Are there any more newby mistakes I can make now to get them over with?

This is a discussion on Are there any more newby mistakes I can make now to get them over with? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; 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 ...

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Thread: Are there any more newby mistakes I can make now to get them over with?

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array grady's Avatar
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    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?

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  3. #2
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    I think you have covered most!!

    Much is down to practice but also planning before practice. Add to that what is perhaps one of the most important ....... start slow and stay accurate and slowly build toward speed.

    Some moves can be well practiced ''dry'' - a way to help achive draw fluency - a way too to find best spot for mag carrier - and ease of access and retrieval. Extend to actual dry fire as well to try and get grip consistency.

    Much of what you have written suggests of course you have realized for yourself the problems, faults and weaknesses - this is really where you must now start improving matters. Much better than not knowing what is wrong until someone tells you.

    Practice and aim to deal with each hassle you have had - but do it maybe one at a time - and work slow .... build on it all gradually.
    Chris - P95
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    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


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  4. #3
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Best Place to Learn from you mistakes are at the range dont be to hard on yourself everyone had to start soemwhere

  5. #4
    Senior Member Array jofrdo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grady View Post
    Are there any more newby mistakes I can make now to get them over with?
    Yeah, you could shoot your foot whild cleaning the guns! You'd learn a lot.

  6. #5
    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    Thanks for the good report. It looks like you covered just about everything and it also gives others time to think about their practice as well(mine included!).

    The only thing I would suggest(and someone more knowledgeable chime in here if I'm wrong), but I would suggest learning to shoot that SP101 without the laser before you start messing with the laser. What I'm getting at is learn to use the gun independent of the laser. You don't want to get into the thick of it(ie BG scenario), have your laser fail, and all your shots miss because you focus on where you "think" your little red dot is supposed to be instead of on the front sight. Just my $.03
    "My God David, We're a Civilized society."

    "Sure, As long as the machines are workin' and you can call 911. But you take those things away, you throw people in the dark, and you scare the **** out of them; no more rules...You'll see how primitive they can get."
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    VIP Member Array Ti Carry's Avatar
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    Best thing to do IMO is great formal training so you don't set in bad habits.

    When your funds get better look into www.pointblanktraining.net in Jackson Missouri, Christopher Moore is the best trainer in the state IMO and I train with him often, he is an ex-marine sniper now LEO head of the swat/sniper team for the county and knows exactly what he is doing and is a great guy to boot. Classes are great and not very expensive IMO for what you get and if you are in St. Louis, it is only a little over an hour from you I think depending on where you are at.

    Honestly, if you and your friend or even if you have another friend or two interested in also training, call Christopher up and talk to him about your situation and I will bet that he will find a way to get you some training at discount pricing. Sometimes he gives a 25% off coupon for Christmas towards training or another promotion will likely get you a deal. Classes are only $100.00 usually depending on the class. If you bring yourself and a friend or two down with you he will make sure you get training and work with you on what it cost's. He would rather you train than not train.

    Check into it!
    Train and train hard, you might not get a second chance to make a first impression!

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  8. #7
    VIP Member Array Ti Carry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by packinnova View Post
    The only thing I would suggest(and someone more knowledgeable chime in here if I'm wrong), but I would suggest learning to shoot that SP101 without the laser before you start messing with the laser. What I'm getting at is learn to use the gun independent of the laser. You don't want to get into the thick of it(ie BG scenario), have your laser fail, and all your shots miss because you focus on where you "think" your little red dot is supposed to be instead of on the front sight. Just my $.03
    I totally agree. Personally, I would throw the laser in the trash (being factious), you don't need it and you will find that out when hopefully you attend a low light class at PB. You could take 3-4 classes for what the cost of the laser is/was.
    Train and train hard, you might not get a second chance to make a first impression!

    I vote for Monica Lewinsky's Ex-Boyfriend's Wife for President.....Not!

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    Ditch the laser until you have mastered the basics, otherwise you will always be behind the learning curve.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    As far as newby mistakes to make, don't forget to go to the range sometime and only bring one weapon and a bag full of ammo for the one you left at home. Also, the further you drive to get to the range (preferably one that doesn't sell ammo) the better!
    Either that or take the XD to range but only have S&W magazines
    Infowars- Proving David Hannum right on a daily basis

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    Quote Originally Posted by P95Carry View Post
    Add to that what is perhaps one of the most important ....... start slow and stay accurate and slowly build toward speed.
    I agree with Chris completely. You should make sure you have the basics down completely and work on accuracy rather than speed. Once you're comfortable, you can work on speed and moving. I also agree on the comments regarding the use of the laser. Save that until you have shooting with sights down. With some training and experience, you'll be fine....
    Bumper
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  12. #11
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    I also suggest you pick one gun and stick with it for now. Your confusing yourself and muscle memory by switching guns often.

    Pick the one that fulls your needs most, and stick with it. Once you've mastered that one, then move on to the next.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array mocarryguy's Avatar
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    Agree with those that state one gun. Patience and practice go a long way to proficiency. Luck.
    I know, I know, you are smarter than me..just ask you..

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Are there any more newby mistakes I can make now to get them over with?
    Failure to remember and comply with the Big 4, the primary safety rules of controlling your gun (it's loaded, watch the muzzle, watch the finger, know your target).

    In the range bag, bring ear and eye protection. Don't have it? Get some, or don't shoot. I cannot count the number of times I've had pieces of ricochet strike me. Plus, when doing a quick field strip of the weapon, there are springs that may zip into the eye, if you're not careful.

    In the range bag, bring a couple towels, a good gun oil, a nylon-bristle brush to clean the rails or other parts if needed.

    Failure to properly clear the gun by first removing the magazine, ejecting the round from the chamber, visually confirming the chamber is empty, then manually confirming the chamber is empty.

    Failure to sufficiently seat the magazine into the well.

    Failure to rack the slide to insert the first round.

    Failure to flip the manual safety to "off" prior to aiming/shooting.

    Gripping too tightly, too loosely, with the hands in the wrong place, with the fingers in the wrong place, heeling it, anticipating, flinching or a host of other related issues with holding and aiming the gun.

    Forgetting to breathe. Very important.

    Failure to keep the muzzle pointed downrange, or in a safe direction. Particularly important during reloads of the magazine, but it's important at all times.

    Failure to keep the finger off the trigger, until you're ready to fire and your sights are on the target.

    Stance. Failure to properly brace and be prepared for the shot you're about to take. IMO, shooting is a whole body activity. Just pulling the finger makes for very bad aim, lack of ability to repeat good shots, lack of stamina to handle longer sessions while continuing to shoot well.

    Training vs. practice. There is a difference. After training with some top-notch instructors at quality facilities, the differences become clear.

    Failure to keep the gun clean and well-lubed. If doing long sessions, consider re-lubing the slide rails and barrel contact points at the ~300rd point. On some guns, this sort of care and feeding can dramatically help in terms of reliability. Running "dry" is a trait of many models of guns.

    Failure to clean after a range session. The crud in the gun can, over time, make a real mess of barrels and the mechanical operability of the gun. Keeping it clean and in good working order is a matter of safety, first, but it also contributes to keeping it consistently running well.

    When leaving the range, always ensure your carry firearm is ready to go, holstered and has spare magazines ready.

    Failure to transport and store your firearms and ammo in accordance with the laws. Some places are fairly retentive about your ability to control your own weaponry. It also is just good common sense.

    Each and every time you shoot, be safe and careful, sure, but always have fun and appreciate the fact that you're able to engage in such activities. Not everyone in the world can say that.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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  15. #14
    Distinguished Member Array SixBravo's Avatar
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    I'll add to what P95 said..

    In automotive racing we have a saying that ABSOLUTELY applies to shooting:
    "Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast."

    Keep repeating it in your head when you head out to the range. Stick to basics for now and eventually your brain will pick it up naturally. You start slow and your body will naturally speed up its reactions when its ready. Give it some time and patience and you'll be good to go. Also, yeah, get formal training if you can afford it. Its worth every penny if you get someplace good.

    Another poster said that everyone starts somewhere. That is SO true. Some people are naturally good shots - others have to work at it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with needing to working at it.
    The Gunsite Blog
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    "It is enough to note, as we have observed, that the American people have considered the handgun to be the quintessential self-defense weapon." - Justice Scalia, SCOTUS - DC v Heller - 26 JUN 2008

  16. #15
    VIP Member Array grady's Avatar
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    Wow, thanks for the suggestions. They will take awhile for me to absorb, but I see many areas I can improve in.

    Oh yeh, remembered one more thing: During one multiple-shot scenario, I shot to slide-lock, reached for my spare mag for a quick reload, attempted to load it in the mag well, and found it wouldn't go... I hadn't released the original mag. There, did I get all the screw-ups? Wouldn't want to miss any.

    I've read about the fast action of a gun fight, how they are often over in a few seconds. But I definitely see the need for me to start slower and work on procedure first instead of speed.

    I'll check into that training facility in Jackson. That's not far away... and yes, I see the need to slow down, try to practice one thing at a time, and focus on one gun. The laser was for my daughter to shoot someone from across the bedroom if needed... she needs more training, also.

    Thanks. You all have given me lots to work on and a good direction to go.

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