Shootin’ practice

Got to do some live fire practice.

It was telling. sigh

Started with the Farnam Drill, cold. Whoa, I’ve gotten slow. My accuracy was spot on, but I was just too damn slow. As well, the auto-forward “feature” of the M&P continues to irritate me. I opted to just let it go, then the gun proceeded to go “click” because it didn’t put one in the chamber. Sorry, but this is not a feature unless it’s 100% reliable, and it’s not. I actually had a serious thought about switching to a Glock 19 and being done with it. Seriously.

Ran Karl’s current version of “3 Seconds or Less“. Was doing great until I pulled the one-handed shots. Dang it.

Shot the first stage of the IDPA Classifier. That went alright. My transitions were, you guessed it, slow. Slow was the theme of the day. I got better tho. Certainly was much faster here than I was when I started.

So I wound up shooting a bunch of Bill Drills at 3 and 7 yards. My goal was to just push myself and watch the front sight bounce. I wanted to get faster, push myself faster faster faster. I was hitting .33 or so splits at 7 yards (ugh) but had a really good cadence and all A-zone hits. I pushed myself and got down to .25 splits, with good cadence and all A-zone hits. See? That’s what I needed. I also started around like a 2 second concealment draw and got down to like a 1.5 concealment and a 1.3 open carry draw.

Finished up with some slow-fire group shooting.

A lot came down to some simple things:

  1. Just go faster, damnit. I can go faster, it’s not above the speed I can go. But I’ve always been a “mosey” kind of guy, and I just need to go faster. This is mostly about just physically being faster (i.e. sprint, don’t mosey). But it’s also mental: to let/allow myself go faster. To push myself faster because….
  2. No matter how much I know better, my brain still wants to see more than it needs to, in terms of sight picture. That’s part of why the Bill Drills — just shoot and observe, let the brain and eyes just see what’s there and accept “this is as much as you need”. I get acceptable hits, so I just have to keep trusting myself. I think dry fire is actually backfiring on me in this regard, because there everything winds up being “perfect” and you don’t get the feedback of where the shot actually went.
  3. Grip the hell out of the gun and keep focused on that front sight. That last Bill Drill was more of a complete mag dump – 17 rounds, and I just clamped down and kept focused on the front sight. When it was where it needed to be, pressed the trigger. That .25 split was pretty constant through the entire run.

Anyways, things to really work on:

  • One shot draws. This will help me move, get on the gun, get it out, get it to the target quickly, and press off a smooth shot. Call the shot, allow the sight alignment to be acceptable enough for the distance. In fact, if there’s any one thing I work on in dry practice, it should probably be this. Work to consistently hit at least a 1.5 second par time, from concealment.
  • One-handed shooting. I haven’t done much on this in a while, and obviously have regressed.
  • Set up multiple dry targets and work on transitions. Again, speed.
  • Working on reloads wouldn’t be bad either. Again, speed.

There are other things I can do, but that will keep me for a while.

15 thoughts on “Shootin’ practice

  1. Pingback: Minimum Competency for Defensive Pistol – Revisited Again | Stuff From Hsoi

  2. Hi John, I’d like to know more about the auto-forward issue. From the little I read about it tonight it appears that the M&P should not auto-forward and if it does then perhaps a mag spring is not to spec. But I assume you know a lot more about this issue.

    • From what I’ve been able to gather, it happens… not to everyone, and not every gun. Some people have M&P’s that always do, some have ones that never do, and some have ones that sometimes do. Of those that do (in whole or in part), there are reports that sometimes when it does it doesn’t strip a round off the top of the magazine. Some say downloading helps, some say using say a 10 round mag instead of a full mag works.

      I recently read that S&W changed the follower design. May or may not be involved. Springs come up too.

      In my mind, all of this points to “bug”, not “feature”. If it was a feature, it would do it always, across the board, without fail, any and every gun, across revisions of the gun internals or the magazine components… whatever. If it failed to do it, that would be an exception (and then you look at things like oh a weak mag spring, replace it, problem solved). But that’s me, the engineer.

      I know some people love it, and I too could come to love it if it was reliable.

      If it is a matter of something out of spec, then there’s a lot out of spec…. and it’s from the factory. So again, bug, not feature.

      I will admit… every so often I think about saying “screw it” and just bying a Glock and being done with it….

  3. I talked to Hank Fleming about this. He says APD is trained to rack after reload to be sure that there is one in the chamber even if loosing a round to the ground. I guess the motion would be similar to just releasing the slide but any change in behavior (inconsistent auto-forward) from one reload to the next has got to throw some folks off and that is /not/ needed when in a tense life/death situation. He said it also happens to Glocks and 1911s but he said in those guns it’s a issue with a spring, at least with the 1911, not too sure if he meant that comment for the Glocks too.

    • Hrm. I should drop Hank a line and ask him for clarification there.

      But I will say it does throw you off, especially if you’ve become sensitive to “watching for it”. So yeah, sometimes it’s just easier to rack the thing regardless. Again, it only really becomes a problem when you’re trying to run a specific drill that has a specific requirement for round count or other setup. But you just deal with it.

  4. Hi John, I just watched a video that shows that if you slap load the mag with a forward motion the slide will auto forward. And that’s how it works on my new M&P 9. Straight up – no autoforward; hit with forward motion – autoforward. Could that be what’s happening with you?

    • It’s possible. I never considered the angle I was hitting at, because well… why should I have to care about that? I just hit it as I hit it… the subtle details of the angles aren’t an issue to me because I’m just trying to reload quickly. I’m unaware of any other gun having this sort of sensitivity of angle.

      But it’s curious for sure.

      Is the video online anywhere? If so, can you give me the URL? I’d like to watch it. Thanx.

        • First, I found myself more distracted by the fact his cameraman was downrange and got muzzled a few times. It also looks like he’s in a backyard somewhere, so I can only HOPE that with all this gunhandling and live rounds (assuming that, maybe they’re snap caps?) that he’s pointing into a safe direction (like a proper backstop). Plus he did a few little gunhandling things that aren’t rule breaking, but bug me (e.g. ejecting a round with the ejection port up, because gravity works better downwards). But setting those issues aside.

          I see what you mean. I’ll have to play with this and see if that makes a difference. But even if it does, so what? To me, for this behavior (auto-forwarding) to be a feature (not a bug) it needs to be 100% reliable, and it’s not. Plus I’ve had times when it has auto-forwarded and NOT stripped off and chambered a round. That’s not a feature, IMHO.

          Sometimes I wonder if I should just go Glock and move on with life. 🙂

          Anyways, thanx for sharing. I’ll look into this.

          • Saturday night I was watching the first DVD of Magpul’s The Art of the Dynamic Handgun. They demo’d the autoforward feature of the M&P (and mentioned the Beretta was the same, but didn’t mention which model). They showed how hitting the mag straight on would not forward it but hitting it at 45 degrees would.

            • I still don’t consider it a feature. 🙂

              The thing is, who under stress of whatever (competition, your life being in danger, etc.) is going to be so mindful of the angle at which they hit the thing? I mean, every other gun isn’t angle sensitive… hit them at any angle and they do NOT go forward, y’know?

              • They also said to pick one of the options that always works for you and suggested that would typically be to rack the slide. That seems the best because pressing the slide lock might not work with adrenaline induced cave man hands and even if the gun autoforwarded hopefully you’ll still get a good load after the re-rack (at the expense of one on the ground). Also if your buddy’s gun ends up in your hands you won’t be relying on something that might not work. I would have guessed that with enough practice (I am not that far along) you’d be consistent in hitting the bottom on end rather than at an angle – but apparently that’s not the case as you have experienced. So I think I’ll go with the always rack the slide approach. For my own formation I’ll have to throw in an occasional forced auto-forward to get used to it possibly happening. I’ve already invested too much (training and $$) into my M&P to want to switch.

                • I would agree that always racking is probably the best way to contend with this, as it will always work to ensure things wind up in the desired end-setup, and it’s a muscle memory/movement that works regardless of gun, etc.. Only reason I’d bother with hitting the slide lock would be if I was gaming (which then is a totally different story), because there’s no question that hitting the slide lock to release the slide is faster, but potentially less reliable, whereas racking is slower but more reliable.

                  if you haven’t try taking a long, stressful class, like say a Tom Givens Combative Pistol 1 or 2… all weekend, lots of shooting, lots of stress, lots of (time) pressure. See how things fare for you.

                  • Thanks for the tip on the Given’s class. A little too advanced and costly for me right now 😦 but I’d like to give IDPA a go for a while to build up my skills.

                    • IDPA isn’t a bad way to go.

                      Don’t worry about things being too advanced. I mean, it’s one thing if you’d be WAY WAY over your head, but if something is a little ahead of you, a little out of your comfort zone, all the reason to take it to help you overcome it. 🙂

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