Friday, September 19, 2008

Southnarc PUC /ECQC AAR Day 1 part two

Disclaimer: Shooting is a dangerous activity. The following drill descriptions are for informational purposes only. Do not attempt them without qualified instruction. Do not practice alone. I take no responsibility for any injury which may occur due to a bad explanation on my part or bad execution on yours or for any other reason. Take Southnarc's class for yourself and learn to to it right and safely.

After lunch we met up on the range. We started with a safety briefing. It was a well done and thorough briefing. It hit many of the points I learned about in the NRA RSO class. The obvious four rules and range commands stuff was hit first. Then we got into the issues that some people miss. Southnarc identified the people with medical training who were willing to take the lead on injury assessment and response. He designated a vehicle and identified a nearby hospital with a trauma center.

The class was run as a hot range. I personally prefer hot ranges. It's a nice change from the usual cold range environment at an IDPA match. It's nice when it's recognized that we're all responsible adults and can handle walking about with loaded guns.

The first evolution was a simple one. Draw and fire one round center mass from about 5 yards. This was simply a warm up and a chance for Southnarc to walk up and down the line and see where we were all coming from technique wise. I'm sure it was also a chance to observe our gunhandling skills before we got into the meat of the drills. Everything we were going to do was perfectly safe, but I'm sure it would give more Fuddish types fits.

The next step was working on the draw stroke. We went through it step by step dry. First SN would demonstrate a step, then we would practice that step dry at his command. Then he added the next step, and we would practice the steps so far in sequence, while he gave commands step by step.

SN teaches a four count draw. The steps are:
1) clear cover garment and establish a firm firing grip with the strong hand. The support hand indexes flat high on the sternum.
2) draw pistol to a 'thumb-pectoral index' firing position. The elbow and shoulder are high, the thumb is pointed straight up and touching the side of the pectoral muscle. This naturally places the pistol far enough from your body to allow the slide to reciprocate without binding. It also gives the pistol a natural 45 degree cant downwards. We'll get to the reasons for this later.
3) the hands come together when the pistol enters the bottom of your vision
4) The arms extend outward to the distance appropriate to the position (range) of the threat. If the threat is beyond arms length(both of your arms together), this goes all the way out to full reach and traditional sight alignment.

After we built the draw step by step, we continued doing it dry working toward one continuous fluid motion. Then it was time to burn some more powder. We were told to shoot at a small square on the target (about 1" or so). The drill was on command, draw and fire, focusing on smoothness and accuracy and breaking the shot as the arms reached full extension.

Then it was time for the fun stuff. Extreme close quarters shooting. This is where the more staid traditional range officers would start having fits. SN demonstrated shooting with your forehead touching the target. Then it was our turn. We took our positions on the line with our heads resting on the target. We started doing this drill very slowly to ingrain the key points to do it safely. The commands were:
ONE - clear cover and acquire firing grip
TWO - draw to the #2 position (thumb - pec index)
Check your support hand - making sure that it was flat on the chest and not floating around out where something bad could happen to it
Check your muzzle - look down and verify that the muzzle was clear and pointed at the target.
Fire - press the trigger and fire one round.

We then dropped the safety reminders and used the commands ONE,TWO,FIRE. Then the commands were simplified to DRAW, FIRE. Finally it was cut to one command DRAW, which included firing the shot.

Then we took a break before coming back for demonstration of the next set of techniques: firing throughout the horizontal line of presentation - from the #2 position to the traditional sighted fire position. We started forehead on target again. On command, we would draw and fire one round from #2. Then on command we would take a step backward and fire one shot. This was repeated for a total of 5 rounds fired, ending at full extension. Then we worked it the other way, drawing to full extension at distance and moving toward the target compressing as the distance closed. We then repeated the drills without the individual step commands.

The final drill of the day is the one that would really give a stodgy RO fits. We started forehead touching the target. On command, we would draw, fire one round from #2, fire 4 more rounds one handed while retreating and extending to full distance. Then we would fire 5 rounds on the way in from full distance compressing down to forehead on target two handed. An important safety point here is to never bring the hands together anywhere but at the chest. Searching forward for the gun with the support hand is asking for trouble.

Altogether I think we shot about 150-200 rounds. Tomorrow's agenda is 2 hours on the range, then 2 hours working on empty hand techniques in the clinch, break for lunch, and then break out the man marking cartridges.

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