Sunday, October 5, 2014

NRA Basic Pistol Class AAR

Well, we taught another 14 people the NRA Basic Pistol class yesterday.

We started with 15, but one young lady vanished after about an hour. She's an LPN, so we figured maybe she was called in to work or something.

As usual, we had quite a wide variety of people, from Patent Attorneys to web designers, to a retired Navy Officer who brought her son with her.

 Some of the students had prior shooting experience and were taking the class to improve their skills, while others had never handled a gun before.

They were all very interested, followed directions well, and we had no safety or firearms handling issues at all.

After the classroom session was over, we headed out to the range to let the students get some hands-on practice.

The basic format of this is to fire 20 rounds at a blank sheet of 8-1/2x10 paper, then 20 rounds at a target, and then 10 rounds at a fresh target for scoring.

The blank paper is used so we can get a feel for the students handle the gun, and correct any errors they might have with stance, grip, and sighting in. I always tell them to try and hit the center of the paper, and then use you first hole as a target and try to get the rest of the rounds "in the same hole", or if you're really off, then try and get your next shot closer to the center.

We had one little Ruger Mark-II malfunction (magazine wouldn't go in), and some ammo problems, mostly failure-to-feeds. The lead instructor told me the Mark-II's are a bit finicky about what ammo works in them, and with 22LR still being a bit scarce, we just try and live with it.

We also saw a bunch of stove-pipes which I assumed was from limp wristing, but after instructing the student who was having the problem to grip the pistol tighter, the problem lessened.

The 20 rounds on a target went well, with ALL of the students shooting 100% in the black target area, and a several getting 100% in the orange bull's eye!

Te retired Navy Officer had some problems with her stance (she was shooting her own pistol, a Taurus clone of a Beretta 92), and once I corrected her, she came right on target.

The 10 rounds on target was a bit different, as the students felt some "pressure" for being in competition.

Two scored 100%, so we had a 3 round shoot-off, with one young lady getting 100%, and the guy she was up against getting two in the orange, and one on the edge.

All-in-all, it was a great day, and we trained 14 more people in the proper handling and the basics of shooting.


  1. I ought to get into some classes. Ain't gonna happen this year though.

    The only issue I've ever had with my MkII was some Remington "target" ammo. And I don't blame the pistol -- I think the stuff has weak primers. I still have it in a box, someplace, and I could pull out a couple with 2 strikes on the rim. Reminds me, I need to get some spare mags for that. Beats me why I haven't done so already.

    1. I've seen the same, identical failure to feed (which I didn't mention in the post) with several different kinds of ammo in these guns.

      The stove pipe malfunctions were new, and It very likely was caused by the shooter. One of them was a guy, and after he gripped the pistol tighter, he had zero malfunctions of the stove-pipe variety.

      The other shooter was this 5'1", 90 lb young woman, who might not have been able to properly grip the pistol to prevent limp wristing.

      I mean, she was tiny.

      The last several sessions we've used Federal ammo (few malfunctions, mostly failure-to-feed)), some Wolf match ammo I donated (no malfunctions at all), and this time it was some "Thunderbolt" (Remington?) ammo, with numerous malfunctions, but they all went BANG!

      We did have one gun fail, and that was the one that wouldn't accept magazines any longer.

      I don't have much experience with the Mark-II and Mark-III on my own. The only time I use them is in these Basic Pistol classes. They're owned and maintained by the Lead Instructor. I think they're a neat little gun, but every single time I've helped him, we have numerous failure-to-feeds.

    2. Well, knock on wood, the only time I have malfs with mine is when I've neglected cleaning. Given what a PITA it is to field strip these things, it's no surprise I don't always clean as often as I should. I've run mini-mags (supposedly, they're maybe a bit hot for the stainless -- seems I heard that someplace -- but no problems that I recall), Remington sub-sonics (FUN! but now I think on it, I don't remember whether they cycle the action -- probably not, but they don't jam either), Federal bulk, Remington bulk, and I think that's it. I will say, if I do my part, the MkII Stainless Target is a tack driver.

      Now, I'm remembering I found an "easy" takedown conversion for the MKII, and there it is. OK, you don't have a MKII. Nice pistol to have though.

    3. I'll send that link to the guy who owns the pistols.

      He was always complaining about keeping them clean, and started dunking them in an ultrasonic cleaner about 6 months ago, then blowing them out, and oiling them.

      I guess when yo have TWENTY pistols to keep clean, you look for shortcuts!

  2. That's great! Thanks for giving up your time to help them out!

  3. So far, every class I've helped with has been great.

    After the class was over, the Lead asked me if I could stay and give the son of the Navy woman a chance to try the little 38 spl "Airweight" gun we have for the "show and tell" portion of the class.

    He thought the gun was just "Super COOL!", and had asked me during the range time if he could fire it. I told him to ask the Lead9, as it wasn't my gun.

    SO.....Mom went an bought a bag of reloads, and we took that pistol and a full size S&W 357 Mag out to the range.

    After going over proper grip with such a small gun, and showing him how different the sights were, I loaded one round and let him fire it.

    He was quite surprised when it went off, but at least he got it on the paper. He tried one round again, and got it in the black (the target was only about 10' away), so then he tried a full 5-rounf cylinder. After that we went to the big S&W, and he was getting solid 9-ring hits.

    He was full of questions about why the same cartridge acted so different in the two guns, so we had a brief discussion of Newton's Third Law, and a mini Internal Ballistics session.

    I was going to let him fire my 1911, but his Mom said they had to be somewhere, so they left.


Keep it civil, please....