shade of red, it was a good day. Good people. Learned a lot. Have much to work on from here. Thanx again to Karl, John, and Tom for all that they do.

15 thoughts on “Extreme Pistol

  1. I just finished cleaning everything. I’m only bringing 3 magazines next time. 11 is way too many to clean. 😉

    I need to practice more. My first 100 shots were garbage.

    IIRC, my score was 58.8, which I was pleased with considering how I started off the day. Yeah, it’s not B, but it’s close and now I have a goal, and one I should be able to accomplish with a little practice.

    The last 2 times I’ve been to the range I’ve had to go to the 50 yard range (which doesn’t allow drawing and shooting). It’s challenging, but leisurely. After today, I’m convinced it’s not really what I should be practicing.

    Oh, one other thing I learned … I need new boots. My feet are killing me.

    • I haven’t cleaned things yet. Still on my agenda. Of course if you had magazines with any sort of useful capacity you wouldn’t have needed so many mags. 😉

      As for our scores, I’m not putting too much into them other than to say it does give us a baseline to start from. Like it was stated in the beginning of the class, consistency matters more, so I’ll put more creedence in a score after I have a larger data set to draw from and can chart my “consistency” across numerous trials of these standards. I have been wanting to buy a shot timer (e.g. the PACT MKIV XP), now this pushes that up the priority ladder a bit.

      I would still say you should practice on the 50 yard range from time to time. Being able to make longer shots is apparently what separates the Grandmasters from the Masters. But I hear what you’re saying… you need more “pressure shooting”. I think getting a timer will help with that. I need it too. I try to pressure myself, but it’s just not the same as having the external pressures as say a timer or someone there pushing you. I mean, while I use this dry fire aid a lot, it’s not the same… it’s mostly good towards helping you work on draw, presentation, and first shot. That’s not to say that isn’t important and in light of the “presentation punch, fast to slow” thing I mentioned above I’m certainly going to be using that dry fire aid differently, but to have a real timer involving real shooting and being able to get the feedback on exactly where your shots fell (instead of just guessing relative to sounds played by a Flash file) would be welcome.

      Anyway, it was a good day. 🙂

  2. So is there any video of the waltz that I heard you TXGunGeek did for everybodies viewing pleasure?

    • LOL. You know, I forgot about “the waltz”… probably trying to block it out from memory, it was so scarring. 🙂

      For those curious, during the later part of the class we were doing “shooting on the move” drills. In this one drill we move one direction and shoot “out to the side”, so you eventually get to an angle where it’s too awkward to shoot so you need to shift your hips and change from walking forwards to walking backwards. TXGunGeek was running the drill and apparently while someone else was performing the drill TXGunGeek came over and physically moved the guy’s hips to get him to rotate. I missed what happened, but while in line for a second pass folks were joking about it. I joked back wishing he would move my hips like that and so I got what I asked for. 🙂 As soon as I stepped up to the starting box, he grabbed my hips and waltzed me from there to the middle baracade. I thought I was going to die from laughter. My reload was terrible because I was laughing so hard, but it was a hilarious moment.

      Now that you mention it, I wish someone had gotten it on video.

  3. Video Shmideo, It’s called the Texas Range Two Step. Actually once people felt how they were Supposed to do it, they improved their shooting and moving.
    Besides, if you can move, shoot and laugh, your in better shape than 90% of the shooters out there.

    • Oh I think it was a very good teaching technique… I guess I just expected you to buy me dinner afterwards. 😉

      Heck, if you can just laugh more in life, I think you’re in better shape than most people period!

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