Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Training AAR

So I went to the training down in Southern Maryland at the Maryland Firearms Training Group, instruction from Craig Collins.

He was the guy I took the Utah CCW course from, and the class I took was Intermediate Pistol. There was some overlap from my CCW course, but that’s ok, I needed the review and reinforced gun handling methods. And, I got the returning student discount, so that was a pleasant surprise.

There were 3 other people in the class, a gentleman that owned an XD 9mm, and two ladies that were still in the pistol selection process, but pretty much on their way to committing to a purchase in the near future.

Things that were review… I got to do similar draws from the holster at the range. There is the point shoot where you draw the pistol, bring your elbow down and index off your arm to quickly get off the round. Very useful if the bad guy is in bad breath range or just a bit further. We did the ATM draw, where you turn to the side and the target is a simulated attacker approaching you from flank at an ATM. It’s also, by necessity, one handed. Did a bunch of these and regular draws and press outs, often under time pressure. I had one embarrassment with the ATM draw, firing a bit too early. Way too wild a shot for my comfort, and I kick myself over it. Dammit.

Everything goes out the window when there is a shot clock involved. It adds a little bit of pressure trying to beat the thing. Even when you AREN'T trying to beat it there is pressure, just from the stating beep, ignoring the 2.78 second last beep. All I can think about, when aiming, is to just try to get that front sight in 'frame.' Even then...

The slow fire at the 8 inch plate sees me eating out the bottom of the target. I dunno why, but it was centered, not favoring the right side, as is my wont. Anticipatory push the likely culprit, we both agreed. And this one isn't even the plate with the chewed bottom:

I need to check to see if he’ll agree to one on one instruction and we can forgo more of the classroom and do more range fine tuning. And I certainly want to go to his Advanced Pistol course. I wanted to do that this time, but I’m not disappointed I went to the review.

Then there was the stuff I learned that was totally new for me. For instance, I have never had a double feed malfunction, and if I knew the drill for correcting it, I had forgotten it. For a double feed, a tap-rack-bang corrective measure probably won’t help. (Tap the magazine bottom to be sure it’s seated, rack the slide to clear the problem case, and pull the trigger and you’re back in the fight.) For a double feed, you need to get the magazine out by yanking it, or locking the slide back and removing it that way. Then the double fed rounds have more room to drop away when you work the slide. Reinsert the magazine and drive on.

Professor Collins think the nomenclature for reloading is a bit strained and unintuitive, so he eschews terms like “Modified Tactical Reload” and “Combat Reload.” He boils it down to 2 types of reloading, “You are reloading because you gotta” and “You are reloading because you wanna.” Then you ‘gotta’ is because the gun is empty and the fight isn’t over. Seek cover, drop the empty mag on the ground and reload. If you ‘wanna’ it means that you see an opportunity to swap out a partially used magazine with a full one. You retain the not quite empty old magazine in this case. There. Isn’t that a simple concept? I’d confuse Tactical with Combat all the time if that was how I learned.

Another new thing for me was holding a surefire style flashlight in the meaty fist of my support hand under the wrist of my shooting hand. Lining up the light with what I’m looking at that way isn’t as easy as I thought, and I’ll need to practice this some more in dry fire drills.

Another neat thing I’d never tried before is work with a SIRT pistol. It’s the size of a full size Glock, but it shines a red laser when you’ve staged the trigger, and green when you fire. It allows us to do practical stuff with draws in the classroom, shooting simulate threat/no-threat in a powerpoint presentation, and can tattle on you if you are slapping the trigger by releasing it past the reset point. It also allowed us some move and ‘shoot’ drills in the classroom parking lot. At $400, they are probably of less utility at home, but superb in a classroom setting.

Oh, he likes to start with revolver training. It seems my second shot when trying to go fast finds the red more often. This is my revolver target:

Money well spent. Next up, a possible Appleseed in 2 weeks in the cold of Mechanicsville Virginia.


Bubblehead Les. said...

Hey T-Bolt, glad to see you got some training in. Center but low on the 8 inch plates? In that particular instant, sounds like a change in elevation on the sights might just put you in the black. It's a pain with using these fixed sights that the Gun Manufacturers assume will give you acceptable "Combat Accuracy" with a specific load at a specific distance. Next time you can get to the range, just put the front sight on the Top of the Black, and see if the shots land in the center. If they do, well, Bob's your Uncle as the Brits say. Have a Happy Turkey Day!

Richard said...

For instance, I have never had a double feed malfunction, and if I knew the drill for correcting it, I had forgotten it. For a double feed, a tap-rack-bang corrective measure probably won’t help.

Clint Smith teaches that there is one malfunction clearance drill:

* Tap, rack, bang — LOAD THE GUN
* If that doesn't work: drop the mag (hang on to it if you only have one), clear the chamber, load the mag, rack the slide, bang — UNLOAD THE GUN, RELOAD THE GUN.

That will deal with almost any stoppage you'll encounter, and the two operations — loading and unloading the gun — are ones with which you should be familiar.

There's a temptation to try to figure out what went wrong, so you can decide what to do — even knowing that you had a double feed means that you were probably looking and trying to figure that out. No need. Try to load the gun. If that doesn't work, unload then reload. Shoot the target.

I had this hammered home at Thunder Ranch, and it really does work. Give it a try: set up a bunch of failure drills at the range, and work through the process.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Center low is still my fault, Les. The instructor, Craig, thought the same thing, so to prove it I gave the pistol to him. He hit 3 in the center-center. So the sights are fine.

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