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GUNS Magazine April 2013 Digital Edition - Page 78
PracTice Makes PerfecT buT onLy if iT’s perfect practice. A John Connor fter making three slow passes on his ATV, the Range Safety Officer couldn’t stand it anymore. Parking his rig outside the action-shooting bay, he waited until I was reloading, then hailed me and sauntered up with a quizzical look on his sun-creased face. “Not ta yank yer chain or ’sturb ya, Since this is far more easily done Mister,” he drawled, “But could I ask when shooting 2-handed, my pracjust what the heck you’re doin’? I’ve tice that day was 1-handed. And, seen a lot of shootin’, but yours got since running that drill is more easily my curiosity up.” done when your body and feet are I guess it looked pretty goofy, begin- oriented squarely toward the target, ning with me; a semi-sheared ape with a I was presenting and firing at acute, pistol on his hip and a carbine slung up front, staggering The devil’s in the around on a cane. As the RSO digit, so train that observed, I had been doing trig- rascal! ger-finger-dances on my pistol, going from indexed position to the trigger, popping off single shots and doubles 1-handed, changing hands, and sometimes clearing the piece and repeating the drill dry-firing. In the process, I radically changed my orientation to the targets, set up at varying distances from 7 to about 20 yards at random angles. That left me presenting at targets directly to my front, off at sharp or shallow angles, even at 90 degrees away or directly across my body. I was in a deep, 3-sided shooting bay with high-impact berms, so it was safe to do so. My primary goal during those particular drills was working on the transition from “ready to engage,” with trigger finger in the indexed position lying at the side of the triggerguard, to firing, getting my trigger finger swiftly and properly random angles, checking for negative placed on the trigger and making a effects of working the involved joints sure, straight press to the break. It’s a and muscles on achieving that sure, very small movement, but important straight trigger press. Every time I and often overlooked. Earlier, I had found a “problematic position” which caught myself blowin’ it. My second- made my trigger press unsatisfactory, ary goal, when shooting doubles, was I would stop, clear the weapon, do to concentrate on managing the trig- some dry-firing and then re-engage ger reset. with live shots. 78 The RSO and I had a nice chat. He’s a well-trained shooter and IDPA competitor. As we talked, he realized he routinely trained on drawing and presenting, and he also trained on his trigger press, addressing the two as separate elements—but he had largely overlooked that all-important transition which brings the two together, and recognized that might explain some problems he’d experienced. He also mentioned some difficulty with managing trigger reset while shooting rapid doubles. It only took a couple of minutes and about 10 sets of doubles to see that frequently his finger was coming off the trigger after his first shot, and the rushed second shot was more of a jerk than a press. pieceS iNTo proceSS With sufficient training he can cure that “coming off the trigger” problem, but the immediate treatment was simply to slow down on that second shot by a fraction of a second and concentrate on finger placement and press. Initially, he might lose a half second on his doubles, but more than make it up in more accurate hits—and greater speed would follow in time. The two “take-aways” from this were first, he needed to integrate his grip, draw, presentation, indexed-to-trigger finger movement, sighting and trigger press into a seamless process instead of just continuing to practice individual elements, and then trying to put them together in matches. Second, even though he was very experienced, he benefited from friendly critical observation. Sometimes you, the shooter, just can’t see what you might be fumbling, ’cause you’re too busy shootin’! The best lessons I learn for myself, I learn by watching others, including people I’m training. The next-best lessons I learn, I get from self-analysis of screwing things up. In this column, I’d like to share some observations. They’re primarily intended for “defensive shooters,” both handgunners and riflemen, but competition shooters and even hunters might find a nugget or two. 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