Shooter Ready? Beeeeep. Fail.

I wrote yesterday about my experience taking the North Carolina concealed handgun permit course at Apache Solutions Firearms Training in nearby Yadkinville.

I noted that I shot the qualification course of fire well, much better than I did when I first took the NC CHP course in 2011. At that point, I had been a gun owner for just a couple of months and did not have any formal firearms training.

I’ve now been wandering around gun culture for over a decade and have over 250 hours of various forms of firearms and self-defense training under my belt, in addition to having observed over 500 hours of training courses and events.

I ought to be able to shoot better.

I ought to be able to shoot better, indeed.

But as is often said, shooting is a perishable skill. And even though shooting at a static target with no time pressure requires marksmanship skill and mental discipline (see Dot Torture), there’s something about adding time pressure — and incentive — that really tests one’s ability to produce results on demand.

With my carry gun and NC concealed handgun permit qualification target at Apache Solutions, September 2021. Photo by Dr. Scott Foster

After we completed the required concealed carry qualification course of fire, our instructor Frank Horvath said anyone who wanted to shoot an additional test could have a chance to earn our $80 tuition back. All 5 of us stepped up to the plate.

To win, we had to shoot 7 rounds from 7 yards in 7 seconds, then 5 rounds from 5 yards in 5 seconds, then 3 rounds from 3 yards in 3 seconds, keeping all of the rounds in the larger box on the Apache Solutions EDC-1 target (I didn’t measure it but it looks to be about 6″ x 10″).

In the concealed carry course of fire, I threw two rounds outside of the 3×5 box on the target, losing out on the Apache Solutions patch that was dangled as a prize. I knew on both of those shots that I didn’t see the front sight. So, as I stepped up to the 7 yard line for the first string, I told myself, “Front sight, front sight, front sight.” And also, “breathe, relax.”

Holding a shot timer up near my head, Horvath said, “Shooter ready?”

I was ready.


Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang.

Narrator in my head: “He was not, in fact, ready.”

I rushed all 7 shots, finishing in around 5 seconds, and did not see the front sight a single time.

The results looked like a poorly patterned shotgun.

So, I’ve come a long way, baby, but still have a long way to go.

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  1. This undoubtedly explains the low hit rate of police in crisis situations. Its just too hard to be excellent without massive practice and mental conditioning.

    By the way, what is your carry gun? Is that a Glock? Thought you bought a Beretta.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I see your problem. You have the gun holstered on the wrong side and are forced to shoot left-handed. 😉

    Not looking forward to retaking our permit test since I let mine stupidly expire. I may wear a fake mustache and sunglasses in case I embarrass myself.

    Liked by 1 person

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