Yesterday we went to the range for the first time in *mumble mumble* months. Especially when we were still building our fence, we’d fallen into a rut with quite tall sides involving weekends; we’d either spend them cleaning, working on various projects in the home, or we’d blow EVERYTHING off and make a point of doing absolutely nothing productive. Shooting fell far more by the wayside than it should have; skills were kept up to “just good enough for minute of bad guy at seven meters” level for a defensive situation.
Anyway, the fellow that spotted Stingray’s concealment fail seems to have upgraded into actual shooting buddy, and we hit the range with him for a few hours yesterday afternoon. He brought a few toys of his own- a Smith and Wesson M&P Compact (which I quite liked and wouldn’t mind having one of my own), and a 4″ 1911 with modifications whose other stats I’ve forgotten that was also fairly fun to shoot. We spent some time joking around and generally getting to know each other better (as well as politely and carefully identifying one another as fellow crazy libertarians), and at some point he felt comfortable enough to offer advice, as my shooting skill has definitely rusted. This can be extremely obnoxious behavior, but in this case wasn’t and I appreciated it. He pointed out that I have a flinch, which pretty likely descends from the Walther PP we had with the nasty slide bite, or the Model 70 we have now that somehow- I have yet to figure out how- gashes my trigger finger each time I fire it. Nothing we have (that I want to shoot, anyway) really gives me any problems with recoil- so the solution for that is a pretty simple “send lots of rounds downrange that DON’T hurt and the problem will cure itself”. No problem.
The other thing he suggested (we were working on reactive steel targets at the time) was to shut out everything else but the front sight and not take any more time to fire each round than it took me to re-focus on the center of the next target. And you know what? I improved pretty dramatically over the course of the next several magazines doing that. Very rewarding experience- I had a lot more fun than I usually do.
Most of my individual shooting instruction on pistol has been from Stingray, who grew up shooting in rifle matches and slow-fire pistol. He gave me the advice he’d been given*: slow your breathing, don’t pull the trigger too fast, adjust your stance, wait for the “right” moment… and so on. And I’ve diligently kept all of this in mind with each shot fired ever since. All of it. Trying to keep each piece in my mind… and I improved a lot slower and couldn’t shoot as much because my hands and wrists would get tired much faster taking that much time per shot with my relatively heavy (but well loved) 1911. Turns out, a lot of that stuff apparently takes care of itself with adequate focus on the front sight and minimal conscious fretting about it… or at least it does for me.
What you’re taught makes up the teaching “DNA” that you pass on to others. Sometimes a little outcrossing is healthy, yes?
*Stingray would probably appreciate it if I mentioned that he certainly KNOWS the “front sight, press, front sight, press” mantra, he’s just very ingrained with the slow-fire stuff- which after all is what he spent 95% of his time actually DOING.