A Recent Student Experience at Vigilant Security Services

A little about me and my start into tactical rifle and shotgun training…

              Hello, my name is Jacqueline. I am 135 pounds soaking wet, and I have no previous rifle experience, so I am what people would consider a “virgin shooter” when it comes to shooting rifles and shotguns. With no formal training under my belt, I do not know the first thing about operating a rifle if someone gave me one; I would be like a deer in headlights. I do have formal training in handguns, so I assumed that knowledge would easily translate to rifle, but without formal tactical training, I believe I would be lost. You can only learn so much from “keyboard commandos” and so-called “Call of Duty operators” on YouTube. I wanted to learn the right way. I did not want to learn from a “Range Kabuki teacher” who teaches the most ridiculous things and tries to pass it off as a real-world application. I sought out Erik Lawrence. With his extensive background in real world operations as a Green Beret and then a lengthy career as a Paramilitary/Security Contractor, he could provide real and relative training. I wanted the real deal. I was sick of seeing of what people would call “Range Theatrics” or spastic head-turning ninja movements. In my brief time with Erik, I have seen an astronomical change in my abilities. Thanks to his instruction, I have had consistent mechanics, and my combat accuracy has grown. In just a few days of his teaching, I was hitting 90% combat accuracy on my first try ever in my entire life at 100 meters standing, not prone or taking a knee. I have maintained the accuracy standing. And guess what? I have never shot beyond 20 meters. So, I would say I am happy with my results thus far and cannot wait to see how I continue to develop as I enroll in more tactical training courses from Vigilant Security Services.

Tactical Rifle Training

As women, we have a smaller frame naturally. We lack the upper body strength of our male counterparts as our torso is smaller in diameter, and our pelvic area is generally wider because of our hip bones. When it comes to operating a rifle, we fatigue much more easily and cannot keep the rifle supported in a contact-ready (Real Life Low Ready) position for long periods of time. With proper use of a firm grip over bore with the index finger pointed down range at the target (mirroring the firing finger/when safe), the middle finger indexed between the front part of a two-point sling attachment helped me to support the rifle in a standard firing position. Utilizing the sling properly by resting and tucking my support arm elbow around the sling strap allows for proper support when mounting the rifle. When shooting for extended periods of time, this position will help to relieve the weight of the rifle, especially if the rifle is top heavy. Finding one’s natural point of aim through foot and hip placement to the target is encouraged and greatly assisted in helping to keep the bullets find the center of the target consistently. An aggressive firing stance should be taken to help control recoil of the rifle when the stock is properly seated into one’s shoulder. A final key point is to have the knees bent and presented over the toes (knees over toes), which acts as a natural shock absorber for controlling recoil of the rifle, and improves the center of gravity for the shooter.

Practicing fundamentals with a Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 in .22LR.

Tactical Shotgun Training  

Similar fundamentals should also be adopted for the shotgun for women. I would even encourage a more aggressive stance with proper use of a two-point sling to help relieve pressure and recoil from a shotgun, especially when shooting slugs. Thumb over bore is not advised, from personal use, because as the shotgun is fired, the barrel will become extremely hot. Wearing a glove on the support hand is advisable for tactical training. Recoil control is much more manageable when adopting the same fundamentals as used with the rifle. It is also advised not to have your cheek seated extremely close on the shotgun because the added recoil may cause some damage to your cheek and face.

All in all, I was very surprised at how quickly I was able to go from zero to a very accurate and fast shooter while using minimal conscious thought. Our tactical shooting drills were from the proper mechanics/techniques, and the coaching helped make it into a perform-on-demand skill. I cannot wait to take more classes with Erik Lawrence and further develop the learned skills so my performance can be automatic responses in the event I ever have to use them in a defense situation, which I would expect to be a dynamic and stressful encounter.

Practicing fundamentals with a Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 with a chest rig for reloads.

The results from a patient zeroing process and later working from slow-fire fundamentals up to multiple-round speed drills.

End-of-the-day quiz back at the 100-meter line for 30 rounds onto the target to see what I learned. Standing and sling-supported position –– feeling very confident with my half day of training!