TIMER: “Shooter – load and make ready!”
TIMER: “Is the shooter ready?”
TIMER: “Stand by!”
. . . . . BEEP!!!
Rick punches out, 5 rounds – 5 hits. Time - just under 7 seconds – a personal best for him. He displays a big ass grin, looks at me and says “Thanks! That time on the range really helped!” Then he heads to the loading table to load a couple magazines for the next round . . . we’re both happy campers!
Rick had acted as a student in a recent PPOTH Advanced Instructor course this spring and I had worked on his foundation – stance, grip, sight alignment, sight picture and trigger press – pretty hard. He was doing the seemingly typical Glock “low left” (for right handed shooters) thing with his Glock 19 and was well and truly frustrated. His final “key” was to firm up his grip and pay attention to his metacarpal bone of his trigger finger to insure that it had little to no movement when he pressed the trigger. Then, a bit of focus on a smooth trigger press to the rear . . . and the magic happened. Nice groups, no flinch, no “low and left” . . . he made . . .
progress : movement forward or toward a place
: the process of improving or developing something over a period of time
Many shooters seem to believe the only thing needed to do to improve is to simply throw rounds down range. I have watched both new and inexperienced shooters as well as “old heads” send round after round down range, shake their head in disappointment and leave the range with the promise to “do better” next time. Really? How??
How does a shooter improve if they don’t diagnose what isn’t working for them? This specific issue falls – oft times – in the category of “ignorance”. The shooter simply doesn’t know what’s wrong and doesn’t know how to diagnose the problem. They “don’t know” that they “don’t know”. There are many solutions available to them to remedy this.
Gain more knowledge. Pure and simple – the solution to ignorance is knowledge. There are so many sources available to new shooters today. From live course work to a wide range of books and videos from reputable trainers – there is a tremendous amount of information available to give new and experienced shooters alike insights into the particular problem they may be having. One last roadblock that can easily pop its head up here – pride. If a shooter let’s their pride get in the way of their education . . . NOTHING WILL CHANGE!
Another great tool is a training partner. I mean a REAL training partner – not someone to go make holes with, but someone who will push you, critique you, encourage you and someone open to you doing the same. A new set of eyes on a problem can do wonders for your ability to improve your shooting skills!
Video cameras can be another “training partner” – both head-mounted and tripod mounted so you get a personal POV that you can review as well as one from a few steps away. The trick here is to actually review the video, watch what you do, talk to yourself on the video sharing what you did and finally, ruthlessly critique yourself at the end of each range trip. Time consuming? Yep. Expensive? Not really – there are any number of moderately priced pieces of video gear – not to mention that most smart phones offer very high resolution video recording capability as well. If you can’t “see” what you’re doing . . . you’ll never be able to fix what you’re doing.
Break things down to smaller components . . . to the fundamentals. Then, work on them one at a time. It’s tempting to take a course, watch a video, read a book and have a bit of an “ah ha!” moment . . . and then think everything will magically go together. Nothing works like that . . . NOTHING! Identify those things that need attention – stance, grip, gun handling, driving to the threat . . . – whatever – and then WORK ON IT UNTIL YOUR MASTER IT! Then – choose the next component . . . and repeat until you have made real . . .
Don’t become discourage . . . become determined! You’re a better shooter! You can “run your gun” better than you do today! You can move better! You can move quicker! You know you can! I know you can! There is lots of room for improvement . . . in ALL of us.
Then, when you have a break through like Rick . . . take a few moments, look at the target/timer/range drill . . . give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back, add it to your stack of “range stories” to tell over a cold one . . .
And get back at it . . . because, as a shooter, there is always more progress to be made!