^ If you like Magpul under Costa and Haley, know that both have now gone their separate ways from Magpul - so, essentially, you've got triple the opportunity to get their good instruction (i.e. Magpul and their individual respective schools). :smile:
I've wanted to shoot Magpul since I saw those awesome DVDs, but for me, my work as well as family schedules makes it, for the time being, rather impossible for me to get too far away from home. Magpul remains on my "bucket list," of-course, but it's going to be a couple of years before I can get to them, unless they by-luck come to my area.
Fortunately, that's exactly what happened with Costa: he will be instructing two sets of pistol courses in my area this summer, and yep, I'm going to take full advantage of it. :smile:
I find that what DRM's Fist-Fire grip really helps with is controlling recoil during rapid-fire strings. In a dozen-shot+ rapid-fire string, my shots were tighter than anyone else's, in a 9-person class just a couple of nights ago (I'm not saying this to brag - believe you me, I screwed something up, and I'll get to that in a moment, I just wanted you to know where I saw the most improvement), and in all honesty, my rapid fire strings have never been better than after DRM shared his techniques with us here.
Since you're still dropping shots rapid-fire, it's very likely that, as you've self-diagnosed, that you're losing trigger control when you're pressing speed. But based on my experience with DRM's Wrist Lock ("power of the pinky," really!), I think you're also perhaps reverting to a less-"locked" position as you press for increased speed, so trouble-shoot that, too. In either case, now that you've found your failure-point, slow yourself back down again, get it right, and punch right through that failure point. :smile:
Also, think about paying for some private or semi-private tutor time, in terms of basic marksmanship. I know that, for me, I could either spend a few hours and a couple of hundred rounds to troubleshoot myself, or I can pay something like $40 to $80, for 2 to 4 hours of semi-private instruction, and get much more out of it.
A few nights ago, I attended a local school's "semi-private tutored shoots." Commence FireARMs Academy out of Cleveland routinely hosts its "Shoot With Instructors" and "Advance Shoot With Instructors" classes. I've attended several of these sessions before - a great way to spend 4 hours on a weeknight. I still maintain to my locals that it's the best buy for the money - $40 per session, and the ammo count is usually low (stressing quality over quantity).
During the first hour, the basic "Shoot with Instructors" session - which is ostensibly designed to take absolute beginners and get them comfortable with their pistols. Yet, it also accommodates more advanced shooters, to help them improve - I figured out that me fighting my natural point-of-aim was what was throwing my shots off to the 3 (about a half-inch off the bull, at 7 yards).
Over the last couple of months, it had probably been a combination of my reaction/support-hand thumb steering the gun during recoil (I favor the modern "both thumbs forward" grip, with my support/reaction thumb resting against the top surface of the takedown lever on my XDms, as the index point on the frame - yes, I'm right-handed) as well, but I thought that I had that worked out on my last (solo) range session, so when it manifested again last night, even after I'd taken specific steps to insure that I wasn't creating the problem, well, I was pretty concerned. Thanks to the coaching of two of their instructors, Chris and Kip, we figured out that it was my trying to fight my natural point-of-aim that's actually causing me troubles.
So, what, exactly, was the problem?
I was trying to get more squared-up to the target, to, in effect, make my body "more isosceles."
Unfortunately, that's not where my natural point-of-aim hits: each person's musculoskeletal setup is a little different from another's, and mine just happens to be set up, with my cross-dominance, so that my right foot is a bit farther back, in a neutral stance, than otherwise "proper." In referencing D.R. Middlebrooks's "The Evolution of Grip/Stance" YouTube segment, my lower body rotation lands somewhere between the reverse-Weaver and reverse-Chapman.
And yes, while I agree with the top coaches/trainers in that it's the upper body that matters most, the problem is that if/when I take that more instinctive shot (Chris noted that I shot better if I "announced" prior to shooting - in this particular school, we are instructed to yell "Stop, I have a gun!" as the announcement, and this gets me a good second to get my sights perfectly aligned, when shooting from a static, stationary setting; the announcement slows me down just enough that I can get a "perfect" sight-picture), the miscued natural point-of-aim means that I end up, like Middlebrooks points out, fighting myself to deliver the surgical shot.
Now, could I have figured this out by myself?
But it would have taken me several range sessions and many more dollars, in terms of ammo consumed (for this class session, we used only 35 to 40 rounds of ammo).
The fundamentals of pistol marksmanship is what everything else builds on, you've got to be sure that you've got this part of the equation absolutely and totally right, before you can progress.
In getting back to the OP.....
I completely agree that "stress inoculation" is a necessary component of training, and that it is a very necessary component of being a concealed-carrier who will be able to properly function under-pressure, and survive - win - the encounter.
Certainly, this does not, at all, mean that I do not agree with kelcarry's post above. I can't agree with him more: I really think that for the average person - for someone who is not forced by occupation to face the ugly side of humanity and to deal with violence - the best thing to do is to simply practice avoidance and awareness.
Nevertheless, this does not obviate the need to train towards a higher standard.
In the spirit of this thread, I'll share a recent training "failure" I experienced.
The above mentioned class was followed immediately with their "Advance Shoot with the Instructors" mini-seminar. We move forward of the line, adding movement and, for those who desire it, drawing from-concealment. I've attended two of these sessions previously, and have picked up good tips; at the low cost, I figured "why not," and decided to make a night out of the two classes (the SWI class prior, and this ASWI class following).
Attending this session probably saved my life.
For as much as my lessons at Three Tango Firearms Academy, another local school, corrected me from dropping shots after a reload, last night, Chief Instructor Keith Campbell and Instructor Ryan brought to-light the fact that I am relying too much on the capacity (moments before, I'd been cheering: "Yeah, 19+1, baby!" ) of my XDm9 Compact.
In having run either with the gun topped-off or with shorter/less-round-count drills, I simply don't have that much experience reloading, and while my full-sized gun disguises that nicely since it virtually always drops free its mags, when it's my Compact, the meat of my palms can temporarily weld the magazine extension to the frame, causing the magazine to not drop free. That created a whole bunch of problems for me, for the execution of the reload.
The magazine hanging in the well really caught me off. I had not experienced the phenomenon nearly this much before. I really think that since my support hand has gone to the Fist-Fire Wrist Lock, it's somehow stressing the magazine-extension interface with the bottom of the grip (of my Compact, my carry) a little more (i.e. that my pinky is leveraging the magazine so hard), and that along with the meat at the heel of my gun-hand palm, is allowing for a temporary "weld" that gets more solid as I fire more rounds. It virtually never presents itself when I dry-practice reloads, and I'm now trying to find a way to simulate it.
I think that had this been a problem when I shot my carry in an intermediate-level class last summer that I would have noticed, since that class was very rigorous, in terms of manipulations.
Certainly, the fact that for the vast majority of last year, I shot my full-sized pistol exclusively (17K+ rounds versus 8K rounds; full-size vs. carry, respectively), and that virtually always drops free its mags, it may have made me weaker on the reload than someone who is a single-stack operator. This is definitely a failure that I'm glad I encountered in a training atmosphere!
Needless to say, that's something that I will be working on, *A LOT.*
Since I have something like 12 range magazines for the gun, I think I will down-load the pistol from now on, so that I can get in more magazine-change practice.
In reviewing things, I think I will go to the Fist-Fire "practical" reload, and make that my "usual." I am still on the slow-motion muscle-training portion of my drills, currently, and I think I can achieve certainty as well as good speed in using my support hand to punch the mag-release, sweep the mag out of the well, and access my spare in one single motion. To-note, this is not just a competition practice: TDI and Paul Gomez also advocate this two-handed reload method, actively ripping out the spent magazine from the gun's magwell (although TDI, in at least the one video I saw, did not instruct the student to utilize their support/reaction-hand thumb to drive the magazine release button).
Comparing the material between DRM's Fist-Fire DVDs as well as that of Magpul's "The Art of the Dynamic Handgun," where Costa's remediation of the non-clearing magazines (striking it out with the fresh magazine) - in terms of speed, I think that Middlebrooks's proactive method is both quicker and smoother, and will also adapt well to clearance of double-feed malfunctions. This change in my techniques should also allow me to consolidate to a single set of motor skills rather than require actual brain processing power under stress.
Oh, and speaking of malfunction remediation:
To show you how much I relied on the XDm's capacity, during one of the exercises where the Chief Instructor purposely "mind fingered" me, the first time I dropped the striker and the gun didn't go off, I automatically assumed that it was dry, and ripped out the magazine. I was so lucky that my instincts had been right - otherwise, Keith said that he'd have put his boot up my ass, had he seen even a single good round left in the mag. But that was embarrassing, still, because I know how to run malfunctions - at one point this last year, I had a bruise on my support hand that matched, perfectly, the base-plate of my magazine: I'd done so many malfunction drills that day.
Nevertheless, that's a training scar that I need to overcome. I'm currently examining and self-debating the various techniques that I've learned, to see if they really mesh with "reality," or if they are somehow playing more into my range/class/training, instead. There are techniques which I suspect that while they may help me do better - or even excel - in a class setting, they're actually going to be more of a liability, "in reality."
I'm trying to work towards reality. :smile: