Sunday, October 15, 2006

AAR Pisol Course

I was beat to hell this weekend. I've never put that many rounds through a handgun in a 48 hour period.

The entire course was brilliant. The instructor is ex-Marine, Scout-Sniper, Pistol coach for the Marine team in the early eighties and generally had forgotten more about this shit than I ever hope to learn. The class consisted of only four people. Targets were IPSC and steel at ranges from 3, 5, 7, 10, and 15 yards.

Day one was a short safety course in a classroom. We were on range by 11 AM doing dry fire drills. From there, everything was hot. No range in this town allows a hot range, so I'm not sure how he pulled it, but we were cocked and locked in holster while eating lunch.

First bit was standard Gunsite draw type stuff. I've never done that kind of thing before so it took me a lot of time to get even the general routine. Now I have time to practice and refine. The instructor departed from the modern technique to a certain degree, in that he did not really buy the guard position at all (45 degree angle at the ground when no threat is present.) Instead, he pulled the pistol back to the chest and maintained a ready, full threat level position.

As with most courses, events, etc. I've experience, there was an old guy who knew just enough to be dangerous. He was a former environmental engineer and had some obscure H&K that is no longer produced. I don't know why he even took the course as he wouldn't even adopt the right stance and completely disregarded any training. He just stood and shot bullseye. During breaks he would tell endless boring stories and during verbal training would ask questions like "Why don't they put apperture sights on pistols?" Who gives a shit and quit wasting time I paid for you old fuck.

Out of the four, I was the only one carrying a 1911. I ended up using the Commander because it had an ambidextrous thumb safety. There was the old codger with the 60's H&K, a normal dude with a Glock, and some guy with a limited edition Sig. He claimed the magazines cost $180 a piece. He was also a retired psychologist from Los Alamos; a profession and town, both of which I despise. During breaks he would talk about the trip he took in 64' down to Guatemala in a VW or the recent studies him and his anthropologist (bleahhhh) wife had taken on the indigenous population of this or that shithole. I'll give the psychologist this; he shoots IDPA and is pretty fucking good. Just don't waste my time talking about completely unrelated shit, you washed up motherfucker.

Needless to say, I was the youngest person there and in the lowest tax bracket.

First day, my accuracy was marginally good. I smoke, and this was the kind of class where you don't really get breaks. I find I can shoot pretty well for about 45 minutes and then I need a smoke or I get a little shaky. My draw improved immensely by the end of the day.

Day 2 was completely different. We started with dry practice on the basic draw, which was good because I had slept and was a blank slate. We moved on to double-tap practice at the sound of a whistle. The instructor was so hardcore he even did drills where he shouted at you while you were shooting.

After lunch, we did dry magazine change drills. Tactical and speed reloads, both of which were taught.

Something that doesn't occur to a lot of people is the fact that if you shoot a 1911 left-handed, you have to use your trigger finger for the magazine release. As the old booger hook is not as strong as a thumb, I ended up ripping the shit out of my trigger finger during these drills. Additonally, I got a big honking blister on my left hand thumb as well. During the course, this vexed the shit out of me. After cleaning the Commander, though, it makes perfect sense.

With an ambidextrous safety, the latch on the right side of the gun (the one southpaws use) is a lot closer to the slide than the normal 1911 safety. This instructor insisted that the safety be used as a thumb-rest while shooting. As such, the serrations on the slide were ripping the shit out of my strong-hand thumb.

By 2 PM the second day, I had blisters on my trigger finger (from the mag-release) and thumb (from the slide serrations). I became flinchy as a bitch shooting a 9mm for the first time. I couldn't hit shit.

In toto, it was one of the best gun experiences I've ever had. I've got enough shit to practice dry firing throughout the winter, most likely. Additionally, the instructor is also kind of my 1911 gunsmith, so there are some things he wants to do to the Commander in the coming months.

In summation, being a lefty sucks. It sucks with rifles, but you can compensate. With a 1911 there is no compensation; you either shoot it the way Mr. Browning and Uncle Sam wanted you to, or you get some good calluses in the needed locations.

As to Kevin's question about 1911 carry, I am now convince that a condition 1 1911 is the absolute best carry option available. It is safe, comfortable and, if you know what the fuck you are doing, the most deployable firearm. That last comment is contingent on you being right-handed, though.

What's a "pisol"? Heh.
Sounds like you got your money's worth out of the course, at least.

Those of us out there who aren't lefties really don't understand what lefties go through. I was helping a lefty friend with some stuff today, and even screwing something into a wall requires a conscious mental effort us righties can't fathom. It would seem the USP would be a pretty good gun for the lefties out there. I can see where a 1911 might not be as user friendly.

Sounds like there's another convert to Condition One. I'm looking forward to your expounding on why you're convinced that it's the way to go in more posts.

I wonder if that's also viable on a Browning Hi-Power, which I'll eventually purchase one of these days.

Glad you got something out of the course. I'll have to take one.
Congrats on getting the course under your belt. Sounds like it was an excellent class with a damn good instructor and it also sounds like you had way too much fun.

I spent the weekends of my 12th summer training to shoot IPSC and IDPA with a Commander in .38 Super and know all about the calluses of which you speak. I almost had to re-learn how to write the next year in school.

A 1911 in Condition 1 IS the safest way to carry the pistol and it is also probably one of the safest pistols on the planet when carried in that way. Scares the hell out of the locals though. None of the local pansy PDs will let their officers carry 1911s precisely because it has that mental effect on people.

For what its worth, I have a tip about mag changes from the son of a southpaw; my dad was a 'finger across the front of the trigger guard' shooter and he used the middle finger on his right hand, pushed below the trigger finger, to hit the release button.

Maybe not as fast as what you were using, but he always taught me to have a round in the pipe and finger in the ready position during the mag change for unseen targets who might want to take advantage of the situation.

Another guy I shot with had one of the 1/8in extended release buttons (not the oversized ones, just extended a bit) and was able to pop the mag out with the lowest section of his middle finger on his left hand.

For what its worth. Your mileage may vary. Congrats again, Ben.
Fuck! I hate blogger!

That was me btw, Ben.

Regards, Phil
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