Hopefully by now you have caught on that I separate “coursework” from “training”. When you take coursework you work with an instructor who is teaching you their particular POV of handling your defensive weapon. But, the time they spend with you is far too short to do any type of training that will permanently cement itself in your use of that defensive weapon outside of the coursework. That is left for your trainer to do . . .
Your primary trainer is that person who goes on every range trip with you, who lays out what you will work on that day, defines the course of fire for the day, chooses the weapon you will work on, insures you have a working gun, proper range wear and picks the time and place on the range when you will do your training . . .
In other words, your primary trainer is the person you see every day when you look in the mirror . . . you!
I’ve chatted in the past about individual increments of what you need to do on the range – from defining exactly what you are going to work on to some suggestions for specific drills. Today I want to spend a bit of time on what I consider one of the most critical periods of time for you as a student/trainer during the shooting of a drill . . . the 3-5 seconds immediately after the completion of a string of fire.
Have you ever watched the “tacticool” approach after a string of fire is done? The shooter snaps back to the high compressed ready, low ready or a sul position and does a scan and assess IMMEDIATELY after the string of fire is complete. I have no issue with the scan and assess – I do that myself. Where I quibble is the quickness with which many shooters abandon looking at the downed threat and move into a scan and assess. From a practical POV it’s wise to focus of the threat long enough to insure they are well and truly down or are no longer an immediate threat to your life. Make sure the immediate threat is resolved first . . . then check your six.
But, past that when you are doing your monthly training session – I would encourage you to hold your final position after the last round in the string is fired and evaluate your string and yourself before you move back into a high compressed ready, low ready or sul position. This is the 3 – 5 seconds that I believe will be some of the best time you spend during your training trips to the range. So what would you evaluate?
First, how about your grip? Did it remain solid or did you notice you readjusted your grip when your string was done?
How about your stance? How did your feet end up when you planted to shoot? Did that work for you? Was it a stable platform?
Check your sight alignment, sight picture. If the threat jumped up RIGHT NOW . . . would your first shot be effective?
What about your overall body position? Is it aggressive, over the balls of your feet? Is it solid? Are you ready for the next shot should it be needed?
How did the string feel? Did you have a solid sight picture for every round you sent down range or did you just press the trigger and hope for the best?
Move your focus forward and look at the target . . . how were the hits in your string?
This time . . . this little 3-5 second window can give you a solid look at your shooting performance on a string by string basis. And, since you are the trainer, you are the one pushing on yourself to do better, be more accurate, be faster . . . take some time to evaluate yourself with just a little added pause – just 3-5 seconds – at the end of each string evaluate yourself. Notice what you did well – that will help reinforce it over time. And, look at what you could have done better . . . then do better.
One other suggestion – take a look at a camera you can mount to your ear protection, your ball cap or just have a friend shoot some video of you running a handful of drills. Raw video can be just that . . . raw . . . but no one ever said becoming a better shooter was easy. Watch yourself, make notes, critique your performance. It takes work to become a better shooter. . . and sometimes just a short 3 – 5 seconds can tell you a lot!
Remember – YOU are your primary trainer, make sure you’re doing your job!