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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Payoff From A Day At The Range

Even though I teach handgun classes, I don't get to shoot as much as I'd like.  It's one of those odd quirks.

I had some meetings yesterday about another business venture I'm helping to start-up.  The meetings were in the same town where I teach my shooting classes, PLUS I had promised one of my students that I'd drop off some NRA Marksmanship targets for her.

I figured, "what the heck", I might as well get some range time in.

When she had first asked me about the pistol marksmanship stuff, I told her how it works, and how I had gone through the steps of the program up to the Expert level a few years ago.  It dawned on me that I still had not completed the full program by getting my Distinguished Expert rating.

I dropped off the targets as promised, and brought a dozen more for me to do some practice for the Distinguished qualification.  As a warm-up, I re-did the Expert program:

In the Expert, the position for which you're qualifying is standing, one handed, with strong side and weak side stages.  In the first stage, you fire 5 shots in 3 minutes AND 5 shots in 10 seconds with your strong side hand at a target 30 feet away.  The second stage (using a new target) is the same thing, only it is done with the weak side hand.

The two targets/stages are then considered a "course" with a maximum possible score of 200 (20 shots times a maximum score of 10 per shot).  You then need to accumulate 5 courses - two must be scored at 130 or better, and three must be scored at 150 or better.

When I did the program a few years ago, all of my scores were in the 160's.  This go-around, they were better:  191, 181, 193, 182, 192 - a decent improvement.

Now that I was warmed up, I did a couple of practice courses for the Distinguished Expert rating (I'm going to do the actual witnessed courses in a couple of weeks).  This qualification is a bit different. 

Each course is made up of 4 stages (all on the same target).  It is pushing you for speed AND accuracy:  1) 6 rounds, strong side, 2 hands in 10 seconds; 2) 6 rounds, strong side, 1 hand in 10 seconds; 3) 6 rounds, weak side, 2 hands in 10 seconds; 4) 6 rounds, weak side, 1 hand in 10 seconds.

So, there are 24 shots and a total of 240 possible points per course.  To earn the rating, you must have 3 courses of 175 or better, and 3 courses of 200 or better.

My two practice rounds were scored at 217 and 220.  I was pleased... ;-)

Accept The Challenge

It's very easy to become complacent in keeping our various skills up-to-date.  Most skills are perishable - they degrade over time if not practiced on a regular basis.  Even though I don't get to shoot as much as I'd like, I still get to the range once or twice every single month.

When I shot the scores in the 160's, I was at the range once every 3 months or so.  No consistency whatsoever.  The easily measurable improvement in my scores was proof-positive to me that the, "use it or lose it" adage is valid.

What skills do you have that you don't need to use on an every day basis?  How do you keep them sharp? 

I rarely have need to make bow lines, trucker hitches and taut line knots in my regular life.  To keep them up-to-date, I have an automatic reminder on my calendar to practice knot tying. I spend 15 minutes or so practicing (and often re-learning!) how to do a half-dozen different knots because I know circumstances might present themselves where tying these knots might save my life.

Stay sharp!

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1 comment:

theotherryan said...

Aside from physical fitness I don't think any preparedness applicable skill degrades as fast as pistol shooting.