Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Training with strangers

Early to rise...

I headed about an hour outside of town for some training with a lot of patriots. There were several hundred people who said they were going to attend so I grabbed an ammo can of 5.56 and drove on out (everything else is always loaded up). Great chance to meet new people, make contacts, and get some range time in.

I drove into the big field where everyone was parked and a lot of groups were camping. Someone at the entrance gave a weak attempt to stop me, apparently I didn't look like I belonged. Great, I just drove in and already I'm an outcast. There were about 200 or so people so odds were good I'd find some people who knew that it's your actions and character that define you, not clothes/gear.

Once I parked I headed over to the registration area where most people were gathered. I missed the flag ceremony but hit the group pledge of allegiance. Since I chose not to participate and that got me some hateful glares. Registration went smooth and I headed back to the car to get my gear assembled for the first group class, Intermediate Pistol. I had said good morning and/or hello to dozens of people and not one single person responded.

A few minutes later I was changed and geared up. The parking area was about 1/2 a mile from the class/range area so it was a nice walk to get the blood flowing and body moving. Everyone I passed tossed a greeting out, the same people who minutes before ignored me, amazing what a change of clothes can do.

Intermediate pistol: The instructor passed 2 pistols around for everyone to check out, mainly to s showcase his grip texture. If you don't have a good grip, your accuracy can suffer especially in follow-up shots. Makes perfect sense. The first pistol had a safety barrel, the second one didn't. 18 people in this class and only 1 person besides me cleared them when they were handed to us.
Next up was practice changing magazines, that required empty magazines, not something I had with me so I didn't participate. Since we were in a circle, those practicing the change ended up pointing their weapons at each other instead of the ground.

Once we lined up to shoot paper things seemed to be smoother but unfortunately I did ask one of the assistant instructors to please get everyone back on line so I wouldn't get shot in the back by the people standing 8 foot back from the line. After seeing some targets with no holes and the instructor telling us that there would be a lot of dead patriots, I opted to leave the class. In total I sent 38 rounds at the target, 37 hits (the one miss was from a 4 shot attempt off-hand going for head shots). Time for lunch.

Advanced shooting: This course was about moving from cover to cover and engaging certain targets while you were in certain positions. One of the instructors ran the course so everyone could see what the goal was. There were friendly and threat targets on the course including one hostage target pair. I forgot to switch my safety off once they said go but that was an easy remedy. I ran the course twice with my AR, once with just pistol. I was the only person out of about 20 who would scan for targets even though we knew were they all were because it's supposed to be realistic. If you shoot a target from position A, before you just run balls out to position B you need to make sure it's clear and you need to keep your weapon up and ready at all times. We were supposed to finish the course, get a weapon clear check and run back to the staging area but I ended up being the only person who could actually run back.
This was an advanced course and if what I witnessed is advanced, I'm very afraid.

Dinner was a couple hours away so I thought it would be great to talk to people and get to know some of the locals while I waited. Since it was hot out, I decided to get out of my sweaty gear and relax in my regular clothes. Doing so put me back in the 'nobody wants to even make eye contact' category again so after an hour of trying unsuccessfully to mingle/converse I left. Hopefully some of the contacts I made (while downrange obviously) will pan out into good relations.

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