My second class with Todd Green was actually two one-day classes, Speed Kills and Get SOM; the former about shooting fast on small, difficult targets and the latter all about Shooting On the Move. I was barely able to keep up with the pace of the classes and, again, found myself wishing in later years that I could re-take the classes, knowing what I know now.
One of the biggest influences in Todd's shooting career was Ernest Langdon, and since I couldn't go back in time and re-take a class from Ernest's padawan, I jumped at the chance to take one from Ernest himself.
My hopes were not misplaced. Bright and early on day one, I had my first revelation of the class as he pointed out the single biggest handicap to my ability to shoot fast: The obsession with pinning the trigger and slowly riding the reset at ranges and paces where it's not only not necessary, but actually a detriment to shooting accurately.
To paraphrase Langdon: Before we start offering little pointers on grip and stance and suchlike, let's make sure you're pulling the trigger right. You can be perfect with your grip and sight alignment, but if your trigger pull is a soup sandwich, you're not gonna hit a barn from the inside with the door closed. Conversely, you can have a wretched grip and pretty coarse sight alignment, but as long as you're pulling the trigger right... well, that A-zone/-0 circle is really a pretty big target.
|Ernest Langdon about to reload from slidelock. John Johnston of BallisticRadio.com is running the timer.|
The FAST is a test (not a drill) that measures a discrete set of pistol-handling skills arranged in a certain order:
- The draw from concealment to a fairly precise target. (A 3"x5" box at 7 yards)
- Split time on that small target.
- A slidelock reload.
- A string of four shots on a fairly wide-open target. (An 8" circle at 7 yards.)
With Todd having passed the official FAST record book to Ernest, I had a chance to clean the blemish off my record. I'd shot quite a few last summer clean in the high 8s, but I was afraid that the pressure of shooting it in front of the class might bump me back over the ten second mark.
I needn't have worried. I did drop a head shot (out of the 3"x5"; it was still in the head box) on the draw, but my raw time was a personal best of 7.62 seconds, thanks to the trigger control advice on my splits from Ernest. This meant that even with the two-second dropped shot penalty my score was an "Intermediate" of 9.62 seconds.
I used to think I'd be happy just erasing the sting of not making "Intermediate". I was comfortable being painfully slow. Now I'm within just over a half second of an "Advanced" time and my goals have changed.
|Ernest explaining the difference between cover and concealment.|