“Awesome. It was awesome.” As an instructor, that’s all I want to hear from students after teaching an all day shooting class. Well that, and the sound of beer bottles cracking open (after securing firearms of course). My passion is teaching the basics of armed self defense and concealed carry to my students. But what was so awesome you ask? Well, this past October National Shooters hosted our first private class at an outdoor range outside of Winchester, Virginia to teach our Armed Self Defense Fundamentals and Introduction to the AR-15 rifle programs. One long day of practicing basic conceal carry shooting techniques and operating the AR-15 carbine rifle was a tall order, but a man working his passion (doing what he loves) will out perform the man working for money any day!
Shooters arrived the evening before class to set up camp on the range, which was a great experience. Talk about value added! Although we did hear howling coyotes throughout the valley while we slept. With all the guns and ammo we had on hand though it would have been a bad night for the coyotes if they came within shooting distance of the campsite!
It’s remote camping though with limited facilities and no running water. Instructor Lindsey, now my wife 🙂 enjoys a few more accommodations than I need for an adventure weekend. Next class she might have to stay 15 minutes away from the range at the Marriott .
So there I stood in the midst of the Appalachian mountains with 10 entry level shooters, 2 thousand rounds of ammunition, and a 5 acre shooting range… ALL… TO… OURSELVES… What more could an Irish Redneck ask for!?
8:00 AM I finish my coffee (it’s black, with gunpowder). It’s a little cold because the mountains block the sun, but this is a shooting weekend, not a barbie convention! Although Instructor Lindsey looks a bit like a barbie… She hates being called a Barbie. Instructor Barbie doesn’t have the same professional sound…
9:00 AM Shooters line up with unloaded handguns for the range brief and dry fire drills. Here we practiced the defensive draw stroke from the holster until our fingers bled (kidding). A proper draw should focus on safety (always first), speed, and weapon retention. To master this skill one must practice multiple times in a safe learning environment under profession supervision with an unloaded firearm and then and only then with a loaded firearm. Apprehension shows reverence to firearms, we call this a HEALTHY FEAR.
DETAILS DETAILS DETAILS. All morning I focus on hands, fingers, shooting stances, grips, muzzle directions, and Instructor Lindsey, wait who? What? Why? She’s hot man! Although sometimes compared to the terrible sport of golf, defensive shooting requires mastering the basic fundamentals, just like golf minus the preppy clothing and constant cursing.
Late morning, live rounds snap in 3 to 5 shot bursts against the the back berm, smiles grow on students faces, it’s glorious. Instructor Lindsey and I evaluate each shooter meticulously. Most shooters need extra coaching on the most difficult part of shooting, trigger control. We coach, slow down, squeeze to the rear, and follow through (yes, just like golf, shut up). It’s CRITICAL before we shoot defensively that we have the basics down. One needs to put accurate shots on target in training. Under stress our motor skills will fail us and accuracy degrades substantially. If you fail to shoot accurately in training you won’t perform under combative stress (it’s science).
Lunch time, students break for food and load up rifles, AR-15, M4 Carbine, Carbines, M16’s… whatever you want to call them. National Shooters provided a basic carbine class including the fundamentals of operating the platform. After our manipulations sessions, students were free to zero their rifles.
Students received a weapons familiarization lecture and got down to business slinging lead down range at 25, 50, and 100 meters on paper and pinging steel targets at 125, 150, 250, and 300 meters. Like music to my ears.
Another successful weekend. One we plan to host again. Check out our Facebook page album for more pictures. And be on the look out for the class announcement.