What are you not talking about?

First off, a moment of Zen. 

long range shooting

That’s my Savage 16 on the rifle range at Owensville Gun Club. You’ll note that I haven’t been talking much about that gun lately because I’ve been stuck in a vicious circle of suck: I haven’t been able to get a good group to verify that it’s zeroed, and I don’t want to shoot it because my targets (and what’s NOT on them) make me look like a complete loser.

The source of this loserness wasn’t easy to diagnose, either. It wasn’t something simple like a trigger jerk or a flinch, it required a two-part solution. 

  1. New scope rings. I had Extra High rings on that gun because of the large objective lens of the Millett scope, except that I have a 20 MOA base on the gun that lifts up the scope even more.
    As a result, I had set up my scope WAY above the point where I could get a consistent cheek weld and scope sight picture. 
    Whoops. 
    Changing out to a set of Weaver medium rings has made a HECK of a difference in getting consistent hits on-paper. 
  2. New ammo. I had been using M80 ball of questionable origin (I think it’s Greek surplus, but I may be wrong…) in my practice sessions, and I could get 3MOA out of it, at best. Switching to Hornady Steel Match (which apparently isn’t made anymore. Bummer.) has made a world of difference, and all of a sudden I was making 1MOA any time I wanted to, and that man-shaped piece of steel at 325 yards got rung with boring repeatability. 
    When the Steel Match runs out, I’ll switch to Prvi Partizan Match for practice and maybe even matches, at least until I get my reloading press set up again. 

I wasn’t talking about shooting long-range because I wasn’t any good at shooting long range. Instead of training hard to fill in the gap, I was avoiding the problem in front of me.

Whoops.

Not no more. Now that I’ve identified the problem, I can work on a solution.

And one thing you can’t see in that photo is the flock of wild turkeys that wandered across the range at about 400 yards. I was tempted, VERY tempted to get the main course for next month’s big dinner, but managed to hold back and shoot at the inorganic targets I had in front of me…

Quote of the Day, 10/07 Edition

rp_Rob_Leatham_image.gif“Anyone who undertakes any kind of serious (competition) training program is going to find themselves as the local hot-shot, unless you live in Arizona.” 

- Steve Anderson

Having gone from the über-competitive realms of Phoenix Rod and Gun and Rio Salado to the more laid-back reaches of central Missouri, I can DEFINITELY sympathize.

Training a trainer

Training at night

I got my NRA Instructor Basic Pistol qual a few years ago, but I never pursued training others because a) the market in the Phoenix, Arizona area was super-saturated with firearms trainers and b) a year after I got my qual, Arizona went to Constitutional Carry and demand for the CCW’s went thru the floor.

However, it turns out that there are very few CCW trainers in my corner of Missouri, so I thinking about hanging out my shingle and start teaching defensive pistol.

But.

I’d like to have some more training in firearms instruction than what just came with my NRA class. I’ve had decent level of training (about 200+ hours as I write this), but only 12 hours of that was how to train others. I’m considering either learning from either Gabe Suarez or Rob Pincus because I like the stuff they’re teaching, but I’m not a fan of building a monoculture when it comes to firearms training, so what other schools are out there that will teach firearms training but don’t involve taking 4 years of advanced-level classes first?

The Whole (Sight) Picture.

I first heard the phrase “gross motor skill” in my first NRA class. The idea was that dropping the slide on a reload by racking it was a gross motor skill and therefore better to do under stress than the “fine motor skill” of hitting the slide release lever. 

The instructor then proceeded to spend HOURS on the importance of a smooth trigger press to insure accurate hits on target. 

So “gross motor skills” are good and should be done whenever possible, except when they can’t. 

Uh-huh. 

Why not ditch the idea that some physical movements are more “tactical” than others, and see the process of putting hits quickly on the target under stress as an integrated whole? 

More thoughts on this over at the Osage County Guns blog.

License to Chill

One thing that the anti-civil rights crowd gets consistently wrong is the idea that carrying a gun means you (and not the gun) are a hair-trigger, looking for an excuse to draw your weapon and lay waste to all those foolish enough to cross your path. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I’d suggest they’re projecting their lack of emotional stability onto everyone around them. Every time, EVERY SINGLE TIME that gun control gets loosened and freedom is regained, the streets are predicted to run red with violence, usually with a reference to the OK Corral and/or the Wild West. 

But every time, EVERY SINGLE TIME, that doesn’t happen. Why? Because people realize that with the increased empowerment of becoming your own first responder, there comes an increased responsibility for your actions. 

Your goal, if you carry a gun, is to become a peacemaker without ego

Full spectrum training

One of the complaints I had about training at FrontSight was their monoculture of experience: Practically everyone I trained with cited their experience at FrontSight as the qualifications to be a firearms trainer

Not a big fan of such things, because practicing and training only one “style” pretty much insures you won’t know how to handle the inherit chaos of a violent lethal threat. 

I’ve got some more reasons why you want to spread out your firearms training over a bunch of different trainers and systems over at the Osage County Guns Blog.

Something I need to work on in the near future

cast-magoo

… is shooting without my glasses. 

No, no, not protective eyewear, I mean my prescription frames. I’ve worn glasses most of my life, and every time I got in a fight in my childhood years (and my not-childhood-years, if I’m honest…), the glasses came zooming off. 

Might that happen in a gunfight? You betcha.

I’m certain that training will kick in and all that would happen is the land beyond the front sight would be even more blurry than it normally is, but still, knowing that I can deliver the shot without glasses would be a comforting thing.

Enthusiasms

enthusiams

“A man becomes preeminent, he’s expected to have enthusiasms. Enthusiasms… Enthusiasms… What are mine? What draws my admiration? What is that which gives me joy?” 

- Robert DeNiro, The Untouchables 

On his podcast a few weeks ago, Michael Bane talked about avoiding burnout in shooting keeping interest in the sport over the long haul. To be honest, I’m kinda surprised how long I’ve kept at shooting: You’ll notice I don’t post much anymore about life in dojo? There’s a reason for that. I don’t golf much anymore either and my sketchbook sits on the shelf gathering dust.

But I still shoot.

I think that’s because while the mechanics of shooting (aim, breathe, squeeze) vary little from sport to sport, the other actions for each sport can vary greatly. Want to run around like a maniac and/or USPSA shooter right before an F-Class match and still win? Good luck with that.  

I have friends who dedicated to one sport, and they’re getting quite good at it. Me? I’ve got too much ADHD to settle into just one shooting sport, I like ‘em all. Having to learn to shoot a DA/SA gun has made me a better shooter with guns I’m not used to, and I want to continue that trend. I’m getting into long-range shooting and I really need to spend more quality time with my K-22 to learn how to shoot a revolver more gooder.

Not to go all Chuck Taylor on you (the firearms trainer, not the basketball shoe), but rather than be the master the art of one gun, I’d rather be okay with a bunch of them, and then pick and choose which gun to master if and when I want to. 

Life is too short to shoot only one gun.