I have decided that I am not the world-record tack driver that I led myself to believe. It is hard to be accurate when eye dominance is a problem. I have yet to overcome this problem when I shoot.
Tac Tuesday was a wash for me. I was the one who asked for speed and accuracy drills. Well, I got what I asked for. As much as we shoot, we really don't do enough to improve our accuracy. I am probably the worse for not shooting enough. To my credit, I have years of experience with a rilfe and shotgun, so using a pistol should be easy for me. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Shooting 10m air rifle in college is not shooting White Wings in South Texas, nor is a room clearing exercise the same as sighting in a .30-06 at the deer lease. Each discipline is unique and has certain skill sets that need to be practiced. I guess one night a week for several months does not turn me into Rob Leatham. While I think that I can acquire those skills with practice, I know I will never shoot on that level (don't really have the time, nor the inclination. Sorry Rob!).
The main reason we get together each week to shoot is to further our self-defense skills. This is real world practical training. As Dick Marcinko says, "The more you bleed in practice, the less you'll bleed in combat." Truer words were never spoken. I take a fair amount of abuse and ribbing from Instructor Greg and the rest of our group. I don't mind it, because I know he is out there to instruct and provide guidance. The rest of the group is very understanding and patient with me.
I still feel that nagging urge to beat myself up over my fundamental problems with this discipline. Let's take a look at some of my repeated errors.
- For one thing, I did have a bad habit of slapping my holster when drawing. I did that to remind myself to keep my hands on my body during a draw. This way, in theory, I would know that my hands were where they were supposed to be. Instr. Greg reminded me to not do this. It extended my draw time by a couple hundredths of a second. Instead, I now practice to raise my strong hand up and seat the web of my hand in the gun and properly seat my hand. IG calls it "drawing with your thumb." Essentially, you draw your hand up your side until the thumb breaks over the back of the pistol and then firmly seat your hand on the gun and draw.
- One of my other lovely faults is dropping the first and sometimes second shots when firing under stress. Reasons for doing so range from hesitation to improper grip to slapping the trigger. Take your pick, either one or all of these factors contributes to dropping most of my shots. Instr. Greg keeps repeating the same thing to me, "TAAKKEEE YYYOOOUUURRRR TTIIIIMMMMEEE!!!!" I am a fast shot, granted, but fast is nothing when most of my shots are dropping below the intended target. I first have to remember to relax and take my time. I was the only person on Tuesday who drew last and finished shooting last. It is hard for me to slow down when everyone around me is bustin caps at a rapid pace, I tend to get caught up in the moment. The hesitation comes from 'shot anticipation.' Greg had me dry fire a couple of times to work this out. He had me clear my weapon and prepare for a dry fire exercise. I cycled the action, squeeze the trigger, and release until it clicked. He would wait until I fired and then bring his hand up in a rapid movement to jolt the muzzle of the gun. Almost every single time he did this, I would flinch. Problem: Shot anticipation, Solution: PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. I dry fired a couple more times until I overcame the trepidation and learned to relax some more. Tension leads to shot problems. The grip problems need practice, too. I have to remember the way my hands come together on the bun to form my grip. I also have to PRACTICE (there's that word again) drawing and getting into that perfect grip.
- Hmmm, this is a tough one for me. Eye dominance. When I came squirting out that birth canal, I was a born southpaw. If it weren't for the fact that I wanted to watch Sesame Street when I was but a wee tot, I would not have caught the television and busted my left arm a couple of weeks before kindergarten. That still didn't change the fact that I am left eye dominant. Shotgun, I get behind birds occasionally. Rifle, don't even bother, I can knock the tits off a mother flea at a thousand yards. Pistol, shit, I cannot make up my mind. Right now, I am back in college with the masking tape over my left eye. That takes the tension off the right eye and makes aiming better, but not great. I am still struggling with the notion of 'focus front sight.' Sight picture is something that is completely different for me. I am struggling to acquire the target without having to close one eye to focus. I need major help in that arena. I am problably the only person left in the group who is closing one eye to focus. Everyone else is practiced enough that they can draw, acquire target and shoot multiple targets without blinking. This is where I want to be.
- Shooting and moving is another problem I have to address. It is not high on my priority list, but it is something I have to practice in order to NOT DIE IN COMBAT!!! From the word go, I have to remember to move. One of those things you don't want to make the mistake of doing is standing in the same spot when the shit goes down. First things first, MOVE YOUR ARSE!!! Do not sit there and draw. Move from that position and draw while moving. Never take more than four, count 'em, FOUR shots while standing in one place. This is something I can practice a bit later, right now, I want to improve my aim and sight acquisition, as well as grip and the other problems I mentioned.
Lots to learn, I know. I just have to force myself to practice. I am afraid of going out to purchase videos and books right now. All the fundamentals I have learned go back to my first class those many moons ago. With a little more time and patience, I will get this licked. Stay tooned.
NEXT WEEK: TACTICAL SHOTGUNS!!!