NRAblog Editor Lars Dalseide was in Arizona this week for a Precision Law Enforcement Rifle class. Now that he's back home in Northern Virginia, he still has plenty of stories to share about his training in the Grand Canyon State.
Wickenburg, Arizona - Not every shot is taken in the open. At American Firearms Training and Tactics' Law Enforcement Precision Rifle course, Lead Instructor Mark Fricke prepares his students for such encounters with customized barrier trees. From seven separate positions, four teams of seven shooters crawled with their .308s and ARs to the two different trees, careful of the muzzle, and fired on targets a mere 100 yards away.
Those approaching right cornered trees start on the left. Shooting first from prone, then the kneeling position, then the sitting position followed by a right handed prone from the right corner before firing a final round through the opening in the center. But it's not as simple as lining it up and pulling the trigger.
The center shot, for example, requires the students to bend, twist and turn into a position that reveals their target. The top of my head was practically touching the ground before I found my target. Others only bent a little, but it was not an easy shot to line up.
You also have to keep your cover. If your head peaks out, if your legs are exposed or you're standing too tall then instructors start calling out, "Get down, get down, get down" or "Your leg, your leg, your leg". That means find a better position or your shot will not count. All the while, your team mates are waiting for their turn to take the course. As if there wasn't enough pressure all ready. And there's more.
If you're shooting from the left then you must pull the trigger with your left hand. If you're shooting on the right then you have to use your right hand. For me, a right hander, that produced two significant challenges ... pulling the trigger and seeing the target.
While I wasn' concerned about shooting off–hand — I've done that plenty of times with a pistol – I was concerned about seeing the target. See, I'm one of those people who can only shut one eye. Two eyes open with a scope at 100 yards doesn't work all that well. Still you have to find a way. For me that meant using the barricade tree to support the Colt AR-15 and placing a finger over my right eye. My teammates, patiently waiting in line, chuckled at the move. Given that I'm the sole civilian at the event, they allow me a touch of latitude. But only a touch.
After the drill was done, my fellow shooters gave me a few drills to try at home. Promising, within a week, that I'll be able to shut either eye at will. This could be yet another brand of hazing, but I'm willing to give it a try. Now if they could only give me the secret to hitting that target at 300 yards.