Sunday, February 9, 2014

One Step Back, Two Steps Forward?

So I took the Basic Handgun Fundamentals class at Federal Way Firearms Training* today.

I confess to some mixed feelings about paying money for a "basic, fundamentals" handgun class, having been shooting pistolas for a few decades.  OTOH, that equates to a few decades of self-taught bad habits, with next to no formal instruction. I rejected trying to persuade them that I was qualified for the Intermediate class ("Progressive Handgun Fundamentals", not happy about the word "progressive" in the title...), since, as I mentioned, no formal instruction, not a competitor...  Maybe paying for an hour or two of one-on-one...?  Would cost as much as the Basic Fundamentals class.

Besides, blog.

So, there I was.  Despite the impending Snowpocalypse, everyone was on time. 7 others in the class, 2 women, 6 men, I seemed to be the most experienced pistol shooter there.

The first half of the class was in a classroom, and was sort of a combination of the NRA's Refuse To Be A Victim and Basic Pistol.  Frankly, little new for me there, although a couple of new-to-me home security pointers were brought up.  (I have my notes somewhere...  Oh, yes, for example:  Keep your car remote in the bedroom.  If you suspect a prowler/burglar/home invasion, activate the Panic Button, to help guide the police to your home.)

After lunch we moved to the range, and this is where I really found some benefit, as Janice and Adam drilled us on stance, grip, trigger pull.  Several decades of bad habits, remember?  While I found the "isosceles" stance they had us using uncomfortable, the drills on grip, sight picture, and trigger pull seemed to pay off for me.

Now, there's a lengthy thread going on now over on Pistol about "sling-shotting", that is, closing the slide on a semi-automatic pistol by gripping the back of the slide between the thumb and forefinger of the "weak" hand, pulling it to the rear, and releasing.  The alternate preferred method involves gripping the top of the slide behind the ejection port with the entire hand and so forth.  I've been sling-shotting for years.  The overhand method works.  I have no empirical, let alone scientific, evidence that one or the other is superior. 

I can't explain the adjustments to my stance and grip, other than to say that, once we started shooting, the improvement over what I had done on that range with some of those guns was obvious.

Guns we fired:
  • Ruger SR22
  • S&W M&P 22
.380 ACP
  • Sig 238
  • Glock 42 
  • FNH Model FNS
  • Beretta Px4 Storm
  • Kimber 1911
  • Glock 19
  • S&W M&P (Modified with the addition of an Apex Trigger.)
Revolvers, all S&W:
  • "Pre-Model 17" .22LR
  • Model 19 (.357 Magnum/.38 Special)
  • Model  642 "Ladysmith"
(The revolvers were all optional.)

I have pictures of some of my targets, which I will post when I have a chance, but I will say that I saw improvement in my accuracy with the pointers on stance, etc. I was not the best shooter in the class; as I expected, two of the folks who had no experience at all (and thus no preconceptions or bad habits to overcome) did better.

But I'm happy with how I was doing.  I think this class was definitely worth it for me. I have signed up for next Sundays Progressive class, which introduces drawing from the holster, etc.
Thoughts on the guns:
The .22s: Meh.
.380s:  Liked the Sig more than the Glock, the extra weight of the all-steel construction, and the fact that it is "1911-ish" helped.  OTOH, the Glock 42 is the first Glock I've handled that I could shoot...
FNS:  included because one of the shooters requested it.  Afterwards, she was less than impressed.  So was I.  I think I was having a problem with my grip, the slide stop kept hitting my support hand...
Glock.   I still don't care for Glocks.
Beretta Storm:  Meh.
Kimber 1911:  A 1911.  This one was set up for target shooting, magwell, Hogue grip, target sights which tore up my hand.  Plus, a 1911 should be a .45... ;-)
M&P:  A while ago I posted that I had tried an M&P 45 and was less than impressed.  With an Apex trigger job this one in 9mm certainly was better to shoot.
Revolvers:  Classic Smith & Wessons, need I say more? 

*Which operates out of Federal Way Discount Guns, the local gun store, where I got my Colt Rail Gun.

1 comment:

NotClauswitz said...

In CCW class last weekend the instructor who is fairly young early-40's disability-retired cop who walks with a cane and limp said that re: "sling-shotting," in his experience the high stress factors of shoot/about-to-shoot/shot render your hands numb and vision tunneled, so he recommends training with the whole-hand grab. Also, afterwards don't even bother to try and talk or converse because the ringing in your ears just flattens all the words and makes phone-calls just unrecognizable gibberish. Also remember to just STFU afterwards and DO NOT give up your right to shut-up. It's a a hard right to remember because silence is a negative thing, not a positive right - and we are accustomed to the 1st Amendment of Free Speech (and not taking the 5th). "Afterwards" is not the time or place, but people just blab and blab when the adrenaline tapers off...