Are there any more newby mistakes I can make now to get them over with?
Yesterday I went to a private range to shoot. A friend owns the land, and I brought another friend who doesn’t own a gun but is showing some interest. The owner spent a lot of time with the guest, explaining gun and shooting principles. For me, rather than just shooting at targets, I thought I would try to make the training as realistic as possible, i.e., quick draw, multiple shots, moving, reloading under duress for continued firing, etc. I made so many mistakes, some of them stupid, but I’m glad I made them in practice rather than in a self-defense situation. Here’s my range report.
SP-101 with CT. I shot it about 9” right consistently. The owner tried it, and it lined up better. My mistake: too much finger over the trigger. I adjusted my trigger finger, and my hits moved closer to center. Still may need to adjust the laser a little, but I hadn’t brought the manual or the tool. It’s a new gun, and I expected the factory to have aligned it correctly.
S&W 59, 17-round mag. In one quick-draw and fire session, the gun failed to fire 4-5 times. The mag dropped to the ground once, and was loose for several other shots, almost falling out several times. Gun stove-piped once. Afterwards, I realized my mistake: while looking at my grip, my clenched shooting thumb was squarely on the mag release. Readjusted my grip and the gun performed flawlessly for the rest of the day. I’m betting the stove-pipe was operator-induced, also. Not only was my grip poor, I was firing too fast, and I probably limp-wristed the stove-pipe.
XD-9sc. I made a lot of mistakes, but this one was probably the dumbest. As I was preparing for my XD firing, the owner was discussing gun stuff with the guest, and I was also involved in the conversation. Once I’m ready, I holster, approach the target… then spring into action. I move off the X, pull my gun, quick aim, pull the trigger… and nothing. I had forgotten to chamber a round. I don't expect to repeat this mistake for daily carry, as I always carry chambered (plus the XD's chamber indicator, which works if I LOOK AT IT), but that mistake could prove fatal in a situation where my gun was needed. When I pulled the trigger and nothing happened, I froze for a second or two because I was stunned that the gun didn't fire. That had never happened with my XD, and I wasn't prepared to remedy it.
Also with the XD, I discovered getting the 10-round mag out of the mag carrier in a hurry was difficult since it rides almost flush with the carrier top. For those times when I don’t need the 10-round mag in my gun for extra concealment, but instead use the 16-round mag in my gun, I may start carrying another 16-round mag as a spare. Or I may change the mag holder. It took several seconds to dig that 10-rounder out of this specific holder.
Obviously I need more training, so for all you who may advocate that, I agree with you. My funds are limited now, so outside training will probably not happen for awhile. However, the good part of making these mistakes is that I am aware of several things NOT to do now. I also appreciate even more the viewpoint of training as close to real-life situations as possible.
One thing I did right was not shoot all my ammo at the range. Had plenty left over, and we reloaded before we left. I’ve heard some reports of guys being robbed as they finished shooting, where they had shot all their ammo and had nothing left to defend themselves with. It was also gratifying to see the guest enjoy himself, and make great improvements with just a little instruction.
I've learned a lot from the honesty and candor of others on this forum. I offer my account with the hope that someone else can learn from my mistakes as well.
So, any more newby mistakes you know of that I can go ahead and make now and get out of the way, rather than when I’m in a self-defense situation? I thought I was better prepared, but apparently I’m in line to make them all. What other ones do I have to look forward to? :frown: