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GUNS Magazine April 2013 Digital Edition - Page 20
Learning from LoSing winners are happy to win, but losers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to learn. ake it from a senior citizen: run-and-gun shooting is a young man’s game. I still enter action pistol matches when I can. It keeps your skills sharp for self-defense, and it’s something of a “pressure laboratory” to see how well you can manage the gun when the clock is ticking and something rides on the outcome. I’ve won some, and lost more, and learned a few things along the way. One thing I realized was that I didn’t learn much from winning, though the positive reinforcement of doing something right was useful, and of course, winning gives you “warm fuzzies.” It was in losing that I learned lessons, though. The wise old martial artists were right: “better to sweat in the dojo than to bleed in the street.” For those who carry a gun, something like an IDPA match makes sense. Case in point: the South Mountain Shootout of 2012 in Phoenix, Ariz. I tell my students the time spent waiting to shoot is not to be wasted: it should be observation time, to be spent correlating how others do it and how they ultimately perform. Lessons that were reinforced for me, just from watching: Inspect your gun frequently. A young cop on my squad was doing great with his department issue HK P2000… until its trigger return spring broke, effectively killing both the gun and his score. But what he learned on the range helped keep him from getting killed fighting for his life with a gun only a few rounds away from failure when he began the match. I watched as a couple of shooters on our squad came to grief on a stage that had two targets 30 yards away. Both held way high… and missed way high. As we were taping their targets, both told me that they didn’t know where their guns hit that far out. Be sighted in, and know your trajectory. You shouldn’t have to “hold high” at 30 paces. T MassaD aYoob In “captured” start position, Mas has left his S&W 686 on the ground as instructed, but not his speedloaders. Another penalty. LEARNING FRoM YoUR MIsTAKEs The great strategist Otto von Bismarck is said to have advised that it is wisdom to learn from the mistakes of others. It’s certainly less painful. That said, though, it’s our own mistakes that burn themselves into our experience as our longest-lasting lessons. That was reinforced for me at the 2012 South Mountain shoot, too. As running target (arrow) charges Mas, range officer calls him “out of cover.” Follow the instructions. On one stage, we were supposed to put our loaded gun and our spare ammo on the ground in front of us. I neglected to put the ammo down, and after the first six shots had to grab a Safariland Comp III speedloader from my belt to replenish my Bob Lloyd-tuned S&W 686. Three-second procedural penalty right there. Ouch. I tell my students that when it’s for real, Take cover and a third. That is, pull yourself deeper into your cover than you think you need, because at speed, you may not have shielded yourself enough. On Stage 8, I put my outside foot carefully by the doorframe through which I had to shoot the “charging attacker,” but the range officer thought there was enough of me sticking out to ding me for a “cover call” procedural penalty. Better to be nursing a wounded ego after the match, than a gunshot wound at the local hospital. “Sweat in the dojo vs. bleed in the street,” after all. Don’t shoot faster than you can hit! After just cleaning a very difficult stage with lots of hostage targets, I point-shot instead of aimed on a close target array while going for maximum speed, and nicked the edge of a no-shoot target just enough to get the heavy penalty. The “no-shoot” target and I both kinda said “Ouch.” That’s a lot milder than what the “hostage’s” lawyer would have said in court. My big lesson from this very well run match was, prepare seriously! I went into this event as defending champion 20 W W W. G U N S M AG A Z I N E . C O M • A P R I L 2 0 1 3