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T.A.P.S. Rifle/Pistol
Pat “Mac” McNamara
September 28 and 29, 2013
Elkin, NC
 

A few years ago, I was in Pat “Mac” McNamara’s first ever open enrollment T.A.P.S. 2-Day rifle/pistol class, and it most certainly left an indelible mark on me as a shooter and an instructor.  As Mac states in his opening brief, this class is not only about becoming a better shooter, it is also about “training the trainer.” For those of us interested or engaged in teaching others, this class is full of knowledge and techniques that will make you better equipped to teach others.  I can say without hesitation that Mac’s curriculum has gotten even better, and his enthusiasm and skill as an instructor and motivator has reached new levels. 

 

Little about this class is run of the mill.  It is structured much differently than most other classes I have had the good fortune of attending.  There are few on the line “up” drills.  As such, it is most certainly a class best received by students with a firm understanding of the fundamentals and most importantly, safety.  That is not to say there is not instruction on the fundamentals, but it is not spoon fed.  Rather, Mac gives information in smaller sized bites and allows the students to engage in moments of “discovery learning” that help the students better retain the information being taught.  Day one focuses on fundamentals like Basic Rifle Marksmanship (BRM), reloads, draw stroke, trigger discipline, one handed shooting, etc.  But each of those fundamentals are not over taught, and are made more engaging through a series of drills and/or competitions that inject some thought into the process, rather than blindly reacting to “READY, UP!” commands on the line while performing the tasks.  For many of the tasks, your competition is yourself, and I feel I can safely say that everyone saw improvement throughout the day, and everyone left with identified areas that need work. 

 

Day 2 is when the concept of “advanced” skills becomes the focal point.  We have all heard the saying “there is no such thing as advanced marksmanship, only the fundamentals applied at an advanced level.”  This certainly becomes clear with the multitude of drills that Mac has conceived.  Most, if not all, are low round count and seem quite simple in nature.  But they most certainly have layers of complexity that force the shooter to be fundamentally sound and mentally acute.  These drills also make it obviously apparent that if you are expending mental focus on shooting fundamentals, you are not able to consciously focus on the task at hand.  Thus, shooting fundamentals must be applied at a subconscious level, as we simply cannot “multitask” as humans.

 

After completing this class, I most certainly feel my skills have improved yet again.  I saw marked, measurable improvements on my 50 yard pistol marksmanship, and one-handed shooting, was introduced to a new way of running with a rifle at full steam that is most certainly faster and safer, and saw my accuracy and speed increase with both the rifle and the pistol on close in targets.   I even have the distinction of winning “The 1st Invitational ‘The Lot’ Range Scrambler Megatron Blaze-A-Thon World Championships.”   Of all my competitive accomplishments, this one ranks pretty high.  In addition, I picked up many new ideas on how to more effectively convey information to those who entrust me to instruct them to become better shooters.  I feel what I learned will make me better equipped to defend my family, person, and home in the event of the need to do so, my skills have been sharpened to enhance my performance on the field of competition, and I have become a better instructor.  Can’t ask for much more than that. 

 

Thanks for reading.  See you at the range.

 

JF

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