Putting bullets where you want them to go is a good thing. It gives you warm fuzzies and positive reinforcement. Where you get the lessons, though, are the bad shots. However, it’s only a lesson if you figure out what you did wrong, with a view toward keeping it from happening the next time.
I was reminded of that last week, when I was out of town teaching a class. On the last day of the 40-hour course, the students shoot a police-type qualification. The staff shoots it first as a pace-setter, so the students can see what’s expected of them, and in what time-frames. I was on my second magazine at the fifteen yard line when I realized that my gun hand was relaxing its grip on the Springfield Armory 1911 Range Officer pistol I was demonstrating with. I started to tighten the grasp, but forgot that my trigger finger was already moving, and actually saw the front sight twitch to the right as the pistol bucked and the .45 slug went downrange. The other 59 shots all went where they needed to, but that one landed “one scoring ring too far,” and cost me a point. The deal I make with my students is that if they tie me, they get an autographed dollar, and if they beat my score, they get an autographed five that says right on it, “You beat me at my own game.” Two of the staff and three of the students shot perfect scores, and one more from each group tied me. That single disconnect between brain, grasping hand, and trigger finger had cost me $27.
On the street, it could have cost me incalculably more. As we say in the trade, we sweat in training so we don’t bleed when we do it for real. Lesson learned. It’s the second time this year that I’ve shot sub-100% on a pace-setter qual. Next time I’ll try harder to (a) not relax the grasp in the first place, and (b) not continue applying trigger pressure while I’m re-adjusting my hold.
From the range to the hunting field to the street, have you ever had a bad shot that cost you something? Were you able to diagnose it and learn from it? Share here, for the thought-provoking good of all…