Over the past two weeks, attended a rifle/carbine 2 class and a rifle & pistol skill builder. All great training. Both classes got rained on here and there, which has pretty much become a tradition with this group and location. My work has been crazy the past few weeks, so it was good to squeeze training days in there and serve as my days of meditation and get away from work. Much needed recoil therapy.
1) Both days included starting off shooting standards. Always good to see how your skills are progressing, or sometimes digressing with the perishable nature of these skills. After layoffs from shooting, I tend to approach the standards courses of fire "safely", but have been encouraged to push things more, which I was able to do. In the rifle course a few weeks back, I pushed things a bit and ended up missing my goal for the standards by just a little due to penalty for a miss. Was still pretty happy overall after not having shot carbine for a while. This past weekend was a chance at redemption and I was able to make my goal for the standard by shooting it clean and almost 0.5 sec under. It was close though as I had one hit that was on the line.
2) Shooting pistol and rifle together in similar courses of fire shows me how much more effort I need to concentrate on my pistol shooting. I enjoy shooting both pistol and carbine, but I enjoy shooting carbine a LOT more. That said, I always understood that things are generally easier with a carbine in many regards, but I was admittedly humbled in that I wasn't nearly the pistol shooter that I thought I was. Good to be humbled at times and stay hungry for improvement. Also got some sage advice after from a trusted friend.
3) No gear changes, tweaks, or failures during this class. Though I did shoot the latter part of the day with a PC. I rarely get to shoot with the PC, so it's always a good experience. There were a few others that shot with their PC as well and some had some gear issues to iron out, buy mostly minor things like placement of certain elements. I was able to confirm that there wasn't a conflict with my usual setup with the addition of the PC.
4) Always good to be shooting under the keen eye of knowledgeable instructors. In this past weekend's course, a few buddies that I shoot with often in another group was able to attend this class. While it's always good to shoot with buddies, I found that observing them (some of them were in a different relay) provided a whole different perspective on the course. To be able to see what others were doing and listen to the tips that they got. That was always an aspect of attending shooting courses I enjoyed, but having shooting buddies there elevated that experience.
5) Friendly competition is always a good thing. I was sharing a target with another shooter that attends a lot of courses with this group. He was in the first relay when we were shooting the standards. Of course, I peeked over at his target and noticed his times. I noticed he was shooting very well and times were very good. That pushed me even harder. Later in the day, one of the instructors lined up next to me in a drill and threw down a "let's go" challenge. I was totally pumped and up for it. It was a relatively simple course of fire and one that I had done flawlessly maybe just a minute before. Well, with the added pressure of the challenge, I had a slight fumble and fell behind and lost. I always look for that sort of challenge and see how I respond. I didn't respond well that day, but looking forward to improving in that aspect and need that sort of challenge to push myself.
6) Got a lot of tips on how to clean up my own shooting. One is being confident in being able to execute a skill with good accuracy and time and not worry about making up time. I noticed that tendency in shot transitions, where noticed my hits getting sloppy. Another example is concentrating on the reload, which is say step 3, and that causing a loss of focus on step 2, due to me desire or thought that I needed to make up time on step 3. Need to train step 3 and trust that I can complete the skill as well as focus on step 2. A lot of shooting is mental, and that always needs work.
7) There were times when the pace of shooting with the carbine got the gun very hot. I haven't been wearing gloves for classes lately, though I have no problem with using them. A few months back, I switched out the rail covers out to one that was rated as being very heat resistant and not passing heat (it has no metal parts). While the gun got really hot to the touch, it was still comfortable without gloves. Other shooters needed gloves without the scales.
Have to figure out a way and never give up. Personally, to remember the defensive context and mindset of this type of training. For me, that comes with adjusting to some physical limitations. Not major, but some old injuries have caught up to me and I just need to find a way to adjust and work through them. Similar can be said for many other shooters, but important thing is keeping aware of the mindset of this type of training. Yeah, some folks may be in it for improving shot splits for competition, which I would say also interests me, but I am in this type of training primarily for context of defending myself and loved ones.
9) Quality of training and vetting your trainers is important. We're spending a lot of money as well as dedicating a lot of time. I truly think of it as an investment and am lucky to attend shooting classes with this group. I am also VERY happy that many of my shooting buddies are now attending these classes with me and I've already seen improvement in their shooting after a couple of classes. I really like the style and progression of these instructors and am always looking forward to more.
10) One of the instructors asked me where I want to get to as a shooter. I have said many times with them and in this thread that I always enjoy working fundamentals, and with more regular range days, I hope to continue to improve that. But where I really want to get to is an opportunity to shoot side-by-side with these instructors and I am the level where they feel that they have to be on their A-game. Of course, I realize I am not there yet, but that's where I want to be. I am looking forward to more "let's go" challenges with these instructors. I also appreciate that they enjoy the challenge as well and not only humor me, but have fun with the challenge as well.
11) Correcting old bad habits is a lot harder than training new habits. That's something I mentioned many times before in this thread, and saw that a lot this weekend. While I surely would like to be shooting more regularly, maybe the break due to COVID was a good thing as it gave me time to reset. Yeah, I still see old bad habits creeping back in here and there, but less and less.
Once again, always a fun day on the range with this group. I am also seeing more and more friends of mine express interest in becoming firearms owners for a variety of reasons. The difficulties of becoming a first time firearms owner in Hawaii aside, I just hope they invest in quality training once they make the decision to become responsible firearm owners.