I would not classify myself as being the most skilled shooter or even in the top tier. I can hit pretty much anything I need to with anything I am given, but you may never see me draw and shoot a 1-5 in under 3 seconds. I have come close to running a FAST drill in 5 seconds with a pocketed magazine, but couldn’t quite replicate it, if that gives you an indication of where I am at.

Keep in mind that I do not sit there and attempt to master these static timed drills until I break a time. I just do them periodically for fun to see how I can do. But in all I feel that I have mastered the basic skills needed to be a competent shooter.

Since I am not necessarily a beginner in shooting, many would wonder why I would take classes that are beginner based. For that matter, why would any shooter who is not actually a beginner take a beginners class?

Well, the first and easiest answer would be because if you are getting training from a legitimate firearms training  that has several levels of classes from basic to advanced, you must start out at the beginning. The other reason you may want to go back to basics, maybe even more than once is because as you get more experienced with firearms, you may relax your discipline in some areas or just not be tip top in everything.

Going back to basics could also be a good ego test as well. This is not the same as going back and redoing elementary school. All the skills you learn in a basic firearms course are valid and may help you rethink some of your methods.

The test I always gave myself during these courses was to do things the instructors way and really try it his/her way. If my way still worked best under pressure, sure keep it. But if the other way you learned is quicker or happens to be better and you just don’t quite have the hang of it, I recommend you work on it and try to get better with it.

One of the beginner classes that I attended recently was a pistol class. I had taken this class before and was really happy with how relevant the material was to my purposes with a firearm. Also I took a rifle class and found it to be appropriate for those wanting to learn relevant skills that will set you up for success with any path you take in the shooting community.

Both classes were humbling since I did not hit as well as I had expected and at times my ego got in the way and caused carelessness and therefore some misses.


A lot of the classes I took was all about slowing down and taking as much time as you need in order to make a clean and perfect hit. My ego got in the way and I wanted to be the first to get a shot off and show people how proficient I was with a double action pistol I had not used in about a month. I did fairly well and had some of the tightest groups, but I found myself trading accuracy for speed at times.

This also showed me that I was willing to disobey the course of fire and instructions in order to make a point. This is not good and really now that I look back on it, I feel that I may have left a bad impression. I should have probably been the last person to get off my shots and show everyone that speed and accuracy are two different things. There is no shame in taking your time when the whole goal is to take your time and use extreme discipline to make hits.

I find that these basic classes presented a challenge for me and many others who fancy themselves as highly experienced shooters. I certainly recommend going back to basics, if nothing more than to see where your ego is and make sure that the core of your skills are unshakable.


Brought to you by the dudes at Spotter Up

By David Donchess

David Donchess served in the Marine Corp as an infantry assaultman for two deployments before being medically retired. He moved with his wife to Alaska and now runs a YouTube channel while fostering, training, and rehabilitating rescue dogs.

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