As I have done the last few years (see here and here), I thought it worthwhile to post some of my formal training and more informal goals for the year. These are not all necessarily meant to be of the “by the end of the year, I will shoot a sub-six second F.A.S.T. drill”, but more like a preview for our readers of what you can expect from yours truly.
I have already signed up for three classes in 2018, and I expect that number to balloon up to seven or so. Unusual for me as compared with the last few years will be less emphasis on the single-day classes and more on multi-day events. This is not due to any preference of my own; rather, it is more reflective of some opportunities that have presented themselves in 2018 that I feel compelled to take advantage of. I should also note that, in all three of the classes for which I have already registered, I will be joined by CivilianGunfighter blog co-founder John. As an editorial comment, let me say right here that I almost invariably find taking classes with friends to not only be more fun but also a better learning opportunity, as it can be very helpful to bounce the instructor’s ideas off your friend in the days/week/months after a class has taken place.
After I took a one-day shotgun class last year with Ben DeWalt of OnSight Firearms Training, I did not expect to take another shotgun class in the near term. However, with Tom Givens doing his one-day shotgun class nearby (hosted by John Murphy of FPF Training), I could not pass it up. That class will take place on a Friday, and will be followed up with Givens’ two-day pistol class. I have always wanted to take some classes with Tom Givens; his frequent appearances on podcasts like Ballistic Radio always had me intrigued, and the two seminars of his that I attended at last year’s Rangemaster Tactical Conference had me wanting to make training with Givens a priority.
The other class I have already registered for is also being hosted by John Murphy. In this case, it is a two day “1st Responder” pistol class with Darryl Bolke and Wayne Dobbs of Hardwired Tactical Shooting. Their appearance on episodes of Ballistic Radio and Civilian Carry Radio/M.A.S.F. (see here and here) had piqued my interest, and their four hour live-fire seminar at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference last year was one of the highlights of the conference for me. John Murphy confirmed that I was the first to register for this class, that is how excited I have been to take it.
As noted above, I will add more classes in 2018. I hope to again train with John Murphy, Mike Green of Green Ops, and there may even be more Tom Givens in the cards. I should also note that, due to finances as well as my personal schedule, I will not be able to attend several other classes Murphy is hosting in 2018. If you live close enough to Culpeper, Virginia, you really need to give the FPF Training website a look. Murphy is hosting a veritable “who’s who” this year (Massad Ayoob, William Aprill, John Johnston and Melody Lauer, Spencer Keepers, Chuck Haggard, Paul Sharp, Greg Ellifritz, Tim Chandler, Karl Rehn, etc.). It is looking like a very exciting training year.
I managed to shoot in 5 IDPA matches in 2017. I hope to at least equal that this year. I’ve been having more fun and experiencing a little more success in the matches of late, so I doubt I’ll have issues motivating myself to do so. Also, in just a few weeks I will be competing—weather permitting–in something very different, a sort of run-and-gun carbine match. The description of the match reminded me a bit of “The Scrambler” I ran in Paul Howe’s Urban Defense Course, and so I could not resist signing up.
Informal Practice Goals
I had a lot of fun challenging myself in 2017 with new-to-me drills like the F.A.S.T., Casino Drill, the NRA BOPS, Tom Givens’ Core Skills Test, etc. I plan to revisit most of them throughout 2018 to see how I have progressed over the last year. I did a better job in 2017 that in 2016 of getting to the range regularly, and my goal is to continue with that this year.
On a related note, and as I mentioned in my 2017 year in review article, my level of fitness has taken a step or two backwards and is something I need to start straightening out starting now. My shoulder injury really soured me more than it should have and I need to get back to doing what I need to do.
I expect my pace of writing for the blog to slow a bit. John and I have addressed SO many issues that come up regularly on the gun forums: appendix carry, loaded chambers, competitive shooting as practice, etc. Sometimes it can seem like there is nothing left to say! Of course, there is still plenty to write about, and we will do our best to keep the content relevant. Speaking for myself, I have recently acquired several new, relatively inexpensive, pieces of gear that our Facebook followers have already gotten some sneak peeks at:
I will be testing these over the coming weeks and months and eventually reviewing them for the blog. There are also several books I have read that I need to add to our Recommended Books section.
That’s really about it. I look forward to continuing to write for the blog and sharing with our readers my continued journey down this path. Hopefully I will meet with more successes than setbacks, continue to meet interesting, knowledgeable people, and improve myself in obvious and subtle ways.
As always, thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments, please make them below or on our Facebook page, as we always welcome civil discourse.