2018: Looking Back

Separate from my “You Gotta Pay to Play” article for 2018, I thought I would again—as in past years—look back at some of my goals for 2018 and see how well I met them.  I also thought it would be good to share some other nuggets from 2018.

Formal Training

I surpassed any year in my history by taking NINE total classes in 2018, many of them multi-day classes.  The classes included some revisiting of subjects I had covered in past years (shotgun, handgun, carbine, low-light) along with some new areas (legal aspects of self-defense, handgun instructing, active shooter response instructing, pepper spray).  Though there are always more classes I would like to take, I really cannot complain about the number of hours of training I received this year (124 total).  The highlight of my training year was passing the Rangemaster Three-Day Instructor class.  Indeed, I did not just pass, but graduated as “Top Gun” in the class.

Competition

Since I started shooting competitively in 2016, I have had the goal each year of shooting in more competitions.  After shooting in four in 2016, I shot in five in 2017.  I one-upped myself again by competing in six matches in 2018.  Though I did not always score as highly in the matches as I would have liked, I generally finished in the top 25-33% overall, and in the same upper percentage in my division.  The highlight of my competition year was finally achieving “Expert” classification in IDPA.

Informal Practice

In 2018, I finally did what I had been threatening to do for a few years:  I joined a range.  In this case, rather than join a club, I just joined my local indoor range.  I was inspired to do so when I learned that I could become “draw qualified”.  Also, by having a membership, I no longer have to pay by the half-hour.  This allows me to take my time a bit more at the range.  Compared with paying as I go, I easily “broke even” paying for the membership.  Also, I must say that I anticipated more personal range trips this year in the months leading up to the aforementioned Rangemaster Instructor class, as I refused to go to that class and NOT pass. 

I should also note here that I shot considerably more this year than in the last few years.  In total, I fired 7720 rounds in 2018.  I fired 4,571 in classes and matches combined, which means, on my own, I fired another 3,149 rounds.  By comparison, in 2017, I fired a total of 4,682 rounds (classes, matches, and on my own).  I had hoped to eclipse 8,000 this year, but I started to slack a bit near the end.

Fitness

Next category, please!  Okay, okay.  I mostly kept up with my running in 2018, averaging about twice per week and about four miles each time.  I finally got back into strength training near the end of 2018 after a long hiatus following my shoulder injury in 2017. 

Gear

Though I did buy some new trinkets this year, I did stick to the plan I outlined in this article and sold a few of my firearms and other gear in order to finance some newer items, training, and ammunition.  I did purchase two new firearms this year (another Glock and an as-yet unreceived NFA item), but the money I received from the ones I sold more than compensated for them.

Adult Learning

I continue to stay active reading on the forums and blogs.  I also read a fair number of books this year, matching last year’s total of 21 books read.  While I had to mix in some novels for sanity’s sake, most of the books I read directly related to self-defense, with the rest falling into the “history” category.   

Writing

As John noted in his article from yesterday, we were both busier this year and perhaps a bit lacking in new stuff to say, so we were, especially in more recent months, less active with new articles here on the blog.  I think we are both of the opinion that we would rather post new, useful content rather than re-hashing the same old stuff (notice we have never written about 9mm vs. .45!).  Nevertheless, probably my biggest disappointment of the year was our lack of productivity here on the blog.  I tried to do more and talk/write less, and that bore fruit with new successes at the range.  Everything is a trade-off.

New Connections

I have done a decent job of staying in touch with connections made over the last few years.  However, this year brought with it the “gift” of a new connection like none that has ever appeared for me before.  Someone, a true “been-there, done-that” guy, has taken it upon himself to mentor me a bit, as he does with some others.  In addition to all of the knowledge and advice I have already soaked up from him, he has also gotten me involved in a training/practice group that meets monthly.  It will be interesting to see what new connections stem from this group as well as what things we might get to explore within the group.

It has also been great to finally take training classes with Tom Givens, Massad Ayoob, Chuck Haggard, and Darryl Bolke.  They all get the highest marks from me.  Mike Green continues to be a great guy to have running classes relatively close to my home, as is John Murphy (and double thanks to Murphy for hooking me up with my new mentor above!).

Final Thoughts

Overall, I have been quite pleased with the progress I made in 2018.  Although I was not always as consistent as I would like to be, I clearly had some high moments and will look to build upon them moving into 2019 (and keep an eye out, in the next few days, for a new article from me outlining some of my goals for the new year).

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. I can be reached privately for questions or comments at civiliangunfighter.robert@gmail.com.

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