Pistol Fundamentals

Posted: March 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

Took this course at BluCore last night. Overall thought it to be a worthwhile experience with a few minor quibbles.

The structure of the course was basically a relatively short period in the classroom going over basic firearm safety and then how to load, unload, and operate a semi-automatic handgun (I thought I knew these things already, but apparently I was wrong). We then went out to the range to run various drills for the rest of the night — these drills being generally of the form “Take one magazine of ~15 rounds (or, for special people like me, two of my seven-rounders) and expend it in thus and such a manner.”

One odd moment came in the competitive drill near the end — I volunteered for the second wave, and there was a bit of a shuffling around positions before I started. Being as I was in front of a table containing several black semi-automatic handguns that looked about the same, I picked up the wrong one at first, then realized it and picked up my own — I think I was the only one there who had Hogue grips. I also happen to have memorized the serial number for that particular firearm, as I used to use it for a password (for a function that I absolutely did not want to forget, hence wanted to have it written down and in my gun cabinet… and figured “hey, efficiency, why not start with what’s already there?”). So I read off the serial number and felt reasonably reassured, then on the second of three shots in the actual drill thought “wait a minute, are those my sights” — they’re slightly faded tritium sights, and whether because of the light or something else they seemed much more visible than I thought they should be — had a minor moment of consternation, then figured that since I’d put my magazine in it and fired it twice, at the very least it was close enough. Turns out I missed advancing in that round by about half a second, which was unfortunate.

I found myself trying to compare the event with the Appleseed I recently took, which is not a very fair comparison given that one is a two-day event and one is a three-hour course. So I felt a bit rushed, or probably more properly that I clearly need much more instruction and practice that can fit into three hours, and also to a degree that I was kind of thrown on the range and told “have at it!” One thing I think they might have done better at was the use of range commands — they did not seem near as standardized in their usage, and as a result I didn’t feel entirely confident when I was meant to start shooting. Not as a safety issue, since it was clear when the range was cold, but I found myself a number of times holding my firearm and sneaking looks to my left and right to see whether other people had loaded, how many shots they were firing, et cetera. The fact that I was doubling my hearing protection as opposed to using the baffle plugs I was using at the Appleseed (nearly normal hearing, but not suitable for use with centerfire rifles or in an indoor range, as I found through experimentation) didn’t exactly help.

Speaking of hearing protection, I do kind of have to wonder about the common sense that said “Where should we put our classroom… how about right on top of the pistol range?” The result was, er, kind of distracting.

I seemed to be about in the middle of the field relative to the rest of the class as far as accuracy/speed, and I kind of suspect that the instructors didn’t talk to me much because my faults (though legion) were less. Their advice on grip and stance seemed to cure a persistent problem I’d been having with bashing the knuckle of my right thumb into my watch. I also learned that I have a number of “training scars”. At Appleseed, I noticed this more with regard to speed than any particular tics, but I’ve also not been training with rifles very much. With handguns, I have a number of very “rangey” stereotyped behaviors around loading, unloading, and dealing with malfunctions — I bring my feet together when I unload, for instance, and tend to leave the firearm in place (pointing at the end wall) and step around it when doing various manipulations, rather than bringing it up (which is still in a safe direction, i.e. up, although no longer oriented in the Official Direction of All That Is Good And Safe, i.e. at the bullet trap of the one-way range).

I think I may add loading and unloading procedures and presentation from the high ready position to my at-home practice. With this, it becomes rather clear that I need to institute a better policy with regard to home practice given that my only solution at the moment is a) not doing much firearm manipulation at home b) generally not permitting my finger to be on the trigger except for c) when I’m pointing at the Sand Bucket, which for a safe direction is rather small and inconvenient, also I have some doubt about just how much it will stop. So I need to do me some figuring.


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