The following are some thoughts I would like to share based on traveling the world while training various military, law enforcement and civilian personnel in pistol and carbine marksmanship. Some of you may agree, some may disagree, but my goal is to really get you thinking about what I said when you’re done reading this.
Muzzle brakes are great in a three gun match, but almost completely worthless in the real world. If you ever need to use your carbine while in confined spaces, as part of a tactical entry team, or during nighttime fighting, then you have no business putting one of these on your gun. Period. If you just go to a class and pound a bunch of rounds down range trying to look cool then it is tailor-made for you. So are Ronald McDonald shoes.
Electronic Hearing Protection
I honestly still have people show up to classes without electronic ear protection if you can believe that. This creates a borderline dangerous situation as you have a student who isn't hearing half of what the instructor is saying. Bottom line: if you can't afford good electronic hearing protection then you can't afford to be in the class. Instead, you should stay home and scrounge the neighborhood for soda cans and bottles until you get enough pocket change to buy a pair.
Sacred Cows of Training
Two of these come to mind: students who do tactical reloads nonstop, and those who constantly close the ejection port cover on their carbine. These two techniques are valid at the right time and place, but many of the students I see who are proficient at these sacred cows actually suck as shooters. Here's a tip from your Uncle Larry: work on being able to hit your target first, and then worry about secondary tasks like closing your dust cover. You may find out that in the real world the first makes the second largely unnecessary.
You can't buy skill. This is where students put every accessory known to man on their carbine, or have the so called 'combat' pistol they are using tuned with a stupid light trigger or some other heinous modification. Try saving your money you spend on stupid gadgets and apply yourself in a more productive way, like mastering sight alignment and trigger control. You will be amazed at how well you can shoot with even a box stock weapon.
Quality Over Quantity
Try to get the most out of every round you fire. You are better off going to the range and shooting 150 rounds and executing well designed drills that hone your skills than shooting five times that amount in a high round count 'entertainment' class where you run around like you’re in a first person shooter video game. In the real world, you’re accountable for every round you fire and only effective hits on target count. The bad guys don't give out style points for your dynamic mag dump in their general direction; they just return the favor with lead.
And last but not least,
Competition shooting is fun and exciting, but can actually be hazardous to your long-term health should you ever get in a gun fight and apply some of the 'match winning' techniques to try and win the gunfight. You don't get a staged walk-through in a life-or-death situation, and there is no range officer to tell you to load and make ready. I bring this up because I have seen students in classes who shoot a lot of competition and repeatedly begin a drill with an empty weapon. This in an era when over 40 states have concealed carry! Unreal.
That's all for now. I'm sure I’ve ruffled some feathers with these comments and some of the people reading this are probably cussing me right now. I couldn't possibly care less. Where I came from, we trained to enter hijacked aircraft and save lives- not win matches or impress people with Ninja gun handling skills. My goal is to get you thinking about what I said and hopefully some of you will make changes in how you train that could make the key difference some day when you need it most.
Vickers Tactical Inc.