Advanced rifle final passthrough drill

| August 25, 2014 | 0 Comments

I advocate filming yourself during fight-focused firearms training for many reasons.

Training is a physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing experience. The objective eye of the camera will help you go back and see what you did right and wrong long after the class is over.

This was especially obvious to me when reviewing my footage of the final drill of the day at this month’s Advanced Rifle Class held by QSI Training.

I had several high points during the class, including my performance in the hostage rescue drill, immediate threat drill, 100 round drill stress test, and shooting from cover. My .300 Blackout AR15 pistol was also performing well, as were my handloads.

So, when I did the final drill of the day I knew I had some stuff to work on, but the magnitude of how much I had to work on was not apparent at the time. I was too amped up on the earlier success of the day.

As you will see here, those good vibes obscured my ability to put it all together at the end of the day.

The drill

  1. Move and engage a target at about 50 yards.
  2. Run forward to cover and shoot one target from a military prone (completely flat) position. Approximately 40 yards.
  3. Run forward to cover 30 – 35 yards away and shoot two targets, one on each side. The use of a rollover prone or crouching position was advised. My personal goal was to not expose any part of my body until I needed to make the shot.
  4. Run laterally to cover and shoot two targets, one on each side. This cover was shorter and smaller than the first, so I made sure I stayed flat until I needed to shoot, and wound up shooting from the fetal position.
  5. Run back to cover and shoot one target out of the hole dictated by the instructor. Approximately 40 yards.
  6. Situation assessment.

The total round count should be 14 rounds. We’d been doing all of this stuff all day, so putting it together at the end should be easy, right?

The wheels come off

I have a lot of work to do. I fired 24 rounds total, had a misfire (tap rack bang cleared it) and an extended malfunction. I transitioned to pistol to hit the targets 30 yards away, which bought me time to get my rifle back up but also resulted in more misses.

I started out well, successfully engaging the first two stages without difficulty. I had a miss at the right hand side of the third station, and remembered (correctly) to change my levels before I attempted my next string of two shots.

After that I’m a case study in why we all need more trigger time.

Things I’ll work on for next class:

  • Figuring out why my AR pistol malfunctions when held on its left side at 45 degrees. When upright the pistol was fine. When completely flat (90 degrees) it was fine. 30 – 45 degrees? Extended malfunction. The instructors keep telling me my dust cover spring is improperly installed, and my primary instructor reviewed my footage and stated that my right thumb might be┬ápartially obstructing the ejection port when I shoot left handed.
  • Better pistol marksmanship at 25+ yards. I need to work on my fundamentals, because at that distance any little flinch or poor trigger discipline will result in a miss.
  • Controlling the flinch impulse. As much as I love the portability of my 6.75″ barreled AR15, the muzzle blast gets to me. I just need to shoot more often and not be afraid. I have a long, difficult relationship with flinching due to poor habits and my experience with my Glock 27.
  • Slow down. I feel like I need to slow down to be more mentally prepared to shoot before I get into position.
  • Speed up. This is something that isn’t going to happen any time soon due to the stuff above, but eventually I hope to lessen the time I spent in between shots.

Don’t give up

I’m writing this for me, but maybe it will apply to you some day.

Don’t give up.

Do more work with rifles.

As civilian students of fight-focused training, we do far more work with handguns than we do with any other platform. I believe that we should be concentrating on rifles, but most facilities (and student desires) lend themselves to handgun training.

I can’t even estimate how much more experience I have shooting a handgun than a rifle, and I still need improvement with my pistol work. It is important to be critical of one’s performance, but also be realistic: I’m not going to shoot a rifle with the same speed and accuracy I do with a pistol.

Next year I am going to try to even out my ratio of training between handguns and rifles. I need more practice.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.
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