Monday, June 24, 2013

Knowing What You Don't Know

By Dave Dargo

I'm always fascinated when I see novice shooters show up at class, some never having fired a shot in their lives, emerge from class as the top shooter.

How does that happen?

The answer is simple, really. The novice shooter has no preconceived notion about how they should perform or how they should shoot. We instructors would be nervous just at the sight of the novice's own trepidation except for the fact that we've seen this so many times before. Our experience tells us to be more wary of the "expert" shooter than the novice.

The novice shooter knows they don't know anything. They know that a mishandled gun is dangerous and tend to be more careful than the experienced shooters because they assume everything they do is somehow mishandling the gun. The novice shooters are so concerned about doing the wrong thing that they quickly adopt any corrections offered by the instructor.

The expert shooter, on the other hand, often wants to demonstrate to the instructors and the other students how good a shooter they happen to be.

Closeup of a student's qualification target 
I've seen novice shooters break into tears when they fire their very first shot and at the end of the class are the ones most in command of their firearm knowing exactly where each and every shot is going to go.

I remember one student who was very nervous because she wanted to do everything perfectly. She was creating her own increased levels of stress because she didn't want to make any mistakes. It took only a few tips about grip, trigger control and stance before she simply adopted what we were telling her as part of her own routines. My coaching after that consisted almost exclusively of the phrase, "Just relax."

It was difficult to keep from laughing as I watched her shoot her qualification target because most of her shots were going through previously made holes and all I would see was a flutter of paper and cardboard as the bullet passed through.  In the target shown here she fired 36 shots. You can see that about 11 made their own holes in the target and the others simply enlarged the first hole she made.

Her question at the end of the qualification was, "Did I do O.K.?"

I would ask this particular student to shoot faster because of the concept of "defensive accuracy", which I'll cover in a later post but, yeah, she did O.K.

The larger issue, though, is committing to learn more than the minimum state requirements for a concealed handgun permit. One should study the proper methods of drawing from a holster, how to properly reload a handgun and how to clear malfunctions among other topics.

We can easily get you through the qualification course for a concealed handgun permit.  At the end of class, though, I'll ask if you know the proper way to draw from a holster, or the proper way to reload your semi-automatic handgun or if you know how to clear malfunctions. All important topics to understand before deciding to carry a pistol for self-defense.

Try and be open to finding out what you don't know. You'll be surprised at how much fun it is to learn and practice those new things.

No comments:

Post a Comment