Shooting the Clark Commander
First off, the Clark Commander shot well. As usual, it was more accurate than myself, and it was totally reliable. Over the course of the afternoon, I put 200 rounds through it with no failures. I ran drills of one, then two shots using a flash sight picture. The pistol pointed naturally, and came to sights without error. I rotated between the Commander and my MKII to prevent myself from getting too comfortable.
Frieda was excited to get back to the range. She had brought along a box of Blazer ammunition. I grimaced at the sight. Call me a nut, but I just prefer the copper washed Federal bulk pack stuff. Frieda did not need my assistance though. She was able to load her own magazines, and when a cold range was called, she set her target out at ten yards.
Her first couple of magazines were shot low, and I had to talk to her again about the human sympathetic grip. As we coil our index finger, the remaining three fingers of the hand tend to tighten. When holding a pistol, this can make the muzzle drop. I reminded Frieda to take a firm grip on the gun with her right hand. If our fingers are already tightly grasping an object, the sympathetic grip is minimized when we use our index finger. Frieda listened, and applied my suggestion. She found herself shooting in the red again immediately.
After Frieda got a couple hundred rounds downrange, she began to have occasional stovepipe jams. I would have to clear her pistol for her, and I attributed the problem to the Blazer ammunition. I was still shooting just fine with Federal. Its my belief that Blazer may have a reduced charge in some rounds, and less consistency from round to round. A pistol depends on the recoil impulse to eject the spent brass from the gun. When the recoil impulse is reduced because the ammunition is loaded lighter, the bolt doesn't move as quickly and ejection problems can occur. I have not performed my Ruger magazine modification on Frieda's mags. That could have played a role as well. Frieda persevered though, and resolved to buy Federal ammunition next time.
Frieda and Little Darling kept looking at my target and comparing their shooting with mine. This is a natural thing for anyone to do, and it is one of the reasons I do not shoot when I am teaching a novice. It is also a reason why I will work on drills that impair my accuracy when shooting with someone who has established competence and needs to push themselves a bit more. Frieda noticed that I was working on flash sighting. She remembered me talking about it with her, and asked me why I was shooting that way.
"The person most likely to survive a gunfight unscathed is not necessarily the person who is the most accurate," I told her. "Almost invariably the person who is shot first will be the person who comes out on the short end of the stick. Shooting accurately is important. Shooting accurately enough, fast enough is more important. You can train for target shooting, or you can train to survive a lethal encounter. Proficiency at target shooting teaches you to use a gun in a certain manner. Under the stress of unexpected violence, we will revert back to the way we trained ourselves to shoot. I want to be the guy who gets shots on target first, not the guy who does it most accurately. I just need to be accurate enough."