Good enough isn’t good enough for me!
If you have ever done any group firearm training then you have surely heard the words, “good enough”. As in, “that shot was ‘good enough’ for now so let’s move on”. That was ‘good enough’ and we can work on it more another time. Or, as a very dear friend of mine use to say in jest, “That shot was ‘good enough’ for government work”. Well what is good enough? Is good enough being able to hit a stationary cardboard tombstone target at 15 feet? Or is good enough being able to hit a moving target from 10 feet? Is it good enough to put a hole somewhere through the center mass of a 3-D target? Or is ‘good enough’ even better if the shot goes through the head. Maybe good enough is to just be able to hit close to where you are aiming. I mean people are big targets so even if you are a little off from where you were aiming when using your firearm in self defense, chances are still good that you will penetrate the bad guy somewhere, right?
I got to thinking about this during a recent conversation with my very dear friend Ashton (okay, Ashton was yelling and I was nodding) in which we were discussing (discussing?) how critical accuracy is in self defense shooting. I know it sounds funny that me, a certified firearms instructor with countless hours of training under my belt, would be talking about accuracy. I mean, isn’t it a given that when we train we train for accuracy? Not necessarily. I believe that the answer to that question lays in how you and/or your instructor define accuracy. Is accuracy being able to put a shot somewhere ON THE TARGET, or is it being able to put a shot ON TARGET? Might not seem like that big of a deal when you are on the range with a row of students all aiming for center mass on cardboard targets. However, that same term takes on a whole new meaning when you are in Wal-Mart and an active shooter has grabbed your spouse (or father, mother, child) and is using them as a human shield while dozens of other shoppers attempt to disperse in panic.
For those of you who are long time fans of Shoots Like A Girl, you have heard me talk about a trigger control issue I have that impacts my accuracy and causes me to throw my shots a little low and a little to the left. From a competitive shooting standpoint it isn’t that big of a deal as I am scored on being able to put my shots in a box or a circle on a cardboard target. However, the idea of accuracy has always weighed on me from a personal protection standpoint. Because of my less than spot-on accuracy, I have often ask myself the question: “If I were in a critical situation, do I feel confident that I could put my shot on target … even if that target was very small … without causing collateral damage to the innocents?” If the answer to that question were, “hell yes!”, then I wouldn’t be telling you about my day today.
I had, at one time in my life, an instructor that was over the top fantastic but, for a variety of reasons, I had to stop training with him about a year ago. Since then I have worked with other instructors to try and overcome my accuracy issue with very little success. In an attempt to minimize the problem (or out of frustration that it wasn’t repaired), my most recent instructor advised me that I was being ‘too picky’ and that maybe I needed to ‘lighten up’ a little. I decided that maybe he was right, and I started to get pretty good at letting the issue roll off my back. Turns out that what I should have done instead was get rid of that instructor!!
I am thrilled to give a HUGE shout-out to Jay Cunningham over at LSHD who I had the honor of spending this morning on the range with! I am ecstatic to report that in no time at all today (and with just a few curse words spewed from my lips) Jay was able to zero in on the exact issue that I have been struggling with and provide me with techniques that had me on my way to an almost immediate resolution! Now don’t get me wrong, Jay isn’t a magician and as any shooter knows, bad habits are hard to break. But with his impeccable diagnostic skills, a small paradigm shift on my part, and some new and very applicable techniques, my accuracy quickly improved and the weight I have been carrying has begun to lift.
So why was Jay so successful with helping me over the hump when other instructors have just thrown their hands in the air, given up on me and said, “it’s ‘good enough’ the way it is”? I believe that it is because Jay has a no nonsense way of teaching! His material is relevant and applicable. It isn’t recycled junk that he pulls from a file cabinet of bull-shit tucked in the dark corners of his brain and then regurgitates back out to me. And it certainly isn’t a one size fits all curriculum. Instead it is a personalized assessment of my core competencies and a developmental plan of instruction designed to address my individual needs. I walked away today with a sensible training strategy, new tools and techniques to experiment with in my training, and instructions on what to work on at home. Most importantly, I walked away a better shooter than I was when I arrived and feel validated in my belief that good enough isn’t good enough for me!
Whether you are an experienced shooter who is looking to further develop, or you are a new shooter looking to get practical and tactical about your personal protection, training is key and I would love to help you start or continue your journey! As always, you can reach me at Jacqueline@shootslikeagirl.com.