The second part of Jarrell’s training for the day was dirt-simple. Dar had him shoot the .22 bolt-action rifle. And shoot it. And shoot it. Dar kept an eye on his watch. He vowed to let Jarrell shoot for at least five minutes between stopping him and giving advice.
It was hard to do.
Dar consoled himself with the fact that most of the shooters with bad habits had been shooting for decades before they sought coaching. How deeply ingrained could bad habits get in a forty-five minute shooting session?
Dar had a mix of reactive targets: charcoal briquettes, bottle caps, spinners and so on. The target that captured Jarrell’s attention were the shotgun hulls staged in cut-outs in cardboard boxes. It took a solid hit to spin them out of their “foxhole”.
Dar’s only instruction was to shoot closest target to furthest, because the space-alien (which looked suspiciously like a scrap, 20 gauge hull) that was closest was the one that was most likely to kill you.
Dar figured out about how many hulls and how much he needed to expose of each “space alien” to engage Jarrell for five minutes. Dar asked Jarrell for a post-mortem of the “shoot”, offered a word or two of advice and then had Jarrell step outside the shooting area while he staged another invasion of 20 gauge hulls.
After the last shoot of the day, Dar was standing with his back to the targets and asked Jarrell how it felt.
“Pretty good” Jarrell said. It had taken Jarrell a little bit to suspend disbelief about the entire “space alien” thing but once he threw himself into it, it was a lot of fun.
“I am glad you feel good since you are dead. That probably means you went to heaven” Dar said.
Jarrell furrowed his brows in consternation. “What do you mean?”
“Do you remember when I told you that the space aliens that were closest to you were the ones that were going to kill you?” Dar asked.
Jarrell nodded his head “Yes”
“There are eight space-aliens staring at your smoking corpse right now. Find them” Dar said.
Jarrell had been shooting at the 25 yard targets.
The space-aliens that had “killed” him were peeking over the three, five and seven yard targets used for combat pistol training.
It was sobering.
“How long have they been there?” Jarrell asked.
“I put them there the second time I staged the aliens” Dar said. "They have been staring you in the face for the last seven battles."
“I want you to take away one more thought from today’s session: You will lose nearly all of your situational awareness at the sound of the first gunshot. That means that when you are carrying a weapon, you have to assess every social situation for potential threats and tactical considerations BEFORE you do anything else. Know where your escape routes are. Know where the bad guys are most likely to be coming from. Catalog cover before you sit down and get comfy. Every time" Dar said.