AAR: Excellence in Shooting Fundamentals

Before May is up, I’d like to deliver an After Action Review/Report of the first real firearms course I’ve taken. We’re going to go over the gist of the course, my performance to some degree, and what I learned.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to train in various manners of combat. I’m a relatively new shooter and the class I took focuses on the fundamentals of a good shooting foundation. It’s not an NRA course, but I did take it at an NRA range and from an excellent instructor who is also certified as an NRA instructor. We worked with compact handguns (Glock 19 and Springfield XDm-9 3.8″) and worked a few shots at a time. We focused on getting a proper modern isosceles stance and how to adjust your elevation by rotating the wrists rather than lifting the arm. We worked on proper grip and trigger press. We worked a little bit on attaining accuracy but more so on maintaining precision shot for shot… at the cost of my ego, of course, and you’ll know why soon (and also why that’s a good thing).

Let’s talk about the guns a little bit. I carry my own firearm all day, every day. But this was a good opportunity to try some different stuff out. Naturally, I will apply appropriate practice to my carry firearm and translate the learned skills. In later courses, I do plan to include my carry firearm. Now, it’s not my first time firing a Glock or XDm, but it was my first time with those particular models. The stock trigger on the 19 didn’t break as cleanly as I liked and we switched to the XDm at instructor suggestion. The trigger on the XDm was much better, about the same pull weight but it broke clean and smooth. We used the extended magazine for it and that helped with grip a little bit (though I have somewhat small hands and the compact grip was good enough). Sights on the Glock were standard factory 3-dot sights. There was no contrast on the XDm sights so that did make it difficult to align them quickly – It also didn’t help that my glasses were a very old prescription.

Here’s some of the things I learned:

  • Obviously trigger pull is king, but grip is absolutely crucial to controlling point of aim and helps with managing pull
  • Much practice is required to perfect entering and settling into proper stance
  • Even at 5 to 8 feet and taking great time and care, making a single hole with a 5-shot group was a challenge
  • I suck at shooting (which I had known), but improvement is consistent at the beginner and intermediate levels as long as you practice, practice, practice
  • Practice, practice, practice
  • Practice. Dry fire often and safely, as always. Ammo is scarce these days so when you do shoot live rounds, make every shot count
  • Even a basic fundamentals course is a great learning experience for someone who hasn’t done anything of the sort, and having a good instructor is key to getting the most out of the experience

Overall, it was a fantastic course. Immediately, I became more confident and that is a tremendous psychological boost. How much more confidence and greater skill could be attained by taking self-defense and combat courses that include or focus on the firearm? I can’t wait to find out. Stay tune and stay safe out there, folks.

-DH

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~ by demonhide on May 27, 2013.

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