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Posted: 2/8/2006 7:13:11 AM EDT
Everyone that I have ever met or talked to that has sought out formal training or competed with their AR in one way or another has come back with lessons learned about gear or technique that they never would have picked up otherwise. Training and competing put you under much different conditions than sitting at the bench at your local 100 yard range and plinking away.

So, what have you learned? It could be a gear lesson (i.e. "single point slings just don't work for me") or it could be a technique lesson (i.e. "I shoot much better with my collapsible stock on position 2").

For me I have learned that I shoot better with the stock in further. When standing bladed at the static range I always ran the stock all the way out. But when I started shooting on the move, engaging multiple targets, etc. I discovered that it was much better to be squared off to the target. It gave me more room to swivel on my hips and made it easier to shoot on the move. In order to do this I had to move the stock in closer to get a comfortable grip on the magwell and maintain my eye relief.

I also learned that taclights on the starboard side of the rail aren't optimal for me. Reaching under the rail with my thumb puts my hand at an awkward angle when shooting and moving, and having the light on the port side of the rail eliminates this problem. This has caused me to change the type of light/mount from what I was using previously.

Let's hear yours.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 7:33:17 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 7:38:27 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/8/2006 7:43:03 AM EDT by Stickman]
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 7:49:30 AM EDT
Physical training is what my weakest point is. Beyond trigger time, MY weakened body structure and vascular system need improvement .
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 8:08:17 AM EDT
I am glad I have a background in both HIgh power and close quarter shooting. There is no substitute for repitition. Take what you learn from different sources and build the system that suits your needs.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 8:11:45 AM EDT
Anything under 40 yards, I can hit much faster and just as accuratly with a pistol. This is multiplied ten fold while moving.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 8:13:14 AM EDT
Learned leave it up to those that get paid.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 8:17:42 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 8:19:25 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Aimless:
Well this is a little more basic than your comments but:
My generic carbine is more accurate than I am. My doodles about Noveske barrelled, vltor stocked wonderguns are fun, but what I already have is more accurate than my skills for most practical shooting.




That is a very good and valid point. We regularly have guys come out with bone-stock A2 carbines that finish first, and one of our AK shooters frequently finishes in the top 5. Pretty humbling to the guy that has $2k invested in gear.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 8:28:15 AM EDT
My training is limited to firearms training from a city I used to work for, CCW qualification, and two trips to Blackwater USA at this point, though much more is coming from my future job later this year.

Things I've learned:

1. Single-Point slings are the best for me. They're the most manueverable and they're not that hard to control, with practice.

2. I shoot my M4gery with the stock fully extended, so that I can easily adapt to shooting a fixed-stock weapon (M16) should I have the need, and have basically the same eye relief. I don't shoot NTCH.

3. Belt mounted magazine pouches are the easiest/most comfortable devices to facilitate reloads/carrying gear. I avoid chest rigs except for times when more than four rifle mags need to be carried. When I wear my chest rig (like the TT MAV), I have all but one extra magazine on my left side, and other gear/tools on my right, again, to facilitate a faster reload.

4. I learned that I don't like vertical foregrips. Personal preference.

5. I learned that I don't need a lot of the "cool" stuff out there. So, I try to keep the weight down as much as possible.

6. I learned that I'm very good at shooting with just irons, even at night. However, optics (such as my EOTech) are even quicker, and that is especially evidenced at night shooting, regardless of whether I have my flashlight on or not.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 8:36:36 AM EDT
tag for later
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 8:50:17 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/8/2006 8:51:25 AM EDT by markm]
1. Simple is better. - The guys with Fancy optics will not shoot any better or faster than Us Iron sighters. Plus, I've never had an instructor with an optic on his duty weapon. Shit loads of Magpul Crap and Rails is NO substitute for BRAINCELL ACTIVITY!!

2. Don't get hung up on MALFs - If for whatever reason your gun goes down, TRANSITION!!!!
Don't spend 3 minutes trying to clear/diagnose a stoppage. (this didn't happen to me, but I've seen it)
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 8:51:32 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 8:57:50 AM EDT
Tag for later, but off the top of my head:

- I don't like VFG's. I ended up just grabbing the magazine well up close and otherwise keeping my hand on the handguard. That and I really popped myself in the junk with the VFG once...

- I really like my EoTech. I can (and have) hit moving targets at 300 yards, and stationary targets out to 800, once I figured out where to hold.

- I almost keep my stock (RRA 6-pos) one click in from all the way out, except when stretching out for a long shot, when I'll take it all the way out. Otherwise, 1 click does it for 99% of the time.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 8:58:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/8/2006 9:07:13 AM EDT by Aimless]
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:01:02 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Aimless:
I've never seen anyone shoot as fast with iron sights as they can with an aimpoint or eotech.




+1, and there is a thread for the discussion of that specific issue that I've seen recently.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:18:16 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Aimless:

I've never seen anyone shoot as fast with iron sights as they can with an aimpoint or eotech.




At what ranges? CQB? Out to the 50? or ALL ranges?
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:29:17 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:42:07 AM EDT
1)I learned that full auto is next to worthless.

2)I learned that I need alot more practice with reloads and transitions.

3)I also discovered that with practice and good trigger control I can shoot nearly as good offhand as I can in the prone.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:48:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By new-arguy:
If you cant manipulate your gun or gear without having to think much about it, it will screw you up no matter how good of a shot you may be able to make.



Well put. My guns run too reliably so when I do encounter a problem I had a hahbit of trying to diagnose the problem rather than just clear it and press on. I learned that in class when on the line, so I know I need to work on malfunction clearance drills.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:48:35 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/8/2006 9:57:33 AM EDT by photoman]

Originally Posted By H-barCarbine:
Anything under 40 yards, I can hit much faster and just as accuratly with a pistol. This is multiplied ten fold while moving.



For some reason I don't buy that. But hey some folks are good like that I guess. 25 and under I can easily see but out to 40 I don't know...

I'm still more accurate even at 7 yards with a rifle then with a pistol personaly, but I still practice at all ranges out to around 30-40 yards with the pistol on occasion, but generaly for me, anything from contact to as far as I can see the target is rifle ranges. The pistol is great for if the rifle goes down and the target is inside of say 30 yards. Anything more I'd rather take the time to clear the jam or whatever and get the rifle back up and running.



Edited because I freaking hit submit by accident.

Link Posted: 2/8/2006 9:53:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By photoman:

Originally Posted By H-barCarbine:
Anything under 40 yards, I can hit much faster and just as accuratly with a pistol. This is multiplied ten fold while moving.



For some reason I don't buy that.

I've been competing in USPSA for a long time and don't buy it for a second. 40 FEET is a long shot with a pistol I'd prefer to have a rifle at any range over 2 yards.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 10:32:02 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/8/2006 10:35:09 AM EDT by photoman]
Supose I should add my stuff too. So in no particular order.

If you don't put in the time after class to work the skills you have learned, your just wasting your time and money and a spot in the class that someone else who is more serious about it then you are could have had.

Having a "crew" that you train with is a good thing. Especially when you get together with that crew outside of classes to work on the stuff you learn in class.

Unless the weather is severe, there is no reason not to train in the rain/snow/heat whatever. If you carry a gun in those conditions, train in those conditions too becuase handeling a gun when it's 32 and windy is nothing like doing it when it's 68 and sunny.

I no longer have issues with the glock grip angle.

Rail covers are your friend, if you don't use them the class medic might have to bandage up yer wrist where you cut it on the rails doing a devil's drill(ask me how I know)

Three point slings are great on a 16in carbine, but I don't really like them on an 11.5in barreled SBR.

You can make some damn good friends at classes.

I didn't know as much as I thought I did, and I don't know half of what I want to know yet.

I don't like vertical grips on 16in barreled guns and love them on 11.5in barreled guns

I'd rather spend my time and ammo on working drills then randomly plinking at shit. well execpt at NFA shoots are good times and places to just blow ammo on "fun" not that working drills isn't fun.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 10:38:08 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 10:58:33 AM EDT
2 man team shooting drills help break up the "range mentality" and get you to break tunnel vision a little bit.

Some instructors will shun team drills because you aren't on a SWAT team or some shit, but there actually is value in working with another shooter. It keeps you looking around at your surroundings and such!
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 11:05:40 AM EDT
I learned that I need more training
...each and every time I train and compete.



Link Posted: 2/8/2006 11:15:36 AM EDT
Hey MarkM, do you use anything for night shooting with your irons? I mean like do you have a tritium dot on there or do you just use a light?

Link Posted: 2/8/2006 11:27:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By rob78:
I learned that I need more training
...each and every time I train and compete.






+1

Excellent thread BTW
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 11:39:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By JJREA:
Hey MarkM, do you use anything for night shooting with your irons? I mean like do you have a tritium dot on there or do you just use a light?




Just a light!

I don't think any of the students in any of my night shoot had any tritium. One of the SWAT dudes from the Sheriff's Office suggested puting the light far enough back that the beam would actually illuminate the front sight a little. But I have found that the light splashing back off of the target blacks out the front sight enough to get good sight pictures.

Link Posted: 2/8/2006 12:10:26 PM EDT
I learned that I need to slow the hell down. I can only be fast or accurate at this stage, and trying to be both turns my runs into text book ("You can't miss fast enough to win.") Clint-isms.

Cheers
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 12:26:00 PM EDT
Not so much training but training and application

1. Shoot from uncomfortable and varied positions, you will be forced to when you need to shoot from behind cover.

2. Lots of repetitions or the shooter reverts to his KD techniques.

3. Gear if you know how to use it is a force multiplier. Conversely allot of guys buys stuff because it looks cool but don't know how it works.

4. People take things more serious after they have seen their first KIA, hopefully its a E-KIA and not a F-KIA

5. You will approximate your training performance, but not really equal it when you are doing it under the stress of combat.

6. In the civilian world we have the luxury of how things occur, however troops don't have that luxury.

7. Don't be afraid to suppress sometimes, only hits count forgets bullets are cheap our men's lives aren't.

8. It's better to have a few cases of collateral damage than to write allot of letters home explaining why we didn't use enough fire power.

9. The enemy will attack at his convenience, in most cases they will have the drop on you and you must be faster than he is.

10. When attack be ruthless in the attack and don't let up until the threat has gone away.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 12:41:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By STLRN:
Not so much training but training and application

1. Shoot from uncomfortable and varied positions, you will be forced to when you need to shoot from behind cover.

2. Lots of repetitions or the shooter reverts to his KD techniques.

3. Gear if you know how to use it is a force multiplier. Conversely allot of guys buys stuff because it looks cool but don't know how it works.

4. People take things more serious after they have seen their first KIA, hopefully its a E-KIA and not a F-KIA

5. You will approximate your training performance, but not really equal it when you are doing it under the stress of combat.

6. In the civilian world we have the luxury of how things occur, however troops don't have that luxury.

7. Don't be afraid to suppress sometimes, only hits count forgets bullets are cheap our men's lives aren't.

8. It's better to have a few cases of collateral damage than to write allot of letters home explaining why we didn't use enough fire power.

9. The enemy will attack at his convenience, in most cases they will have the drop on you and you must be faster than he is.

10. When attack be ruthless in the attack and don't let up until the threat has gone away.



For all us civis, these two are important to remeber and are not just a reality for .mil/LE guys and gals.


Good post STLRN
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 1:08:55 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/8/2006 1:10:52 PM EDT by AShooter]
Things I've learned in competition and training that I think would be equally applicable to fighting are:

1) A good shooter with a plain-jane A2 will almost always kick the ass of a mediocre shooter with all the bells and whistles.... BUT, the good shooter with all the bells and whistles becomes a better shooter... unless the bells and whistles are too heavy or cumbersome.

2) Shooting in the dark is a whole different thing than shooting in the daylight.

3) A 3-point sling is a lot better for carrying a rifle on a long hike, but a single-point is a lot better for fighting.

4) Everything you normally do standing up, you need to learn how to do lying down (and vice-versa)

5) Everything you normally do right-handed, you need to learn how to do left-handed (and vice-versa)

6) You can be fast and lose, and you can be accurate and lose... you have to learn to be both at the same time.

7) The smallest amount of gear you can get away with is usually best.

And the last thing is that any equipment like mag pouches, slings, holsters, sights, lights, etc are all very subjective as far as being a help or a hinderance. You have to try it out and really use it before you find out if it works for you or not. Kinda like buying a pair of boots - if you live in Texas and walk 200 miles per year in them, you need something different from an ice fisherman in Minnisota who walks 2 miles a year in them.

Link Posted: 2/8/2006 1:23:28 PM EDT
What I learned from my Tactical Response class:

1 My TA31F is better suited for my A4gery rather then my M4gery. That might not be true for everyone, but I found myself looking over my ACOG in order to pick up targets under 15 yards. When my instructor(James Yeager) pointed this out to me I tried doing some drills without it and found it to be much quicker. I think I will look into either an Aimpoint or an Eotech when my tax refund comes in.

2 I need a good pair of gloves. The palm of my left hand was killing me after hitting the bolt release time after time and seating my magazines. Also, my right middle finger got pretty tore up, didn't really notice it until later though.

3 Magpuls work, made extracting magazines from my chest rig alot easier.

4 Mag Lulas work.

5 Ammo is cheap, your life is not. If you bring a 1000 rounds, hell, shoot 1000 rounds.

I could go on and on, but I learned alot and hope that I get the chance to take as many classes as I can afford.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 2:03:54 PM EDT
A few things I have found out:

For tactical courses. Keep it as simple as possible(Leave the Internet warrior shiet at home) Now My rifle is just a Colt light weight carbine with the M4 ramps. Only additions are an Extended mount that puts the Eotech in front of the carry handle, and a Magpul followers in all the mags.

For Precision shooting. Learn the ballistics and reload, and dont buy into what people posts on the internet but find the gear and methods that works for you. There is no replacement for trigger time. And dry fire from seated and prone positions.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 2:56:39 PM EDT
On a hot day:

1. If you're a magwell holder and put a couple hundred rounds through a carbine in short order, the barrel nut gets hot. Hot enough where magwell hold wasn't possible. Gloves or FVG were a must on that day.

2. When training in extreme hot temperatures, drink alot of water, I mean ALOT. If you're sweating and not pissing, your headed for deep trouble. If your family history, diet, etc. makes you prone to kidney stones, one hot training day like this can put you down for a week.

3. Nothing will replace trigger time to make you a better shooter.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 3:07:49 PM EDT
I have learned the following...

1. I can't shoot worth a crap.
2. I run out of ammo very quickly.
3. After I run a few hundred yards, I still can't shoot worth a crap.
4. If the targets were shooting back, I would have been dead a long time ago.

But on a positive note I have learned.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 3:21:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By markm:
2 man team shooting drills help break up the "range mentality" and get you to break tunnel vision a little bit.

Some instructors will shun team drills because you aren't on a SWAT team or some shit, but there actually is value in working with another shooter. It keeps you looking around at your surroundings and such!



Excellent point.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 3:30:15 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wirebrush:

3)I also discovered that with practice and good trigger control I can shoot nearly as good offhand as I can in the prone.




At what ranges? At over 150 yards my offhand isnt very accurate while target shooting.



I've learned when im aiming if its at person or an animal im hunting I can hold my sites on emm perfect , my nerves just shut down and im steady.

When im aimin at a target im not as steady as I'd like to be.


Not really anything useful I've learned but its something I've noticed thats a little wierd.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 3:30:57 PM EDT
While I believe in a tool for every situation, I don't run my guns with everything on them.

I used to think that I had to put everything I could on the rifle so that I was a "jack of all trades". But now all I keep on the gun during shooting drills is the optic and light.

Sure it's good to have a bipod just in case, but training with it on is a waste of time for a carbine drill.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 3:33:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/8/2006 3:35:52 PM EDT by Orange_Neck]
I practice on have the same cheek weld, same contact point on the trigger finger, same hold, and same breathing pattern for each shooting position.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 3:36:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/8/2006 3:38:46 PM EDT by Combat_Jack]
Guns break and guns malfunction. Deal with it.

Don't let your gun run dry. Most shooters empty the gun, then reload it from lock. Don't be that guy. You will owe the firing line a lot of booze.

Shooting is self control. Trigger control, timing, practice, etc. is all a function of self control.

When it is time to shoot, shoot. Don't be daydreaming about anything, don't be worrying about what the other guy is doing. A clear mind shoots faster and more accurately.

Don't go too fast. Take the time, make the hits. The guy who gets the first round of is the first guy to make noise. The guy who makes the first hit is almost certainly the winner.

Perfection is the enemy of good enough, and vice versa. Figure out if you need speed or accuracy, preferably before the event, and then do it.

A 2 MOA carbine shoots better than me 90% of the time. That doesnt mean I would pass up a 1 MOA carbine!

Aggression wins.

There are no advanced shooting techniques, just basics applied smoother and faster.

Learn your Immediate Action Drills. Hicks Law says that each extra one you learn for the same problem slows down your solution. So learn as few as possible to cover every possibility, and learn them well. Learn to transition without hesitation.

If you find yourself squared up to the urinal, with 80% of your weight on the balls of your feet, you are doing well....

Weaver, Isoceles.....whatever works.

Gunfights start and end before you know it, and FoF is the best verification of what you know and what you need to learn, short of the real thing (which I've not experienced).

Generally there are two ways to do things. The easy way, and the right way.

If you hurt yourself, get brass down your shirt, whatever, keep fighting. You don't want to train yourself to stop when you feel pain or see your own blood.

5.56mm is loud indoors, but if you are focused on what you are doing you wont know it hurt till you are done.

Don't get lazy. The FIRST TIME you don't look under a desk, in a fridge, through a window, etc. is the day there is a role player or target there. I am told it is just that way in real life too.

Shooting is easy. Manipulations are harder--but the hardest is tactics. Without skill at those three, plus mindset, you might as well be unarmed.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 3:38:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FL-AR15:
I have learned the following...

1. I can't shoot worth a crap.
2. I run out of ammo very quickly.
3. After I run a few hundred yards, I still can't shoot worth a crap.
4. If the targets were shooting back, I would have been dead a long time ago.

But on a positive note I have learned.



lol.... sounds like what I would be...
jim
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 3:49:40 PM EDT
Couple of other things I just thought of:

1) Competition is good, but you can easily develop bad habits that could get you killed in a gunfight, such as not fighting through malfunctions due to safety concerns, range rules, or a "game" mindset.

2) I usually score in the top 3 or 4 shooters in the competitions I go to, and the better I've gotten over the years, the more I realize how much I hope I NEVER have to do it for real. An individual in a gunfight (without backup) is very likely to get holes put in him, no matter how good a shooter he is.

Link Posted: 2/8/2006 3:50:20 PM EDT
Slow is Fast.....Fast is Smooth.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 3:59:09 PM EDT
A target is never too close or too big to miss, and you can't miss fast enough.

Link Posted: 2/8/2006 4:22:28 PM EDT
What I've learned form competing and training is you what things that are simple and easy.
You learn real fast that certian types of gear might look cool but fall apart under competion or take for every to get mags out off.
One area that I think "tactical Jacks" discount about competing is stress I guy that can hit a 4x5 card at 20yards at the range can't hit a man sized target at 3ft under the stress of a timer, let alone adding movement and a couple reloads to the stage, then comes the "its not real life" that might be true but the stress is very real.
How we deal with stress is what you learn to really deal with in competion, training is the motor stills you partice with little stress so you will just do the action and not really think about it.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 4:30:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/8/2006 4:31:40 PM EDT by magnum_99]
Never quit. It's too easy to get hung up on "my gun is down, what do I do now?" Get it running, do whatever it takes, and get to or stay under cover doing it. Transition if you have to, but don't spend forever on getting your rifle working again. But no matter what, don't quit.

Tunnel vision is real. Practice breaking out of target fixation.

Know your close range zeros. A rifle (AR15 especially) sighted in at 50 yards will shoot low at 5 yards--you must aim high to hit that small "A" zone in the head.

Don't panic--see number 1--and don't take it too seriously. Sure, you are training for serious encounters, but too much pressure on yourself will make you fail, and will train you to get too excited for the real deal--you'll already by plenty excited if you have to go for real. Stay calm and don't just think, but ACT. Even doing the wrong thing is almost always doing nothing. Dont' be too concerned with following the course of fire. Sure, you need to run the stage as it's set up, but if you go out of order, just keep going, make sure to get your hits, and chalk it up to the ever fluid battlefield.

And, slow down. You will be going faster than you think anyway.

Front sight, front sight, front sight. Say it like a mantra.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 4:31:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Forest:

Originally Posted By new-arguy:
If you cant manipulate your gun or gear without having to think much about it, it will screw you up no matter how good of a shot you may be able to make.



Well put. My guns run too reliably so when I do encounter a problem I had a hahbit of trying to diagnose the problem rather than just clear it and press on. I learned that in class when on the line, so I know I need to work on malfunction clearance drills.



If the situation warrants it, as said early transistion to your HG. Then clear the malfunction later. This is not to say malfunction clearance drills are not necesary & mandatory, just situation specific.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 4:33:17 PM EDT
Also, tap, rack, trigger (bang hopefully) will clear almost all malfunctions.

Start there. Don't diagnose. Just do it.

If it still doesn't work the second time, transition.

Just don't quit and look down at it like it's going to talk to you.
Link Posted: 2/8/2006 4:55:36 PM EDT
Bring gear that works, that you have used before. No reason to bring a gun that pukes. No reason to try new ammo for the first time at a match to find it won't cycle. No reason to try 5 dollar gunshow mags for the first time at a class.

Blue Loc-Tite everything.

Know your zeros. It's funny to watch someone run half a mag at a 300 yd target, but after that it gets kind of sad. Don't depress your squadmates.

Hang as little crap off your AR as possible.

Aim.
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