Sunday, August 7, 2016

Training on the Range

I finished my delightful stay here with a class at the Whittington U Defensive Academy School of Practical Pistol.  The course, called Practical Pistol I,  is a two-day introductory to intermediate level defensive sidearm training.  It is designed to teach the principles of sidearm safety and the skills to defend oneself and family if confronted by a threat.  John took this class last year, and highly recommended it, so I signed up for the training.  I was apprehensive at first, but I am so glad I took the training.  And I'm very grateful to John for wrangling dogs and taking care of things at home while I did.

My instructors, George Jackson on the right, and Steve Overman, have extensive experience in the military and in law enforcement, including serving as instructors to new recruits and veteran officers.  Jackson is a NRA Life Member and NRA Certified Instructor in the following disciplines: Home Firearm Safety, Basic Pistol, Personal Protection-Inside the Home, and Personal Protection-Outside the Home. Among his many other credentials, he is an NRA Certified Range Safety Officer.  Overman is a retired Albuquerque, NM, police officer with 20 years of service.  In addition to working as a uniformed patrol officer, criminal investigative detective and special investigations undercover detective, he also served as an APD academy instructor for four years.  They did a great job keeping us safe and on task.

Under their patient tutelage, I improved my firearm handling and shooting skills, and am now much more comfortable using my pistol.  Here are some photos of me and my classmates.  It’s the monsoon season here in New Mexico, and as we loaded our cartridge magazines, the clouds were building over the  surrounding mountains.  

By mid-afternoon on Friday, the thunderheads rolled over and the downpour moved us all inside for some 30-45 minutes.  Fortunately, on Saturday the storms remained at a distance and we were able to finish all our training uninterrupted.

Here are some photos of me and my classmates on the firing line.   We started only about 10 feet from our targets, and you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to put all your rounds not just in the magic bullseye, but just on the target!

We then learned how to turn and fire when the target is located to the right, left and rear.  

And then we repeated all the drills from a distance of 12 yards.  The last afternoon, we participated in “cover drills” where we shot at targets from behind simulated protecting cover.  That was a challenge, as we were directed to walk in different directions, then to move quickly to cover and shoot at a designated target or “Threat—red silhouette, “Threat—blue diamond,” etc.  By the end of the second day, each of us had fired some 500 rounds through a pistol, and had learned a lot about safety, marksmanship and self defense.  It was a great experience.

I was proud to receive my certificate, and even happier when I learned from my classmates that I had hit my target on 11 of the 15 shots in my last round.  I would have never believed it possible.  I hope I will never have to use what I learned in a real-life threat situation.  But if I do, I'll be much better prepared to deal with it.

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