Monday, April 28, 2014

Beguiling Practice

It was a brutally cold and long winter in Ohio and most of the north central and eastern states.  It’s hard to criticize anyone who didn’t get outside to practice.  Many indoor ranges discourage, if not forbid, drawing from a holster.  So, by spring most of us have a little rust to scrap off.

There are those who simply refuse to practice.  The idea of going out to the range and doing 20 one-round center of mass shots is, well, just inconceivable.  But they will shoot to have fun.

To get around this we run Thursday fun matches at the club and we just had our first one of the season.
We placed three large paper plates and three small ones on sheets of cardboard which are spaced 6 ft apart.  The drill looks a little like the “El Presidente.”

six plates in 15 rounds, and one reload
Note the middle target group has the smaller plate on the bottom.  It's not just moving the front site in a straight line.

COF:
Standing at 21 feet you draw your sidearm and engage all the large plates with two rounds each.  Then re-engage each large plate with two more rounds so all the large plates have a total of 4 rounds. 

Now you can engage each small plate with one round.  No makeup rounds allowed for a total of 15.

The only two conditions are you must stay in the 'box' painted on the grass and you must fill your magazines so you have at least one slide-lock reload.

Scoring is raw time plus 2.5 seconds for each round not on a paper plate.  It’s fast and easy to score.


shooter and safety officer
It's not the gear, it's the basic skills that we need to work with.
The goal is to shoot it clean.

It’s not about stance, grip or equipment.  It’s about sight picture, trigger control and reloading.  These are basic skills.  Every time you shoot you use basic skills no matter if you’re clearing a house or plinking at cans down at the dump.  No matter how good you get, you always use basic skills.

We encourage everyone to shoot their CCW gun and shoot it from concealment at our little matches, but our goal is to make you a better shooter.

Left handed shooter with light on gun
You don't need fancy equipment.  Just shoot your carry gun like this fellow.
Since we’re disguising training as fun (who says they can’t be both?) we record each shooter’s time and only count their best time.  It’s surprising how shooting against yourself and friends can motivate a person.  We also announce the best time as the time to beat.


What’s a good time?  All depends.  In self-defense situations you have the rest of your life to shoot six targets with 15 rounds.  But on the range…

From concealment, which slows both the draw and the reload, I think under 16 seconds is a great time with one reload. 
No concealment garment?  I think 14 seconds is a great time.
What would be good time?  Let’s call that faster than 23 seconds with one reload.

shooter uses a basic pistol, puts spare magazine in back pocket
Gun, eye and ear protection.  Let's go have some fun!

I calculated those times based on my experience and the number of rounds fired and reloading times.  Not on how I placed in the scores.  My best was 17.35 seconds clean.  The very best was 11.62 seconds.

The goal should be shooting that level every time and not after you’ve warmed up and figured out where to stage your reload.

Most ranges have rules about eye safety and ear protection.  Good reason, too!

Bullets pass through the cardboard and bounced off rock backstop
The left is a 9 mm and the right is a .40 S&W (I think).
These two misshapen bullets are ‘bounce back’ that hit me.  I was at least three feet back from the firing line at the time.  The bullets bounced off the rock backstop and hit me.  The larger one looks like a .40 S&W and the smaller a 9 mm.  

They were low energy impact hits and didn’t do any damage, but the lesson is valid.  Always wear some kind of eye protection on or off the firing line.  Make sure you’re wearing ear protection too.

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