The second day started out at the range, and again the weather was brisk the entire morning. We did a lot more shooting using birdshot from different distances, and from different stances. We also sighted in the slugs from 50 yards. We started shooting at targets being timed on how long it took to bring the gun up and get the shot off accurately. We were shown the three different types of malfunctions and how to clear them within a given time. And, we practiced doing empty chamber and tactical reloads with a shotgun, which they preached was to be done almost anytime you were not shooting, as a shotgun holds so few shells compared to a semiautomatic pistol or rifle. We noticed that we were finally starting to build up a little skill. We also found that we looked forward to lunch in the warm classroom, along with coffee or hot apple cider, and to meet with our friends from the other class. After class, we again took advantage of the buffet.
Sunday is the long day, starting at 7:30 am and going all day and then followed by a night shoot, getting us back to the hotel about 9:00 pm or so. The day started out with more shooting of birdshot, and it was far less expensive to shoot than buckshot or slugs. We practiced clearing malfunctions and then shooting the targets within the allotted time between the buzzers, which happens very rapidly. Then we shot buckshot at metal targets, trying to get enough shot within the six inch center to make the center flop out on its hinge. We also practiced more precision paper target shooting with buckshot, shooting at the head of the
bad guy, whose head was next to a hostage with the body behind the hostage. On Saturday, there were a lot of times where either the hostage got shot along with the bad guy, or no one got shot at all. This time we were all doing much better on this very important headshot. We learned to raise the gun very quickly, aim accurately at the outside of the bad guy’s head and shoot. When done properly, there would typically be two to four buckshot in the bad guys head, none in the hostage, and two to six in the paper outside the bad guy’s head. This is a perfect shot, because all it takes is one buckshot to drop the bad guy with no harm to the hostage.
Later in the day, the instructors started taking us in groups to the
house where they would take one student at a time to go through the house and clear it of the bad guys, while not shooting any of the good guys and, of course, there was a hostage situation we had to deal with. Fortunately, I shot all the bad guys and didn’t shoot any good guys and I even killed the hostage taker without hitting the hostage. A few other students were not so lucky. Entering and clearing a house is nothing like you would see on TV. After I was finished, the instructor went through the whole scenario with me explaining all I did correctly and all I did wrong. Even though I was successful, I failed to clear behind a couch and some other furniture. If a bad guy had been there, I would not have been successful, and possibly dead. This was a very sobering experience. Afterward, all the students expressed the same feeling, especially the ones who shot an innocent victim.
After a 45-minute break for dinner and warm-up, it was time for the night shoot. There was a moon out, but it was still very dark. We went through shooting the targets, and clearing malfunctions by feel. It is actually not so hard to do, as we practiced enough so it was almost second nature doing it in the dark, and was only a little harder than when you could see the gun.
The actual shooting was done using a surefire light or an equivalent extremely bright light. The instructor constantly emphasized that the important thing about the light was to use it only momentarily to illuminate the target, aim, take the shot and quickly clear the surrounding area in no more than two seconds, then move. Then, the bad guys would shoot where they had seen the light, thinking you were still there. It was awesome to see all the light fl ashing out of the guns. At night it was very chilly, but we didn’t really feel it until we were finished shooting. We were all glad to get into our warm cars. When we returned to the hotel, a few of us had a quick drink, and then we went to bed exhausted.
Monday morning was a little warmer than the previous days. At the range we did more fi ring of buckshot, birdshot and slugs, and practiced clearing malfunctions, shooting under hostage situations—all under the timed conditions that we would be tested on later in the afternoon. After lunch, we were all evaluated on the new skills we had acquired with a shotgun, under timed conditions. Most of us did OK, with a few doing extremely well, and others not so well. After the testing, Steve, Bob and I had to leave to catch our plane. But for those students who had time to stay, they had some interesting and fun shooting contests.
Back in the pistol-shooting group, one person—Richard Pearson, the Illinois State Rifle Association’s Executive Director—finished with a
distinctive award that is rarely won. We were all very proud of him.
Everyone agreed it was a grand time and we are all planning on going back and taking more courses there in the future.
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