As I have done each year since the blog’s inception, I thought it worthwhile to revisit my goals for 2017 to see what I did, what goals were met, and how I (hopefully) improved.
I ended up taking 7 courses in 2017, six of which were one-day affairs (one was a two-day class). I also attended the three-day Rangemaster Tactical Conference. The classes I attended addressed some areas not previously explored–such as shotgun and combatives (see here and here)–touched on some areas not explored in a while–such as medical and carbine (see here and here)–and addressed some needs in pistol fundamentals. Though I would have loved to take even more courses, time and money remain relatively scarce resources.
Though I did not achieve my goal of shooting in twice as many matches in 2017 as in 2016, I did shoot in one more match than in 2016. Overall, my performance in IDPA matches improved, almost invariably finishing in the upper 25% overall as well as in my division.
Though I can never get to the range as much as I would like, I did maintain a fairly regular pace of getting to the range for practice. Followers of the blog have most likely read some of my “Random Trip to the Range” articles (see here, here, and here) where I outlined different drills that I tried. This year, I plan to revisit many of those same drills to see if I have improved over the course of the last year.
In adding together all the rounds I fired in classes in 2017 as well as those in competition and personal practice, I fired a total of 4682 rounds (pistol, carbine, and shotgun). This pales in comparison to people like John Johnston of Ballistic Radio, who in a recent Facebook post said he fired over 35,000 rounds of pistol ammunition in 2017. Even if I had an ammunition maker willing to sponsor me and send me free ammunition, I do not think I would have the time to shoot that many rounds. Nevertheless, if some company out there is willing to give it a try….
I continued to read a fair amount on firearms/self-defense related topics, and added a few books to our Recommended Books list. After a while I got a little burned out reading on the same topic so much, so I read a few novels and some unrelated, non-fiction books. I read 21 books this year.
My biggest setback this year came with my shoulder injury. This only affected my handgun shooting for a few weeks, but it has had a fairly serious effect on my overall fitness level. Though I have kept up with cardio work, my strength training fell by the wayside. I have put on a few pounds over the last three months or so, and need to work on that as well as get back into building up my strength again.
Some of the best things that happened this year were meeting and connecting with some new people. Several instructors I trained with/took seminars with this year were hardly on my radar a year before, but I was impressed with them all. They included Mike Green, John “Shrek” McPhee, Bill Rapier, Ben DeWalt, Lee Weems, Chuck Haggard, Claude Werner, Wayne Dobbs, and Darryl Bolke. I also finally got to meet Tom Givens, and will look forward to training with him and several others listed above in the near future. I also have to give a shout-out here to Voodoo-Man, who I met in Bill Rapier’s class and have kept in touch with since. I don’t know that I have ever met a police officer who takes his survival more seriously. Finally, it was nice to re-connect with others like John Murphy and Greg Ellifritz, guys whose brains I wish I could plug into on a daily basis.
Overall, I am pleased with the progress I made in 2017. John and I have recently discussed how he feels he is stagnating a bit while I seem to be improving, and we are not sure if this is because of coursework, shooting in competitions, dry fire practice, or something else. While there are still MANY areas in pistol work as well as overall “fighting ability” in which I would like to improve, I feel like I have made real progress this year. I have been doing better in competitions, have passed “The Test” and continue to improve in other drills, and generally feel better about my skills than a year ago. Hopefully, 2018 will bring more of the same.
As always, thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments, please post them below or on our Facebook page, as we always welcome civil discourse.