Gun Training Essentials — 10 common sense instructions.
I recently returned from a four-day rifle training course out at Front Sight in Nevada. After observing some issues students ran into while at the course (and some of my own), I decided to list the top 10 items needed for anyone seeking firearms training.
I’ve seen the toughest guys in the world transform into petulant children when they don’t keep their blood sugar high enough. Grab something healthy and filling. That gas-station pickled egg is a bad idea and you know it. Buy some protein bars (not the massive ones, you’re no powerlifter) and eat one slowly. This will help regulate your blood sugar and keep you full and focused.
Remember the SATs? Your teachers told you to eat a big breakfast and get at least 8 hours of sleep the night before. Your job leading up to the shooting course is to make sure you don’t have anything to worry about except the material itself. Most of us treat our bodies like rented mules 90 percent of the time. Make this part of the 10 percent and cut your body some slack: give it 8 hours of solid sleep. Since the information in a defensive course may save your life, make sure you’re 100 percent there.
The human body is comprised of over 60 percent water and when pushed hard that water is lost through our skin. If you’re training somewhere cold you won’t even notice until your lips crack and you have a bad headache. Stay hydrated with water or sports drinks, but steer clear of caffeine. The increased heart rate will affect accuracy and coffee will make you run to the head in the middle of a lecture. You paid good money for the course, keep your head in the game.
7. A lid
If you’ve ever gotten a hot shell-casing down your shirt before, this one goes without saying. Additionally, a hat keeps the cancerous rays of that giant flaming ball in the sky out of your face as well. A huge advantage for shooters who enjoy hitting targets.
In most training environments students don’t wander around, gun in hand. So you need something to hold your weapon and its magazines. (Clips if you’re running an SKS or Garand) Thrifty students can make due by using the mag carriers built into most pants called pockets, but these won’t offer the same level of security and accessibility a purpose built carrier will.
On a similar note you’ll need a holster for any handguns you’ll be using and a sling for any long weapons. Most schools make these mandatory so instructors can see that students have their weapons with them but aren’t handling them. Depending on the course, a two-point traditional sling may be more useful than a tactical single-point one. If, however, the course involves transitioning from shotgun or rifle to handgun you’ll need a single-point sling.
5. Comfortable clothing and shoes
When trying to master a new skill the more distracted you are from the task the more likely you are to forget everything, except how distracted you were. No matter how ‘tactical’ or ‘operator’ you want to seem in that new course, don’t wear those new combat boots. If you do your feet will hate you. Find those ratty boots you’ve mowed the lawn in a half-dozen times that have a permanent indentation of your feet in the soles. You might look like a tactical hobo, but you’ll be able to concentrate better on the course.