Firearms Training - Sharing Experience (Read 18769 times)

drck1000

Firearms Training - Sharing Experience
« on: April 02, 2018, 09:16:57 AM »
Many folks here invest time and considerable money into firearms training.  I also think that many are interested in doing that as well, but are hesitant for many reasons (which I really do understand).  So I wanted to start a thread to share my experiences, both good and bad, as well as encourage others to share those.  My hope is that others can learn from those shared experiences and encourage them to seek out training as well.

Most recent course was a one day handgun course over the weekend.  I've attended a few classes with this group in the past year or so and I've gotten to know many of the folks who attend.  There's a wide range of backgrounds and shooting experience.  That's one aspect that I always encounter and sometimes "worry" about when seeking out training with a new group.  You're always going to have a wide range of experience most open enrollment type course, especially in the "level I" or beginner type courses.  The class this past weekend was in the intermediate level with folks had successfully completed the basic level course(s) with this group.  Anyways, my point is that over the years, I've come to really appreciate the trainers that can accommodate the wide range of experience in shooters that they train and to be able to quickly evaluate who needs more attention, while keeping them safe, as well as being able to find ways to push those who they feel can be pushed.  I've attended many basic courses and I will always learn something.  That said, I have found and really come to appreciate those trainers who can still challenge the more experienced shooters in those basic courses. 

I have attended multiple shooting courses on the mainland.  I had more time and $$$ in the past, but both are much more tight these days.  There were times that I spent in the $5000-6000 (and more at times) to attend a 3-5 (ETA) day courses.  The airfare, hotel, car rental, ammo cost, etc all add up quickly.  Yes, firearm training opportunities in Hawaii are few and far between, but they are excellent opportunities out there.  However, even then, it does take up a whole day and I understand it is difficult for many to find that kind of time to dedicate to training.

Getting back to the point, some lessons learned from this past weekend.

Self evaluation and being honest with yourself.  I had spent a bunch of range time recently to figure out some kinks in my handgun marksmanship.  I had developed some bad habits and I spent a bunch of time doing ball and dummy drills to diagnose as well as iron things out.  Going into this course, I thought I had done a pretty good job of ironing things out.  So the first course of fire is a "cold" standards drill where the first shot of the day is a shot at 4 yards on a 6" diameter target.  Well, my first shot was just barely out and what I had been working on showed up.  I was able to clean that up for the second and third parts of that drill, but I was really disappointed that what I had been working on had crept back in.  That's why I like the "cold" drills for evaluating myself.  I've also gotten frustrated with myself in the past when I started noticing that I am shooting poorly and in the past it could throw me off for a while.  But I was able to get back into the groove and clean it up.  So just a reminder on how humbling shooting can be at times.

Working out your gear.  I was using a newer belt setup that I had put together over the holidays.  New belt, new pouch system, etc.  I had used this set up on a more "mellow" range day a while back and it seemed to work out well.  Well, not too far into the day, I noticed that the malice clips on my pistol mag pouches had come loose.  I would later find that the "head" of the malice clips were sliding out of the molle on the pouch.  So I had to adjust the way that I had put on the malice clip.  Actually I had to do that after the pouch came loose a second time.  I also noticed some other shooters where their gear either didn't seem to be working well, mags were falling out of pouches, etc.  I am a big believer of "using what you got/brought".  However, many times there are better options and you really have to spend some time to work out the kinks in your gear setup and more than wearing around the house.

Shooting in adverse conditions.  It was pouring for about the middle third of the day.  I've shot in the rain before, even in the 0-10 F weather and snow.  While the latter is not realistic for most of us, shooting in the rain is always interesting.  Yes, the Glock slide is much more slippery.  Some things that I normally do with a dry slide either don't work well or some don't even work with a wet slide.  I'll have to consider changing those things.  But also things like your hands become waterlogged and just sort of perform differently.  Or even stuff like your hands show wear more because the skin is waterlogged.  There were bunch of folks who are surgeons in this course and they commented on that.  I also found that my dump pouch is quite water resistant and there was quite a pool that developed in the pouch.  Not a big deal for me, but something that others noticed with their dump pouches.  I usually only keep my empty mags in there, but sometimes I keep spare ammo in there or other stuff.  If I had my cell phone in there, that wouldn't have been good. 

I also noticed that black paste had developed in my gun that I had never noticed before.  We shot about 250-300 that day, so not that much.  I had never seen that before.  I assumed it was a combination of the water from the rain, the carbon from the dirty Blazer Brass ammo and lube.  I don't think it would have gummed up the gun, but just something I had never noticed before.  I can't imagine with it's like for the military folks who have been in the sandbox or other worst condition places.  Anyways, my point was that shooting outdoors brings a whole other aspect that is one of those "you never know until you try" sort of deals. 

You don't know what you don't know.  Being able to shoot with a trainer who has a keen eye for spotting things is huge.  The group that I shot with this past weekend are great with that.  They pointed out a couple of things that I didn't realize I was doing, or bad habits that crept back in.  I also noticed those things in other shooters, where their mind gets so wrapped up on the course of fire that they sort of forget things.  So having an open mind to correction is key as well.  It never amazes me how many folks I come across in shooting there they "know what they know" and aren't open to correction because they feel that they've been there and done that. 

Overall, I really enjoy shooting and would like to get out and do these types of courses more often.  I flat out enjoy them as well as I want to improve as a shooter.  My hope of this thread is to share that with folks that might be considering getting started, but are hesitant as they don't quite know what to expect.  It's not cheap and does involve a considerable time commitment. 
« Last Edit: April 02, 2018, 12:18:40 PM by drck1000 »

Drakiir84

Re: Firearms Training - Sharing Experience
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2018, 12:10:30 PM »
Awesome post bro.  As you well know I shot once with the group you're talking about and the thing I was most impressed with was their diagnostic skills.  I mean if you can improve on the nearly perfect shooter that I already am that's saying something ;-) :-P

Any opportunity to take a class on island is an opportunity that should be taken advantage of.  It's ridiculous how fast the money adds up going to a mainland course, the trouble is that there is a huge demand on island and a very minimal supply.

Self evaluation and practicing the right way every time is key.  I'm also a huge fan of cold drills since self defense situations are always shot cold.  Can't ask a bad guy to give you a second try.

Gear.  I cannot count how many times I've seen people fuddle their gear or their equipment.  Buying cool guns and gear is always fun, but the most important thing in shooting is looking cool.  Dropping your shit all over the ground doesn't look cool.  Not being able to load your AK doesn't look cool.  Put your shit together, get it situated as close to perfect as possible and put in the reps.  If you have a new holster get your draws in, as many as you can, 80-100 every night until it's second nature.  Same with drawing mags and reloading.  I will never understand people that don't dry fire practice when it is both free and priceless.  You should be able to grab your "battle belt" or holster and mag pouches and be ready and good to go no matter the situation.  Practice, practice, practice, practice.  There are no cheats or secrets, just hard work through deliberate repetitions.  As hilarious as watching someone trying to draw their pistol but instead just shuffling their loose fitting belt up and down along their body while not even getting close to clearing the weapon from the over-tightened terrible holster is.... I'd prefer they just squared their shit away.  Find someone that knows what they're doing and ask questions to save time and money.

If it ain't raining it ain't training.  Seems like whenever these guys have a class it pours lol.  Always helps to have a pair of gloves to keep your soft mushy hands from getting cut up and to keep a good grip.  While it might not be a big deal at a 1 day training class, getting cut in the field can be life threatening.  Everyone should have a couple pairs of good gloves to protect their hands.

You know what you know and you don't know what you don't know.  Like I said earlier, their diagnostic abilities are second to none.  Personally I started getting a really bad habit of not resetting the trigger immediately after shooting.  I know the reason for this is from teaching too many basic pistol classes.  Drilling into new students the importance of follow through and learning trigger reset caused me to delay my trigger reset when shooting for real.  They noticed that I was doing that and I immediately went home, got out the SIRT and spend hours practicing forced breathing pauses and better trigger reset.  Regardless of how much you know there is always more to learn and we should all be open to constructive criticism. 

Get out there, spend the cash, get training, look cool.
"The rifle is a weapon. Let there be no mistake about that. It is a tool of power, and thus dependent completely upon the moral stature of its user. It is equally useful in securing meat for the table, destroying group enemies on the battlefield, and resisting tyranny. In fact, it is the only means of resisting tyranny, since a citizenry armed with rifles simply cannot be tyrannized."
-Jeff Cooper

drck1000

Re: Firearms Training - Sharing Experience
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2018, 12:46:42 PM »
1) Awesome post bro.  As you well know I shot once with the group you're talking about and the thing I was most impressed with was their diagnostic skills.  I mean if you can improve on the nearly perfect shooter that I already am that's saying something ;-) :-P

Any opportunity to take a class on island is an opportunity that should be taken advantage of.  It's ridiculous how fast the money adds up going to a mainland course, the trouble is that there is a huge demand on island and a very minimal supply.

2) Self evaluation and practicing the right way every time is key.  I'm also a huge fan of cold drills since self defense situations are always shot cold.  Can't ask a bad guy to give you a second try.

3) Gear.  I cannot count how many times I've seen people fuddle their gear or their equipment.  Buying cool guns and gear is always fun, but the most important thing in shooting is looking cool.  Dropping your shit all over the ground doesn't look cool.  Not being able to load your AK doesn't look cool.  Put your shit together, get it situated as close to perfect as possible and put in the reps.  If you have a new holster get your draws in, as many as you can, 80-100 every night until it's second nature.  Same with drawing mags and reloading.  I will never understand people that don't dry fire practice when it is both free and priceless.  You should be able to grab your "battle belt" or holster and mag pouches and be ready and good to go no matter the situation.  Practice, practice, practice, practice.  There are no cheats or secrets, just hard work through deliberate repetitions.  As hilarious as watching someone trying to draw their pistol but instead just shuffling their loose fitting belt up and down along their body while not even getting close to clearing the weapon from the over-tightened terrible holster is.... I'd prefer they just squared their shit away.  Find someone that knows what they're doing and ask questions to save time and money.

4) If it ain't raining it ain't training.  Seems like whenever these guys have a class it pours lol.  Always helps to have a pair of gloves to keep your soft mushy hands from getting cut up and to keep a good grip.  While it might not be a big deal at a 1 day training class, getting cut in the field can be life threatening.  Everyone should have a couple pairs of good gloves to protect their hands.

5) You know what you know and you don't know what you don't know.  Like I said earlier, their diagnostic abilities are second to none.  Personally I started getting a really bad habit of not resetting the trigger immediately after shooting.  I know the reason for this is from teaching too many basic pistol classes.  Drilling into new students the importance of follow through and learning trigger reset caused me to delay my trigger reset when shooting for real.  They noticed that I was doing that and I immediately went home, got out the SIRT and spend hours practicing forced breathing pauses and better trigger reset.  Regardless of how much you know there is always more to learn and we should all be open to constructive criticism. 

Get out there, spend the cash, get training, look cool.

1) Uh huh.  "Drakiir Perfection", huh?   :rofl:

2) I've always been a fan of the cold tests, drills, etc.  Exactly the point.  It's not like you're gonna get a warm up session in prior to a defensive situation.  I've actually been thinking of going to HFR more just to be able to do those kinds of drills more often.  Not to the point where I'm drilling that particular sequence though.  Something that I'd like to expand on though for sure.

3) Gear is a huge thing for me.  I am not a gear snob, but there's definitely a difference. I mean, get what you can afford and it doesn't have to be "Gucci shit", but there are definitely stuff that are crap.  I'm definitely one that likes to try and test for myself.  That gets expensive for sure, but I really value the opportunity to figure things out and find what works and more importantly doesn't work, at least for me.  Yeah, I've seen many folks be all geared up and look cool, but only to have their stuff not work, fumble with stuff, etc.  Part of the learning process and one that I admit went through, and still do really. 

4) I was "smart" enough to have a rain jacket this time.  Last time, I just got soaked!  When I took classes in Alaska, I had stuff like Goretex pants and stuff.  Could've come in handy this past weekend.  Gloves is something that I didn't mention and good point.  Not only for the practical aspect, but also getting used to shooting with them on.  They definitely change things. 

5) That trigger reset thing is also something that I catch myself on from time to time.  Especially when I get into trying to make that "one shot".  Yeah, comes from the basic pistol classes and demonstrating the follow through.  Yup, there's always much to learn.  Something I discussed with some folks in the debrief part.  We see so many "I've been there, done that, what could you teach me" type folks in the basic pistol classes.  While I will try to help them, I tend to just let them be as long as they are safe and spend my time and energy toward those who are receptive to instruction.

And I think you've been watching enough Garand Thumb.   :P

Drakiir84

Re: Firearms Training - Sharing Experience
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2018, 01:08:52 PM »
1) Uh huh.  "Drakiir Perfection", huh?   :rofl:

2) I've always been a fan of the cold tests, drills, etc.  Exactly the point.  It's not like you're gonna get a warm up session in prior to a defensive situation.  I've actually been thinking of going to HFR more just to be able to do those kinds of drills more often.  Not to the point where I'm drilling that particular sequence though.  Something that I'd like to expand on though for sure.

3) Gear is a huge thing for me.  I am not a gear snob, but there's definitely a difference. I mean, get what you can afford and it doesn't have to be "Gucci shit", but there are definitely stuff that are crap.  I'm definitely one that likes to try and test for myself.  That gets expensive for sure, but I really value the opportunity to figure things out and find what works and more importantly doesn't work, at least for me.  Yeah, I've seen many folks be all geared up and look cool, but only to have their stuff not work, fumble with stuff, etc.  Part of the learning process and one that I admit went through, and still do really. 

4) I was "smart" enough to have a rain jacket this time.  Last time, I just got soaked!  When I took classes in Alaska, I had stuff like Goretex pants and stuff.  Could've come in handy this past weekend.  Gloves is something that I didn't mention and good point.  Not only for the practical aspect, but also getting used to shooting with them on.  They definitely change things. 

5) That trigger reset thing is also something that I catch myself on from time to time.  Especially when I get into trying to make that "one shot".  Yeah, comes from the basic pistol classes and demonstrating the follow through.  Yup, there's always much to learn.  Something I discussed with some folks in the debrief part.  We see so many "I've been there, done that, what could you teach me" type folks in the basic pistol classes.  While I will try to help them, I tend to just let them be as long as they are safe and spend my time and energy toward those who are receptive to instruction.

And I think you've been watching enough Garand Thumb.   
No such thing as too much Garand Thumb.  As a fellow crayon eating Marine, he really gets me lol.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk

"The rifle is a weapon. Let there be no mistake about that. It is a tool of power, and thus dependent completely upon the moral stature of its user. It is equally useful in securing meat for the table, destroying group enemies on the battlefield, and resisting tyranny. In fact, it is the only means of resisting tyranny, since a citizenry armed with rifles simply cannot be tyrannized."
-Jeff Cooper

Surf

Re: Firearms Training - Sharing Experience
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2018, 09:05:46 PM »
Great to hear these responses and much appreciated  We take great pride in on our diagnostics abilities and we are often sourced by outside entities to specifically address hard target audiences or to work with select shooters/units to take their shooting to the next level of performance.  With very limited availability, our advanced level diagnostics courses are our pride and premier events, hope to get to those one day. 

Only within the last year, we have looked outside of strictly LE/Mil/Gov clients and have included private sector events.  Having been involved operationally and in the training world most of my adult life, this has been a great experience, with awesome people and a huge plus in our lives.  Being able to look outside of the "bubble" that we have been in career-wise and making new friends is life changing.  Also, having seen the entire training circus on the mainland develope over the last 15 years or so and having traveled the map doing it, I am glad to have had other opportunities to break from that full time.  Just to stay involved we are thrilled to be able to bring world-class experiences from time to time, to the private sector in our backyard because we truly love what we do and want to share this with others and promote what we all enjoy.  Hawaii deserves it, but Hawaii being Hawaii, discretion is important to us and our clients. 

As far as testing out new gear and set-ups, we are gear people also.  We have helped to T&E or R&D several top items on the market currently in several areas, so our exposure is pretty good, and we have also BTDT out of pocket, so we welcome those to tap our experience or to shake out your configurations during training. 

I think there are a few key things that stop people from getting involved or seeking professional training.
1) Costs.  If you have not done any professional training, it may sound like an expensive undertaking, and it is.  I am asked all the time how much does it cost to travel to the mainland for a training class?  Airfare, extra baggage fees, hotel, rental car, meals, ammunition, course tuition, range fees, misc expenses, can easily hit $5K and up.  If you can get that same training in Hawaii from a vetted and high caliber training group, jump on the opportunity.  The savings are huge.  Top quality training in Hawaii is not easy to come by, so anyone who has the chance and desire should not pass the opportunity should it present itself.  Most never even hear about how to get involved.

2) Lack of knowledge/Dunning Kruger.  Many people don't know, what they don't know, or they think they know more than they do.  There are people new to this sport/hobby, and they are feeling their way around.  This is great.  Try to find good people and learn but keep a very open mind.  Avoid those who wish to be your guru and don't encourage you to seek out others.  Unfortunately, there are far more fakes out there who you want to avoid, so getting the best information can be confusing.   

The other type is a typical male response.  It goes like this, "I have grown up hunting and been shooting all my life," or "I was in the military."  This is the Dunning-Kruger type who immediately overestimates their skills and male bravado often stops them from seeking actual professional instruction.  Do not confuse a professional with a recreational shooting group of friends.  While there can be professionals in a shooting group, a group of individuals out shooting does not automatically equal professional.  Having trained hundreds of Mil/LE/Gov types, they often overestimate their skills.  Usually, the upper percentile shooters get it.  They seek out training and always strive to better themselves.  The lesser educated/skilled, or less confident individual makes excuses to avoid personal development.  Just human nature.  Don't be afraid to understand your current level of knowledge and skill.  Any deficit is not a negative reflection of you as a person.  It merely means that you have not dedicated the time or put in the work to master the skills, but with time and some effort, you will get there.  This is why females often make better students when it comes to firearms.  They have no male ego associated with firearms.   

3) Procrastinators.  "I'll get to it one of these days."  I have no issues there, people are busy, and we must prioritize our lives and our time.  But if you are genuinely interested, just get out there and do it.  Join some friends that shoot.  Join a club.  Work towards professional instruction.  I will say again, if an opportunity for high caliber training presents itself, jump on it.  The opening may not always be there.

With all sincerity, thanks, guys.  Like minded people will come together and I look forward to seeing you in the future!  Keep up the hard work, as it is evident that you guys take pride in your shooting skills.

drck1000

Re: Firearms Training - Sharing Experience
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2018, 07:33:29 AM »
No such thing as too much Garand Thumb.  As a fellow crayon eating Marine, he really gets me lol.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk
And here I thought he was an Army dude.   ;D

ren

Re: Firearms Training - Sharing Experience
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2018, 07:52:02 AM »
The Army side of the military is certainly lacking in marskmanship opportunities. Senior leadership thinks that marksmanship can be taught on-the-fly i.e. at pre mobilization training thus, marksmanship doesn't get the emphasis at the soldier level. Certainly if you are in a maneuver unit you'll get more trigger time but it doesn't necessarily equate to quality time.

drck1000

Re: Firearms Training - Sharing Experience
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2018, 08:15:27 AM »
Testing gear setups is always interesting and somewhat fun for me.  I'm very much one that needs to try and see for myself.  That also leads to having a "box of stuff (or crap)", which I'm sure many of us have.  Stuff that you thought might be good but either wasn't or just wasn't quite what you wanted.  Many gear companies seem to have started out that way, making things that they felt wasn't available or wasn't quite right. 

Cost of training is definitely a factor that gives folks pause.  The costs definitely add up to travel to the mainland to get training.  In the 2012-2016 timeframe, I tried to get a few trainers to come to Hawaii.  A couple that I had attended classes with and a couple more through "friends of friends".  Range suitability and availability was always the hold up.  Even then, knowing what I know now, it would be difficult to mobilize the 15-20 folks needed to make it work their while.  Even with many of the classes that I attended on the mainland, the organizer/host had to scramble for attendance.  One was good because they arranged a company to sponsor as a bonding thing.  Thankfully there is quality training by reputable folks/companies now offering training in Hawaii and it's definitely great thing for me.  Especially now when I don't have the time nor funds that I used to be able to dedicate to training.  I've always been passionate about training and while I wish that more Hawaii folks would participate, I also understand that everyone has lives.  I used to be more active in trying to get folks to train, but now I sort let folks come talk to me when they are interested.  I have recently gotten the bug again though. 

The don't know what people don't know thing is huge.  Like I mentioned above for training as well as my experience in the basic pistol courses.  I always keep an open mind, especially since many courses available locally tend to be on the basic level.  As I mentioned above, I still learn things in those courses.  While I've been to a number of training courses, there are definitely trainers who can help me improve, but I am also always looking at how I can improve as well as seeing habits of other shooters, both good and bad.  I've definitely come across the BTDT folks, both in training courses and being an HRA instructor.  It frustrates me, but as an instructor, I just try to give more time to folks that are open.  Don't really see the BTDT folks in training courses, since they probably already feel that they don't need the training.  But there's the occasional "that guy" to watch out for.  And yeah, females tend to be much better students than males in my experience with basic pistol.  Yeah, some have to get over certain things like fear of the gun, some strength issues, but they usually come in with a more open mind. 

Never really thought about the "I'll get to it one of these days" folks, but that is very much a number of my shooting buddies.  Even me to a certain extent there when I wasn't attending courses that often.  While the opportunities in Hawaii are limited, there are definitely options out there.  It helps to know the right people for sure, but when something is important to someone, they are going to find the time for it in their lives. 

I wish I had more time and opportunity for firearms training.  However, sometimes I do wonder if I had better access to ranges that I might take it for granted or even sort of get tired of it.  My buddies on the mainland (AZ, NV, TX, etc) have some awesome range setups, both formal and informal.  But seeing as I don't see having access to those kinds of facilities any time soon, well, I guess that won't be a "problem".   ;D

Always looking for like minded folks to share my passion for firearms.  Like many things, it may seem daunting coming in as a newbie.  I know I felt pretty intimidated when I first got into attending training courses, getting started in IPSC/USPSA, etc.  But I found that there are tons of cool folks that are eager to share their passion for shooting.  While many have decades of experience, they are many times the most welcoming to new shooters. 

drck1000

Re: Firearms Training - Sharing Experience
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2018, 08:18:29 AM »
The Army side of the military is certainly lacking in marskmanship opportunities. Senior leadership thinks that marksmanship can be taught on-the-fly i.e. at pre mobilization training thus, marksmanship doesn't get the emphasis at the soldier level. Certainly if you are in a maneuver unit you'll get more trigger time but it doesn't necessarily equate to quality time.
Is that due to lack of support from chain of command?  Funding? 

The thing about Senior leadership not getting it is pretty common on DoD, and I guess I shouldn't be surprised that that flows over into firearms training. 

When I shot with SRGC, one of my buddies was a 1SG and he mentioned that he was all for getting more training, but it depended on the Command.  He had come back from Korea and he said his Command there was more supportive, but opportunities was more limited.  Sounded like the ranges were different there.  Didn't really ask. 

zippz

Re: Firearms Training - Sharing Experience
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2018, 01:30:59 PM »
Is that due to lack of support from chain of command?  Funding? 

The people at the top aren't the ones shooting guns in a battle.  Service members at the bottom don't know any better and need guidance from the top.
Join the Hawaii Firearms Coalition at www.hifico.org.  Hawaii's new non-profit gun rights organization focused on lobbying and grassroots activism.

Hawaii Shooting Calendar - https://calendar.google.com/calendar/embed?src=practicalmarksman.com_btllod1boifgpp8dcjnbnruhso%40group.calendar.google.com&ctz=Pacific/Honolulu

Surf

Re: Firearms Training - Sharing Experience
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2018, 08:31:04 PM »
Training experiences with Marines.  Just discussing this today with two Marines who are currently in our program undergoing our one-week iron sight only rifle course.  One is 33 and the other is 24.  The older is from the iron sight generation and the younger is an optic generation Marine.  We have noticed a distinct difference in Marksmanship as a whole in Marines from those trained classically on iron sight and those from the optic generation.  An absolute clear-cut difference in overall marksmanship skills from the two generations of Marines that we have seen and tracked over the years since the switch.     

If you have the chance, absolutely train and become a great marksman with irons.  You will be a better shooter in the long-run.

Drakiir84

Re: Firearms Training - Sharing Experience
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2018, 07:48:49 AM »
Training experiences with Marines.  Just discussing this today with two Marines who are currently in our program undergoing our one-week iron sight only rifle course.  One is 33 and the other is 24.  The older is from the iron sight generation and the younger is an optic generation Marine.  We have noticed a distinct difference in Marksmanship as a whole in Marines from those trained classically on iron sight and those from the optic generation.  An absolute clear-cut difference in overall marksmanship skills from the two generations of Marines that we have seen and tracked over the years since the switch.     

If you have the chance, absolutely train and become a great marksman with irons.  You will be a better shooter in the long-run.

When I went through boot in 2003 it was all irons.  Plugging a target at 500 yards with iron sights is a great feeling lol.  My aging eyes definitely benefit from a red dot nowadays but every now and again I'll shut it off and use my backup irons.
"The rifle is a weapon. Let there be no mistake about that. It is a tool of power, and thus dependent completely upon the moral stature of its user. It is equally useful in securing meat for the table, destroying group enemies on the battlefield, and resisting tyranny. In fact, it is the only means of resisting tyranny, since a citizenry armed with rifles simply cannot be tyrannized."
-Jeff Cooper

drck1000

Re: Firearms Training - Sharing Experience
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2018, 08:11:14 AM »
Training experiences with Marines.  Just discussing this today with two Marines who are currently in our program undergoing our one-week iron sight only rifle course.  One is 33 and the other is 24.  The older is from the iron sight generation and the younger is an optic generation Marine.  We have noticed a distinct difference in Marksmanship as a whole in Marines from those trained classically on iron sight and those from the optic generation.  An absolute clear-cut difference in overall marksmanship skills from the two generations of Marines that we have seen and tracked over the years since the switch.     

If you have the chance, absolutely train and become a great marksman with irons.  You will be a better shooter in the long-run.

When I got my first AR, I actually didn't have irons for a little while.  That was because the irons that I wanted hadn't come in yet when I picked up my gun.  So I shot it a couple of range sessions with just a red dot.  However, all of my guns do have irons.  And I've actually been wanting to take a class and shoot with just irons.  I mean I guess I can always turn off the dot here and there, but I usually don't as I get caught up in concentrating on other things.  So going into a class with a gun with just irons would force me to do so. 

I do try to spend time shooting with irons here and there though.  Just not as much as I would like to. 

When I went through boot in 2003 it was all irons.  Plugging a target at 500 yards with iron sights is a great feeling lol.  My aging eyes definitely benefit from a red dot nowadays but every now and again I'll shut it off and use my backup irons.
Your aging eyes?  You still youngin'! 

When I did a project out at Puuloa, I was with another shooting enthusiast.  So after we were done, we went out to the shooting positions.  Ended up driving out to the 1000 yard position.  Those numbers on the backstop are HUGE, but they start looking pretty small at that distance.  There were other guys doing some on the berm when we were out at 1000 and they appear like ants! 

And I do the same every so often at fun shoots. 

drck1000

Re: Firearms Training - Sharing Experience
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2018, 09:37:02 AM »
Some lessons learned along the way.

1) Label your mags with something to ID as yours as well as number them. Will help in identifying which mags are yours since there are many times there will be mags all over the place after a course of fire.  Labeling your mags will help everyone retrieve and sort quicker and move on.  It will also help to to identify if any of your mags are problematic and the numbers can help you isolate the problem one. 

2) Make sure you have weather appropriate gear.  Weather conditions can change quickly.  I've been caught a couple of times when the weather was clear in town and it was raining at the range.  Even when I had a class in Alaska in May, it was snowing and 0-20 F on one day. 

3) Electronic hearing protection.  It will help you hear instructions easier, especially when on the shooting line. 

4) Try to make sure your guns are functioning properly prior to the class and zeroed before the class.  Especially in carbine courses, it can take a while to get folks' guns zeroed and that's time away from shooting or other more useful instruction.  Don't have to have your guns dead nuts on, but at least close and you can confirm.  When traveling it was recommended that I arrive a day early and zero.  I did that once and it helped, but I haven't done that since. 

5) Try to have backups for things, or at least spare parts.  When traveling, I have taken two carbines and two handguns.  I have been lucky in that the only failure that I experienced was a cracked safety selector and the safety selector from my backup gun "fixed" that.  But my backup gun has also saved the day for a few other shooters.  In one carbine course, the red dot on my backup gun helped one shooter on day 1 and another on day 2.  I'm not saying you have to go out an buy backups for everything, but it's just that stuff fails and it would suck to have that ruin your trip.

6) Attitude.  Be prepared to learn and pay attention to instructions.  When there are breaks, take water and stuff, but be back on the line promptly.  Having a class where you're always waiting on "that guy" to get back to the line or have instructions repeated for them because they were chatting it up slows the course down and takes away from valuable training time. 

drck1000

Re: Firearms Training - Sharing Experience
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2018, 09:20:14 AM »
Had a two day carbine course over the weekend.  Always learning.   :thumbsup:

Some general takeaways.

I'm glad that I took a backup upper.  The muzzle device on my primary upper had worked it's way loose late morning of the day 2.  It happens.  I always try to have backup items when I take courses.  Before this past weekend, I've only had one part fail, but my backups had helped a handful of other shooters over many courses. 

My gun started locking the bolt back with one round left in the magazine.  It was strange.  We had been doing mag reloads earlier and it was just fine.  Then I noticed the gun would go to bolt lock and I'd reload.  Later, I would see that the mag still had one round left.  Then I noticed it happening more often.  This was with both uppers.  I suspected mags, but it was doing it with random mags.  I had a range of NHMTG USGI, BCM USGI, and Lancer mags.  The USGI had Magpul followers and the Lancer has a follower that is pretty close to the Magpul.  It was pretty close to the end of the day and we weren't doing shooting that needed mag changes in that course of fire, so I didn't pay attention.  I suspected that either crud has gotten below the bolt catch or maybe something had happened to the bolt catch itself.  Anyways, when I got home, I noticed that the bolt catch moved pretty freely and the spring wasn't keeping it down.  So just inserting a mag could pop it up.  Funny that I checked one of my other main ARs and the bolt catch spring wasn't that good either.  I then checked a couple other lowers that I don't shoot that often and the spring is strong enough that it keeps the bolt catch down somewhat firmly.  So have to get some new springs to change out the old ones and see how that goes. 

The gun belt setup I was using was still pretty new and first time I was using it with ARs in a class setting.  I have ESSTAC pouches with the KYWI inserts.  I like the pouches, but the retention works really well.  Almost too well.  I think mostly just getting used to the pouches as my previous setup has HSGI Tacos which are very easy to remove.  Also assume some level of breaking with the KYWI inserts.  Made mag reloading drills interesting.

This class introduced me to at least a few new (to me) procedures.  Even though I was trying to follow them, when speeding things up, I found myself reverting to previous techniques.  Something I have to work on, or at least give more time.  Always trying to be better and improve, but damn if old habits aren't tough to break.  I have gone through some transition in pistol shooting with this training group over the past year and I think I've gotten that aspect as almost habit, so I know it will take some time. 

HAVE FUN!  We were blessed with awesome weather, even some "excitement" courtesy of Madam Pele, so couldn't complain there.  The folks that were in the class were also awesome and really made for an awesome vibe for the entire course.  Sometimes you get the know-it-alls, the "I do what I like", etc type of folks.  None of that here.  Everyone focused on becoming better shooters, while having lots of fun.  Supporting each other and encouraging each other.  Made for an enjoyable class! 

changemyoil66

Re: Firearms Training - Sharing Experience
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2018, 10:03:58 AM »
Awesome that Big Island has classes.

Rocky

Re: Firearms Training - Sharing Experience
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2018, 07:55:09 AM »
        Not much to argue about here.

Get quality equipment.
Get quality training.
Have a good attitude.
Keep an opened mind.
Get challenged.
Keep with like minded folks.
Help others.
Have fun.
My recent class had all of the above.  :thumbsup:
Mahalo to all 

  Pay attention, listen and learn.
Don't do it till you get it right, do it till you can't get it wrong !  ;)

“I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.”
                                                           Franklin D. Roosevelt

drck1000

Re: Firearms Training - Sharing Experience
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2018, 08:21:21 AM »
        Not much to argue about here.

Get quality equipment.
Get quality training.
Have a good attitude.
Keep an opened mind.
Get challenged.
Keep with like minded folks.
Help others.
Have fun.
My recent class had all of the above.  :thumbsup:
Mahalo to all 

  Pay attention, listen and learn.
Don't do it till you get it right, do it till you can't get it wrong !  ;)
Opened mind is important.  :D

Heard some wise advice many times over the weekend. “Trust, but verify”. Something that I’ve tried to incorporate into my firrearms training for many years. Find whatever works for you. Be willing to try other techniques, try them out for yourself, give them a fair shake, and decide if it works for you.

Rocky

Re: Firearms Training - Sharing Experience
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2018, 08:52:31 AM »
Opened mind is important.  :D

Heard some wise advice many times over the weekend. “Trust, but verify”. Something that I’ve tried to incorporate into my firrearms training for many years. Find whatever works for you. Be willing to try other techniques, try them out for yourself, give them a fair shake, and decide if it works for you.
    Yes, the new standards  "safety, tuck, dump, reload, release bolt, un-tuck,  safety" while tactical technique was difficult for me, but I think if I get an ambi safety, I'll give that a whack again.
Changing stance after years upon years was/is also challenging.

     Now the question is do you incorporate these new techniques (like stance) into your instruction of others or maintain the acknowledged NRA type basic skills for entry level students.
I think maintaining  the "basic skills for entry level" sides with the walk before you can run"  philosophy but is like "learning to print before learning to write" (not like anybody writes anymore) where you throw away what you've learned to learn it a new way.
    Thoughts/Opinions ? :-\
“I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.”
                                                           Franklin D. Roosevelt

drck1000

Re: Firearms Training - Sharing Experience
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2018, 10:12:13 AM »
    Yes, the new standards  "safety, tuck, dump, reload, release bolt, un-tuck,  safety" while tactical technique was difficult for me, but I think if I get an ambi safety, I'll give that a whack again.
Changing stance after years upon years was/is also challenging.

     Now the question is do you incorporate these new techniques (like stance) into your instruction of others or maintain the acknowledged NRA type basic skills for entry level students.
I think maintaining  the "basic skills for entry level" sides with the walk before you can run"  philosophy but is like "learning to print before learning to write" (not like anybody writes anymore) where you throw away what you've learned to learn it a new way.
    Thoughts/Opinions ? :-\
Good question.  My initial thoughts are fundamentals are fundamentals.  That said, for new techniques, I would like to take a while to try, test, train, incorporate, etc before passing on that information.  For NRA classes with LIFE, I generally stick to the "script" and add my personal touches here and there.  For the occasional HRA shoots, I present techniques in a "try this technique" and present the reasons, logic, benefits, etc behind them.  That said, those shoots are often quite short and most of the time are spent on courses of fire as opposed to techniques.  I mean I will go over them and break them down, but most times once we get into other courses of fire, I notice most shooters more focused on the course of fire and go back to their old habits.  I'll see them try the new things, but I understand that it takes time.  Even something as simple as deliberate loading (loading in workspace and other simple stuff) I see forgotten. 

Yes, generally agree with the "walk before you run" theory, but again, I think fundamentals are fundamentals and I personally always look to work on those.  That safety thing you were talking about is a different story though.  Totally messes me up.