Last weekend was a bit of a marathon, but well worth the time and effort. The more I train the more I value good training from an excellent instructor.
Day 1 was a TCCC class with Joe Hayes. In response to a comment made by Joe awhile back “that not much will really kill you” the class focused on what will kill you and how to deal with it. What was refreshing for me was the no BS attitude of “yup that doesn’t work.” This included both techniques and equipment. The majority of the class had some level of training including several Wilderness First Responders and a trauma nurse, oh and two dentists, but with the exception of the nurse hands on was limited. A lot of myths and or theories were dispelled. For those who have received current medical training in the military some of it would be familiar, but for those of us with current and past civilian training a lot of it was new. The use and importance of tourniquets for instance, the limited efficacy of CPR and the importance of stopping bleeding as a first priority. Joe was an excellent instructor and did a superb job of mixing in enough real world examples to keep things rolling and interesting without bogging things down. One interesting thing to me was that we had a trauma nurse in the class and at almost every point she was nodding in agreement, which was a nice reinforcement that what works in an austere environment also works in the city. Needless to say I am reworking, in my mind at this point, my first aid kits and response plans.
The following 4 days were with Larry Vickers, first two days with the pistol then two days with a carbine.
One thing I frequently hear is “When are you going to do an advanced class/I am ready for an advanced class!” I hear that a lot actually. My response is always the same A)advanced is the mastery of the basics so working basics is never a bad thing, B)Larry will make sure you get what you need if you come in with the correct attitude and really push it, and C) the level of the class will determine the level taught at. In the case of the carbine class everyone brought their A game and it basically turned into a “Level 2” class part way through day one. I have largely concluded that the levels are not really that important. Trying to learn and get better is the key.
This is going to be more of a listing of thoughts I have after the training then a complete after action report or class review as there are plenty of those out there.
· The most important safety in the world is you brain followed by good trigger finger discipline.
· You can have the finest training in the world, but if you don’t work on sustaining your skills in the interim and improving then the training doesn’t really benefit you. The instructor gives you the tools it is up to you to use them. Prior training is not an indicator of capabilities.
· Training with the wrong instructor or following the wrong doctrine can be worse than no training at all. Speed is fine, but accuracy is final. A fast miss is still a miss. Figure out what you want to be good at then find the right instructor(s).
· Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. That is how you get better.
· Light or “target triggers” are great for competition, but can be a detriment in the real world. The exception is guys who gets enough trigger time, think tier 1 units, to know the trigger intimately. If you are not one of those guys you are far better off with a 4+lb trigger so you aren’t the guy/gal in class who is anticipating the buzzer. Light triggers can also be a crutch to good shooting. Learn to run a trigger properly and don’t worry about a light trigger. The better I get at shooting the more I realize that it is the shooter not the song. Get good reliable equipment and then learn how to use it. Don’t worry about the latest gimmick, doo-hikey, or speed/performance part. Stock parts, including triggers, are typically fine for most folks. Obviously, there are exceptions, but in general learn to run the gun don’t worry about mods.
· Trigger control is the key to getting good hits, and light triggers don’t= trigger control
· ACCEPT YOUR WOBBLE ZONE AND BREAK THE TRIGGER CLEANLY (one of my personal biggest issues)
· Stay focused when you lose that focus you will start to miss
· Identify why you didn’t get the hit you wanted accept it and move on don’t beat yourself up, but fix that issue. In almost every case I knew what I did wrong as soon as I shot, but still in some cases it took a few shots to break the trend.
· FOOD and WATER. Even if you think you are staying ahead of it you might not be. I wasn’t one day and got a bit dehydrated even though I thought I was good.
· Always be pushing to get better and you will if you are using the tools provided to you. They work. Identify were you are weak and work those areas as well as the fundamentals.
· Dry firing is a good thing if done write. Work drying firing in as much as possible.
· Have your equipment sorted out prior to class. (i.e. bring what you are supposed to have)
· If your gun needs work have a professional gunsmith work on it, don’t go to your buddy as his idea of what is good may actually cause your gun not to run.
· If you insist on running a 1911 make sure it is a modern one. Sure retro guns look cool, but there is a reason all those “modern” parts exist.
· I just can’t get into a good sitting position. As a result I will be working on an alternate kneeling (squatting) instead of continuing to work sitting. Again identify what doesn’t work for you accept it and move on.
That is all that comes to mind at this point, and hopefully others will chime in. The most interesting thing to me is that the first time I trained with Larry I was happy to keep everything on paper. Now I am not happy if I am not in the black, and if I do things right I have the skill to keep it in the black.