The 365 Days of Training project has been going strong for a month, and I’m making some decent progress. I started with a cold three run F.A.S.T. average of 10.60 seconds, and in the last month I had a best three run average of 7.61 seconds. Additionally, I’ve had 5 sub-seven second advanced level scores (6.61, 6.98, 6.51, 6.59, 6.32). However, I haven’t shot it clean (no misses on either the 3×5 card or 8″ circle) in my last eight attempts. I’m not sure if this is due to fatigue or if I’m simply trying too hard to show progress. I suspect that it’s likely a bit of both.
There’s been essentially no change in my IDPA classifier score. I started the month with a 122.65 and I finished with a 125.06. However, I’ve seen a good improvement on The Hackathorn Standards. I started with a 200 and shot a 236 this past weekend. With a little SOM and multiple target work, I should easily achieve IDPA SSP Expert and 250 on the Hack.
Here is a summary of my training so far:
- One training class (AFHF)
- 14 hours
- 1,183 rounds fired
- 8 live fire practice sessions
- 26 hours: ~3.25 hours per session
- 2392 rounds fired: ~300 rounds per session
- 29 dry fire sessions
- 16.5 hours: ~34 minutes per session
- 7327 repetitions: ~253 per session
I’ve been struggling to put some additional observations from the past month into a cogent narrative for the past couple of days. Since I can’t seem to make that happen, here they are in bullet-point form:
- I need a better way to carry my gear to the range. I’m currently using a combination of a backpack, ammo cans, and a bunch of stuff carried loose. It’s a mess and it’s annoying.
- Shooting is easy and fun. Documenting everything is tedious and really slows things down. I’m currently writing everything down in a small notebook at the range and then transcribing the data when I get home. This is inefficient and error prone. I really need to be permanently recording the data at the time of collection. I have some ideas and hope to make this easier soon. More to come…
- I’m glad I purchased all the ammo for this project up front and I don’t have worry about replenishing my supply after a long range session. Of course, I’ve probably also permanently changed my perception of what’s an acceptable quantity of ammo by at least an order of magnitude.
- Speaking of ammo… I sold a bunch of guns in my safe and toys in my garage (think motorcycles) that I never used to fund this project. I only mention this because people have asked.
- Others have said it far better then I can, but I completely agree. Proper press-outs are the key to fast, accurate shooting. This is something that I still need to practice since on the clock I revert to my previous bad form.
- At times in the past month it has seemed that my visual awareness had increased, that I could see things (like pistol sights) faster, as a result of working on the speed/explosiveness of my gross muscle movements and doing lots of dry fire. However, after shooting eight bad F.A.S.T. runs in a row, I’m not so sure.
- During this first month, my training effort has mostly focused on press-outs and increasing the speed of my draw/first shot. There are many more things that I need to work on, but these two seemed to be the most lacking. Over the next several months I expect that my practice sessions will be much more varied and interesting.
- I’ve been to more than a few fairly high round count training classes and I’ve never had a problem with my hands developing blisters or abrading the skin off of my knuckles. I’m surprised at how big a mess my hands have been this past month mostly due to dry firing. They are healing up and I’m developing calluses in all the appropriate places so hopefully this is a thing of the past.
- It was really hard for me to post the videos of myself shooting. I’m not the kind of guy that likes to draw attention to himself. However, having the videos to review has been extremely useful so far. I’ve watched them hundreds of times at 1/4 speed and it’s obvious that what I think I’m doing (or trying to do) isn’t always the same as what I’m actually doing.
- Picking up brass sucks. Picking up brass on gravel really sucks. Using a Brass Wizard, at least indoors, makes it suck substantially less.
This first month has been a lot of work, but I’m enjoying it and my shooting is, at least, a little better. More importantly, I feel better and more confident about my shooting — better than the scores on the standards would indicate. Training everyday (and documenting it) seemed like a very daunting task when I first started. After a few weeks it’s just mildly daunting. I had my doubts in the beginning if I could actually pull this off and practice everyday. While it hasn’t always been easy, this month has proven to me that it’s possible.
If anyone has any questions, comments or suggestions please leave them in the Tom Jones’ Shooting Journal thread on FirearmsTrainingAndTactics.com.