Pay Attention!

8-May-08 – 08:37 by ToddG

Sometimes, being at the range is really frustrating.  Last night, I saw two different instructors teaching new shooters and both instructors were paying absolutely no attention to their students.

  1. Dear Instructor #1:  Your students shouldn’t stand there talking to you while his SIG is loaded, cocked, and his finger is on the trigger with all the slack out.  He definitely should not do that every single time you’re talking for an hour straight.  And you absolutely definitely shouldn’t be putting your hands in front of the muzzle to show him how his sights look while he’s got his finger on a cocked pistol!
  2. Dear Instructor #2:  Wearing an NRA Instructor patch does not impart skill to your students all by itself.  “Cup & saucer” is not an NRA-endorsed technique, so when your student is holding his gun that way, you need to look at him (instead of his target) and correct his technique.  And in case you didn’t catch on from the advice to Instructor #1, please look at the student so you realize he’s got his finger on the trigger whenever the gun is in his hand!

The finger on trigger thing is a real pet peeve of mine.  If you, as an instructor, don’t even notice your student handling the pistol unsafely then exactly what good are you doing?

Train hard & stay safe!  ToddG

  1. 6 Responses to “Pay Attention!”

  2. this is my punishment for procrastination.
    I too have watched too many instructors walk past students, more concerned with where the shots are hitting, than the reason why they are. Not watching trigger fingers or anything else about the shooter, just bullet impacts. But trigger finger observance has just got to be THE MOST IMPORTANT less you can impart on a student. You can break all other fundamental gun rules, and so long as that trigger finger is not on or near the trigger, nothing bad is going to happen. Some people it takes gentle coaching, others you do need to bark a bit. If they are not on target, the finger is not on the trigger, full stop. Some may argue that it’s being too safety “nazi” to police trigger finger placement all the time, everytime. I counter with this. There is no detriment to being aware of your trigger finger, the opposite is not true however. Serious injury or death can result from being careless with just your finger.

    By rob on May 10, 2008

  3. The NRA basic pistol course is a safety course first and foremost. I doubt anyone has ever failed because they couldn’t shoot groups.

    By Ariel on May 12, 2008

  4. Some people shouldn’t have guns…or oxygen :)

    By JLM on May 12, 2008

  5. Watching a target is usually an exercise in frustration and non-productivity when teaching and training students. It’s like watching the end of a movie and wondering how the plot got to that end.

    As an instructor, you must watch the interaction between the student, his hands and the weapon to gain sufficient information to make corrections and suggestions. I probably look like a contortionist at times because I will observe the side views as a student is shooting (with strong preference to the trigger finger side) and will squat and look underneath and will get to the side and watch their eyes work as they use the sights.

    If you’re a serious trainer, you have to get physically and mentally involved and you can’t do that by running your mouth and watching a target…

    By Wayne Dobbs on May 12, 2008

  6. Really great comments, guys! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    By ToddG on May 14, 2008

  7. Try watching the target with binoculars while your “student” is putting them into the dirt 5 feet in front of the target. This appeared to be a family outing on Saturday. The expert trainer was teaching first time shooters (two young ladies). He used binoculars to see where they were (not very often) hitting the target. No technique corrections. I saw him shoot and can understand why. I’m not sure why he thought 15 yards was better than 7 yards for new shooters.

    It was his show, so I didn’t say anything. Well, I did politely mention to grandpa that he really shouldn’t be handling the single six when people were down range. Polite the first time, not as polite the second time.

    By greener on Jun 23, 2008

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