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My first formal training session: AAR

Discussion in 'Tactics and Training' started by Indy_Guy_77, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. This past Saturday, myself and 13 other men took MDFI's "Handgun I" course (Michigan Defensive Firearms Institute) taught on private property near Morgantown in Brown County, Indiana.

    Here's my Take:

    Even though this wasn't the design of the course, I suck. (They have another training course called "You suck, it's not the gun".)

    My drawstroke needs major work. I had to REALLY concentrate to pull straight up and push out. I was reprimanded SEVERAL times by all instructors that I was kind of "bowling" with my pistol as I drew. I was clearing the holster, then almost subconsciously I was dropping the pistol, looping/swinging out back up towards my chest to meet my other hand and then pushing out to acquire the sights.

    I also got to the point where I was really rushing shots in the middle of the day. I was 'mashing' the trigger and it was dropping my shots low. A lot.

    I think I'm one of the big reasons that we did dot tests, actually. After those, though, I got myself to slow down and work within the pace that I could achieve the necessary shots. My accuracy improved as I slowed down a little. Funny how that worked out.

    Hardware: S&W M&P9c w/4 compact mags + pinky extension base plates and 2 fullsize mags w/ X-grip extenders as to not leave a gap.

    Raven Concealment Systems Phantom modular holster worn OWB at 4:00-ish + single RCS mag pouch worn OWB at 11:00 and a Fobus double mag pouch worn at 8:30-9:00 or so. I began the day with the FS mag in the gun and the other FS mag as #1 reload. By the afternoon, I decided that my primary mag needed to be the size of mag that I normally carry in the gun, the compact. My mag system worked out to be "C (in gun), FS, FS, C, C, C" Mags #5 & 6 were in my front left pocket.

    Note on how I was dressed. I decided to wear an off-brand under-armor shirt under my outerwear to assist in wicking to help keep me cool. That slick material + the relatively slick material of the Columbia shirt I wore over it was NOT a good combination. The outer shirt kept untucking to the point of being in the way of my holster as I reholstered. SEVERAL times I had to clear the shirt out of the way from being pinched into the holster with the pistol. Thankfully there weren't any toggles, straps, buttons, or etc on the shirt, could have led to an ND if a toggle/strap found its way into the holster at the same time the gun did. If I had to do it over again, I'd not have worn that particular outer shirt.

    Where does that leave me?

    I still suck... But not as bad. I NEED to invest in some snap caps in order to practice my draws and reloads.

    Steve said at the end of the day that Handgun II, the next level class, was about 85% shooting/reloading/drawing while on the move. I'm no where near being up to that. I would take Handgun I again, at least one more time, before I took Handgun II.

    Also a note about MDFI and Steve: Even though he speaks in a manner that would make a sailor blush (and types like a ham-fisted gorilla...but I repeat myself), he's a straight shooter. Literally. He said more than once that nothing's definitive when it comes to handgun training. Training is training, learn from everyone. Not any one guy or system has "the" answer.

    To me, coming from a teacher, that's pretty darned respectable.


    Learning to scan for additional threats

    A simple movement drill...that's not all that simple if it's new to you.

    Taping up outside intended target zone. Note all the masking tape... There were 2 shooters per target. While I had my share of misses, not all that tape is my fault!

  2. w8tn4u


    Dec 4, 2009
    We all sucked when we first started, the more we practice and train the less we suck. Good job on taking a class and getting started in training.

  3. You're right... And thanks!
  4. Congratulations! With that one comment you have automatically put yourself ahead of the game in comparison to many other shooters. Way too many folks think "I had a beginners class already, I'm ready for the advanced training" without realizing that just because you completed the beginners class means nothing except you completed the beginners class. Whether you are ready for anything except another entry-level course is open to debate.
    Sounds like you had a good instructor!
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2010
  5. talon


    Jun 10, 2001
    Sounds like your on the right track. My instructor called it swooping (bowling)
    when I did it. A few hundred draw strokes in front of the mirror cured that problem. I also spent alot of time practicing keeping my shoulders level and still during the draw stroke.

    These days I put on my lucky cover garment, set the par time for 1 sec on the shot timer and hope to hear the click before the buzzer.

    It amazing how much you can practice off the range.
  6. Gallium

    Gallium CLM

    Mar 26, 2003
    Hello Indy,

    Good job on getting some training under your gun belt. I can't BELIEVE the bug has only now just bitten you.

    If I told you how many hours per year I put into gun training, you might :faint: a little bit. :supergrin:

    Good training is where you push yourself until the flaws surface. If you did everything smooth, everything right, and did not have any problems to work thru, the exercise would have been of very little value to you.

    Again, good job!

  7. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000
    Great write up, and congratulations on the humility. You can't improve if you don't accept that you're doing some things wrong. I have taken several full weeks of firearms training, most of it instructor level, in the last five years. I still learn at least one or two new things at every class. It never ends unless you let it.

    As far as your next move, I agree that you could benefit from another level I class, but I'd suggest taking it from somebody else. You maximize your training when you expose yourself to different teaching styles. I loved Clint Smith at Thunder Ranch, but my next carbine class will be AK based and taught by Gabe Suarez. Better? Probably not, but not worse either. It will be different in both weapon system and teaching style, and that will get me the most knowledge for my time and money invested.

  8. VERY late to the party with this response... Sorry. :embarassed:

    Yes, next class will be with another instructor.

    The trainer we had for this particular class even said that: Take all kinds of training from all kinds of instructors. Learn from them all.

    Just a matter of funds, now, though. I've got 3 firearms on the market right now due to an unforeseen home repair. *sigh*

  9. PhoneCop

    PhoneCop TeleDetective

    Jan 6, 2005
    San Antonio, TX