An observation of mine in recent months looking at pictures of people online attending competitions, shooting courses, training events etc is the there is a huge variety of fitness levels represented in our sport. I use the word “sport” lightly as obviously that means something different to different people. This would seem as an obvious observation but then again lets take a few steps back. I grew up playing traditional sports such as baseball and football, where fitness is a direct contributor to you ability on the field. I then carried on into college and again to play sports we had strength coaches and trainers focused on keeping us conditioned enough to compete at a high level. I have no experience with professional sports but I would take an educated guess to say that it only becomes more important at that level as well. Continue reading
One of the things about the shooting community is that it is small, and anyone who has been in the industry for any period of time knows each other. I have had the pleasure of knowing Ernest Langdon for over a decade, and have always found him to be a genuine, down-to-earth, personable guy who just happens to have top shelf shooting skills. Sadly, I never had the opportunity to get on the range with him. So when a buddy invited me to sign up for Ernest’s Advanced Pistol Skills course that he was hosting for a private group of local LE guys, I jumped on it.
Unlike the “typical” competitive shooting champ, Ernest also has quite a bit of experience with which to frame the mechanical skills he’s developed over the years. In addition to winning more titles than I can count (without taking my shoes off), Ernest has a significant background including serving in various capacities in the Marine Corps as a Sniper School instructor and the HRP course. Ernest is the founder of LTT (Langdon Tactical Technologies) and is the guru when it comes to the Beretta 92/M9 platform. I was lucky enough to have him tune up a trigger on my personal 92FS years back and it is one of the smoothest triggers I’ve ever felt on a 92. (Thanks to his partnership with Wilson Combat, you can now have a similar trigger on yours as they do custom work on Beretta 92s now.) Continue reading
In my last article, I outlined a bit about my battle with the issue of elbow tendonitis. I will again caveat that I am not a medical professional nor do I play one on TV, and am only sharing my own personal experiences. During the last several years I had tried just about everything for my elbows – cortisone, physical therapy to include eccentric exercises, massage, ice, ultrasound, stretching, traditional strength building exercises, fascial scraping (Graston), and rest. The only common modality I had not tried was acupuncture, only because none of my health practitioners referred me to it. All of the attempted treatments worked acceptably until it came time to do those extreme activities such as opening or closing my hands and bending or extending my arms. As long as I avoided those movements, my elbows felt ok. Continue reading
Many of us struggle with a fast, efficient, and accurate first shot. One of the greatest problems I see with students seems to be the ability to drive the gun straight to the target. The presentation of delivering the gun to the target tends to get muddled with something other than a smooth, straight-like-it’s-on-a-rail presentation. Continue reading
After finishing the recent Top Cop Pistol Championship match, I reflected back on my performance and was very pleased to have been able to turn in very clean and consistent runs on all of the stages. I was coming into the match on the mend from chronic tendonitis in both elbows, and frankly was dreading having to shoot much at all. My elbows were still bad enough that during the meager 150 rounds at the official match practice day the week prior, I was not able to finish a single string without great pain. Knowing that I would be unable to complete rigorous live fire or even dry fire preparation for the match, I knew I had to resort to a novel approach – I would watch the sights and press the trigger cleanly. Continue reading
I like to use the word knowing in conjunction with the word CONFIDENCE. Is knowing and confidence the same? I’m going to talk about knowing in competition and the tactical world. So what is knowing? Knowing you have the confidence to make a shot. Knowing you can hit a steel target at 50 yards. At a 100 yards. In competition, having the confidence to take a 30 yard shot on a partial target because you’ve done your homework. You know what the sight picture looks like for that distance and what type of trigger pull you need. You’ve zero’d your gun and know where the rounds are going to land. Continue reading
Recently, I was evaluating a HK VP9 that was done up by Grayguns, Inc. I was shooting string after string on the timer. I noticed that somewhere south of .22 splits on multi-shot strings, my accuracy fell apart. I dismissed the VP9 as being inferior, due to the stock box P320 Carry giving me nice little piles of bullet holes at .16-.18 splits. Continue reading
This was the second year of the Top Cop Pistol Championship, held at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office Range at Markham Park in Sunrise, Florida. The match drew over 110 competitors and the proceeds from the match benefitted the The Broward Sheriff’s Advisory Council, a charity whose mission is to provide financial assistance to the families of officers killed or disabled in the line of duty. In addition, they also help develop educational programs to assist and support the State of Florida in drug abuse prevention and crime prevention. Continue reading
Last weekend I was at the range with a party of different shooters and friends. There were several kinds of props and targets and everyone was having a good time shooting. The group consisted of some novice shooters and at one station there was a military guy with his “babe” of a girlfriend. She had taken up a stock Glock and was trying to knock down plates on the plate rack. Well…she was struggling. She was jerking the trigger, throwing shots repeatedly to the left driving through the magazine. At this point, her “stud” came over and told her the all knowing advice of “slow dow and get your hits!” Duh! Just slow down and get your hits. Of course this did NOT go well. Our heroine tried her heart out but only managed to miss slowwwwly. Continue reading
To be or not to be, that is the question…or for us, it’s should I shoot on the move?
As a law enforcement trainer, I am routinely asked to incorporate shooting drills that have the officers shooting while moving. In class, there are always students who push for that type of training especially in anything considered Advanced. But what is shooting on the move? Continue reading
Okay…what is he talking about….
Too often it has been my experience with law enforcement shooters (and competition too) that the need to pull the trigger “now” supersedes the requirement of hitting the target. It’s like a building pressure in the mind that shooters will settle for less than an acceptable sight picture and blast off a round..or two..or three. It’s almost as if a self gratifying sound and feeling overwhelms what the process should be. Continue reading
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am here today to share with you a trick that the “BIG SCHOOLS” don’t want you to know. If you don’t want to shoot better like a NAVY SEAL in just two hours, please leave this blog now. This is for those who are serious, for those who want instant improvement in their practice. This one “Weird Trick” discovered by a stay at home mom wanting to learn to defend herself from the upcoming zombie apocalypse. Please, stay until the end of this blog if you are serious.
This one “weird” trick is called PRACTICE. There are no slick fixes. There are no pills, no potions that will take a D class shooter, and make them a Master class.
It seems the “ONE WEIRD TRICK” “HOW TO LOSE BELLY FAT WHILE EATING PIZZA THREE MEALS A DAY” or “FIND OUT THE REAL REASON OBAMA WANTS YOUR GUNS” meme has started to lurk into the firearms community. The sideshow barker lures you in with an instant cure for diabetes from an ad showing a Jelly Doughnut. Or warns you that “For those not serious about defending your family with the tricks of real world special forces operators need to leave this video now” all the while showing a bearded, multicam clad meat eater with his face blacked out.
I get that the firearms community has been hawking stuff for years with the claim of making us better and faster. Variations of the sights that I call the “Alien versus Predator” sights that claim that it makes you faster on target. Yet, every special ops unit and top tier competitor I know is using standard sights. Some with a fiber optic front, some with a standard front blade. If these huge, colorful sights that come together making an homage to the pharaohs were so good, you’d think they’d be on every gun in USPSA,, and CAG would order 500 sets of them. Apparently, these folks haven’t discovered how fast these sights make you.
There is no magic fix other than practice. The more you dry fire, the more you practice, the better you will become. Say it with me, the faster you will become. Recently, I had a buddy of mine who is just getting back into shooting USPSA after a lay off come to me with a question. At his last match, he won his division by a hair. He said that he sucked, but everyone just sucked a little more than he did that day. He was concerned that some of the younger guys were faster than him. He was sure that he was too slow, and wanted help putting a plan together to get faster. I asked him when the last time he devoted 15 minutes to dry firing and he replied “Oh, I have not practiced in months”. There your problem, you’ve got mud in your tires.
We as a nation seemed to be fixated on quick fixes. Time and practice makes us better.
The one “WEIRD TIP” is the same that it has been for decades. Practice. Train with a plan. Dry Fire. You’ll like the results.
The Top Cop Pistol Championship, April 19th, 2014.
What is the Top Cop Pistol Championship (www.topcop.org)? The Broward Sheriff’s Advisory Council (an independent organization whose sole purpose is to raise money for the families of fallen officers and firefighters) thought there should be a pistol match where cops could shoot against each other regardless if they’ve competed in a sanctioned match (IPSC/USPSA, IDPA, GSSF, NRA, PPC, etc.) They also felt the match would bolster inter-agency rivalries in a fun way and raise money with a Tribute Dinner to all who have fallen in Broward County, FL. Continue reading
On the heels of the announcement of the collaboration between Wilson Combat and Beretta guru Ernest Langdon, Wilson Combat has just announced they will be hosting Ernest for a “How to Run a Beretta Handgun” Course at the Wilson Ranch in Cuthand, Texas. Die hard Beretta aficionados will immediately recognize Ernest as the industry’s most knowledgeable instructor on running and modifying the Beretta handgun. A prior member for the Beretta shooting team, Ernest’s competition career has earned him countless national IDPA and USPSA titles with a double action pistol. He also has extensive military experience as an end user and instructor.
Competition vs. the Tactical World: Stage Planning and Wrap Up
So as we head into the final stretch of our exploration on why competition is good (no great) for the tactical world, we have one more area to cover. I’d like to talk about stage planning and visualization.
There are several ways of stage planning so for most of this article I want to focus on USPSA style of stage planning. “Well, what is stage planning?” Good question. In USPSA, at a match, the rules allow competitors up to five minutes to look over a stage, walk through it and air gun (not air guitar) as they walk through. Let’s break down those parts. Continue reading