Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Sights And Level III Class

I got a good chance to test out my new Wilson Combat Ultimate Speed Sights in the Advanced Pistol Level III class last weekend. The class included a lot of low-light work with and without flashlights, and overall I have to say that so far fiber-optic front sights and I just don't get along.

We were working about mid-range and the only ambient light was from the viewing room windows. With light only coming from behind the gun, the front sight appeared totally black. When using my Surefire E2D 200-lumen LED light, the fiber-optic insert became totally academic as the silhouette of the sights stood out clearly against the brightly illuminated targets. Working without lights, my sights were essentially invisible until they picked up my muzzle flash.

In normal light the sights are taking some getting used to, but do work very well. My hits were good from the start and got better as the class progressed despite fatigue and adrenaline. I had some problems with my Wilson not locking open on an empty mag (the same thing I sent it back to have fixed) during the flashlight drills, but I feel I was probably limp-wristing with the gun held in one hand and the flashlight in the other. During all two-handed shooting the gun ran perfectly.

The tactical medicine portion of the class was excellent. We were each given a Tac Med Solutions Downed Operator Kit and hands-on work with training versions of its components.

My CERT training in disaster medicine gave me an edge in the surprise force-on-force exercise that followed. This was the first FoF scenario I've ever done that included administering emergency medical care to a victim. It was a very valuable experience, and more training opportunities in this area would be greatly appreciated. And since the syllabus made no mention of a FoF drill, there was no opportunity to mess myself up psych myself out for it ahead of time. Also very valuable.

One thing I'm noticing after training with multiple training providers is how much of their material can conflict. Exposure to a variety of techniques is great, especially with instructors who explain where those techniques came from and why they work, but it makes for some awkward moments when what you're expected to do in class is diametrically oppposed to a technique you've practiced extensively for months or years.

Oh yeah, and nothing makes you feel more like a doorstop in a training class than a fellow student who's an Army Ranger turned police officer.

6 comments:

Kevin said...

I had two different classes that taught pretty different extremely close range draw and move sequences, and drove the instructor of the second class slightly crazy, because I'd revert to the GS 350 one.

It's good to learn new techniques, but yeah, kind of frustrating sometimes. And some of them seem like they are reinventing the wheel as a square so they can have "their" technique.

I should do a tac medicine class someday. I remember a Tactical Response class had a drill where you needed to drag a downed person to cover and it was lot harder and exhausting than I expected.

Anonymous said...

I remember that Massad Ayoob told me that the key to making the most of training that taught differing protocols was to try each suggestion, and adopt those things that worked for your situation.

For example, I took a John Farnam class which required you to shoot with an upraised thumb on the trigger hand. This pulled the web of that hand away from the grip safety on the Government 45 that I was using, causing silence when I needed to send a round downstream. After about 10 failed tries to pass the practical final, John finally duct taped the safety closed, and I was finally able to successfully complete the timed drill to pass the class.

I never shoot with upraised thumbs, and stopped doing that after the class. Never the less, it was instructive to have to teach your body a new technique under the stress of a final exam.

Anonymous said...

you really need to try a lighter recoil spring if you are having one-hand lockback issues with a 1911...like a 15 or 16 pound.

Hecate said...

My bobtail Commander is a custom Wilson Combat based off their Elite Professional model. It's a significant departure from traditional 1911 design, and won't function with anything less than a 22-pound recoil spring.

I just need more one-handed practice.

jthhapkido said...

"I just need more one-handed practice."

Don't we all. :)

Hecate said...

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