Help support WeTheArmed.com by visiting our sponsors.

Author Topic: After Action Report on my First Training Class - Long  (Read 2593 times)

djw

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 191

  • Offline
After Action Report on my First Training Class - Long
« on: May 03, 2010, 10:53:28 am »
I took part in some actual "official" training for the first time since getting my concealed pistol license three years ago.  In Michigan, to qualify for a CPL, you must take a course that includes range time; the most common course that satisfies this requirement is the NRA's Personal Protection in the Home (PPITH), which is the course I took.  While I've since practiced on my own, getting a decent amount of trigger time, and have participated in what my local club calls "Action Pistol", this is the first paid "course" that I've taken.  The course, called "Beyond Basic CPL - Tactical Marksmanship" is offered through a company called Midwest Tactical Training here in west Michigan (http://mwtac.com).  The course was taught by the company owners, Skip Coryell and Larry Jackson.

As you might gather from the course title, much of the focus of this class was on marksmanship.  Now, I thought I was a pretty good pistol shooter.  What I learned was that I'm really an accurate pistol shooter.  However, it was the "tactical" aspect that I really lacked, and that was the part of the course that was the most helpful to me.  

For instance, I had never thought to try "point shooting" to see how effective it was (or wasn't) at close range (5 yards).  This was a good opportunity to see that even at that close range, point shooting  does not mean "shooting from the hip", because you will miss at 5 yards (at least I did).  BTW, they didn't teach "shooting from the hip"; I just executed point shooting incorrectly on the first try.  It wasn't really "from the hip" as much as from somewhere in front of my stomach instead of from the shoulders.

The other exercise that I had not practiced nearly enough was, first, the draw.  This might seem elementary to someone who takes carrying seriously, but I have to admit that while I've spent a lot of time thinking about many aspects of carrying concealed, I have spent very little time actually practicing the mechanics of what to do if I ever had to use my firearm.  You can read about it all you want (I certainly do), but until you practice DOING it, you are wasting your time.  We practiced the draw, and we practiced, and we practiced, before ever chambering a round.  Then, we practiced some more, and we practiced from concealment, whether that was flipping back your vest with your strong side hand, or pulling up your shirt with the weak side hand.  Then we practiced some more without live ammo, and there's a reason.  WATCH WHERE YOUR FINGERS GO!!  I very diligently had my trigger finger along the slide while drawing and reholstering.  Then the instructor informed me that my middle finger was wandering around the trigger guard!!

Which brings up an important issue that this course (and actual practice) revealed:  equipment problems.  Until you practice drawing and reholstering, and then do it some more, you will not likely uncover the weaknesses in your equipment until it is too late.  I was using an inside the waist band (IWB) holster.  It is a relatively solid leather holster, which stays open pretty well after the pistol is drawn.  However, it has a single metal clip that does an inadequate job of keeping the holster in position, mostly rotationally.  It is supposed to keep it in a fairly straight-up position, but doesn't, so I had to do more than a little fiddling around to get my pistol realigned for holstering.  The leather of the holster is smooth side out, so it does not help the clip in retaining position either.  It also doesn't help in retaining the holster in the pants.  In the one moving exercise that we did in this course, we start from 3-4 yards from a target.  When given the signal, we draw and fire as we retreat 6-7 yards to take cover.  This was a dry-fire exercise only.  It was more than a little embarrassing to be standing there with my drawn pistol completely covered by the holster.  Of course, it was a good lesson to be shared with the other students, but, most importantly, it was a good lesson to learn on the range and not on the street.  By the way, the instructors preferred outside the waist band holsters, and I just gave them more ammunition.

The other "tactical", but non-moving, exercise involved taking cover and engaging multiple targets on command.  In the context of this course, this was to introduce a modicum of stress to a firing on targets, as the instructors were on you, yelling in your ears, and occasionally firing on target from beside you. Lesson learned here:  it's hard to keep count of your rounds expended.

I had one other equipment issue that the training brought out.  The course concludes with a police style qualification course, fired at a silhouette at 5, 7, 10 and 15 yards (I think).  Each stage is timed, with a given number of rounds, and some require a mag change.  You are allowed alibis, but all alibis must be fired in the final stage, at 15 yards, which also requires a mag change.  My pistol had one FTE earlier in the day; during the qual round, I had failures at the first three distances, on multiple stages.  So, instead of two magazines of 5 rounds each in 35 seconds with a mag change (man, that's a long time), I had one mag of 5 rounds and one mag of 15 rounds.  Yes, TEN alibi rounds.  Wouldn't you know it, no failure at that stage. Whew!  And, with 50 rounds fired in the qualification, we counted 47 on the target, 45 of which were in the "A" zone of the IPSC silhouette.  So, I either miscounted as I was loading mags, shot three rounds through existing holes (my position), or threw three rounds completely off the target (inconceivable).  

OK, back on subject:  I need to figure out why I'm having FTE issues.  My pistol is a Springfield P9C (compact CZ75 clone), and I was shooting WWB.  The pistol was freshly cleaned going into the day.  I bought it used last year.  I have had this issue before, which was solved by a good cleaning. I'm inclined to think it is just sensitive to a dirty chamber, so perhaps a bit of polishing would help.  Or, is it possible that the chamber is out of spec, and the cases are expanding too much and sticking?  Since the issue is sporadic, which is the more likely cause?  Could it be a magazine issue, with the follow on rounds partially popping out and hanging up the ejecting round?  The springs in the two compact mags that came with it are a little weak and I intend to replace them.  It was my third mag, a brand new full-size mag, that got through that last, carefully fired 15 rounds of the qualification course.

So, in summary:  

Practice:  You will do what you know how to do.
Practice:  You want to do well what you know how to do.
Practice:  You want to know how and that your equipment is going to perform.
and...
Get more training...

Don
« Last Edit: May 03, 2010, 01:38:30 pm by djw »

WeTheArmed.com

  • Advertisement
  • ***

    GeorgeHill

    • Co-Founder
    • WTA Staff
    • Senior Contributor
    • *****
    • Posts: 22121
    • The Ogre
      • MadOgre.com

    • Offline
    Re: After Action Report on my First Training Class - Long
    « Reply #1 on: May 03, 2010, 11:31:13 pm »
    Training is CRITICAL. 
    Reason being - you need someone that can watch you shoot and see what you are doing wrong or what you can do better.  Casual shooting with friends isn't it.  You can be friends with an instructor, but a professional instructor, when at the Range, is an Instructor First. 
    He will say what your buds wont.  And he will help you in ways your buds can't.
    Get Training.
    South CarolinaCo-Founder of WeTheArmed.com
    The Ogre from MadOgre.com.

    Vires et Honestas
    Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.
    http://www.madogre.com/

    TXGunGeek

    • Member
    • **
    • Posts: 129
      • GunGeekRants

    • Offline
    Re: After Action Report on my First Training Class - Long
    « Reply #2 on: May 04, 2010, 02:40:42 pm »
    I'll echo George on this one, TRAINING IS CRITICAL!!

    Years ago, we had a round table in our training group and the guest of honor was the commander of the local PD SWAT team at the time. He'd been in three shootouts by that time in his career and we asked, what would be the most important lesson you could pass along concerning training?

    What he said was. "When the poop hits the fan for real, expect to perform to 70% of your WORST day of practice on the range. That is what you bring to the table."

    It is critical to get training and then practice doing things right. If you don't practice at all, you are more likely to lock up, panic or fumble because you are not sure what to do and are not sure if you can do it. If you practice but have not had any training, you may or may not be doing it right and you could very well do something that you really shouldn't do and get yourself hurt worse.
    If you train well and practice what you learned, you are maximizing your potential to win.
    I am not a mandatory required training pusher like the infamous Dr Piazza. I just point out that if you are serious about your personal safety enough to get a firearm, you should be serious enough to get proper training so you can learn to do things the best you can.

    The anecdote to go with this is a story from long ago when the state police still carried revolvers. They were fanatical about no brass on the ground at the practice range so the officers were taught to fire six, dump the empties into their hand and put them in their pocket or a coffee can, then reload six new rounds and continue the drill. You can see where this is going. Trooper involved in a shootout on the side of the road found dead with six empties in his shirt pocket and six live rounds in his revolver. He fell back on his training and did what he had practiced over and over again.

    So, lesson learned is practice as you would want to perform on the street for real. Visualize yourself winning Do it often and right and you will set yourself up to win should the worst actually happen to you.
    TXGunGeek at gungeekrants.blogspot.com
    Instructor at KRTraining.com
    NRA and TX CHL Instructor

    GeorgeHill

    • Co-Founder
    • WTA Staff
    • Senior Contributor
    • *****
    • Posts: 22121
    • The Ogre
      • MadOgre.com

    • Offline
    Re: After Action Report on my First Training Class - Long
    « Reply #3 on: May 09, 2010, 12:35:45 pm »
    That's exactly right.  You will fight how you train.  So if you have developed training scars, these will come out when you are put to the test.   
    South CarolinaCo-Founder of WeTheArmed.com
    The Ogre from MadOgre.com.

    Vires et Honestas
    Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.
    http://www.madogre.com/

    KellyTTE

    • http://www.ttellc.net
    • Junior Member
    • *
    • Posts: 16
    • http://www.ttellc.net
      • Tactical Testing & Evaluation

    • Offline
    Re: After Action Report on my First Training Class - Long
    « Reply #4 on: May 11, 2010, 10:16:58 pm »
    That's exactly right.  You will fight how you train.  So if you have developed training scars, these will come out when you are put to the test. 

    Gichin Funakoshi said in "Karate-Do, my way of life" that Karate is like tea, if you do not give it heat it grows cold quickly.

    I tell people that every time you're handling a weapon you're either building muscle memory or creating a training scar. I think that the vast majority of people, and there are certainly exceptions, will more likely default to their level of practice rather than their level of training. There are a lot of people that attend a class or this/that and then fail to hone and keep those skills fresh. So not only must a person practice, a person must take care to practice perfectly each and every time.
    Kelly H
    No BS Reviews and AARs
    http://www.ttellc.net - [email protected]

    GeorgeHill

    • Co-Founder
    • WTA Staff
    • Senior Contributor
    • *****
    • Posts: 22121
    • The Ogre
      • MadOgre.com

    • Offline
    Re: After Action Report on my First Training Class - Long
    « Reply #5 on: May 12, 2010, 09:49:27 pm »
    Practice - if done right - is training.   
    South CarolinaCo-Founder of WeTheArmed.com
    The Ogre from MadOgre.com.

    Vires et Honestas
    Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.
    http://www.madogre.com/

    Help support WeTheArmed.com by visiting our sponsors.