Last Saturday I spent the day at the TigerSwan Training Collaboration Center with several other gun bloggers from North Carolina.
We started with introductions and the requisite safety instructions. Our instructor was Brian Searcy, a 23 year Army Special Operations veteran and past member of Delta Force as that unit's Operations Sergeant Major.
Attending as students were Paul of Arms are the Mark of a Free Man, Sean of An NC Gun Blog, Larry of Last Refuge of a Scoundrel, George of Newbie Shooter, and John of No Lawyers - Only Guns and Money and a few other folks that helped fill in the minimum number for the class.
Brian started us out at 25 meters and those targets looked pretty far away!
TigerSwan's basic pistol instruction centers on perfect execution of basic skills. The quote from the TigerSwan website is:
There is no such thing as "advanced tactical skills" - there is only perfect execution of the fundamentals under stress.
To this end we started with the most basic elements and added an element at each step. Stance, grip, presentation, sight picture, trigger control, sight alignment...as we progressed from stage to stage Brian kept adding more elements. At some point during the "Ball and Dummy" drill something clicked and I started regularly hitting inside the 9 ring. At 25 meters.
If you had suggested that when we first started I would have laughed.
For me the key seemed to be mostly grip. TigerSwan teaches a grip that pushes the thumb of the support hand WAY forward ...
... relaxes the gun hand to something like a firm handshake, and requires the support hand to then grip the gun with as much force as necessary to get control of recoil. They eschew the concept double taps (which is something that I've been having considerable problems with) and instead focus on putting two aimed shots on target. In fact, that's the primary skill that the Intro Pistol course strives to teach. While some other fundamentals were presented, the "two aimed shots" was the primary focus. The additional skills were working tools to get to that goal. Granted, it took 473 rounds for me to get there, but get there I did.
The following Tuesday I ran another 100 rounds through my STI Spartan at my weekly range trip. I'm not as fast or as accurate as I want to be but I'm much faster and more accurate than I was and I can see the places where I need to practice. My shortcomings are not instinctively using the forward grip and not following through after each shot. I'm afraid I've developed some bad habits while working on speed for the Ruger Steel Challenge - Rimfire competitions, like coming off the target too soon. Both of these are a matter of correct practice and I'll be doing that every week.
I plan on taking this course again in the spring and dragging Mrs. Knitebane along too. The 1-Day Introductory Pistol Course at TigerSwan is an excellent place to start.