Another Saturday at the range

Spent this past Saturday at KR Training helping with the Basic Pistol 1 and Beyond the Basics: Handgun classes.

Just realized I forgot to write up some things about the classes. 🙂

Basic Pistol 1

60% of the class was women. More and more women are interested in personal defense, and that’s A Good Thing™.

If you were in that class, I would like to suggest you come back for Basic Pistol 2. While BP1’s intent is to introduce firearms (safety, basic shooting technique, try lots of guns to see what they’re like) so you can make more informed choices at the gun store or at the rental range, it really isn’t able to teach enough of the fundamentals of shooting. That’s really where BP2 comes in, and just based on a few things we saw consistently in the class, BP2 would be useful for many of the students in that class.

Beyond The Basics: Handgun

This is not a high-speed-low-drag course. It’s not a defensive skills course. It’s a class designed to improve marksmanship, to improve fundamentals of sights and trigger, but especially “what you see”. Most people shoot in a manner where they always strive for that perfect sight picture on every shot, but you must realize that sort of sight picture isn’t always necessary. When targets are large and/or close, you can get away with seeing a lot less and having a less and ideal sight picture. When targets are small and/or far away, you generally need a closer-to-ideal sight picture. You can shoot those larger/closer targets faster, you need to shoot the smaller/further targets slower, to still get acceptable hits. And so, this class works on those skills, which are useful no matter what your shooting arena (defensive, action sports, etc.).

I’d like to refer students to a few things:

100 Round Practice. Print that up, take it to the range with you. You’ll get far more out of doing this than if you just go and throw 100 rounds downrange.

Wall Drill.  This is a great dry-fire exercise to help you work on trigger control.

Group shooting. Shooting groups isn’t always fun, but it is challenging and will help you with your trigger control, sights, and follow through. The 100 Round Practice starts and ends with group shooting, and there’s good reason for that setup. Start shooting groups at 3 yards (no timer). Try 5 yards, 7 yards, 10, 15, 25. Don’t push yourself too hard too fast else you’ll just wind up frustrated and won’t progress. Just take whatever your comfort level is and go a step beyond that. If you’re shooting really tight groups at 3 yards, try moving to 7 yards. Or perhaps try shooting 3 yard groups but slightly faster yet striving to keep the group size the same (or smaller!).

Ball and Dummy. While you do your group shooting, mix a dummy round in there, to keep you honest. 🙂

F.A.S.T. test. You don’t have to shoot this drill as-is, merely use the target. Or, just use something like an index card and a large paper plate. The intent is to have multiple targets of different size. Shoot the circle then the rectangle. Shoot the rectangle then the circle. Shoot 1 and 1. Shoot 2 then 1. Shoot 3 then 2.  It’s about transitioning, not just your eyes and gun from one target to another, but learning to manage your sight picture, how much (or little) you need to see, and the speed/cadence of your shooting. You can do this in dry practice too; won’t be quite the same as live fire since recoil management does enter into the equation, but you can still work it dry and gain some benefit.

Whatever you choose, don’t just go to the range and throw lead without any point. Sure, sometimes just going and shooting because it’s fun is the whole point and that’s fine. But if you wish to progress, you’ll need a plan to get there.

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