Of Skills Drills and Negligent Discharges

20130105-204706.jpgDon’t worry, the negligent discharge wasn’t mine…but it brought home a lesson I had underscored at the range today.

As those who follow my page on Facebook know, I shot the IDPA Classifier today for the first time. (Side note: If you aren’t following me on Facebook, I invite you to join the discussion there; I share lots of stuff that isn’t large enough to warrant its own blog post.) For those who don’t do IDPA, the Classifier is a standardized 90-round course of fire that tests many of the common skills needed to compete in IDPA: drawing and re-holstering, shooting on the move, shooting from behind cover, and reloading your firearm quickly. Whether IDPA skills translate to real-world lethal force defensive encounters is a subject of perennial debate, but in my view of things, anything that makes you more accurate and confident in your gun handling skills is a good thing.

In any event, I had a great time, and came home from the range with a bunch of lessons, both good and bad, bouncing around in my head.

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Circle Back to the Basics

20121124-211956.jpgNo matter how many fancy guns we have, no matter how much tacti-cool crap we bolt onto the accessory rails, and no matter how much we spend on trigger work, super-duper Titanium strikers, and “precision” replacement parts for our guns, our skill with a gun ultimately depends on our ability to execute the fundamentals – sight picture, stance, grip, and trigger control – with precision and on demand.

I was reminded of this truism while at the range this evening for a “Ladies Night” event, the tail end of a longer day of shooting and teaching stuff. We had a great turnout, over a dozen women with all manner of pistols, revolvers and a few rifles. I even saw a specialty scoped .22 LR rifle that looked like some sort of weird hybrid between a Ruger 10/22 and a Steyr AUG. Its owner told me it was a custom weapon for steel silhouette shooting.

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