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The Gun Shots
December 11, 2012
Shooting Slam: Graduation Day - 0
by John B. Snow
If Josh Phillips had any pre-game jitters going into the fourth day of the Shooting Slam he did a good job masking them. This final day of the event is graduation day, where we get tested on all we’ve covered by running through a series of complex shooting drills using all the guns we trained on during the week: the Ruger SR9 and SR40, Mossberg’s 930 Pro JM 9 and Rock River Arm’s ATH carbine.
“It’s simulation day,” Mike Hughes, our instructor, said as we arrived in our classroom at the Gunsite campus. We had a tight schedule to keep so after a quick safety brief we set off for our first simulator, the Wash.
Wash and Funhouse
With our pistols loaded with frangible ammunition from Federal, we took turns walking the wash, scanning near to far for targets. The angles and footing were tricky and Mike had set up some of the poppers in devious positions but we knocked them down one by one.
From there we moved to Gunsite’s famous Funhouse, moving through the simulation again with pistols, taking out bad guys in the building while taking care not to shoot unarmed targets.
In addition to solid shooting skills, both pistol sims required tactical problem solving on the move. Which side to you approach a door from? Which way do you turn up a hallway? When do you reload?
The concepts are pretty simple: Keep as much space between you and potential threats as possible. After all, you’re armed and when you have a gun, space is your friend. Don’t reach across doors if you don’t have to—stick to the side that gives you the best concealment. Choose a line of motion that doesn’t get you stuck without means of backing out. And don’t stand in the open when there’s cover or concealment near by.
“That was a lot of fun,” Josh said. “Any time you get to get your competitive juices flowing that’s good thing. It’s different with a timer going off than just having an an instructor telling you to go. That timer kicks you into gear.”
One key that Mike emphasized, which is good advice for any timed shooting drill, is to start to get your gun up as soon as you approach the target. Don’t wait to get into position and then raise the gun. Start getting your gun on target as soon as it becomes visible. This saves seconds and makes you shoot better.
I could tell at this point Josh was hooked. “That was awesome,” he said. “There’s a lot to think about because you’re not just doing one thing. Am I going to shoot first and reload later or reload first and shoot later? It’s neat that you get to think outside the box. It requires strategic thinking. I like the mental game.”
After spending four days with Josh, I have to say the Shooting Slam grand prize couldn’t have gone to a more worthy person.