Proficiency when using weapons is important, because no matter how well trained we are rust can form on our shooting skills as well as our weapons cache. When I talk about being proficient I realize there are different levels of proficiency, surely what I consider to be proficient is a far cry what a military special operator or civilian swat member (someone who shoots thousands of rounds a week) would consider proficient. You have to put things into perspective I guess, I can’t afford to shoot thousands of rounds a week but I’m also not being dropped off by a helo in order to kick down a door to snatch an HVT (High Value Target) in some foreign land. I can however drop a moving target within 300 meters or so, or put a few rounds into a small group while firing in Close Quarter Battle (CQB) drills from distances of 25 meters and closer. Pulling the trigger is just one part of the game, if you didn’t already know. Becoming familiar with the parts of the weapon, cleaning it and your magazines, knowing about the different types of ammunition available and most importantly knowing how to be safe when doing all of this all fall under the label of what I regard as being proficient.
Having said all that I went out shooting this past weekend. I took my brother along in order to get him accustomed to firing my AR15. He has shot my other guns before but never my rifle. I went over the basics with him: safety first, how to orient the weapon, how to shoot the weapon, reloading and other tips. He had a blast and from the grin on his face I knew he was hooked. The only minor inconvenience was that it was quite muddy out there, the type of mud that sticks to the bottom of your boots (1 to 2 inches worth) when you walk around. It’s not a big deal as I have been in much worse with regards to suck factor, but I also never had to climb back into my car (as opposed to a HMMWV or MRAP) with muddy boots before driving home. Needless to say I had some cleaning to do (actually the floor mats are still muddy as of this posting, I got lazy and continue to put it off).
My brother did about 75% of the shooting and I was fine with that. I’ve shot thousands of rounds in my lifetime and as this was his first time with a rifle I wanted him to enjoy it. When I did get up to shoot I worked on two things: my breathing and shot placement from the prone position (laying down), and transition drills while moving from my rifle to my pistol. Basically engaging targets while moving with the rifle with well placed 2 round shot groups, and then transitioning to my pistol and finishing off the target with a few more shots. It is much harder than you would think, and for someone like me who does not shoot as much as he would like it is truly revealing when you see rounds go wide of the target. I’m pretty sure if my shots weren’t kill shots, they at least wounded the target effectively putting the would be assailant out of action. This of course is how I console myself for a sub par performance.
In any event I considered the day a success, we had a great time shooting and knocking the rust off is never a bad thing. It’s always good to keep up the skill set in the event of SHTF / TEOTWAWKI. I do tend to wonder, in a real SHTF situation I’m not sure how much shooting I will be doing, especially at other people (unless in self defense). I figure if I am shooting at someone they are probably shooting back at me. In a SHTF situation where medical treatment facilities are not readily available a bullet wound is not something I want to be faced with. You have to be smart in these type of situations, and a gun fights usually never end up going the way you want them to.