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Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Things I learned at the Sig Academy

Posted by Lissa on June 14, 2010

Good morning everyone! Thank you so much for the kind birthday wishes; y’all are the bestest!  If you were here I would share the chocolate mint brownie bites I served at last night’s dinner party; they were devoured with the occasional hosanna 🙂

As I said, we spent my birthday taking the Intermediate Practical Handgun Skills course up at the SigSauer Academy in Epping.  It was an absolute blast!  (Well, actually it was about 300 blasts apiece.  My hands were seriously sore that night.)

Things that we did or I learned during the eight hour course:

  • I have the same problem shooting that I used to have while singing, i.e., stapling my shoulders to my ears.  I thought that I was lining up a good sight picture on the three dots, but I was raising/hunching my shoulders to do so.  Instead, I need to lower my shoulders and push my chin forward to achieve the same sight picture with more stability and less big fat knots in my shoulders.
  • WITHOUT, however, bending at the waist! I need to keep my back straighter, rather than crouching.  I thought I was being tactical and keeping a low center of gravity, but I’m actually making myself less stable by hunkering down like that.
  • We started, of course, with the safety basics.  I like that no matter how advanced we are, they always start everyone off with the safety rules.  First, last and always.
  • If someone is drawing down on you, and you have a choice between drawing your own weapon or moving — then MOVE YOUR ASS!  Draw while you do it, but first priority is to move your butt to make you a harder target.
  • Cover will stop a bullet.  Concealment won’t.  But concealment is way better than not having concealment.  It’s human nature, I guess, but even when your cover is flimsy cardboard or a bush — something that obviously won’t stop a bullet — the person aiming the gun at you tends to shoot around the cover rather than through it.
  • The best way to win a hostile confrontation?  Avoid it in the first place.  But we knew that. 🙂
  • Train yourself to eyeball people, to see threats coming while they’re still at a distance.  We automatically look at people’s faces, first; train yourself to look also at their hands and then at their waists.
  • It’s harder to draw a gun while backing away than you might think.  (But remember, move first!)
  • Whether you’re moving sideways, backwards or forwards, the principle is the same: stabilize your sights on target and press the trigger without disrupting that stability.  That’s all.
  • Yelling at the top of you lungs feels really silly when you do it the third time, with everyone else yelling, in an enclosed room, in a controlled environment.  Doesn’t matter.  Practice it anyway.
  • What was I yelling after I’d completed the shooting assignment?  “NOBODY MOVE. I’VE JUST BEEN ATTACKED. YOU — DO YOU HAVE A CELL PHONE? CALL 911 — TELL THEM I’VE BEEN ATTACKED AND WE NEED THE POLICE AND AN AMBULANCE.”
  • I’d never heard of the SUL position, but the concept is so simple and so practical that I found it revelationary (is that a word?).  You can find a description here; ours differed slightly in that our guns were pointing about a foot in front of us, rather than directly between our feet, and our thumbs were a little different, but the concept is the same. Perhaps I’ll do a post on this later with pictures.
  • When you’re moving and shooting and imagining that the stationary black target is an actual hostile with a knife/gun, your heart starts pounding like crazy.  Good practice!
  • The most complicated drill we did: We started seated, in a metal folding chair, at five yards.  The instructor (who was awesome) shouted something like “He’s got a gun!”  We then moved our leg to the side (very important!), drew, fired three shots at a target, stood, SUL’d our guns, turned around and walked behind cover at about ten yards, and then fired three shots while standing, while squatting and while kneeling behind cover at a second target.
  • My on-the-spot point shooting is not nearly as good as my slow, diligent range shooting.  But they’re still all center-mass.  The groupings just aren’t as tight as they’d be if we were in a nice quiet range.
  • Shooting one-handed isn’t as hard as you think it is.  Treat your arm like a rifle — don’t raise your shoulder up, but push your chin/neck forward and get a good cheek weld on your arm.  Then it’s just stabilize the sights and press the trigger fluidly.
  • The first time you bump into someone while aiming a gun, it’s quite an experience.  Especially if that person is also aiming a gun.  We both just kept our guns pointed at the targets and fired while we were practically attached at the hip.  No big deal!

You’ll be happy to know that we all obeyed the main rule of Sig Academy: We all exited the range with the same number of holes that we had when we entered.  Yay hooray!

Mike, anything I missed?

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2 Responses to “Things I learned at the Sig Academy”

  1. Mrs. Doubletrouble said

    I’m jealous! Sounds like an awesome class. Your post mentioned things I hadn’t thought about or didn’t know – I’m sure there’s lots of stuff I don’t know. Reminders and practice are always good for the things we do know. Thanks for sharing!

  2. secretlivesofscientists said

    I’d never heard of the SUL position, but I think I lieks it! It looks comfy, and like it would be a smooth transition to a two handed grip.

    Oh, yeah, it’s weird the first time you are instructed in the intentional and safe/proper way to break a range rule. e.g. we did a CQC drill where you have to use one arm to push the target off of you while drawing, and then shoot from the hip. THis amounted to drawing and firing while holding the gun at the hip without having extended the firing arm, while at the same time the free elbow thrusts upward at bad guys head. The idea was to shoot the guy in the stomach from zero distance, which would (hopefully) give you the ability to back away while firing at the kill zones. It was kinda scary having one of my limbs down range from the muzzle, even though it was only by a few inches, and firing at 0 yds with no sight picture. I like to see muzzle in front of me because it tells me I’m not about to shoot myself!

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