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Day #4 arrived and we spent the entire morning on the range doing a variety of drills to help improve speed and accuracy. For the last couple of days of practice, this was my typical attire. Under the vest was my XD45, Blackhawk SERPA level 2 holster, and two magazines in a magazine holder. While I was less than impressed with the performance of my Pro Ears Dimension 1 Plus electronic hearing protectors on an indoor range, they worked very well on the outdoor range. I've decided to keep them as more of my time will be spent shooting outdoors than it will at an indoor range.
Research has proven that your handgun performance will suffer by
50% (or more) should you find yourself with the stress of a real world situation
where your life or the life of a loved one is on the line. The hours of
dry practice performed to help develop your muscle memory is very important.
A couple of hours of range time every 6 months will not keep you at the level
necessary to deliver two shots to the thoracic cavity in two seconds from 5
meters (from a concealed holster).
Not all of day #4 was spent practicing for the afternoon skills test.
We took a little time out for the man-on-man competition. AJ had
everyone's name on some 3x5 cards and randomly selected two cards for each
round. The shooters had to engage three metal targets. The first was
a hostage/hostage taker target and the point was to stop the hostage taker
without hitting the hostage. Hitting the hostage resulted in immediate
disqualification. If the hostage taker was successfully stopped, two more
metal targets had to be hit (in the proper order). The first person to
finish won and would be later paired up against other winners from the first
found. Since "there can be only one", the winner from our range was then
paired against the winner of the other defensive handgun class (from the
adjacent range). In the above photo, Gary and Duane are paired up in their
shoot off. The winner from our class, Ken, was finally paired off against
the winner from range #6. It wasn't even close. Ken smoked his
opponent and took home the GOLD for range #5!
Taking a few minutes to regroup under the canopy. After
each relay had shot a couple of sessions, we would "head for cover". Front
Sight kept us supplied with plenty of cold water and GatorAide mix. Once
again, safety was stressed and no one had dehydration problems. Granted,
November might very well have been one of the best months to take training (I
sure enjoy Jeepin' in the AZ winter). Hitting the range in mid-summer
would be an experience that I would just as soon skip.
While at Front Sight, I believe it was one of the instructors that said "If you aren't shooting, you better be reloading. If you aren't reloading, you better be heading for cover." I didn't feel like ducking for cover was the best deal so I opted to keep reloading.
Did I mention that 5.11 pants are your friend at Front Sight?
I usually had a full box of .45ACP in my back pocket, a loose box of .45ACP in
my front support side pocket, and another 46 rounds loaded in the four magazines
Another part of our training dealt with engaging multiple threats. The target control system at Front Sight can be configured to actuate specific targets which we used during a couple of our sessions. In the above photo, the shooters are being confronted with up to four threats. Rather than firing a controlled pair to the thoracic cavity, you "share" your rounds between the bad guys. A threat with a weapon receives a higher priority than one without. You must also evaluate distance and how it calculates into the threat equation. Concealment and cover (no, they are not the same) also factor into the decision making process. All this and more is provided by the instructors as they apply their real life experiences (most have been law enforcement officers) to the discussions and answers they provide.
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