The body goes where the brain leads

The American Warrior Show is rapidly turning into one of my favorite podcasts. Mike’s stuff tends a little bit more to the tactical side of the equation than where I currently reside, but his interview with Rob Leatham is absolutely a “must listen” to anyone who wants to shoot a pistol fast and accurately, and Mike follows that up with an interview with Joel Jameson on conditioning and exercise for fighting versus other sports.

Money quote:

“If you’re talking about the average person who is just trying to prepare for a combat situation, they don’t need 15 hours a week of fitness training for that. They need a lot more skills training and tactical training as opposed to getting the fitness side of things because a lot of that stuff is the brain becoming accustomed to the environment you’re in. You work out, you do intervals and then you get on the mat and roll for 3 minutes and you feel like you’re out of shape. A lot of that is because your brain is not used to the environment and doesn’t know how to handle the stressful situation.”

There’s a lot of truth there. I used to be WIPED after a four stage match, but know it’s no big deal, but know I find I’m more relaxed and more focused after I shoot a stage.

And yeah, I gotta get to the gym and get in some sort of shape that isn’t round and pear-shaped.

I admire Tam’s Courage

Picking up from yesterday, taking an actual, honest-to-goodness shooting class with a pocket .380 is not something to be undertaken lightly. My attempts to shoot a Combat Focus Pistol class with an S&W Shield didn’t go so well: The gun wouldn’t lock back after the last shot was fired, and even with 3 spare mags on my belt, keeping up with the others shooters with their 15+ round Glocks and M&P’s proved to be a bridge too far.

I’m really curious to see how it works out for her: Based on my experience at the range here and elsewhere, is huge gap between the guns people take to a training class and the typical person owns and even carries. Yes, I’ve recently taken to carrying my P07 more often, but there some times I just can’t have a full size gun on my hip, so pocket-carrying the P3AT makes more sense on those days.

Dry Fire Setup

As I briefly mentioned the other day, I’m doing more dry fire these days, because I want to, and I can. I’ve tried in the past, but it’s been mostly draw-to-a-target stuff, with at most 6-10 (fake) trigger presses at a time to help cure my trigger jerk. However, my trigger press is (mostly) consistent these days, so I wanted to move on and work on some of the stuff that Brian Enos talks about, plus I wanted to start moving with more purpose and integrating entries and exits from shooting positions into my dry-fire practice time.

Rather than set up one or two 8 1/2 x 11 targets, I scattered full-page, 2/3rds page and half-page targets around my spare bedroom in a way that would give me practice with transitions, movement and targets of different difficulty.

Dry fire range

Numbers = number of targets on the wall.

Dry fire practice

1/2, 2/3 and full page targets in a “Six, reload, six” setup.

That’s a queen-sized bed in the middle, so that give you an idea of scale. This setup allows me to practice the “six, reload, six” course of fire so prevalent in USPSA Classifiers as well as the 3rd Stage of the IDPA Classfier and a bedside table to deal with “gun on table” starts, along with hidden targets (there’s a few targets that can only be seen from one point in the room) creating stage plans, movement, and dealing with more-distant shots vs closer ones.

So far, it seems to working. More practice is needed to see how well, though.

Gunsite. With frickin’ lasers*.

Gunsite. WITH FRICKIN' LASERS!

Kudos to Crimson Trace, they know how to run a contest that people actually WANT to win, versus “Give us your email and we’ll send you a bunch of crap we can’t sell.”

The Gunsite Academy 250 Defensive Pistol Course is known as “The Gunsite Experience”. First presented in 1976 by Colonel Jeff Cooper, 250 graduates will be well-grounded in the Modern Technique of the Pistol. The Crimson Trace Gunsite 250 Pistol course covers the complete 250 doctrine, while adding in the practical use of laser sights.

One lucky winner (and guest of their choice) will receive airfare, course registration fees, and lodging. The course is scheduled for October 12-16, 2015.

Enter here, and good luck.

*Sharks and/or ill-tempered sea bass optional.

Information Is Life

I’ve attended some training classes that poo-poo the idea of “situational awareness” as if it were some kind of sooper-sekrit ninja skill that will keep you safe in any circumstance. Then they tell you what you REALLY need is the skills they teach in their class, the one that you’re paying for..

Look, I get the idea that firearms are what you use after every single thing has not worked, but still, the more information you have about what’s around you, the more you’re able to not have to use your firearms skills.

Does situational awareness work every time? No. Nothing does. Not even a Glock.

Does situational awareness keep you from having to use your Glock (or your S&W, or Sig, or Ruger…) Yep.

Change up.

Interesting question:

Knowing what you know now, what would you chose as a first carry gun?

This shouldn’t be a gun you currently own, but more of a “What if?” thought exercise.

I started out with a Sccy CPX-1, a gun that turned out to be quite a disappointment, but might be actually decent now that a new model is now available.

Learning from my mistake, I now normally carry a CZ P07, and when I’m not carry that gun, I carry an S&W Shield or pocket-carry a P3AT. If didn’t own any of those, and knowing what I do now, I think my first carry gun would have been a Sig Sauer P320 Compact. I loves me my CZ’s, but I’m fascinated by the great trigger and modularity of the P320.

Plus it’s a pretty good value. How often does THAT happen when you’re talking about a Sig?

There is no such thing as trigger jerk.

Or at least, not in my experience. The action that we talk about as “trigger jerk” might be better diagnosed as “sight picture impatience”, or not believing that your sights will remain on-target when the gun fires so you have to take the shot right this very instant, which leads to a quick, ragged pull on the trigger and a shot that hits low and left.

Ever jerk the trigger during shooting from retention or “point shooting”? I thought not.

This is why it’s so hard to diagnose during dry-fire, because we can wait for the sights to settle down and take our time pulling the trigger.

Personally, I’ve found that getting a good sight picture, then deciding to shoot but not actually pulling the trigger and waiting to see that yes, that shot is still there a second later (then pulling the trigger) is doing wonders for curing my jerk. The problem isn’t pulling the trigger, the problem is not believing the sight picture will be there when you need it, and you get impatient.

But that’s just me. Maybe your experience is different.

Are we living in a golden age of firearms training?

In a word, yes, yes we are.

Firearms instruction and training really has evolved. The days are long past when someone handed you a gun and told you to go out back and teach yourself to shoot. Today we have a gun to fit each person, each purpose, and each budget. We are entering the golden age of firearms instruction that is equally wide and deep.

Instructors today know their material in depth. They take continuing education courses and most instructors have sampled a number of different training schools before they instruct. This pays real dividends for the student. First, today’s instructors have standards of professional practice to safely run a range. Second, today’s instructors have a well stocked bag of tricks. This is invaluable when the first training method doesn’t connect with the student. What works for you might not work for me. Instructors need several approaches to teach the same skill.

Lots and lots of great insights in that article, so please read the whole thing. And I especially love this little bit at the end.

Take a new shooter to the range.. and take a class with them.

Yep. And also, take them to a match as well. H/T Phil Wong of Gator Farm Tactical.

Lessons from Chattanooga

We may poo-poo the idea of “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” tragedies like the jihad in Tennessee, but I’d rather learn from these incidents than pretend they don’t exist or hope and pray they don’t happen to me or my loved ones.

Number One:
The shooter in this latest incident was a Kuwaiti who didn’t exactly come from an impoverished background.

Terrorist house

Lesson to be learned here: Just because you live in a “nice” neighborhood doesn’t mean you’re safe from jihad. Naples, where I live, is nothing if not wall-to-wall “nice” neighborhoods, and we’re DARN close to Cuba as well. If you think you’re safe because you’re not in the military, you’re dead wrong. Jihadis have shot up schools, shopping malls, churches, airports and hotels; they’re going to have issues shooting up your favorite Mexican restaurant.

Number Two:
Carry as much firepower as you can, all the time. I’m carrying my CZ P07 off-work as of 5pm on Thursday, rather than the Shield I’ve been carrying. 9 rounds of ammo is good. 16 rounds is better, and another 16 in a spare mag on my belt, (with an AR in the trunk), is even more better. If you can’t carry at work, have a flashlight, a first aid kit and an escape plan.

Number Three: 
Carry more than a gun. I’ve got my tactical man-purse with me pretty much all the time now, and it has the things I need to deal with a day’s worth of what life might throw at me. If that’s too much for you, carry the four things you should have besides your gun and some means of mitigating the effects of a gunshot wound to yourself or others, and know how to use your gear.

To be honest, I’d much prefer to not worry about such things. It’s sad that we must consider terrorism on our home soil as a very real thing, but the consequences of not considering it are even sadder.