So what to do to try harder? I attended a couple of remedial shoots that our firearms instructors held in conjunction with this quarter's quals. During both of them I shot pretty darned good. Now as my office's Primary Firearm's Instructor will tell you, I probably shoot better than 95% of the agents in my office, even when I get scores like 241 but I wanted to hold myself to a higher standard so I went to do some extra practice of the self remediating sort. It was not like anyone was telling me how to shoot at these remedial shoots although others were getting some instruction. I was left to my own druthers and my own corrections. One of the other agents, one whom I used to instruct, who saw me at one of the current quarter's remedial shoots raised an eyebrow and asked me, in a sort of surprised tone, what was I doing there. I don't think she ever expected to see me at a remedial shoot since I used to be an instructor and since I used to help her to shoot better. I just told her that practice is how I keep my edge and since I am getting on in age and going down in score I could use it. Heck, truth be told, since I carry for work and for self defense I could use it regardless of my scores - we all could.
In addition to the time spent at my agency's remedial shoots, I also have gone to the local range near my home a couple of times in the last month. The result of all that extra shooting was that at the first remedial shoot I shot a 246, a 249 and a 250. At the second one, when I only shot one qualification round, I shot another 250. THOSE SCORES WERE AN IMPROVEMENT OVER MY SCORES OF THE LAST YEAR OR TWO WHICH HAVE BEEN A FEW POINTS LOWER ON AVERAGE, scores more like 243 or 241, even scores in the high 230s. While at my local range, I shot some pretty tight groups during slow fire and some pretty decent groups while shooting rapid fire - so much so on my last visit to have
Why do I mention this. Well, not to brag, that is for sure. I am not good enough a shot to brag - believe me you! I know there are many faster and more accurate shooters out there than me. I mention it though for a couple of reasons. First of all, I guess because that other agent asked me why I was at remedials? I was there because I was not satisfied with how I have been shooting just as all the other agents who were there probably felt about their own shooting. I was also there to practice regardless of whether or not I was shooting well enough. And I was there because the ammo is not being handed out like it once was for us to practice on our own at private or public ranges. So I take advantage of the fact they still will give me practice ammo albeit if only while at a remedial shoot run by my agency's instructors. Of course, the few extra hours I spent at the range over the course of a couple of days were better than the regular grind in the office or out in the field. I also mention it because if you own a firearm and intend to ever possibly depend upon it for defense or for hunting or just for target shooting fun - well then - once you are adept with it you ought to keep yourself at least at that level with it. If you are not yet satisfied with how well you shoot, well then don't only practice but get some help at it with the goal of improving yourself (a professional instructor is probably best but another shooter and one who is a good shot and used to helping other shoot safely is often okay). Once you reach a level at which you are satisfied that you can usually remain there with practice. You may also be able to even regain that level if you lose your edge a bit, often all on your own once you have held a level of proficiency for awhile. Practice and training are good things when it comes to firearms, it is virtually a given that you cannot get enough of either - unless of course you do it enough to get a blister on your trigger finger.
Let me tell you something about blisters and shooting skills. Both blisters and good shooting skills are temporary. One of those conditions you get from over use and one will be lost because of not enough use. Try to find a balance and you will be better off for it. If you don't find the balance, then when you need your skills to be at their best, such as if you are ever called upon to actually defend yourself in a life or death situation, well then you may wind up with something more permanent than a blister. You may wind up with another guy's bullet as a sort of souvenir as the loser in a gunfight. That would not be a good thing. So I highly recommend that you enjoy yourself at the range as often as you can, at least quarterly if a good shot, although monthly would better, and weekly or more often would be better yet especially if you think your shooting skills could use improvement.