On 6-15-2014 we assisted Indy Pistol Training with a NRA Basic Pistol Class at the Shelbyville Boy's Club. This is our second class at this location and it has worked out great both times. The Boy's Club came to our rescue after a scheduling conflict with our regular location when we hosted our Woman's Only Basic Pistol earlier in the month. We are trying the Boys Club as an alternate location to host our classes in case of weather issues, scheduling conflicts and for when the FOP upgrades their range so we can avoid any missed training dates.
The Shelbyville Boys Club has a long history of being firearms friendly as they have taught shooting sports in their indoor range for years. They give boys and girls the opportunity to learn safe firearm handling and have friendly competition from an early age that sticks with them for the rest of their life. I personally took my first 4-H shooting sports program at the Shelbyville Boys Club as a kid. The current program offers .22 rifle, BB & Pellet rifle and archery.
The class day started with the normal admin procedures to get the paperwork out of the way and we jumped into the material. We had 2 woman and 6 men in this class with a range of ages. The reason for attending the class ranged from seeking additional education to becoming an educated new gun owner to those who had shot in the past but were looking to gain formal instruction. All the students either planned to purchase a firearm in the near future or had recently purchased a new pistol. The NRA Basic class is a class designed to work from the ground up. We start with nomenclature and demonstrations then move onto hands on practice prior to taking the test and hitting the range. We believe this gives the student the best grasp of the material. For hands on we allow the student to use their own pistols or use pistols that we provide. For some students this is the first time they have handled a pistol and for others this is the first time they have handled a pistol under the eyes of an instructor. This is where some start to see the advantages and disadvantages to the pistols they have purchased or plan to purchase.
After we complete the test we proceed to range. This was the first time we have used the indoor range for a class and it was a learning event for both student and instructor. As with any indoor range, noise is an issue and can be a hindrance to a new shooter or one only accustomed to shooting out in the open. We had the students wear both soft earplugs and muffs while shooting and soft earplugs only when observing. This allows the noise to make less of an impact on the students and allow more concentration on shooting fundamentals. The downside, your students can't hear you as well so you to have to yell a lot. One huge advantage of the indoor range is the ability to take weather out of the equation. This allows the student and instructor to keep the focus on shooting and to not have the weather effect the completion of the class. As with every class, the live fire is what makes the entire day of instruction make sense. Group sizes start at baseball to paper plate size and shrink into golf ball or even quarter size groups by the end of the range session. We had a great group of students that all listened and put the fundamentals into practice. All the shooters improved from their first shot to their last and everyone kept safety as their #1 priority.
One disadvantage of the Boy's Club is we are limited to .22 caliber pistols unless using frangible ammunition due to the trap design and distance available. To allow the students that brought their own pistols a chance to shoot them we headed to the FOP outdoor range. Three students took advantage of the outdoor range and shot outstanding groups with their pistols. One student had shot his pistol in the past, the other two had a brand new pistol never shot and one with only one magazine through it. All three had awesome groups, included a female student who had never shot her pistol as they had just bought it prior to class. She had only fired the .22 caliber pistol we shot earlier and had not shot a 9mm. She shot an outstanding first group with a 9mm Shield that any shooter would be proud to brag about. The other shooter with a Glock 22 shot a great group and improved by the end of the session. Our third shooter had a Springfield XD 9 that he was able to empty all 19 rounds into a quarter size group. In all we had a great day of learning and shooting, what more could you ask for.
We fired approximately 400 rounds of .22 ammunition between 8 students. The .22's we provide are the M&P 22 that continue to shoot and run like a champ. The pistols brought by students included a Glock 42, XD 9, Glock 22 and 9mm S&W Shield. This was my first chance to handle the 42 and personally the pistol is too thin for my hands. It reminds me of a combination between a Kel-Tech .380 and a Diamond Back .380 in the grip diameter. Of interest was a circle hole in the rear of the Glock 42 that is on the right side of the slide backplate and extends into the slide. I have not seen any armorer or company updates explaining the reason for the hole, so it's purpose has peaked my interest as no other Glock model has this. We had no issues with any of the pistols and no ammunition issues, which is rare in this day and age with .22.
I want to thank all the students for a great class and hope to train with them in the future.