Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Training, Part II – Gear

Every class I’ve ever attended had an equipment list. If it’s on the list bring it. You don’t want to be “that” guy in the class that everyone remembers for the wrong reasons. I normally start gathering and packing gear at least two weeks before a class. This insures you have everything you need, and that it packs up compact enough to fit your travel plans.

Part of training is about evaluating your equipment, discovering how to operate it properly, and its advantages and disadvantages. But don’t go to class with new equipment that hasn’t been tested. With a new weapon you need to fire it enough to insure it’s functioning properly, which means at least two or three hundred rounds. At the same time you’re also confirming your ammunition and magazines are working properly. I’ve seen people come to class with ammo they never tested, and they didn’t discover it wouldn’t function in their weapon until the class started. With anything that can break or fail, carry a spare.

Don’t try to do a two-day course with three different weapons. You’ll have plenty to think about without trying to remember which pistol you’re shooting. Using one type weapon allows you to focus on the important lessons, plus it cuts way down on the amount of gear you have to carry.

I use two range bags to pack my gear. I have a large bag that holds gear I may need. This is where I carry my rain/cold weather gear, elbow and kneepads, spare mags, cleaning gear, batteries, and small tools. I also keep a little snack in this bag. You tend to work up an appetite shootin’ bad guys. A spare holster, belt, pouches and notebook with pens also go in the big bag. Anything that might be affected by rain goes into plastic zip-lock bags.

I have a small range bag that I actually carry with me on the range which fits into the big bag. The small bag holds stuff I know I’ll need such as eye/ear protection, flashlights, sight tools, lights, and a first aid and trauma kit.

If you’re a regular guy or gal training to defend your family don’t show up for class decked out in yards of Velcro and black tactical gear. When you’re attacked in a dark parking lot you won’t have that tactical vest and thigh-rig holster. Armed professionals should train with the gear you normally operate with. During class don’t hesitate to ask other students about their gear. This is an opportunity to get opinions from people actually using the gear before you buy something.

Electronic earmuffs should be considered mandatory. Earplugs don’t really protect your hearing; the area right behind the ear is where a lot of damage can occur. Regular muffs protect this, but you can’t hear commands. The electronic earmuffs are affordable and recommended.

In part III of this series we’ll discuss the class itself and post-class actions, where the learning really starts.

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September 19, 2010 - Posted by | Gear, Preparing for Training - 1, 2, 3

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