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Monday, March 15, 2010

Open To Suggestion

I love students like this.  They take your instruction, apply it, and immediately reap the rewards.

I had one of my students today that is attending a federal peace officer academy.  She recently passed her handgun qualification (woo hoo!) but was having some difficulty with the shotgun.  She couldn't consistently get her shots inside the silhouette at 25 yards.

I did some diagnostics of her stance and it looked like she was standing a bit too erect.  For a single shot, that's not too much of an issue, but for multiple, timed shots - which is part of her qualification process - it can be a real problem, as re-acquiring the target becomes problematic.  The force of the first shot simply moves the muzzle too much to re-acquire in a timely basis.

I should also mention that she is slight of build, so the heavy recoil of a slug being shot is even more pronounced.  Unlike someone like me, with, uhm, sufficient mass, she really needs to use every ounce of her body to help absorb the recoil.

We focused on two primary points:  Upper body "lean" and foot/leg positioning.  We had her almost exaggerate her forward lean, especially for the second shot.  For her legs, we discussed "staking" her right leg, stiff-as-a board to the rear, and her left leg with a pronounced bend towards the target.  This knee bend also helped to bring her upper body forward.

All of this put together allowed her upper body to take brunt of the recoil, and transfer a lot of that thrust to her rear leg.

After a few drills she we went live and she started tearing up the target!  The large outer target was 16 inches round, and we placed a smaller 8 inch target dead center.  From 25 yards, she put 19 of 20 shots into the 16 inch target (well within her qualification parameters), and 8 or so were inside the 8 inch target.  A good 1/2 of the shots that didn't hit the center target were within 3 inches or so.  Half of the 20 shots were timed (two shots on target in 10 seconds, starting with two in the tube).

Accept The Challenge

If you need help with a skill, seek professional assistance.  Many people do this. 

What many then do is not listen to the instruction!  It amazes me when a student I have says something to the effect of, "Well, I was taught to do it in such-and-such a way and really like it."

Great.  If it's working so well, why are you here?

At least be open to honestly giving a technique a fair shot (pun intended).  Not all instruction or tips work for all people.  We don't know everything about everything, but most decent instructors will have multiple solutions to a problem.  One of them will generally fix the flaw, or improve the desired outcome.

Open your mind to the possibilities!

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5 comments:

Shy Wolf said...

Gotta love that "trap shooter" stance for the shotgun and it applies well with a big rifle, too.
My son thought I was nuts leaning the way I do for "doubles"- and then he tried it.
My favorite shotgun stance is in the duck blind, though- seated on a pail and letting go at the flocks passing overhead. (OK: I don't really flock shoot, but pick a target- have never had to do a follow-up shot on one, either.)
Congratulate the youg lady for her willingness to ask and learn- it's a rare trait in this day.
Shy III

Chief Instructor said...

Shy Wolf, that where I learned it - from shooting sporting clays.

This lady is going to make a great officer - if her dedication I've seen demonstrated is any indication of how she's put together.

Even before our handgun training a few months ago, she realized that she didn't have the hand strength to be able to easily lock open the slide on the .40 cal she would be issued, or be able to load her magazine to full capacity.

She took it upon herself to get one of those hand strengthening deals where each finger has a tension spring that you squeeze to build up your hand muscles.

She was able to very easily lock open and manipulate her slide, and load a full capacity (15 round) magazine by hand.

She's a very motivated individual!

theotherryan said...

Personally I would not take up valuable time and spend hard earned money for instruction unless I was pretty confident those folks knew what they were talking about.

"Well, I was taught to do it in such-and-such a way and really like it." To me that is a valid point in a conversation with a friend at the range or that random know it all guy. However to me the way "I was taught" is not valid if you aren't getting the results you want. If the way Pa taught isn't getting rounds on target then it needs to be revisited.

I try to have as open of a mind as possible when it comes to firearms training. I know what I like and am used to but am willing to try something new, if something new works better then I keep it.

Chief Instructor said...

TOR, when it happens with a student, it usually catches me by surprise. They've recognized they have a problem, they've given me their money, but then they don't want to make any changes.

It must be some macho thing. So far, the few students that has done this are guys.

theotherryan said...

I'm totally sure it is a male thing. 'Me Alpha, if I listen to him then he Alpha now."