Hi Power Range Session...
Hello. Like the majority here, I try to get to the range on a frequent basis. Some shooters are dedicated to a set regimen using a specific handgun or perhaps two while other folks shoot a wider variety of handguns.
In years past, I primarily shot a 9mm Hi Power but when I became a police officer worked with the DA-revolver as well. When I became a firearm instructor, I found myself shooting a considerably wider variety of service-style sidearms. These days, I find myself primarily shooting Hi Powers, 1911's, CZ75's, S&W revolvers and a few Glocks. To the best of my recollection, working with varied action-types has not resulted in any erosion of whatever shooting abilities I might have had. (I have shot single-action autoloaders so much that when working at practical-type, quick-and-dirty shooting, I find myself disengaging a thumb safety that simply is not present on some of my handguns. This hurts nothing though the opposite certainly would not be true.)
Some years ago I was told by a younger shooter at the range I frequent that I didn't "understand the purpose of the handgun" because I was bullseye shooting at 25 yards with a near-stock 9mm Hi Power. He explained to me that "old school" bullseye shooting was useless but that if I still wanted to do it, I should use a target pistol.
(If interested, here is link relating to target vs. combat shooting:
...and one on "the purpose of the handgun":
I thanked him and he went back off with his shooting companions to a different pistol range. I continued to shoot bullseye because that was my mood for the day...
...and that meanders to the present and the suggestions to be offered in this post.
I recently went shooting after a longer-than-usual gap in doing so. I took a near-stock 9mm Mk III Hi Power and three types of factory ammunition. I intended to shoot both bullseye (precision) and a couple of more "practical" (defense-oriented) drills. Though session was intended to be enjoyable, I also intended it as practice to prevent the inevitable erosion of skills that comes with failure to practice.
The Mk III used is one I've dubbed "my Carry Hi Power" though in truth, I don't tote it very often. It is wearing Hogue checkered Pau Ferro stocks and is using a Wolff 18.5-lb recoil spring. The ambidextrous factory thumb safety has been replaced with a C&S single-side extended thumb safety that is extremely positive in either the "on" or "off" positions. The magazine "safety" had been removed by some previous owner (I bought the gun used) which saved me having to do it. I know that opinions on that vary and I leave it to each of us to decide our individual choices there.) Ammunition shown is Fiocchi 124-gr. "Extrema" with Hornady's XTP bullet. I bobbed the spur hammer to eliminate hammer-bite. The trigger-pull on this gun measures just over 4-lbs and breaks cleanly.
First up was slow-fire shooting at 15 yards using a two-handed hold from a standing position.
This was done slowly, probably about 1 shot per 3 seconds or so. I didn't time it. Frankly, it was better than I expected.
The 25-yard range was occupied so I stepped back about 5 large steps on the 15-yard range I was using and repeated the slow-fire exercise as a slightly longer distance of 20 yards.
I then moved up to the 7-yard line and worked on one-handed shooting, both "strong" and "weak". (Oops! My terminology is incorrect! I believe it is now referred to as "shooting hand" and "non-shooting" hand or something entirely different.) In any event, I do suggest that it is a good thing to work on other than two-hand shooting despite it being my preference if given a choice.
I am right-handed and it shows. Though I have been clearly negligent in working on one-handed shooting, it shows more on my left-hand target. It is a good thing to work on our weaker skill areas even if it might not be as enjoyable, I believe. It is also obvious that I need to work more at "practicing what I preach" from these one-hand targets!
Remembering the younger shooter's chiding about my ignorance of the handgun's purpose, I drew a "humanoid" figure with a dashed-line high-chest "X-Ring" measuring about 5 or 6". I refer to those as "Gort" targets. (For those who have not seen the movie, Gort was the robot in "The Day the Earth Stood Still".)
Using a two-hand hold and starting from a low-ready position, I fired a single shot to the head with the nose being my aiming point. This was repeated 10 times. Average time was 1.02 seconds per shot. Distance as 7 yards.
This exercise was done using the Fiocchi ammunition. The resulting group measured about 2 5/8 x 2". I know some shooters who can easily surpass this.
Next up was work from the draw (presentation) with a two-hand hold. (The holster used was an inexpensive Fobus paddle holster that happened to be close to hand when I was gathering up what I would take to the range.) Average time was 1.35 secs per shot to draw and fire a single round. As in the previous drill, I repeated this 10 times.
The final 10-shot group from this drill measured 4 x 2 7/8". (The head shots were from the previous drill.)
Was this a "correct" range session for reinforcing skills? I wouldn't know but I can say that it was enjoyable...and that I see nothing wrong with enjoying range sessions. At the same time, depending upon your individual goals, such sessions can also be work.
Years ago I quit competitions of any kind. (I was never in the "big leagues" and do not want to infer that I was.) The fun left and the absolute "need" to win took over. Winning was not the only thing; it was everything...and it wasn't worth it. When I quit worrying about competitions, I began enjoying shooting again...and still do. In my opinion, work is required not only to improve but to maintain our shooting skills. At the same time, I suggest that we will do better if we can also enjoy range sessions.
In other words, don't lose the "fun factor" in shooting.