Sunday, April 15, 2007
BAG Day Doin's
I decided against buying a gun for BAG day this year. I'm focusing on specific shooting activities and attempting to avoid distractions that would lessen the impact of specific training I'm working on.
Well, that and I couldn't decide what I really wanted.
I did not spend BAG day without putting something into action, however. I gave myself training.
I took a course from a local instructor in defensive shooting with a handgun. The instructor isn't a gun-store commando or a mall ninja. He is a retired police trainer. Since he is not instructing civillians I'd have to say he doesn't fit the "Only Ones" mold. In point of fact he showed my fellow students Lee Paige's performance on the "Glock Foty".
Yesterday was all class room with almost no hands-on. We watched some videos and listened to the instructor. There were 8 people in attendance (2 more had registered but did not show up). Seven men and one woman (the wife of one of the men). We had some friendly times and a lot of fun on both days but nothing compares to trigger time and we got a lot of that in today.
This morning started with a drive down back country roads to a private shooting range. The owner and his son were very friendly to us and we had no problems from neighbors even when making lots of loud noise on a bright, sunny, very windy Sunday.
Safety was of primary importance. While some in the class were seasoned shooters there were some who were relatively new to the task. It was very wise of the instructor to start off with slow warm ups and to emphasize safety over realism at this phase with such a group.
Thankfully incredibly bad habits I had in my early years are not part of my current life. I did not get a "talkin' to" about my trigger finger or muzzle control. Some did, both early on and much later in the day when we were all rather tired.
Part of the warm up was to shoot a somewhat reduced PPC qualification round. The course of fire was 18 rounds from 20 yards, 18 rounds from 15 yards, 12 rounds from 10 yards and 6 rounds from each hand at 3 yards.
I've thought about posting about something I'd noticed over the past year and a half for some time. Each time I deleted such posts.
Not everyone shoots very well.
I probably got a complex about it because I made it a point to shoot with a group of people who really do shoot very well. I would occaisionally happen to see other people, though, who had the "spray and pray" philosophy down. Sometimes I would try to give some help if they seemed receptive.
The 8 people I was with today don't fall into that category. Everyone shot a very respectable score. After the warm up we shot the reduced PPC qualification course again for final score. No one turned in less than 80%. I've seen much worse at the gun clubs.
My target from the second qualification round is posted above. After shooting a 298 in practice I was able to turn it around and pull 300 or 100%. The lone woman in the class was second with 295 final score. Her good-natured husband had to put up with a lot of ribbing as she continued to surpass him. He was not bad, she was just better.
The really impressive score, to me, was turned in by another experienced shooter who was using his real carry gun, a S&W PD DAO with 1 7/8" barrel. Since several shooters had full-sized 1911 clones he turned in a very, very respectable performance. I don't think I could do as well with my 3" J-frame.
We did some reloading drills, first with one round in each magazine, then with three. My reloading speed sucks at 5.3 for the time between shot 1 and shot 2. I need to work on that. Six second to fire 3 and reload, then fire another three. It's clearly not the shooting that's taking up my time.
We took a break for lunch and after the break we went into some MILD simulations of the two-way range (as Fits calls it). We had plastic barrels we had to use for cover while firing at "threat" targets.
This was all done in a mild way. This portion was not done for score and we were not graded on our accuracy during this phase. We were being graded on tactical skills and handling our weapons.
The instructor did not allow drawing "hot" from the holster for the students at this level of training. That's another step up. Again, I consider this wise as he could not expect everyone to have good trigger and muzzle discipline, yet.
The first challenge involved moving at a run up to the first pair of targets and taking concealment (plastic barrels may be called 'cover' but are not by definition). We then drew, loaded and engaged, three rounds in each. Speed reload, move to the next concealment, engage with three rounds to each target, speed reload and then engage a single paper target consisting of three figures, two hostile and one don't-shoot.
My first runthrough I committed the same sin as everyone, I got too close to the concealment. Score B+. The plus was because I knocked over the middle barrel but continued to act, not siezing up.
We were treated to some "why you don't get up close on your cover" lessons and then it was time for another run-through. Some lost a + over forgetting to stay off the concealment but everyone did better the second time around. My grade was A++. I was granted this because after my initial loading I realized that I had not seated my magazine and did an immediate action drill and continued the exercise.
The final activity was more simple and rightly so as many errors that people hadn't been guilty of for most of the day started to come out. From a hot ready engage one target with six rounds, reload, move to the next station, engage with six, reload and then move to the final station and engage with your remaining six. This one didn't have as much realism but it was less a tactical exercise as a weapons-handling one. The instructor wanted to see people reloading without taking their eyes off the targets. I met that goal.
Today wasn't a typical BAG Day celebration but I'm happy with what I spent my money on. I may only have some paper to hang up to show for it but training is harder to come by than firearms. I've been shown areas that I need to improve upon and will be working on. Better to learn those lessons now than if I ever need them later. I have a chance to practice the rougher areas in the meanwhile.
Glocking report. My G 23 aquitted itself very well. There was one failure to load and I blame that on the ammo. I had taken my big can of Miwall factory reloads, not the new stuff I'd been saving. I burned up a lot of it and the only somewhat mechanical issue was that failure to go fully into battery with one round. When we got that round to seat it fired and extracted without any difficulty.
My problem with not fully seating magazines was evident and is another rough spot to work on. That happened twice.