Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Range Lessons

Over the holiday weekend I got to hit the range three days in a row, which I haven’t done in a while. I worked hard on the fundamentals, with both pistol and carbine. Over the three sessions I practiced precision shooting, focusing on the basics of marksmanship, manipulations, especially reloads, and moving and shooting against multiple targets.

Each session contained many lessons. For example I’m still capable of shooting one and one-half to two inch groups from prone at one hundred yards with iron sights on my AR. It’s been a while since I’ve done any precision slow-fire shooting with iron sights, and I was a little worried. Now that I’ve hit fifty I have to wear reading glasses; when I focus on the front sight of a rifle it’s a little on the blurry side. I shoot one string of fire wearing my reading glasses, and the front sight is as crisp as could be. The target was blurry, but then it’s going to be blurry when your visual focus in on the front sight. The group fired wearing the glasses was a little bit tighter, but not significantly. No problems there.

I also did a little experimenting with carbine manipulations. Normally when performing an empty reload I’ll index the back on the magazine with the back of the mag well, and then send it home. With an AK you have to hook the front of the mag before rocking it to the rear to lock it in position. So I decided to do the same action with the mag for the AR, indexing the front of the mag on the front of the mag well. Both ways seem to work well, but I’ll have to practice the ‘new’ technique some, then run both variations on the timer to see which is quicker. Once I know which technique is quicker then it’s decision time. If the my ‘old’ AR technique is quicker do I vary technique according to the rifle I’m shooting, or is it better to simplify things, using one technique for both weapons, which reduces the thought process for reloading during high stress events? Every answer should lead to a new question.

Fighting is a very fluid process, and there’s nothing like moving and engaging multiple targets with an armed partner to prove just how ‘natural’ some actions need to be. We train and practice to move certain ways to index on a threat to the right, left or rear. Yet, even after countless repetitions of these techniques, under stress when you and your partner are moving, shooting, communicating, and firing on multiple threats in a one-hundred-eighty degree arc you’ll end up moving in whatever fashion your body feels is natural. At a certain point you have to let go and just let it happen, without conscious thought. During a fight you don’t have time to stop and think about “how-to” something. Just work it.

Every time you go to the range take notes. It’s when you stop shooting and studying those notes that the real work, the mental processing and learning, begins.

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September 19, 2010 - Posted by | AR-15, General Training

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