It was good to get outside, away from the computer, and spend the day teaching. Truly, helping people learn and grow is a wonderful thing, and I’m fortunate to have the ability and opportunity to do so.
In this case, I was out at KR Training helping with two classes: Basic Pistol 1 in the morning, and Basic Pistol 2 in the afternoon. Karl was out volunteering as a range officer at the Scholastic Action Shooting Program match, so running the day was Tom, Greg, and myself. We had sold out classes in both cases (tho some people got sick the night before and were unable to attend), good groups overall.
For the record, once again classes did not uphold the stereotype some wish to paint of gun owners. The BP1 class was 2/3 female. Both classes ran the gamut of young to old, male and female, and had a mixture of well… everything: you pick the arbitrary criteria of gender, race, socio-economic status, education level, whatever. Sorry, but the only thing you can truly “stereotype” about gun owners is they are people interested in their freedoms and their personal safety.
Overall, both classes ran smoothly, tho we did have a couple hiccups.
Takeaways for the students:
- The gun is just a tool, just a piece of hardware. Yes, it’s important to find on with the proper fit, but once you get in the ballpark it becomes more important to get training and practice. Again, if you have any questions or troubles finding the right one, just drop us a line and we’re happy to help you out.
- Still, hardware is one of the cornerstones, and you can’t build a strong house with cheap, flimsy hardware. Get good supporting gear, like belts, holsters, magazine pouches, and yes… more magazines. It pays off.
- A lot of folks came to BP2 with small guns, few magazines, and those magazines held little ammo. The more magazines you can have, the faster and smoother class can run.
- You can buy a big supply all at once, or do like I do: every time I’m shopping at a store (brick&mortar or online) that sells magazines, just throw one in the basket. Over time, you build up your supply and it’s rarely a big hit to the budget.
- Get an UpLULA. Speeds and facilitates the mag-loading process.
- Dry fire costs you nothing, but pays big benefits. Practice the skills and drills we worked in class. Do this regularly and you will see improvement.
After the BP2 class, I was talking with one student and another student joined the conversation. This other student was an accomplished competition bow shooter and he reinforced a good point to the first student about measurable skill. Do you know where you stand? Do you know how you perform? If not, measure it against some standard, then continue to measure it to see where you need work and where you do not. If you can’t measure your skill, how do you know if you’re getting better?
So in this case, the BP2 class ends with shooting the Texas LTC (formerly CHL) test. There we go: there’s a measurable drill and performance standard. The students saw how well they shot it, now they have a baseline. A way to work this is to pick a drill (the LTC test is a good one for students at this level). Shoot the drill as written but without time-limits: just work to shoot the drill 100% clean without any time pressure. Once you can do that, put your shooting against a stopwatch to figure out how long it takes you to shoot it — don’t worry about limits, this is open-ended trying to determine what your limits are. Once you know how long it takes you, now you have limits. So say the published string of fire is “2 seconds” but it takes you 5 seconds. Fine: it takes you 5, now you know, and now you have something to work against. Figure out: why am I not shooting to the established standard? Am I taking too long to get the sight picture? Am I slapping the trigger? Self-analysis, video, instructor/coaching can help here. Once you know the problem, work on it in dry practice and work to beat your standard: maybe getting it done in 4 seconds, maybe 3, working down to that established standard of 2 seconds. Once you can do it in the standard, can you beat the standard? Once you can, consider moving to a tougher standard. And repeat, while skill improves in a measurable way.
As for that thing that didn’t run so smooth: we did have a student with an interesting vision situation. We did what we could to work with the student, but unfortunately the time limits and class format didn’t permit us the time needed to fully diagnose the issue. She’s coming back out in a couple weeks to work directly with Karl – we will get it sorted out. What we (the instructors) took from it is a few things we could do a little better on the range. For example, having a gun with a laser on it as a part of the BP1 “buffet”. I also remembered a trick Tom Givens taught me towards helping diagnose sight picture issues, so keeping a “red gun” (a fake, plastic gun) in the range wagon would be useful for such events (alas, I didn’t remember the trick until we instructors were discussing the situation afterwards). There’s always ways we can make things better.
All in all, the day was good. A really good group of students, everyone leaving demonstrably better than they started. I’m happy.
And Greg is just a workhorse; the man’s got a fantastic work ethic. 🙂