I completed another training class yesterday and I decided to write what I have learned from fellow classmates. At all times we are all novices and experienced – skills HAVE to be practiced to be sustained. We have a great mix of experience among our classmates and goals for taking the class.
Jason was quiet and unassuming, but easy going. Jason had been shooting only since December, he decided that he needed to learn how to defend himself and his wife and started taking classes. He has a twitching trigger finger, it wants to be in the trigger guard a little too quickly and a little too long. He did admit that he doesn’t practice often and that the last time he shot was the last class he took one month ago, which I also attended with him. He apologized to me for making me nervous, I responded that any with a live firearm would have me on alert.
Jason was the one I watched the most for muzzle control and safety issues. He caught me watching him a few times. He has only been shooting for 3 months and hasn’t found his confidence yet he is still grasping the fundamentals. Jason wants to learn, he wants to do well although he is a bit slow in mastering, I know he will get there. His steadfast desire to correct his mistakes and his awareness that I was uneasy a couple of times (with good reason), I have no doubt he will be successful as long as he practices in-between classes. I worry that he may get discouraged if he doesn’t practice the skills he learns in class.
I had been in class with Brian before as well. He was a bit more vocal this class then a previous, indicating he was feeling more comfortable. I recognized that he is a gun fan (aficionado) or however you wish to say it. Anyone who is aware of current happening in the firearm industry and watches YouTube videos, takes their hobby a bit more seriously than occasional shooters. His gear was all matching, neat and tidy, he had on new shooting pants. He brought his 1911 and a couple of different magazine capacities, including a few 30 rounders. I could tell he is genuinely interested in becoming better, and takes himself pretty seriously. He is a good shot and you could tell he has practiced and used the same gun for a while. In fact, there was a bit of discussion about using a 1911, and he said he has shot it for a year now.
Brian didn’t seem pleased when he was warned by our instructors that not using the safety on the 1911 could lead to a negligent discharge, especially when re-holstering. He was thrown a bit off by trying to engage and disengage the safety as he holstered his hammered tool. I recognized the importance of getting to know your firearm and practicing with it by watching him. I hope I am not describing him wrong, he didn’t have the cocky ego that some may have, I could tell he took the instructors’ comments seriously but he also quipped back that he didn’t want to use the safety even if it meant a higher chance of discharge. I noticed that he uses a weaver stance that has been practiced, his motions were smooth. He was applying what he was learning systematically and it was showing.
There was a husband and wife in the class together which made me wish my husband was with me. It was obvious that he has been shooting for a while or at least more comfortable with guns for a longer time than she was but she is gaining ground in shooting skill. Kelly was smooth with her presentation, solid in her stance and you could see she was locking her arm. At the beginning of the class we were shooting static and she was not doing well, as the class when on, she became very proficient with her shots. Her husband, Jet did the opposite. He did very well at the beginning of the class during static shooting and as the class progressed his shots weren’t making their aim. He was quiet throughout the class, seemed to be one to keep to his own. Seeing a couple together going through a skills class, it is a reminder to be supportive of your partner through the good and the bad. Kelly did exceptionally well towards the end of the class, she was shining bright. Jet went from being vocal to being reserved as the class proceeded throughout the day. He wasn’t moody just quiet. I could only imagine if my husband was there outperforming me, how that might feel.
Chuck, my last classmate, I had never met before. I learned in class that he had recently had foot surgery and in talking to him, he was only a week out from wearing a boot. He was walking great, I would never have guessed! His shooting skills were a bit rusty but he took it all in stride. Chuck is a bit older and I could tell he takes the class seriously as well. He was quiet throughout the class and he sat next to me. He had a few grip issues with his Glock, which indicated to me that he probably doesn’t practice much outside of class. With his foot, he probably didn’t go to the range but I wasn’t able to get a feel for if he would dry fire at home or not.
I have recently changed my everyday carry, and its sights. I recognized the value of using the same firearm for consistent training. There was a point in the class I couldn’t hit a target 10 yards away although I was consistently shooting well before that. I got over the crisis in confidence and started doing well. I haven’t had much chance to shoot while moving and was surprised how well I did. We had to walk through a path in the woods with steel targets hidden through out and eliminate the threats. Ping, ping, ping…what a beautiful sound. In the moment, you don’t have time to worry about how you’re doing, you are moving and shooting and focused on the front sight. No time for anything else. It felt like time was standing still while you are shooting at the targets, moving to the next after you hear the ping. Ducking and crouching around trees to shield yourself from the pretend enemies. There was a golf ball that I wanted to hit, after wasting 2 shots on it- I moved on. My instructor warned against wasting resources and time on a missed target, serve them all, he said.
While the instructors are teaching the class, I was also learning how they responded to our questions, how they encourage and correct us, and what they leave alone for the time being. This is my 5th class with these instructors, I am very comfortable with them, to the point of ribbing them when the opportunity arises. GRIN!
When others make a mistake, I find myself taking care not to make the same mistake. I made my own mistakes during the class, I forgot to scan and assess a few times, I got my shirt stuck in my holster as I was trying to re-holster, and each time I worked harder not to continue the mistake. It was a great class, we all had a good time and learned a lot. I look forward to seeing my classmates in another class soon!