Practice Makes Perfect

While going through Tam’s recent posts, I saw this on maintaining technique and skills.

I am very fortunate to not only live with a superb shooter but to also be friends with and shoot with the highest quality weapons trainers around.

(I know – I don’t give names or post pics of folks much. I try very hard to respect the privacy of our friends. I am sorry if it makes posts seem overly “black ops”. Really just being thoughtful of their preferences…)

The other day we were at the local range (it’s a PD range so we can shoot anything we want any way we want – blessed!). They were working through a training course that they provide so I was a good test case, so to speak. It was a level 2 course and they talked about concealed carry methods, shooting from holster, magazine use and change. The most fun was where one guy was training on mag drop and reload as Trooper shoved mags into my spare mag pouch with unknown rounds. If you haven’t tried that, you should. It really was tremendous fun as well as teaching me to discern an empty gun without counting rounds. It was surprisingly hard to notice when you are in the zone as my eye focuses ahead and hardly sees the slide move. But practice permits you to feel that subtle kick of the slide to the rear and the slight change in weight of the weapon. At least such was my experience.

They talked about not just dropping near-empty mags in the dirt but to pocket them as they may be the last rounds you have to work with. Of course, they did their fun stuff, too, after. “From the dirt, shoot left hand, laying on right side…” I hardly noticed the misting rain though Trooper did. Later that evening he was cleaning guns for quite some time.

We discussed holster styles because (for now) Texas won’t let me wander around with the beloved thigh holster. I tried the in-the-pants version – not a fan. Maybe I’ll try a small-of-the-back version. And I DO like the loaned Kirkpatrick so I may get one since they aren’t that expensive. My shopping has changed, too – will that jacket be light enough in summer? Does that linen tunic come in black? I have to admit that it’s been fun to come up with options…

Meanwhile, I’m supposed to be doing practice drills and haven’t yet. I suppose I ought to force myself to do (empty) reloads and dry fires for every blog visit. Too, I have to practice that small toss maneuver necessary to arc that mag eject button around to where my thumb can reach it. It’s a small movement but one I need to be doing over and over.

All of this – the training, the muscle memory, the understanding of how to see a target, determine a threat and react – I take it seriously. One can make it fun, but in the end it is a serious business. You do not walk away from a shooting incident unchanged. So…my hope is that I can acquire enough skill to make it a brief fight. And a winnable one.

I am fortunate, indeed. But I have to tell you – it certainly can be intimidating to work with men of that skill level. One feels like an infant clinging to the trousers of gods. Not that they have ever acted as though they know it. Gentlemen, soldiers, and honorable to their very core.

Who’d ever believe a Chicago punk would wind up in their company?

4 responses to “Practice Makes Perfect

  1. I'm a holster freak but I got taught a lesson yesterday. After years of reading or hearing folks talk about the importance of a quality belt to a rig and ignoring it, I invested in a Mitch Rosen belt last fall with a new 1911 compact IWB holster. Haven't worn it yet since I've been stuffing my Kel-Tec baby in my pocket lately.

    Yesterday I dug out my old Kramer scabbard for my Sig 228 and it fits the belt like it was made for it. The support and stability of the belt and a holster with a properly sized belt loop(s) is incredible. I basically was able for forget the size/weight of the rig. I became an instant believer.

    Quality belt is a critical component of comfortable carry. Can I get an “Amen”?

  2. Don't go “small of the back.” It's concealable when it works right, but of your clothing shifts, everyone in the world will be able to see it EXCEPT you. And when it comes to retention…forget about it. If someone tries, you'll never see the grab coming. Try to fine a way to keep it on the front 180 if you can.

  3. Ed, no offense – and I highly doubt your punkatudinalness. Seriously. I never saw you at River Park.

    As for the belt – damn skippy. Another item on the list.

    Hey, you – you are right, of course. I hadn't given much thought to the retention issue – more concerned with hiding the damn thing. But you've got me there. Sigh…

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