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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Instructor Training Part 2 - The Lead-up

I discussed in Part 1 
how after much soul-searching, I signed up for a course to become an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor. Now, I'm going to tell you about what has transpired since signing up. 

When I registered for the course, I had about two weeks' lead time. This was actually one of those "good" for me things. Having a short lead-time forces me to get off my butt and get the prerequisites out of the way, instead of procrastinating. It also gives me very little time to over-think my decision and get cold feet.

The first hurdle was actually registering for the course. Check. The second hurdle was making sure my work schedule was arranged such that I could get to the Friday evening session on time. Check. The third hurdle was registering for and taking the online prerequisite, which was the 7-ish hour NRA Basic Pistol Course, part 1.

Now, remember that on top of shooting local pistol competitions for at least seven years, I've also had my state carry permit for going on eight years now, and taking the actual Basic Pistol Course was a requirement for that at the time. But there was no on-line material at the time I took that course. It was all in-person. This was a whole new ballgame. 

Let me be honest and confess that the online stuff has been a bit of a frustration. I HAVE learned a few things online that I still didn't know - like how to load a single-action revolver (I've never handled one), and what a decocker is for (likewise, never had one). But of necessity, the course is designed at about an eighth-grade comprehension level. The material seems to me to be boring, pedantic, and repetitive. So I have to keep reminding myself that this is written for the general public, who it is assumed knows zero about firearms. I realized that I HAVE to know what this material is like, so that I know what a 65 year old grandma who barely finished eighth grade, and barely understands the internet, and is in my class, needs to know from me. Lesson in humility. Check.

In addition to the online course, I needed to get ready for the in-person course, which involves live-fire. In my control freak-ness, I had to decide which of my handguns I was going to take the class with. (and maybe bring a back-up in case of malfunction?) After some hemming and hawing, I decided on my Gen 3 Glock 19. This was my very first firearm, and the handgun I took to Gunsite. I figured it might be kind of appropriate to use it for instructor training as well. But I haven't shot it in about 2 years. (been working on my miniGlocks and revolver instead) So, that became my New Year's Day range project - Blow the cobwebs off of the Glock 19, and the holiday lethargy out of my brain.

It's a good thing I decided to do a  refresher shoot with this gun, because when I dug it out of the safe, I discovered that though the gun itself had been well cleaned and lubed before storage, 1) I was missing a few magazines and would have to find them, 2) The magazines I did find were still a little rattly with grit from the Gunsite range, and 3) The holster was still scraped up and gritty from Gunsite as well. Guess who had a holiday cleaning project in front of her?

Fortunately, the club range was empty at 10:45 AM on New Year's Day, so I grabbed the furthermost bay - the one with the plate rack in it. I set up my pvc pipe target stand and an IDPA target, and started warming up on the -0 zones from about ten yards. Even with fairly rapid fire, I managed to keep all twenty or so shots in the -0 zones. Fair enough - I could still manage the stock Glock sights and my stock-ish weight pink trigger.

But then I decided to push myself, and that's when it got uglier - LOL. I decided to try "Dot Torture" at seven yards. My stock Glock front sight pretty much covered up the dots, so it was wing and a prayer time. Suffice to say that my prayers weren't answered. Deciding that maybe seven yards was a bit ambitious for Dot Torture, I put up a new target and tried it again from five yards. That was a little better, but I still stopped to take a target photo BEFORE trying the strong/weak hand only drills, because I knew it was going to suck - LOL.

   Dot torture --- was.

Finally, I moved on to the plate rack at about 20 yards. I'm used to shooting plates with my M&P9, which has a small front fiber optic. The Big-Arse Glock cantelope-size stock front sight however, made the plates a real challenge. I did not do as well as I usually do with my match gun. BUT, I will say that I was doing a "fair" job by the time my ammo ran out. 

    My first three plate rack shots at 20 yards.

I know what some of my next accessory purchases are going to be - Hi Viz sights for my Glocks. You don't realize how much difference it makes until you shoot something else, and then come back to stock. I know the switch made a huge difference on my revolver. So, add new Hi-Viz sights for all my Glocks to my birthday wishlist.

All told, I ran through 200 rounds on this range trip. But this was bulk random re-man that I bought from I-forget-where back several years ago when ammo all but disappeared. It wasn't very good stuff, and I needed to use it up anyway, so I figure it went to a good cause.

When I got home from the range, I took a nap ( Ahhhh, holidays), and then slogged through the remainder of the online course hours, passed the final exam, and printed my certificate. The only thing left now, is getting ready for the in-person course this weekend.

Not a bad start to a new year.

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