As I was cleaning my garage the other day, I heard what appeared to be someone practicing their shooting at a nearby range. At first there were a few single rounds and then what sounded like fusillade of rapid fire shots trying to repel a charging zombie horde. This continued for what seemed like several magazines. Then there were a few heavier caliber shots (rifle?) for a few rounds as well. Then quiet.
At the pause, I had a couple of thoughts: Who was doing the shooting? What were they trying to accomplish? What were they shooting at? I guess I smiled to myself … The reason I was cleaning my garage was so I could set-up my indoor “winter range” – my Airsoft and pellet gun targets. (This year, this will be more important as I am having some surgery that will keep me hobbled for a couple of weeks and I need to have something to do!) As I continued cleaning, I concluded that (a) Whoever was shooting was probably trying to show off for someone (girlfriend/wife/non-shooting buddy); (b) Their main goal was to shoot up a bunch of ammo and; (c) They were probably shooting at some non-discretionary target with no way to verify were they were actually hitting. Bottom line – they were wasting their time.
Now, many may say, “You weren’t there so you don’t know.” Or more likely, “Who the H*** do you think you are?” In the first case I’ll say, you’re correct, but I do have ears. And, since I have about 50 years of shooting and 35+ years of training people under my belt, I can make a pretty educated guess. In the second case, see my response above. Again, there are those who will cast stones and believe we are free to chase the bullseye all we want and however we choose. To that I say I agree. However, if you’re going to take your time to go to the range, spend your hard earned money on gas, ammo and range time, you should get the most bang for your buck.
There are a large number of folks who are of the opinion that if they (a) Have a CCP/CCW permit and (b) Own a handgun, they are somehow magically and adequately prepared to defend themselves. They go to the range maybe once a month and practice the things they are good at and ignore those they should be focusing on. This includes support hand shooting, presentations (draws), moving, etc. I realize some of these skills cannot be practiced on certain ranges but, they can and should be practiced at home (i.e. dry-fire).
A close friend of mine recently attended a 2-day shooting course. If I were to run down his entire resume, you might ask, “Why is he taking a class”? But I will tell you that he’s a former member of the 1/75th Ranger BN, fought in Grenada, has been in law enforcement for a long time (local and Federal), served with me on the SWAT team for many years and shot with me on our pistol team many years ago and still competes. In other words, he’s the S***! I attended a class with John Farnam a few weeks ago myself and came back with eight pages of notes as well and attended an NRA Tactical Shooting Instructor class as well. You can never stop training and learning. There is always something to be picked up somewhere.
There are no excuses for not training. None. What makes people think that they can go to a 1-5 day class and learn everything they need to know and be able to perform it adequately at some unknown time and in some unknown place against some unknown threat? Just because you have a permit and gun in no way prepares you to defend yourself. If you believe this, you are beyond delusional. You cannot just ‘own’ the gun, you must know how to use it and this means more than just being able to punch hole in paper a couple of times a year.
There are many facets of training that can be practiced to increase the necessary skill levels. Unfortunately for many, what is most useful is often the most difficult to perform. Humans have a tendency to practice those skills they already perform well. We need to practice those skills that are (a) difficult for us (i.e. support side shooting) and (b) those we don’t normally practice on the range (i.e. weapon manipulations). Training can be broken down into four broad categories:
Weapon Manipulation Skills
Each of these can be broken down into smaller, more defined segments giving you an almost endless supply of practice sessions.
In future posts we’ll examine some of the ways we can break down the categories above into individual practice sessions.