Since I'm fast running out of ammo, and both Wally World and my wallet are doing a poor job keeping up, I'm trying to make the best of my time at the range. It's fun to send bullets down range, but I sure hate to see them go. I figure while they’re headed to the backstop, they better be doing something for me as well.
On top of that, I have been thinking about entering a shooting competition, whether USPSA or IDPA, just to develop my skills and challenge myself. To that end, I have begun reviewing their rules, and trying to develop/practice skills in the necessary areas (all while obeying range rules and not giving the range officer a coronary).
This last time at the range, I wanted to practice reloading from slide lock, so I loaded three magazines with different quantities of bullets, and got to work. Because of the random number of bullets, I never knew when the gun would go empty. So, on top of normal safety rules, I had to concentrate on recognizing slide lock, manipulating the magazines, and quickly returning the gun to service; all while trying to hit the bull’s-eye. I had not done anything like that before, so my target looked horrible.
It was definitely an eye-opener for me. Most of the time at the range, I can line up in front of the target, get in the proper stance, focus on the front sight, and fire when ready. I like the way my groups look when I am able to do that.
Throw in a distraction, though, and my groups go to heck. What did this teach me? I’m not as good as I think I am. I need a whole lot more practice.
But beyond all that, I wondered how I would respond during a critical incident. A critical incident may have multiple distractions, and is, by its nature, unpredictable. As best as I can tell, these incidents don’t check your calendar for the most convenient time. You can’t pre-plan every detail. Instead, faced with a threat, you are forced to drag your mind out of whatever it was doing, and immediately bring all your senses to bear on the threat at hand. All this divided attention means it is highly likely that nothing will go textbook.
How many stories do we read about shoot-outs at incredibly close range, and yet no one gets hit. We hear stories of many rounds being fired, yet only a few finding the desired target. In the thick of the incident, it’s almost as if the body reverts to the lowest level of training. Something that would seem elementary during the calm of the range suddenly becomes infuriatingly challenging.
This is why training is important. The very basic skills need to be ingrained into our subconscious so that we do not have to concentrate on them when the time comes. That will not eliminate all possible mistakes, but it will go a long way to minimizing them.
The upside to this, of course, is that I must now return to the range so that I can practice some more. Then, I really do need to join a competition, even if only to proudly claim last place.
Now, if only I can find some ammo.