As I do each year, I like to get at least some general goals and objectives laid out for the year. However, for several reasons, this year my goals are not as “tight” as they typically would be. For one thing, as of this writing, I am still unsure how Covid will impact things. I expect to receive the first round of the vaccine in late-January/early-February, but this is a government operation and so that would seem to be best-case. Nevertheless, there may be instructors who will either not offer classes or who may have to cancel classes (due directly to Covid or due to inadequate enrollment due to Covid). The ammunition shortage is certainly a real thing and will no doubt impact things as well. I am pretty well set for the time being and could easily take a few shooting courses while continuing my own practice and competitive shooting schedule without any real issue. However, knowing that the ammunition I shoot cannot be easily replaced is disconcerting.
Then there is the current and rapidly changing political climate. We have had our own Facebook pages (our personal pages and the blog page) nuked without explanation or recourse. The President of the United States, rightly or wrongly, has had his own social media accounts suspended, other websites and platforms have begun to silence certain voices, and, as of this writing, AR15.com seems to have vanished. No doubt it will reappear, but for how long? In such a climate, how long before our favorite instructors can no longer teach because they are “teaching terrorists and terror tactics”? How long before our actual blog page goes kaput? Hard to say, but things certainly SEEM to be progressing rapidly.
(On a side note, John and I have occasionally been criticized for not putting our full names “out there”. Is it now obvious enough why we never did so? While the powers-that-be can quite easily figure out who we are, there is no need to make it easy for them.)
Finally, there is my own “running out of steam” when it comes to training. I am NOT saying that I know all there is to know (not even close), but I am at least knee-deep into the land of diminishing returns. How fast is fast enough? How accurate is accurate enough? The seven-year itch is a very real thing for me (related to all of my interests/hobbies), and I am now into year 8 of making training “my thing”.
Accordingly, given all of the above, my formal training plan for this year, as of this writing, will be for a true focus toward that which has (mostly) been lacking in my training to date: getting physical and getting more comfortable around violence. That is all I am going to say for now. I hate to leave our readers in suspense, but since there’s a chance I may not be able to attend some of the classes for which I have signed up, I hate to list them and then not go (as happened last year). Suffice is to say that it seems I will finally get to train with one of my “grail” instructors (someone I have really wanted to train with but never have), someone who is truly representative of the “been-there, done-that” crowd. Indeed, he trained many of the “been-there, done-that” crowd. The added benefit, I suppose, is that I will not be shooting in classes much this year, so the ammunition crisis should not have a huge effect on me.
I shot in an all-time high seven matches in 2020. With my anticipated reduction in formal classes this year, I will see if I can increase that to eight matches of some type. I expect most or all to be IDPA, but I may dip my toe in another pond this year as well. I am also going to set the goal of achieving Master classification in the Compact Carry Pistol division this year.
Informal Training and Practice
I plan to continue to be an active member of the monthly training group of which I am a member. We only had five meetings in all of 2020 (Covid), but have already met once this year. I may miss the occasional meeting due to weather, family obligations, classes, or matches, but in general I plan to attend each month’s meeting. It continues to be a great opportunity to share information about training, discuss domestic and world events, shoot each other’s firearms (at the last meeting I got to finally shoot a Remington Tac-14), and check out other gear (lights, knives, body armor, etc.).
I plan to rejoin my local range again and hopefully get there more than I did in 2020, where the wheels really fell off the wagon. With the amount of knowledge I have absorbed from all of the many classes I have taken over the years, I expect that some trips there with my trusty shot timer should help me maintain or even improve my skills. I need to get back to measuring my performance on different drills and tracking them; without many trips to the range in 2020, this has not happened much of late.
Also, I should note that in 2020 I took my nephew to the range for his first ever live fire experience. I got to coach him along the way (the range officer even remarked afterwards how he saw that the kid was receiving some great instruction!). I look forward to doing that more with him and perhaps getting my own kids to the range for their first experiences.
I had hoped to run a formal 10-mile race last year, but all local races/marathons were “virtual only” in 2020, so that never happened. I ran regularly in the warmer months (the local high school track is much easier on my bones and joints than the street), running out to five miles without any real issues. And when the weather warms I look forward to doing more mountain biking, something I “rediscovered” in 2020 and hope to continue in 2021. Low-key strength training will continue as well. As with all such things, it is all about discipline and making time.
I need to write more. I shall make it a goal to write more articles than I did last year. I shall fail. But I will try anyway.
That’s about it. Who thinks I can manage to achieve all of these goals? What goals do you have? Feel free to share in the comments below as we always welcome civil discourse. Thanks for reading. I can be reached privately at firstname.lastname@example.org.