Yesterday, I finally got to take the class that Jay previewed last fall from Double Tap.
Like him, I was a bit nervous to take the class. I always get jitters before any training class, but I had very little experience with an AR-15. Like, less than 100 rounds in the entire time I've been shooting, and even then, that was more of the "hey, wanna try this gun?" kinda shooting. No formal training, just plinking.
My nerves got a lot worse before they got better. When Mez and I rolled up, I was a bit intimidated by the guys and their gear. Did I have the right stuff? Was I going to make a fool of myself? You know, the normal pre-training jitters.
Double Tap's instructors, Casey and Mike from the DuraCoating and custom holster company 13 Zulu, are awesome and made me as comfortable as they could. They've obviously worked together a long time and their class flowed well. I feel lucky to have benefited from their experience; it's not often that students get to have instructors with real world experience.
I'm not gonna lie, I spent the majority of the morning fumbling around and feeling way out of my depth. It was not their fault - they are excellent instructors. I, however, tend to over think everything. I was getting in my own way. Once I realized what I was doing (getting in my own way), I was able to relax and things started getting better. I started being able to manipulate the gun and its controls so much better. Funny how, when you stop fighting, you can start learning. I had to trust that I did actually know what I was doing and that they would correct me if I did something wrong. Much like my students in real-life, I wanted to be perfect the first time. I wanted to pick it up immediately.
Casey and Mike were super patient with me, even when I got so frustrated with myself that I just stopped, let out a heavy sigh and re-composed myself. They rocked.
The morning was spent on drills: basic functions of the gun, clearing malfunctions, reloads, scan and assess, etc. After lunch, the fun started and so did my grinning. I quit trying to over think what I was doing and just did it. Amazing how that happens.
The afternoon drills really brought everything together for me and they were fun! Even the dreaded nine-hole was fun. I did have a few moments of hesitation at the nine-hole, because the first hole I had to shoot from looked to be too tall, and it almost was. However, I found that if I stood on my tippy-toes, I could get just enough of a sight picture to get that round off and move to the next hole. I mistakenly thought that the last three holes on the ground would be easiest, because I had the lack-of-height advantage. Boy was I wrong.
I came away from the class grinning like a fool and having accomplished my goal of becoming much more comfortable with the AR platform. I went from being a fumbling fool to feeling competent. I've got a ton more to learn and a lot of practice, but I feel like they gave me a great start and I'll be taking the class again in June.