I forgot to mention that we changed ranges for the last two days of our training. We shifted over to one of the new 50 yard ranges. When I last took the defensive handgun course, we practiced and were tested out to 25 yards. One of the curriculum changes was the reduction of the maximum shooting distance to 15 yards. Instead of making thoracic cavity shots at 25 yds, the skills test was changed to take the same number of shots as 7 yard head shots. Of course, these as well as the other shots performed during the skills test are all done under time pressure and from concealment.
Of course, no training course would be complete without some friendly competition. And so, after a nearly a full morning of practice on day #4, we took at break and shot some man-on-man drills. The reactive steel hostage taker targets were setup along with a couple of other reactive targets. The drill was simply enough: shoot the hostage taker, then the outer steel and then the inner steel targets. Hitting the hostage was an automatic lose. The first to finish move on to the next round while the losers helped reset the targets for the other shooters.
After each pair of shooters finished, the hostage taker and/or hostage bullet impacts were covered with some fresh spray paint and the other steel targets were reset. It was a lot of fun and interesting to watch how the everyone reacted to the increased stress caused by both speed and accuracy. David won the competition.
The afternoon of day #4 (final skills test) came and went and I didn't make my hoped for DG status. I dropped a few points on a couple of thoracic cavity shots which I had no business missing. Along with 6 points lost out of the 35 points for the head shots, I missed my DG by a total of 5 points, after the malfunction drill and reload scores were factored in. Been closer than that before, if I remember correctly. I was satisfied with my malfunction drills with being late on just one of them. As they say, I'll get it next time!
And so ends my review of my 4 day defensive handgun course. It was good to review all the basics. Every now and then it never hurts to do that. I'll also say that I've never been in a course where I was asked by other students if I would shoot with them as their range partner. I met several great folks and we had a great time doing what we enjoyed. I don't claim to be a shooting guru by any means.....but those years teaching in the military and years that followed afterwards working in a nuclear training department gave me an idea of how to get the topic across. I was honored to be able to share what I knew with some of the new shooters.
Not part of the defensive handgun course:
I had the chance to spend a few bucks during one of our lunch hours and so I took advantage of the opportunity. What was the opportunity?
I decided I better try shooting a Thompson sub-machinegun before I got too old to do so! I could have shot an Uzi or M-16 or MP5. However, the draw of the iconic "Tommy gun" was just too great to resist. Go old school or go home! One of the instructors was nice enough to snap a couple of photos with my camera....thank you so much! In the above photo, I had acquired my site alignment and site picture and was ready to put fire. On target, on trigger!
There are three pieces of .45ACP brass flying through the air in the above photo. I took the advice of the instructor and initially tried a short burst, about 4 rounds, to get the feel of the Thompson. Yes, it had some muzzle climb, but not as bad as I thought it might be. By design, it is a heavy gun, about like that of a M-1 Garrand. After the short burst, I simply pulled the trigger and held on! LOL!!!!
OK....my two seconds of joy ended as quickly as they started. However, I think the smile lasted the rest of the afternoon. Reluctantly, I surrendered the Thompson to the range master. I had shot a piece of history....and it was worth every penny of it. If you ever get a chance to try it, don't pass up the opportunity. You'll regret it the rest of your life....of that I am certain!
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