Monday, June 20, 2011

NRA LE Handgun/Shotgun Instructor Course - Day 1

I awakened from an uneasy sleep this morning at 0545. Man I was not ready to pull my butt out from under the sheets but I managed to get up and get myself going by about 0555. A quick shower and out to the reception area for a free full breakfast. I like this hotel, Homewood Suites (Hilton Hotels). I got a nice quiet room as I requested, they have great service, and they give a free breakfast and free dinner each day. Add to that the rooms are big, clean and have free HBO (all the HBO channels) and free wi-fi and I must say it is a great deal, especially for my Hilton Honors points which makes it free.

After breakfast of bacon, eggs, a bagel, OJ and coffee, it was off to the range at the super secret location in Allentown, PA (whoops - did I just mention the location). I was there by 0715, about 15 minutes early. I am guessing that a little under half of the students, and all of the instructors, were there ahead of me and the rest of my classmates arrived shortly. The morning was spent in the classroom and it went by quickly. The mount of material that was covered was fairly impressive but not overwhelming. The instructors for this class all seem on the ball and seem to know the material very well.

Lunch time arrived at about 1230, lasted till 1345, and ran about as fast as sand through your fingers for me. I decided to head back to my hotel to eat my lunch there - just some things I had gotten at the supermarket last night. Well, it took most of my time driving there and back to the range so I had about all of 15 minutes to makes and wolf down a sandwich. Tomorrow, I'll either bring lunch with me or it local to the range.

In the afternoon portion of the course we had a bit more of classroom work, then out to the range for live fire exercises with pistol. We shot close too 150 rounds. The class is made up of 30 students and today we paired off into teams of 2 students each. As one shot the other would coach/instruct and we alternated who was shooting and who was coaching. After all, this is not a shooting course but an instructor course. We covered a variety of different shooting techniques paying attention to stance, grip, sight alignment, quick draw, scanning for threats, reholstering and on and on. We also ran through a good number of drills such as speed (or combat) reloading, tactical reloads (magazine exchanges), malfunction drills, and other shooting drills during which the coach would observe the shooter to make sure he or she was doing it right and if not then would offer instructive suggestions and corrections as well as offering positive feedback when things were done right. While everything is geared not so much toward making the shooters better marksmen but toward the students into instructors there was still a lot of attention paid to each shooter by their partner coaches and by the instructors who were teaching the class. I was corrected several times on my grip. The one I often use no being what they are teaching in this course and it is taking a bit of getting used to changing something I have done differently for years. My stance was also corrected once or twice, they don't like a partial Weaver stance and I understand the reasoning. I usually try to change my stance at least a few times during any given course of fire I am shooting because I think that is the most realistic way to change because there is just no way you can always assume just one given stance in a real life shooting. For example, maybe in one situation the isosceles stance will work, maybe in another the Weaver would be more appropriate, maybe in another there would be a better choice than either of those. The thing is though, I am in training and will go with the flow of what they are teaching and use the stance they showed me, it will just take a bit of getting used to for now.

Regardless of using a slightly different grip and a somewhat different stance, than I usually do, I did not notice much of an effect if any on my shooting except that maybe there was a bit of improvement laterally in shot placement. There is always room for improvement and I welcomed it, I would think it due to the different grip if anything but it is not that much of an improvement so I am not sure of what caused it. I will se if it is consistent when I shoot tomorrow. If so, then I will have that much more incentive to continue using the new grip. not just. Besides room for improvement, there is always something new you can learn in classes like this one. I learned a couple of new things today; nothing earth shattering and probably stuff that many of you already know but it was new to me. Learning new stuff that is helpful is a good thing. I am looking forward to the next few days of the training, especially to the shotgun portion of the training on Thursday and Friday although maybe my right shoulder is not in any hurry to participate in that part of the course.

We broke for the day at about 1730. Tomorrow we start at 0800 instead of 0730 like today. I think we get out at 1730 tomorrow too. If so, and if I am feeling up to it, I may drive to Cabella's. I called them earlier tonight and found out they are open until 9 on weekdays, so that would give me plenty of time to stop there and, if nothing else, at least do a little window shopping. For now I have to call it quits and crawl under the covers. it is later than I thought and I need to be up by about 0600.

All the best,
Glenn B