I wrote about my first day back in the range here & now that I've scheduled my second session I wanted to look back on my first session and touch on some of the areas I need to focus on.
One thing I realized, and this might be because I’m new, is that there are a lot of 'checks' that you need to do as you prepare to shoot. From your stance to your posture to your grip to your sites – I find that it’s a lot to mentally check-off. This might come as second nature to me as my experience grows but going in to my next session and subsequent range outings there are a few things I want to try to focus on:
Tuning Out The Range Noise/Fear: This is going to be the hardest. I know for at least the first 30 minutes of my lesson I couldn’t ignore it. By the end, it was still in my head but I felt better. I think my issue is going to be that initial 15-30 minutes when I step foot on the range. I don’t know how I’m supposed to overcome this. It might not be something I ever overcome but I need to find a way to mentally handle it. One of my readers suggested I use both in-ears and ear muffs as that will help suppress some of the shock factor. So I definitely will give that a try. If you have any other tips, I would love to know.
Focus On My Sites: Those dots are freakin' tiny and while I have pretty good eyesight (or at least I think), I felt like I was going blind after a while. I think too that heading back into the range for the first time had me very anxious so I don't really remember paying close enough attention to how I was lining up my sites. I think I was more concerned about grip & recoil.
Slow and Steady Trigger Pull: I didn't really know what this was until the end of my last session. Most of the time I was pulling the trigger as quickly as possible just to get it over with. I recognized that once I started concentrating on a slow and steady trigger pull that my aim was better, my grip felt more stable and I was able to have a better accuracy on the target.
Grip: This is super important because this is partly the reason the 9mm scares me because when I shot the husbands Beretta PX4, it jostled in my hand and that freaked me out. I think this also has to do finding the right pistol that fits comfortably in my hand. However, for now ensuring that I'm gripping the pistol properly and firmly is important.
Relax: need to try to relax, well as much as one can when you are enclosed in a room of people shooting guns. I noticed I was holding a lot of tension in my shoulders by shrugging them up to my ears. I need to relax my body but keep a firm and steady stance.
Shooting Blind: You're probably thinking WTF?! But it’s not what it sounds like. I use the term ‘running blind’ a lot especially when I first started running outside. I'm pretty sure I start running every six months so the term gets used a lot. Basically for me it means to ignore what other people are doing. Run like you have blinders on. It doesn’t matter how fast, how far, or how long other people are running. All that matters is that I go, I try, and do what I can. And I need to apply this is to the range (and really all aspects of life). It doesn’t matter if there is girl next to me is shooting a bigger caliber gun, if there are people watching me, or how other people are shooting. I don't need to concern myself with their purpose. I need to worry about me, my lane, and my shooting. Everyone is at the range for a different reason and all that matters is that I go and do my best.
Let's also not forget that on top of these things, I also have to ensure that I'm also adhering to the main three gun safety rules. Although, remembering them is not an issue. It's remembering them on top of everything else, I'm sure you can see how it can be a little overwhelming especially for a new shooter. Although, I'm sure the more I go to the range and practice the easier it will all become.