Hey, Special Snowflake!

A little while back, I got sent a link to this article ( Why We Suck ) discussing beliefs, training, and practice.  It resonated with a couple of things I’d been thinking recently (based on someone telling me that since they’d been carrying for awhile they didn’t need a scenario-training class in CCW) along with some other articles by Claude Werner and the Defensive Daddy which resulted in this post.

So here you go.  Some truth you probably don’t want to hear:

You aren’t a special snowflake.

If you aren’t a competition shooter, then you probably aren’t as good at shooting as you think you are. (If you are a competition shooter, that doesn’t mean you are automatically good—but it DOES mean you probably have a pretty good idea of how good you are.)

If you’ve never done scenario training, then you probably aren’t as good at self-defense as you think you are. (If you have done solid scenario training, that doesn’t mean you are good at self-defense–but it DOES mean you probably have a pretty good idea of how you will react in stressful situations, and how quickly things can occur.)

Special Snowflake
For some people (a small small tiny few), this won’t be true. But for most people (and yes, this means you no matter how much you think you are the Special Snowflake that is one of those small few)–if you’ve never actually done anything that forced you to perform under stress and had that performance critiqued and compared to others, then you really have no idea how good you are.

And most likely, it isn’t nearly as good as you think.  Matter of fact, it’s probably pretty bad.

Don’t believe me?  Okay–actually put your Dunning-Kruger-ed self out there and find out.  Shoot a Steel Challenge match.  Shoot a USPSA match.  Take a scenario training class.  Take a force-on-force course.  Put yourself on a timer, and find out if that “fast draw” of yours is actually what anyone ELSE would call fast. Try to hit those 8″ steel targets at speed from 20 yards. What you learn will be important.

Maybe you’ll learn that you really ARE as good as you think you are.

More likely, maybe you’ll learn that if you want to actually be able to defend yourself and your loved ones, you’d better practice, because you aren’t nearly as good as you think you are.

And isn’t that something you’d like to find out BEFORE it becomes important?

Everyone thinks they are above average, everyone wants to be the Special Snowflake that really IS that good.  Well, chances are you aren’t.  And if you haven’t tested yourself, you have no way of knowing.

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Fundamental Gun Handling Videos: Part II, The Grip

One of the things I tend to see quite often from people who “already know how to shoot” is a poor grip.  Whether that grip was “learned” from movies, TV, a family member, “this really good shooter I know” or whatever I have no idea, but often it is simply a bad grip.

Having a good grip is very important in terms of shooting well.  Sure, it is possible to be both accurate and fast with a poor grip.  However, it is highly UNLIKELY, and chances are you simply can’t do it.  And more importantly, you won’t be accurate when it is incredibly important such as when you are using a firearm to save your life.

The problem is, it seems so simple that many people don’t think about it–which means they simply do it wrong.  Now, there are a number of versions of a “correct grip,” and while in my video I suggest a specific one, I do talk about how there are several variations on it. As I say, the correct grip for you depends on your hand size, grip strength, firearm choice, and grip dimensions and shape.  The grip I suggest in the video can be easily modified based on those variables.  (And if you can’t make it work—probably that gun simply isn’t for you.  There are physical limits, and if the grip needed to be fast and accurate exceeds them, it simply isn’t going to work out.)

Outside of those variations, there are unfortunately a number of other grip types that are simply very WRONG–so if you are using a teacup grip, a wrist support grip, a grip (on a semi-auto) where your weak-side thumb is wrapped around the back of the gun, or a thumbs-locked-down grip, then I’m afraid that yes, you are doing it wrong.

DON'T GRIP LIKE THIS!

DON’T GRIP LIKE THIS!

The good side is that you will be able to increase your shooting ability significantly merely by fixing your grip.

 I meant to only have this video be a couple of minutes long, but the more I explained the details, I more I kept remembering all the questions, complaints, and “explanations” I’ve heard for other grips over the years, and I wanted to make sure I addressed at least some of those.

Having me just say “do this because I say so!” isn’t really convincing.  So, I wanted to talk about WHY a proper grip makes a difference, and why improper grips cause issues.  As such, the video ended up rather longer than I originally meant….hopefully it keeps your attention well enough to be useful.

(Note:  this video isn’t about your stance.  We’ll get to that one later.  This one is simply about how you are holding the gun in your hands.)

Posts in this series:

Fundamental Gun Handling Videos: Part I, The Draw

We’ve decided to start a series of short Fundamental Gun Handling videos on YouTube, with the idea of pointing out some of the most-common errors we see (and their fixes!) with respect to the fundamentals of gun-handling.

We posted the first video today, and it is about the draw–specifically, how to make sure you aren’t using a fishing draw or a bowling draw.  (Go to any range, and you’ll see numerous examples of both of these things.  Makes any competent shooter cringe.)

As is probably obvious, I shot this really quickly when I had a free 30 minutes before teaching a class, my voice isn’t working properly, and obviously I had no script and was doing it off the top of my head.  [sigh]  Hopefully, it still makes sense–and most importantly, I hope that the FIX for bowling and fishing draws is clear.

Don't go fishing!

Don’t go fishing!

No bowling!

No bowling!

It really is simple—snap your wrist up to point the gun at the target immediately after the gun leaves the holster.  That’s it.  So quit doing bowling draws or fishing draws!

Get that gun pointed at the target right out of the holster!

Get that gun pointed at the target right out of the holster!

More videos to come, with hopefully good content on fixing fundamental gun-handling skills.

Posts in this series:

Changes in PRT Classes, and the 2015 Schedule…

Well, it’s a new year, so of course we’ve got some new things going at Precision Response Training

First off, some good news: For the past couple of years there has been a lot of requests for more short seminars–so that’s what we are going to do.  We’ve started by scheduling three in the first half of the year, and we are planning on at least two more for the remainder.  The topics for the first ones are already set, but while we already have some ideas in mind for the last two, we will entertain suggestions–so if there is anything in particular you want to do, let us know!  (Seminar dates:  Mar 28, Apr 25, May 09.)

Second, as we’ve been teaching the Handgun Techniques and Shooting Skills courses, we’ve found that not only can they be taught at the same time, but also that the people who have signed up for fundamentals analysis (Shooting Skills) could have significantly benefited from some dryfire instruction on technique prior to the live fire section of the class like what happens in the HT course.  In many cases, we see that with a short amount of dryfire work prior to the range time, we could have shortened the time for the improvement process on specific fundamentals.   So—the Handgun Technique course and the Shooting Skills courses have been combined into a single 1.5 day course.  The initial evening will be dryfire in the classroom to work on specifics of fundamentals, and the next day will be on the range the entire time.  (This hasn’t changed for the HT students, but it does add some good dryfire work for the SS students.)

Third, we have put up the schedule of classes for PRT courses through May.  While we’d LIKE to be able to offer a CCW State course every month, we have a limited amount of time and we’ve decided that our other courses are more important–because you can find CCW courses all over the place (and if you can’t take mine, among others I recommend Chris Zeeb at Nebraska CCW Training) but you can’t find our Handgun Technique/Shooting Skills, CCW Lifestyle, or Defensive Tactics/CQT courses anywhere else.  (Though I have been amused at how several other trainers locally have added practical CCW courses scenario training and other aspects of the CCW lifestyle since I started teaching my course. And suddenly CQB-with-combatives have appeared, too. Hm.)

Lastly (here’s the bad news) due to changes in available resources and general costs, I’ve had to raise a few of my class fees.  Seminars are now $40, HT/SS is now $145, and the CCW Lifestyle and Introduction to Handgun courses are now $95.  For those last two, I kept them ridiculously cheap as long as I could (truthfully, $85 is a stupid amount for me to charge for a 1.5 day course in which I have to buy required student packets plus use a huge amount of equipment plus supply ammunition for all students) because I feel that people need VERY BADLY to take those classes.  And I haven’t changed the cost much–only $10 more.  But that SHOULD help me continue to be able to offer those classes because I’m not losing quite so much money on them.

So, get yourselves to the PRT Schedule/Registration page, and sign up for some classes!

Schedule for Jan 2015 – May 2015:

  • Feb 07:  CCW Lifestyle
  • Feb 28:  CCW State Course
  • Mar 13-14:  Introduction to Handguns
  • Mar 28:  Pistol Skills Seminar
  • Apr 10-11:  Handgun Techniques/Shooting Skills
  • Apr 25:  Competition Seminar
  • May 09:  Tactics Seminar
  • May 30:  CCW State Course

(I’ll be adding more details about the seminars later this week…)