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Old July 8, 2009, 02:41 PM   #1
NightSight
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Lax Training

Hey all! I am pretty new to posting on TFL, but I have been perusing it for some time now.

I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day that I thought might make an interesting thread. I have invited this friend, who has had his CCW permit for about 6 months, out to train numerous times in the last year. He came the first time but hasn't been back since. He had kind of a rough day out his first time, and although he was not ridiculed, he had some bad habits (i.e. finger on the trigger, trigger slap, etc.) that were addressed.

Anyway, the point is that now he refuses to train. When pressed he told me that training lacks 80% of the realistic elements of defensive shooting and therefore is a waste of his time; however, he religiously carries.

I have tried to convince him of the importance of training exercises but to no avail. Have any of you been in similar circumstances with friends and acquaintances?? If so, how do you deal with this situation??
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Old July 8, 2009, 02:58 PM   #2
Glenn E. Meyer
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That's not unknown. It has to do (boy, do I hate psychologists) with ego strength and aggression.

When people (esp. males) don't do well in something they feel they should, they respond aggressively and will denounce or attack that venue. Males are supposed to be innately good fighter (and lovers - that's a different forum - no comments). So you have to be able to take the critique. It's hard for some.

The effect you report is seen in law enforcement training and military. Folks either say - hey, I need some work or refuse to practice again.

How to deal with it? I take it the day was rough and not ridiculed seems to imply it still wasn't pleasant. Was the guy out of his league?

One might suggest a gentler venue. About training not being necessary and the venue not realistic - what was it? A match, tac class, just guys?

The bottom line on change is that he will have to overcome his ego and realize that he needs the skill set.

In our area we have great and fun basic classes and very supportive beginner help for IDPA matches. Might look around.
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Old July 8, 2009, 03:10 PM   #3
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My Dad, who has seen close quarter combat multiple times, and has been decorated multiple times, said one of the most humbling experiences he ever had was the first time he shot IPSC. Everybody has rough days, maybe subtly bring up some times you were out shot at one of these things? Make him feel more welcome? I don't know...
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Old July 8, 2009, 03:13 PM   #4
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I appreciate your input Glen.

The venue was pretty gentle. We have a private range that we shoot at. There were four or five of us shooting. We were just having some fun at the range...not exactly an intense training day.

He came out with us telling us that he was an experienced shooter. While shooting, he thought that something must be wrong with the sights on his gun. His groups were in the 8 to 10 inch range at 7 yards slow sighted fire. He asked me to shoot to see if it was the sights. It wasn't the sights.

Nobody made fun of him but we did try and watch him (with his permission) to see if we could determine the cause of the poor shooting. We made some suggestions about sight picture and not slapping the trigger. His groups improved but you could tell he was kind of embarassed. Especially when my girlfriend went up and shot a very tight group after he was done.

Do you think that I should just back off and let him come to the conclusion that he needs help?? Should I press him??
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Old July 8, 2009, 03:17 PM   #5
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There isn't much you can do NightSight, once guys get in that mode there is little anyone can do to convince them. I'm assuming you have been persuasive and encouraging but I have known many friends of mine to be the same way. Heck, I give him credit for showing up even once.
It's a pity because you can learn all kinds of stuff if you can cultivate a "beginners mind"
Case in point, there is a young lady at my Krav Maga class, thirty years younger than me that I trained with the other night, and she was giving me very useful tips on performing technique as well as my combatives. This kid is my daughters age but she teaches the kids class and is pretty darn sharp.

Maybe it's just getting older that makes me feel safe enough to check my ego at the door, after all I have little to prove anymore, and everything to gain by listening and learning.
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Old July 8, 2009, 03:26 PM   #6
Brian Pfleuger
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Do you think that I should just back off and let him come to the conclusion that he needs help?? Should I press him??
A lot of your response should depend on his ability to discuss the situation rationally.

Personally, I wouldn't talk about what you described as "training", as "training". I call it "target practice", and he's right that it has nothing to do with SD, except familiarity with the gun. Admitting that part may help remove his defensive posture in the discussion and allow him to admit some things about his own shooting.

If he can be talked to without getting defensive then I'd try telling him the truth. Namely, we can all develop bad habits. Bad habits can be fixed. Having a bad habit doesn't make you "bad". "Experience" and "good habits" are not the same thing and we all need to work to be better. I'd talk up his experience and find a way to bring it around to make him look good. You know, something like "Because you've shot so much, I'm sure you recognized how....". You're giving him an easy "out". He can recognize a mistake or bad habit but still look like he's knowledgeable and experienced.
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Old July 8, 2009, 03:27 PM   #7
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When someone is not good at something the first time out, they will often give it up - and make (usually lame) excuses to not do it any more.

I hit the range at least twice a month (50-100 rounds), and I want to get into IDPA shooting.

Practice makes (almost) perfect.
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Old July 8, 2009, 05:15 PM   #8
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His groups improved but you could tell he was kind of embarassed. Especially when my girlfriend went up and shot a very tight group after he was done.
That's awkward.

Years & years back, when I was really just starting out with defensive shooting, I took a class with a (male, casual, very platonic) friend of mine. We took the class together for camaraderie, because it sounded like it would be fun to take a class with a buddy. And it was fun. We had a great time all weekend on the line, visiting in between relays and just generally enjoying the whole scene.

Second afternoon, toward the end of the day, the class included a qualification-style shoot, complete with scores. It was cool to see how much we'd improved. We were just standing there visiting while scoring up the targets when he looked over at mine and saw that my score was better than his (by some ridiculous amount, like maybe two points -- not by a lot). He kind of went quiet, and I didn't think anything of it at the time; lots of other stuff going on and we were both pretty tired after the whole weekend anyway.

It's been 9 years. We're still good buddies and we get together for a visit as often as our mutually busy schedules will allow. But he's never gone shooting with me again.

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Old July 8, 2009, 05:39 PM   #9
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That's hard, when my wife and I went to class together, I was experienced(realatively speaking) and she wasn't. She shot much better than me and the other guy there. It was a little embarrassing but I thought it was great. But my wife is sensitive to others feelings, and she didn't bring any attention to the fact. You probably will have to just let him be, and let him come to his own conclusions. Give him time, and don't bring it up and his ego will heal.

Cripes, I sound like Dear Abby or something!
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Old July 8, 2009, 05:41 PM   #10
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Are you sure your friend isn't training? Perhaps he is somewhere else, and just was too embarrassed to come train with you again? An earlier poster suggested that maybe he was out of his depth or didn't know what to expect in the original training. That might be exactly the problem.

If I were facing this issue with a friend, I'd probably just tell them I wanted to be sure they were getting practice, but didn't want to nag. I'd then drop the matter and let them as adults take responsibility for their own training. If they needed my help, they could ask.

On a different, but perhaps related, line.... My husband and I are both planning to sign up for a series of self-defense classes over the next few months. My husband wanted us to go to the same class, but the classes he was looking at did not appeal in the least to me. He's a former Air Force communications tech who finds military-style training appealing. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool civilian, and have no desire to train under a retired drill sergeant using standard military training techniques no matter how good he is.

More to the point, although neither of us is terribly ego-ridden, I think we'd both do better if we could make our mistakes without the other as a witness. ;-) So we are going to sign up for different classes. People have different styles of learning, and different rates at which they learn, certain types of skills. One size fits all training does not exist -- not for learning to use a gun in a self defense situation, and not for any other skill I've ever learned either.
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Old July 9, 2009, 05:56 AM   #11
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There is the mentality that many of us guys have, and that mentality is that we all know how to shoot. Therefore, we do not some "self-righteous know-it-all" to teach us what we can already do. After all, it's a simple process--aim at the target, pull the trigger. A monkey can do that! (I also suffered from this mentality when I bought my first gun at 21).

That being said, it is also an issue of saving face. No one likes the humiliation of someone else being better. When someone offers us help, the message we receive is "you're not good enough, you're doing it wrong," or other similar perceived messages. It makes us feel inferior.

Here is a suggestion that I can give you. The next time you're going to the range, ask him if he wants to go with (just the two of you). Say you like to shoot with a buddy, and grab lunch (or dinner) afterwards. Don't critique his performance, just let him do his thing. After some warm up rounds, ask him to watch you shoot, to see if you are doing something wrong (like pay attention to your stance, grip, trigger control, etc.). Be sure to demonstrate the standard that you are looking for, then tell him to make sure that you are not deviating from that standard. This will make him feel useful and appreciated.

This may open the door to inviting him to future training sessions. Particularly when you are having dinner later, he may ask questions, showing that he is now willing to communicate. This is the time to point out in a self defense situation, no one will ever rise to the occasion and prevail simply by having a gun. Rather, training regularly and developing muscle memory is what will give you a fighting chance.
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Old July 9, 2009, 08:26 AM   #12
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If he were my friend I'd try a different tactic. Instead of inviting him out for more training, try and get him to go with you to a range for some "informal" target practice. Try and find a time when your local range will be pretty much empty, a weekday morning would be a good time. Tell him you have a new gun, or are bringing out an old gun, and you don't know how well it will shoot, or even if it will shoot good groups, so he doesn't think you have an agenda. A little white lie to relax him into going and shooting with you again won't hurt anyone. Bring out an old or seldom seen pistol and make the session very stressless. You don't have to shoot like a doofuss, but dropping a few shots with the odd gun won't hurt either. Get past his ego. Once done, you can drop little suggestions on how he can improve his shooting; just try and not sound like a teacher unless he starts doing something unsafe. Once he starts warming to shooting with you, you will find getting him to the range will be easier, and if he just keeps shooting his skills will improve; hopefully improve to where you think he can take some instruction. Camaraderie, range time, and ammunition have overcome problems for folks worse off than this previously.
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Old July 9, 2009, 05:27 PM   #13
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Thanks guys. You've given me a lot of good information. It's always a touchy situation when egos are involved. I'll try a different approach and see what happens!!
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Old July 9, 2009, 07:38 PM   #14
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I agree with Glenn's observations, but I'd also add that it has to do with maturity. Iwas always a bright kid and a quick study academically, but atheletically I was pretty clutzy.

This was a bit of a source of puzzlement to my dad, who was very much of a natural athelete, but he gave me a lot of encouragement and time, and told me that even Babe Ruth struck out twice as often as he he hit. 'Overnight sensations' usually have an obscure track record and a lot of time in the minors that no one pays much attention to - Practice, practice, practice. . .

Even those who are born with natural talent still have to work to develop that talent, and some of us have to work harder than others. It makes no sense to compare yourself to those who have been at it for a while, everyone has to start from square one, but some people will just do better than others at any given endeavor (despite .gov efforts to 'make life fair":barf:), but perserverence and hard work will pay off, if you can get over yourself and lose the ego.

Does your friend want to learn and master a skill or remain ignorant and smug? Nothing worthwhile comes easy, regardless of 'natural talent". JMO-
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Old July 18, 2009, 09:34 AM   #15
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Be humbled on the training range,

and survive the encounter.


Have you friend try "bowling pins" for a timed exercise and for reloading with out looking. The only good hits are when the pin slides away from you and off the table. it flops and spins a bad hit.

Have him locate a "firearms academy" and get some training there.

Poor training or lack of in DANGEROUS!
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Old July 18, 2009, 10:23 AM   #16
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If you want to drill a point home you could inform him that he appears to lack 80% of the fundamentals with the 20% being 10%gun and 10%ammo which doesn't a responsible gun toter make.

I agree that range sessions of the informal type I have had folks participate in was far from realistic SD situational training. But what is the key is to pound the proper form, skills and safety into habit. Once habit is to be counted on, the shooter has fewer impulse behaviors to contend with!
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Old July 18, 2009, 11:07 AM   #17
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Practice... practice

I sound like a broken record (if you look at my other post history). It's all about practice, practice, practice or if you want to think about it another way.... trigger time.

For your friend... just keep asking him to come out. He obviously needs the practice. Practice shooting and even maybe practice shooting around others (the audience factor). Kind of like speaking in front of a group.

I don't know what his baseline is (range shooting). I just have the description of his shooting with you on that training day.

From the sounds of it he needs to work on his shooting skills to tighten up that shot group. If he's slapping the trigger and not used to keeping his finger off the trigger - he needs some basics again as he's developed some bad habits by now. If he's shoots well at the "range" then he needs to work on shooting in front of others and in this type of setting.

The only way you can improve is to practice. I further the idea of practice for him. If he's only practiced at a "range" he also needs to practice shooting action shooting. He may be more comfortable at a regular "bench range."

Continue to ask to go shooting with just the two of you. Start with just you two. See if he thinks going to a professional would work for him. You may be his friend but I often find friends are not always the best teachers for that student. This is often the case for good friends, boyfriends and husbands. I could say the same thing as someone husband but since it's coming from me they listen. It's odd but it's true.

Take it slow and keep at it. He will either come around or not. That is his choice. You can only try to support and help him. If doesn't want the help you can do the work for him. You can only stay the course and do what is right. Ultimately he will have to decide.

Good luck and keep at it. It's all about practice until you have to use it.
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Old July 18, 2009, 12:50 PM   #18
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I do agree on one point, that just firing a gun at a target has little to do with self defense, except to allow the shooter to become familiar with the gun.

I remember once when someone asked me what I would do if I were fired at in a drive-by situation. I replied that if possible, I would dive behind any cover I could find or just go flat. He looked at me like I was from Mars and started babbling about Weaver stances and Code Red and Condition One and IWB carry. What nonsense have we made of so-called training? Do "instructors" really tell people to stand erect, face the enemy, and choose the proper stance when bullets are flying around? Sadly, it seems they do.

It also seems that in today's training, instructors are excessively safety conscious. The shooter must draw, line up the sights carefully, and take a perfect sight picture before even touching the trigger, and that is what he will do even if it kills him. I am from a time when getting that shot off as fast as possible was the goal, and I have a film somewhere of my draw. My finger was not only on the trigger of the Combat Magnum while it was still in the holster, but the hammer was halfway back when the gun was at a 45 degree angle. The hammer fell just as the gun came on target. But in our lawyer society, instructors teach gun safety, not speed. Safety first is fine, but safety is NOT first when you are already in a very UNsafe situation.

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Old July 18, 2009, 12:59 PM   #19
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Why is "finger on the trigger" bad? I have my finger on the trigger as part of the draw and fire stroke. If you are shooting in a life or death situation no other way makes sense.
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Old July 18, 2009, 01:04 PM   #20
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"It also seems that in today's training, instructors are excessively safety conscious. The shooter must draw, line up the sights carefully, and take a perfect sight picture before even touching the trigger"

If you are in a REAL fight this is a great way to comit suicide!
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Old July 18, 2009, 01:09 PM   #21
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Hardball, I think what is meant by the trigger finger remarks is that that we are evolving safe technique to have finger along the frame until gun is coming to bear on the target. This may have something to do with the modern Semis that have no hammer and if a round is in the pipe that the trigger is "hot" and some have no mechanical safety to over ride or block the trigger from firing a round. As the pistol is drawn, there is absolutely no reason to cover the trigger yet...
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Old July 18, 2009, 08:00 PM   #22
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AFAIK, all modern instructors teach never to even touch the trigger until the gun is fixed on the target. I tend to agree with Hard Ball that the BG might not have been properly trained and just might blow your safety conscious head off while you are keeping your finger along the frame. Or even while you are assuming the "proper" stance and placing your feet at the precise "correct" angle, gripping the gun in the prescribed manner, thinking noble thoughts, or whatever else some of the "instructors" teach these days.

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Old July 19, 2009, 10:47 AM   #23
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I was taught to not put my finger on the trigger until I'm sighted in and ready to shoot. I also realize that I'm not supposed to even draw my gun unless I'm justified in shooting. So, I combined the two teachings.

I put my finger on the trigger as I'm bringing the gun to bear, just as soon as it clears my body. If I have time to adopt a "proper" shooting stance, I will. If not, I'll shoot from whatever position I'm in. Split-seconds may count. If I have time to warn, "STOP! STAY BACK!", I will. If not, I'm shooting.

I want to stay alive, not give the BG a break or "fair fight".
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Old July 19, 2009, 11:41 AM   #24
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As an instructor....

Let me clarify and add some perspective as not just an instructor but an advid action shooter.

First we all have differing backgrounds and experiences, in regards, to shooting skills, etc, etc.

Let's clear up a few things as there is obviously a lot of talk about this or that:
First, these are not self defense or LEO or "combat" perspectives.

Using a holster:
From a firing sequence, drawing from a holster.... shooting at a target. You draw, your finger should not be on the trigger as you touch your firearm.... as you raise your firearm about half way up you start putting your finger on the trigger. As you develop you sight picture you start engaging the trigger and fire. (most holster will not allow you to engage the trigger as it is covered by the holster)

If you have your finger on the trigger as you unholster then for safety yes you are violating a safety rule - regardless of where you shoot. If it's at a range or IDPA or USPSA or any other practical shoot. If your at your home then whatever you feel is safe (it's your home).

Regular range:
From the bench, you pick up your firearm, no finger on the trigger. Once you start to develop your sight picture is when you put your finger on the trigger.... Again if you pick up your firearm and start putting your finger on the trigger you are violating a safety rule for most ranges. Again the gun is on the bench and you are touching the trigger is not safe. Once you have a good grip and start raising it towards the target then that's just the shooting sequence.

Now if you are taking a break and go to a low ready. Your finger should not be on the trigger... you are not shooting... having your finger on the trigger at this point is just a bad habit and a safety risk. So, after having it low ready and you are about to resume shooting then you can have your finger back on the trigger as it's resuming the sequence to shoot.

People have to take into consideration of what you are doing and why. To keep it simple if you are not in the process of shooting then don't put your finger on the trigger.

For safety it is taught that you should not touch the trigger (or finger on the trigger) until you are ready to shoot. By holding a gun does not mean you are ready to shoot. Perspective: if you are a bench range. As you pick up your firearm - you are not ready to shoot from that position. Once you start raising it and "aiming" are you ready. Does this mean you have to shoot right away... no. Take your time and focus on the basics... good grip, shoot sight picture and now good trigger control.

We all want to promote good gun safety. If we forget the basics then you'll eventually break the "Golden Rule" and have an AD or ND as it's called now days.

AD - accidental discharge
ND - negligent discharge

Golden Rule - Always treat a gun as it's loaded (which also follows muzzle control, and trigger safety)

Good shooting to everyone and be safe. Not just for you but for the folks to the left and right of you.
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Old July 19, 2009, 12:03 PM   #25
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" all modern instructors teach never to even touch the trigger until the gun is fixed on the target"

Then they are simply not qualified to teach actual combat shooting.
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