Jan 25, 2010

American Rifleman TV

I used to show an episode of American Rifleman TV in my training classes just to illustrate improper technique.

Some of the range shooting with the camera pointed back towards the shooter, you can see obvious flinches, they blink their eyes, dip the muzzle.

Yeah, this is sad.

The guy screws up the difference between the Marine 36 yard vs. the Army 25 meter zero procedure and states the setting incorrectly. To obtain a 300 meter zero at 25 meters with the M16A4, set the elevation drum to two clicks (1 MOA) above the 300 meter setting. The drum should read 6/3+2, NOT -2. The short barrel M4 should be left at 300 meters (6/3)

The AMU Service Rifle team has a MUCH better video:


Jan 15, 2010

Shooting schools vs. Competition

Most of the "fixed site" shooting classes and schools are for defensive type shooting. Probably because most red-blooded, John Wayne-watchin', handgun-ownin' folks want to go to fightin' school 'cause they done already learned how to shoot and don't bother with that fancy pants competition stuff that'll just getcha killed.

So they go to "fightin' school"... and end up learning the fundamentals of practical shooting that any half-decent competition shooter already practices and knows.

One thing I liked about Front Sight was their attention to fundamentals and even offering "just shooting" (Skill Builder) courses to focus on them. Too few schools bother with skill evaluations. Front Sight requires that students shoot a "Graduate" or sometimes a "Distinguished Graduate" score in order to attend more an advanced course. FS holds Skill Builder courses to further train and retest students before advancing. Candidates at the Instructor Development course are expected to perform at the DG level on demand.

For pure shooting and gun handling skill most of the top-flight competition folks offer classes that are superior. And, as always, the most cost effective approach is to attend local events. Skilled, local competition shooters will very likely be more talented than the staff of even the best "fightin' school" and you can take "lessons" from them at every event for MUCH less money!

Jan 10, 2010

Fast X

Fast X is a tagline I started putting in my signature block many years ago. I get asked about it occasionally so here it is.

As originally designed, HunterShooter targets used a flexible overlay for scoring hits and determining target angle. Score zones were designated with a 'V' (vitals), 'Y', and dead center was labeled 'X.'

The final score is a ratio of earned points divided into total elapsed time. The ideal shot is fired dead center as quickly as possible, hence, "Fast X."

Jan 4, 2010

Instructors Must Demonstrate!

I found this on Brian Enos forum under "Demonstrating as a trainer, Should you live fire demonstrate?" The response by "dirtypool40" was good, as usual. This guy knows what he is talking about!

The "rule" that no instructors will shoot in front of the students is weak!

You don't need to be THE champ to teach, and the champ may be an AWFUL teacher, but you better know what the hell you are doing and how to teach it!!

I may not be able to snap off a personal best .70 reload on the first try in front of the class, but if I can't demonstrate CORRECT technique, full speed and ssssssssslow mo, by the numbers, than even LEO you are just a gun rag commando with a badge.

There are WAY too many “instructors” out there, who can’t teach worth a damn, and can’t even really shoot. But they scowl and wear the gear, and somehow people buy it.

Sure, there are instances where I can NO LONGER do something, but still understand it well enough to help folks in the technical aspects, and even move them past my current level.

BUT!!! Just reading about, or going to some course where they mentioned a technique, does NOT qualify you to teach it. You don’t even have the shallowest, most basic understanding of something if you can only say "stand like that, do that, don't jerk the trigger, come on, front site maggot!!!".

If you take being an instructor seriously, as in you want to be good AT INSTRUCTING not just talking about it, you already know about different learning styles and that one drill, demo, description or technique is not going to “turn the light on” for every student. If you take away demo-ing, you've lost a major tool in turning that light bulb on.

I have buddies who are LEO, went through the academy myself and have had LEO in my classes.

LEO at the experienced "street cop" level are so used to knowing it all, and being the final word, you MUST be able to demonstrate a technique, and PROVE it's better or they will ignore you. Sure, once they've been to a year's worth of matches, they ACCEPT that the academy was 30 years behind and they are more open minded, but if you get them fresh of the street, they know it all.

At the academy I had an experience EXACTLY like you describe, from the STUDENT’S point of view. As “instructors” they had a bunch of LEO, working the range as an "extra duty". They weren’t gun nuts, competitors or even good shooters. But there was an abundance of tough talk, posturing and telling us we sucked. ZERO demo.

The fact that any of us qualified was pure, random chance.

They kept barking at me, even though I was the best shooter in the class, and qual'd the first try through.

They hated what I was doing, and when I asked them to demo the "right" way, they were furious, and crawfished away most riky tick.

When I won the shoot off at the end and the students wanted to match me up with the most boastful instructor, he declined.

This was when I was about a low "C" level shooter. What did some super-dee-duper LEO instructor have to fear from me?

I was so disgusted with the LACK of decent understanding of proper technique and instruction that I sought out competition as a way to finally learn something about shooting, first IDPA then graduating to IPSC / USPSA. I liked that the shooters HAD TO do more than talk about it, and that proof made me a believer and made it easier to improve through positive visualization.

Yes, you not only need to demo, you need to rescind that stupid rule and hold the instructors to a higher standard.

Jan 1, 2010

Writing for Gun Magazines

I found this on the web some time ago. It has served as my guide for publishing articles in various firearms periodicals (is that high-falutin' enough for ya?)

And to my friends and colleagues in the industry: "Ha ha, only serious!" :-)

Gunrag Writing for Dummies: Nine Easy Steps

Paragraph 1: Quick synopsis of the history of the gunmaker. Misspellings and artistic license are allowed, and even encouraged here.

Paragraph 2: Glowing report, in general terms, of other guns of same brand you have owned, and strong hints that this particular gun will be better than all the others.

Paragraph 3: Brief description of new gun. Be sure to stress "new" features and "new" materials. The adjectives "space-age" and "mil-spec" are tried and true, and can't ever be used enough.

Paragraph 4: Pick one feature of the gun, whether it is a decocker, accessory rail, bobbed hammer, or whatever, and write one sentence articulating your dislike about it. Poorly concealed digs at current trends are always useful here. Then, prefacing the next sentence with the words, "Having said that," proceed to refute everything you just said.

Paragraph 5: Description of your range session. Be sure to give precise details about how cold or hot it was that day, and it is absolutely necessary to do some name-dropping when mentioning your range buddies. If Roscoe Benson or John Lysak are unavailable, it is permissible to use the name of a famous holster maker.

Paragraph 6: When reporting accuracy results, it is paramount to choose only the most obscure and expensive premium ammo you can find. Black Hills MUST be represented, as well. Under no circumstances should you include Winchester white box ammo in the results, even if it is the only ammo that will cycle. Results must be listed in a table. Feel free to use the standard boilerplate table, with results pre-entered. It's not as if anyone actually reads these tables anyway. If smallest groups are in the 5" range, drop some strong hints that you were doing speed drills at 50 yards, not benchresting from 7 yards.

Paragraph 7: To describe the functioning of the pistol, you must use either "flawless" or "100%" somewhere in the sentence. If you and your buddies couldn't get it to work at all, be sure to describe the gun as a "pre-production prototype" and mention that the factory fixed the problem by sending you another gun.

Paragraph 8: Pick another feature or quirk of the gun, and express your dislike of it in ambiguous terms. If accuracy was completely abysmal, play up the "perfect for plinking and informal shooting" angle.

Paragraph 9: Conclude the article by saying that "even if the factory doesn't fix XYZ, I was still impressed enough with the gun that I bought the sample for my personal collection."