After the last couple days of news . . . it was time for a bit of range work. If San Bernardino taught us all one thing – it’s that having a defensive weapon on our body that we can run and shoot accurately is our best bet at arriving home at the end of the day standing rather than in a Ziploc.
As I posted earlier I’ve been spending some time with the local PD giving them a hand with some new officers as well as running their trainers through their qualification shoots. They essentially use the OLD FBI qualification course – the one that starts at 25 yards rather than at arm’s distance. The idea is that each officer shoots against a well-defined standard that can be monitored and tracked.
For the majority of us – civilian shooters – shooting qualification courses also has real value. They allow us all to evaluate - “where we are”? If you’re one of those folks I referenced in my last post that has their permit, has a gun . . . but spends no time doing individual training on the range, things may not end well for you should the SHTF. Just sayin’.
There are any number of “qualification” courses of fire out there – your local LEO course, the FBI course (new and old), NRA Instructor qualification courses of fire and, part of the subject of this post – the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program to name just a few.
One of the values that I personally place on shooting a qualification course – and keeping a record of the shoot – is that should I ever be involved in the shooting, it is one more piece of evidence that I take my skillset seriously, that I work at it and that I periodically demonstrate it. Shoot a course of fire, save the target, take an image of it, tuck it away in your training records and then pray you never have a use for it.
Anyway, I headed to the range with two purposes in mind – get some engagements in while wearing more cool weather gear, and to shoot the Defensive Pistol I Pro Marksman course of fire. You shoot 4 courses of fire, 5 rounds per course at a D-1 target (or equivalent) with all rounds within the “8” ring. See page 6 of the linked PDF manual. It was a nice afternoon, mid-40s and sunny. So, I got by with just a fleece. Make sure you do your range work wearing the same gear you wear daily – coat, gloves, hat.
So I put up my favorite LE SEB target, stapled my D-1 “equivalent” target at high center mass, took my place at 21 feet, attached my timer to my pocket and got down to work.
Below is the target that I shot. The “tape” is in the upper left, 50 rounds with times/splits for each 3-round engagement. I also shot at precise areas of the target – those are preceded by the number of the shape or the “H” in the case of the head shots. (Notice I took care of the threat’s ear in fine fashion!)
So what to look for . . .
- Shot placement
- Time to first round engagement
- Split time
- How much time does it take to make a precise shot . . . and how precise was it exactly
My draws were somewhere slightly under 2.3 seconds from concealment with the best being 2 seconds flat and the worst was 2.33 seconds. For the precise shots, I typically added 1 second.
So what does this mean? I’ve maintained since my last trip, I seem to run right around 2.3 seconds. Precise shots need work. No idea what the heck happened with the head shot – but round 2/3 cleanly took off the threat’s ear. Round 1 should have put them down hard. Shapes 1 and 4 also had misses - - - take the time to GET THE HITS!!
So there you are – 50 rounds, with purpose and another bit of evidence should my life ever go sideways in a really big way that – yes, I work at my craft, I document the work and I can prove it.
On to the Winchester/NRA program.
The Defensive Pistol I begins on page 6 of the linked manual above. All levels must be earned in order. I shot the Pro-Marksman course of fire. 4 targets, 5 rounds per target with a 15 second time limit. 20 rounds total shot from the ready position.
I posted 4 targets and timed the string of fire for each target to insure I didn’t exceed the 15 second time limit. Here are the targets.
As you can see the final string times were 6.88, 7.15, 6.23 and 5.71. I passed across the board but note the very last target – 5 rounds, 4 seconds with a 1” spread, not a bad way to end the day. All rounds were within the 10 ring and all were within the 4” x 6” rectangle that is my primary area of interest in the “high center mass” area of the threat.
From a book keeping pov, I’ll send the info off to Winchester and see what happens. From a performance POV, I met my expectations. I’ll continue to work on dropping time while maintaining accuracy. Remember, this is a perishable skill – if you hit the range once a year – your ability to take out a mortal threat may well not be there should the need arise.
Folks . . . there’s a new “Wolf Pack” in our country. They’re hungry, they’re determined, they’re focused and they’re hungry.
Hit the range, do the work . . . and carry every day, everywhere you legally can . . .