Day 2 of Mike Seeklander’s class is now over and we are all just smoked. I fired right around 1000 rounds today bringing the total round count for the class to right around 1300. Not a bad day’s work at the range. Looking back over my notebook I realized that I only took about a page and a half of notes since we doing so much shooting. And if we weren’t shooting we will loading mags while the other half of the class was shooting. But most of the items that did make it into my logbook were true gems of knowledge that Mike bestowed upon me such as:
- Why do I always shoot poorly on the first stage or two durning a match
- I need to add just a little bit of bend in my elbows to dramatically reduce recoil
- Why I’ll occasionally throw a shot low
- Taught me a new strong/weak hand grip that actually works
- Knowing how far I can reliably shoot while moving and get A zone hits
His diagnosis was spot on and helped me with a great deal of vexing little things that I just could not figure out on my own. Now back to the garage for many, many hours of dryfire to fix my training scars.
I probably did more support hand shooting on Day 2 than I’ve done in my life. For some reason I just have a major issue with support hand shooting. Strong hand, not fast but no problems, support hand, consistant 5 o’clock hits. Mike did show us a better grip and body position that brings me back on target if I can just remember to do all the little things he showed me. We worked on the draw and transfer as well as reloading while shooting stages with strong/weak hand requirements. Note to self, you’ve got some work to do here.
Day two also focused on moving skills, lots of them. Moving and shooting forward and backward, then shooting while walking “figure 8′s” around a couple of barrels. We also learned how to move with a gun when not shooting. For example, when you need to move to the next shooting position behind you, what is the fastest and safest way to get there? What if you’re moving backwards to the left or right? And if there is a mag change? Or running to the left or right? When should I let go of the gun with both hands or when is better to keep the grip? All of these little things add up quick and now I know.
We covered so much material and shooting drills it’s hard to recall of them, but his X drills were probably my favorite. Mike said if he was on a desert island with a million rounds of ammo this is the one drill he would do. There are many variations on it but the crux of it is you have two USPSA targets and you draw, shoot one, then move to the next and shoot, then back, rinse and repeat. Some times you would start on the body, sometimes the head. Maybe you’d have a reload in there or would be firing different combinations or rounds counts. But however you do it, it’s a scream. There are a bunch of the listed in the live fire section of his book so you can see look them up and get a better understanding of what the drills look like. For the first time of the day I felt that I really came online and was seeing my sights track and calling my shots. I was really tearing through them after a litte warm up and wished that I always shot like this!
So after two days and 1300 shots fired the reflection period begins. What did I learn? What changes do I need to make? What next? I think Mike said it best during the after class debrief he said that we shouldn’t expect to shoot any better now than we did when we showed up. We haven’t put in our time on the drills yet or followed the training outline in the book. But I think he setup a good foundation to train upon as well as helped diagnose issues that have been holding us back. For me I know I have many long boring hours of dryfire ahead of my to relearn my basics properly but I’m looking forward to the dividends that I know it’ll pay come match day.
As far as epiphanies go, I gleaned a few from his book and his class that have already made a huge difference for me. First, separate moving speed and shooting speed as they are not tied together. Ever seen someone draw like lighting and put hits on a 3 yard target then see them draw like my arthritic grandmother for a 25 yard hit? The draw speed should always be the same. Move fast, shoot in control.
Secondly, read you sights. Sounds simple enough, but they will really answer all of your questions. If you’re seeing your sights and shooting with a proper sight picture, you are doing it right. If not, you’re doing wrong or pushing too fast. This simple concept totally eliminated the problem I used to have where you’d shoot well during practice then get on a squad of GMs that just blaze through the stage. You’d just automatically go there speed, after all, they got their hits so why wouldn’t I? If you’re seeing your sights, everything else is irrelevant. This takes discipline. See the next paragraph.
Lastly, when it comes to visual patience, perception is NOT reality. Stop and re-read that last line a few more times. When the clock starts and I draw on a target and I’m waiting for the sights to settle so I can start the firing cycle, it seems like an eternity. Note that I said seems. Although it your brain is screaming at your finger to fire the gun, if you have visual patience and let the sights get to where they need to be to get your hits, the timer difference is almost imperceivable. The difference between an A zone hit and a D or even a miss is so small I’d be a fool not to wait for the sights to settle. I’ve proven this out in practice many times now it holds true. It’s so easy to do, but it’s even easier not to do so practice this every time you shoot. Again, once you know, it’s all about discipline.
So let me get off my soap box and wrap up here with a few final thoughts. I know I mention a couple of times that we were all just smoked at the conclusion of each day, but that isn’t a bad thing. The class was great and everyone had a great time. In fact we were all already throwing dates out when we could try to get him out again. If you’re looking for a training program get Mike’s book. If you’re looking for training, call Mike. Both were money well spent.