Went to the range over the weekend – if you asked me how I felt about it, I would respond with “it was cold”. Although the snow melting off the enclosed portions of the range provided a cool backdrop, and the smoke and heat coming off my gun looked cool, it was cold. However, cold = good training weather. Unfortunately, I can’t control if/when I might actually need my gun, so it behooves me to practice in all kinds of conditions, including nasty weather. Friend and fellow blogger Brigid was there, and managed to snag a couple of decent action shots of me running the Para P16-40 Limited through it’s paces one last time before I start converting it into a ported race gun.
Actually, there’s a three picture series that gives you an idea of what I was doing, and you can almost hear the range commands going off in my head as I practice.
“Shooter ready…stand by…”
Gun held at the low ready, finger off the trigger, elbows rigged in tight to my sides, and just waiting for the imaginary buzzer to go off in my head that says “GO”. This is a moment of quiet contemplation, the calm before the storm of noise and smoke and recoil.
The shot has just been fired, the gun has opened up and the empty is somewhere in between the chamber and the ground. I was practicing controlled pairs and hammers, so each shot was actually a two shot string. Once I completed the magazine (I believe this was my last mag), I mentally went through the RO commands for the completion of a stage. “If finished, unload and show clear…if clear hammer down and holster.” The last picture is immediately after “hammer down”, finger is back out of the trigger guard, and I’m visually verifying that the gun is now in a safe state to return to the holster/bag.
Now, I post a lot of pictures of myself shooting – but there’s a method to my madness. Admittedly, there is an ego factor; it’s been noted that I’m my own biggest fan, and I don’t hide from that fact. But beyond that, there’s also the fact that I’ve realized from looking at myself shoot, that I’ve been able to identify and correct bad habits that I didn’t realize I had. When I watched the Blackwater Shoot House video of myself, I noticed that after my first few shots, I wasn’t getting proper arm extension or maintaining a good grip on the gun, and as such my splits weren’t as fast as they could be.
As egotistical as it may appear, watching video or viewing pictures of yourself while shooting, and then comparing them to a model of proper technique is an excellent way to improve your fundamentals. When the gun is going bang and buck, it’s a lot harder to realize that you’re not standing with good balance, or that your grip is off a little bit – it’s the same reason why professional athletes watch game film.