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But remain open to changes along the way. Not only do techniques and tactics change, but students often find their personal goals change as they learn. Do not put blinders on and say, “I only want to learn XYZ.” Similarly, instructors should recognize not all students have the same goals and not all students will fit the instruction they are offering.
As an instructor for the past 25+ years, I continually remind myself to not fall into the trap of “This is what I am teaching and it is good, therefore it is what you need.” The best basket-weaving instruction in the world is wasted on the student hoping to get better at bowling. I also remind myself that NO instruction is the do all and end all. EVER. Any instructor that tells a student, “Forget everything else you’ve ever learned…” is doing their student a huge disservice.
All training has value, as long as you remember some basic truths:
1. Have a goal. Know what you are hoping to achieve (or at least keep an open mind until you figure it out) and seek out training that supports your desired result. Don’t fall into the trap of “Well, at least it is trigger time.” Practicing driving around the neighborhood will never make someone a skilled race car driver.
2. Practice well. Whenever you train, do not forget the basics and be sure you practice good skills. Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. Poor practice reinforces poor skills.
3. Push yourself. If you find yourself excelling without fail, push harder. To the point of failure. Then figure out what to do to avoid that failure. Lather, rinse, repeat. As a competitive snow skier in my youth, I learned quickly that falling was merely a sign I was growing and pushing my skills.
4. Have fun! If training is miserable, your mind will fight retaining anything learned. Sometimes the skills we need to focus on can be routine and boring. We need to add elements to our training that keep us enjoying the task at hand or risk becoming disheartened at the mere prospect of training.
I enjoy teaching. I hope I always do. I enjoy teaching as much as I think the students I have had the pleasure to teach over the years have enjoyed learning. I hope the universe continues to allow me the opportunity to teach for a long time to come.
Kent Morrison is the owner of BSG Security, a Firearms and Security Instructor and a 16-year veteran of the United States Navy.
Pay Attention! by Carrin Welch
As a kid, my dad told me to walk with my head up, always look around and act like I wasn’t scared. That advice served me well for most of my life. I have lived, worked and traveled in a number of places that were beyond sketchy. Luckily, the attitude my dad instilled in me worked. Since becoming a part of the Sure Shots, through various self defense classes and other training, I’ve developed many skills to actually back up that attitude. While I may not be 100% prepared for every situation (no one is), I feel more confident than I ever have before. But the truth is, all the training I’ve been through has focused on those basic principles my dad gave me years ago.
Last year, around the holidays, I was in a parking lot, trying to figure out where I needed to go next. Even though I was in my car and the doors were locked, I was keeping an eye on my surroundings (just because you are in your car doesn’t mean you should let your guard down). I noticed a woman walking to her car. She was carrying some bags, had keys dangling from one hand and her phone in the other. All of her attention was focused squarely on her phone, and she didn’t notice the guy walking behind her about 20ft. He might not have been following her, maybe he was just walking to his car too and had no malicious intent. However, when I turned my lights on he looked at me, sped up and walked past her. The woman never even noticed.
It brought home the point that every situation requires attention. It’s easy to get lazy in comfortable situations, like going to your neighborhood grocery store, or stopping for gas. No text message, email, or Facebook post is more important than your safety. It can wait. With your head up you keep your peripheral vision in play, you can make eye contact, or spot a potentially unsafe situation and avoid it all together. Being aware and looking confident makes you less attractive to would-be criminals.
It doesn’t cost anything to pay attention to your surroundings, but if you don’t, it could.
5 Steels in 5 seconds
by Jenna Hubbard
Ever since the Sure Shots started to regularly compete in local IDPA and Steel Challenge matches, I rarely missed one, and everyone is surprised by my high rankings every time. They always want to know how it's possible, since I've only been shooting less than two years.
My first real experience with shooting was joining the Austin Sure Shots at the debut of the North Chapter. I had shot a rifle or two with my dad and grandfather as a kid but never really showed any true interest in it. After my first few shots on the range at Red’s, I was hooked! The initial adrenaline rush and the empowerment and confidence that ensued opened my eyes to a world that I instantly realized I wanted to be a part of. I jumped in with both feet and haven’t looked back since!
I take as many training classes as I can, to date I have attended 4 pistol classes and 2 carbine classes, not to mention defensive tactics classes and instructor certification classes. I try and soak up as much knowledge and experience as I can get myself exposed to. I subscribe to Julie Golob’s blog and have read her book, SHOOT, several times. (She’s a fantastic role model for any women that would like to get involved in the shooting sports) I pick up as many magazines and books that I can find, my current read is the Ultimate Gunfighter’s Handbook. And when I’m not reading a new book or watching an episode of Shooting USA, I’m dry-firing or practicing my holster draw. The current ammo shortage has really made me focus more on my dry-firing, and boy, it’s helped me tons!
Another great source of experience and information is competition, like IDPA, Steel Challenge, IPSC, etc. I have found that other shooters are more than happy to answer questions about their guns, holsters and gear. They’ll show you what works best for them, what hasn’t worked, and what you can expect as a new shooter. There’s no better way to find out what you skills you need to work on than getting out there and competing! Just be safe, relax and have fun!
AR-15 Build Project
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We all started out purchasing our lowers (back when lowers were actually available!). We set up certain classroom dates to assemble our lowers. We took the time and each selected the exact look, style and components we wanted. A couple months later we regrouped to assemble our uppers—we were taking it slow so that each of us could spend some time researching parts to determine what was right for us. The difference between what each the girls wanted and liked was very exciting, and the options seemed endless! We set up a group on Facebook to discuss everything “AR-15”, and to answer questions the girls may have along the way. By November, the first few were completed, and they were AWESOME! One by one, that first group of ladies completed their rifles… and some have even started their next project! Currently, we have a handful of new Sure Shots working on their own ARs—of course, now that parts are so hard to find, it's a little shower going than it was for us in 2011—but these girls are determined to assemble them exactly how they want and get out and shoot!
We'll be featuring a rifle from the Sure Shots AR-15 Build Project in each issue. Here's Sure Shot Dawn's build. Meet The Black Widow!
Black Widow specs:
• Spikes Tactical Lower
• Rock River Arms Parts kit; Two stage trigger
• VLTOR IMod 6 position stock
• Stag Arms 3L complete upper (Lefty) w/Diamond Head Rails
• BCM Gunfighter Ambi Charging Handle
• Trijicon Accupoint 3-9 x 40 green dot scope
• Burris PEPR Quick Release Scope Mount
• Troy folding front sight (waiting on rear sight)