Allow me to get personal (because I don't do it often)!
I recently began competing in IDPA again. I shot my first IDPA match when I was 22 years old and sporadically competed throughout the years whenever I'd catch some free time.
Last year I took a serious break from firearms. I realized that I was too dependent on my handgun to save me and I decided to avoid my gun for a while. I knew I was going to come back to it but only after I fleshed out other areas of my defensive training and reevaluated the roll I wanted my gun to play in my own defense.
I put down my gun for a year and took (and continue to take) hand-to-hand training. I started working out. I read more and worked on my awareness and interactions with others, my personal boundaries and confidence. I trained with other defensive tools like knives and impact weapons. I'm not done fleshing out my training by any means but I feel much better with where I am now than I did a year ago.
So when I decided to pick up my gun again I did it with a new kind of conviction. I was good before. I have a great mastery of the basics. I'm good but not good enough.
Without an ounce of too much pride I can say that I can pick up any handgun out there, run it confidently and get a consistent group. I can switch between platforms pretty effortlessly and even teach others to apply those basics. I can work from the holster, move and shoot, do reloads and malfunction drills effectively, use cover and concealment and shoot almost as equally well with either hand. I'm an accurate shooter who knows how to run a handgun.
I can dry fire with the best of 'em!
But I'm not good enough.
Not for my own standards.
When I compete I rank somewhere in the middle to lower third of the shooters. My biggest issue being speed. No one will argue that I can shoot. And no one has said that I'm not good or not good enough. I often get much congratulations for my accuracy but when I see my times compared to what others are shooting I get irritated with myself.
It's time for me to step it up.
One issue has been forearm strength.
I'm a little person who has a history of taking my size as an excuse for not being strong. Not any more. Developing strength has been a huge priority in my life the last couple of months and I'm already seeing vast improvements in many areas of my life, including gun handling, because of it. I have a long way to go but at least the journey has begun.
Next is to stop getting hung up on my accuracy. Of late I've been training until I get it right and calling it good. Time to train until I fail and then work past that. The only way to get faster is to shoot faster.
It also means going to more training. Which is going to mean more money for more ammo and more classes and more matches.
I don't use the matches to get caught up in the competition. I use the matches to work skills and to learn and practice. While it's true that a good competitor is not necessarily a good tactician or going to be 100% prepared for a self defense situation no one can deny that a good pistol competitor is a good shooter.
I'm sick of lagging behind the better guys. I'm tired of being ok with being "top lady" but not posing any real competition for the long-time male shooters. This may sound a little sexist and a lot competitive but truth be told I want to be serious competition to the top five guys at our local club. I want to go to a state match one day and rank in the top third in my division and then, in the years to come, blow out of my division.
And my goal is not limited to competing alone. I want to be a better trainer. I am in no way satisfied with just teaching basic pistol classes. I want to keep progressing so that I am an adequate trainer in many different aspects of the use of firearms in self or home defense. I've decided that I have a goal of building a reputation for being a quality firearms instructor who is worth seeking instruction from.
I don't know how far I want to go with it, but I'll start with just being better than I am now.
I don't even want to think about how much money in ammo and training I'm going to have to spend to accomplish these goals.
I've got at least one, maybe two pistol classes coming up this fall. Planning my 2014 training schedule has been an agony of determining what I can afford and who I most want to go train with and what I want to learn and what I'm willing to wait on.
So there it is.. my written mission statement for the upcoming year/s.
Now, off to call for availability on another class and look at ammo prices.