Back on the Red Range at 830. It's going to be hot
again. Talk of record setting heat. And I'm here to see
it! Today I wear long pants despite the heat. I thought I
had a good enough tan, but the backs of my legs got a might pink Monday
afternoon. Today we get introduced to the heart breaking
concept of shooting on the move. Yep, the instructor's collective
evil knows no bounds. So what if it's what I really need to know and it's
good for me. I shoot like crap cause I still don't want to look
at the front sight and I sure as hell don't want to shoot slower.
I got this autoloader and by God I'm going to make it spit lead!
Despite the fact that I think I'm drinking enough water, I'm
not. After lunch I fade and can't maintain focus at all.
Was that two steps to right and two shots to COM and 1 to the head or 3
steps to the right and 3 to the body? I can't get in sync which
adds to my frustration. Then on top of that, the mighty Sig
my wonderful Sig which had run so magnificently at home, begins to
choke. It sometimes hangs up and won't fully chamber a
round. This isn't supposed to happen with a Sig, is it? But
it does and I get some more malfunction drills as a bonus. I
attribute the malfunctions to a lack of adequate lube and let it go at
that. We've already shot approx 300 rounds in this heat.
I'd never fired more than 200 at any one time on the range at
home. Unbeknownst to me, I am about to educated in the way of the
Sig. I went to my backup, a standard Sig 220R aka "The Black
Gun", for the rest of the day and got along fine.
That evening, I met Brian, who is a member of a SWAT team somewhere
in Oklahoma. He offered me the use of his Camelback
system for the rest of the week. I simply am not getting enough
water in this heat. I gratefully accepted his generous
Now it's time to visit the infamous Terminator and apply what we're
supposed to know about clearing rooms. Well at least there's only
one witness in this event, the lone instructor who accompanies me and
acts as the BG's voice in our role playing scenario. Only he will
see how the worlds' fastest non front sight looker at'er fares in the
Actually it didn't go too bad that first day. I came around
the corner, recognized the threat and demanded compliance. I
didn't get compliance, so I shot the SOB. One, maybe two rounds
was down. But I de-cocked the Sig before determining the
aggressor was really out of the fight. Bzzzzztt! Shoulda
cocked and ready to repel boarders. OK, I have to cut another
corner and since I'm shooting lefty, I have to lean waaaayyy out to my
right into the room to survey the situation (tactically as possible
naturally). I hate this feeling 'cause I'm certain I'll see
ol' Waingro hisself sportin' an 870 when I stick my fat head in that
room. He already knows I'm comin' 'cause I just cut down his
Anyway, I cautiously "slice the pie" in my very best tactical manner
until it's time to lean hard right into the room with Sig out
front. Sure enough, BG #2 is there just awaitin' yours truly,
the world's fastest non front sight looker at'er, to stick his head
into the buzz saw. My verbal challenge is met with gun fire and I
open up. 2, then 3 rounds COM and he's still standin', the
instructor yells "shoot his head!!!" Oh yeah, why didn't I think
of that? I aim for his head and touch off. He's still
standing! "Shoot 'em again!" yells the instructor. And I
begin to furiously pump lead into this stubborn and apparently iron
clad bastard. Boy, this is just like a video game but only
noisier! What fun! I reload and the target is still up. The
instructor surmises that there's something wrong with the target.
He fires a coupla three rounds and it's still up. Yep, it was
The next scenario is much the same except the targets fall, despite
my less than perfect hits. I fail to look into a corner and am
gigged on that. (Didn't "look for the mouse.") But I didn't
shoot any holes in the wall and didn't drop any innocents either.
Maybe there's hope for me yet.
Today we start at 2 PM, break for supper about 530 and eat a TR
catered supper. After that, it's the night shoot.
We start off with marksmanship drills and more tac reloads while
covering for our partners. They're trying to teach us something
here but somehow it's not penetrating my thick Irish skull.
Mid afternoon, Greg and I get turned loose on the charger
Heidi operates this infernal contraption which is designed solely to
make poor shooters like me look like fools. And trust me, I did
The targets take off and I draw OK but the darn targets are really
moving and my shooting doesn't seem to slow them down at all. I
backing up in the prescribed manner but then for some reason decide to
stop midway and really zero in on these bastards. Of course, this
generates much excitement as my partner is still backing up leaving me
down range. Finally I realize that I've screwed up badly and
moving back like I should have been all along. George, another
student, stationed behind me to prevent me from running off the end of
the deck asks, "Who do you think you are, John Wayne?" OK,
We load up again and approach the evil sliders with a little more
caution and respect. The damn things take off and ignore our
for compliance. Apparently the sight of me and my 220 does not
fear in their Erector set hearts. And on they came. This
time I back
up as instructed, yelling like a mad man the whole way. I throw
of lead downrange and simply fall apart on my tac reloads. I've
unexpended ordinance everywhere. My shooting is still terribly
though. and one shot goes wide enough to hit the right side
stringer and a big chunk of wood zinged down range. The fact
I saw this dynamic display of brutal 45 ACP firepower tells me that
wasn't looking at their front sight (again.) Sigh. And I'm
still shooting too fast!!!!!
We assemble on the Red Range at 830. Today we shoot the
Terminator and the Charger Deck. The class more or less rotates
through each range. Some of us are on the Red Range, some on the
charger and the rest in the Terminator. Greg and I begin on the
Today, I am resolved to shooting S-L-O-W. I'm also shooting
the 220R as it has been much more reliable than the mighty ST.
Despite my best efforts at cleaning and lubing, the ST continues to
stall out periodically. I'm getting too much "tap-rack-bang" for
my buck with it.
My groups are better. Not great but definitely better.
We do a little one handed shooting and then a little "weak handed"
shooting. HA! Now the evil ones have fallen into my
perfectly laid trap! Little did they know that my "weak
hand", my right hand, in reality is my "strong hand." Shades of
the Dread Pirate Roberts! Yes, I had been shooting the entire
course left handed which should be my "weak hand." Well, I shoot
long guns from the port side, so for consistency as much as anything
else, I choose to shoot handguns left handed. So the few
rounds we fired "weak handed" weren't bad for yours truly which
surprised the hell out of everybody.
The most interesting drill we ran that day on the Red Range was
firing at arm's length in the "interview position" with the weapon
"locked" up against our pectoral muscles. (Step two of the
draw) When I looked down the muzzle of the Sig was almost
directly below my face. "This is going to be loud," I remember
thinking. We stepped through the drill many times with the
weapons unloaded until the instructors were satisfied that we weren't
"going to set ourselves on fire." (Another "Clintism.")
After firing two from the above described position, we were to take
a step back with our strong side foot while extending the weapon out in
the classic two handed hold. Here we fired two more. After
that, we pivoted on the strong side foot and brought the weak side foot
behind us. Then we started backing up, firing as we went.
Head, body, pelvis, it was our choice. I resisted the temptation
to "spray and pray" and did a fairly good job of maintaining focus on
the front sight. This was a good drill IMHO. I can
see this technique being a lifesaver in real life confrontations.
Then it was on to the charger. Today with my new found and
hard learned wisdom, I KNEW I was going to do better. And I think
we did. Greg and I communicated well and I didn't leave live ammo
scattered all over the place The sliders still slid, but I
watched the front sight and worked much more carefully. I backed
up and didn't play "The Duke" even once. I yelled in my most
commanding voice, certain that I could back it up today.
We must have expended 80 or so rounds on the deck as I only had
three loaded mags left upon completion. I had packed every damn
one of my mags up onto the deck that day after watching the deadly duo
of Brian and Lisa ahead of us. I knew I'd need all 14 mags.
Afterwards, Heidi critiqued us and told us we had done an excellent
job. Well, maybe for rookies we did but I was satisfied and
for her kind words. I went over to Cathy and gave her a
little hug and proudly exclaimed, "And I didn't hardly screw up at
She agreed even. HA! Take that Charger
Then it was on to the Terminator for the final two scenarios.
Each was a hostage situation. In the first, our wives or
girlfriends were being held hostage. We had to get down the
hallway and try to save them. Of course, while we're moving, the
instructors are yelling all sorts of things and my poor little brain
was nearly overwhelmed just trying to keep me from stepping on a mine
(or setting myself
on fire) or leading with the gun around a corner etc. After what
eternity, I felt I had the area to my rear cleared out and I was ready
to go down the hall to confront the bad guy.
I sliced the pie, leaned out into view and challenged the bad
guy. (Again, I had to lean waaayyy out to right which put me off
balance and made me feel like a sitting duck. Another lesson
here?) The BG wouldn't give up at my challenge so I popped him
COM on shot one and then one to the head for shot two. Maybe not
the best choice this time as the hostage's elbow was in close proximity
to the BG's COM. I ended up nicking the hostage's elbow.
The instructor claimed I had shot the hostage in the elbow. I
consoled myself by telling myself that the hostage's blouse was billowy
and all I had done was punch a hole in the blouse. Oh well.
The 2nd and last scenario was another hostage. I came around
the corner (this time it was a RH turn so I didn't have to lean as
much). He didn't comply and this time I shot for the head rather
than try for any tricky "blouse shots". I put him down on one,
but the bullet went low into the jaw line rather than right between the
eyes. I was still letting the adrenaline and my "need for
speed" rule the day. Too many video games I guess. Oh well,
didn't punch out any innocents and I scored one for the good guys in
Back to the Red Range for more target work. Our final shots
were for groups. If I did my part, I got reasonably good groups
but I've got such a long ways to go. More range work is obviously
needed but I've got a good foundation now to build on.
We quit about 3 that day for graduation. I didn't want to
stop. We had such a good class with such a great group of
people. The instructors all were just fantastic. I got to
talk guns all week with very knowledgeable
people and got to make some great new friends. I didn't have to
feel sheepish at all for expressing a deep interest in shooting and
firearms with any of these fine people. What a feeling that is!
And most of all, I didn't feel like I had to apologize for believing
that I have the right to defend myself and my family!!!!!