At the MGM Junior Shooting Camp last week, I had such a fantastic time that I want to share some of the highlights!
We had amazing instructors who we were fortunate enough to cycle through and learn from. Phil Strader’s stage was action packed! We learned about how to move to a target, while keeping our guns up. That way, you have your sights mostly acquired and you’re on target! It was tricky at first, but with the drills Phil used, we were pros by the end of the session! Some of you may be wondering what sort of techniques Phil uses to get his students to be so successful in their shooting. Well…I…ok, just look at the picture.
Cowboy quick draw? Or BJ Norris quick draw? On day two, my squad was definitely working on the BJ Norris quick draw. From what I heard, my squad lucked out; BJ had some of the junior shooters on full army march! One-two-three-four-DRAW-two-three-four. And sprinting. BJ recorded our average draw speed at the beginning of the class and then again at the end. We all improved! By a
LOT! It’s outstanding to see what just a few hours of practicing with a pro can do! He had us work on hand placement when the start position is “Wrists above shoulders.” We had to think: Was that the best place to put our hands?
Manny Bragg (AKA Squad Leader Extraordinaire) started my squad on the first day. He was teaching us how to shoot something many shooters aren’t particularly fond of, (and not those squirrels in your yard) swinging targets! He told us so many great tips and let us practice the swinging targets over and over and over! That’s really what we needed! It gave us time to see how the swinging target moved and where our hits were going. We learned to follow it while it was on the move!
Manny also stuck with my squad on the final day and shot the match with us. It was a blast to have such a great shooter demonstrates stages then show us the different options on each. He walked us through the field courses and gave us great strategies. And most of all, he stuck around in the hot sun with eight juniors all day and we all had the best time! Thanks so much, Manny!
I’ve shot a shotgun, a revolver, .22 pistols and rifles. I’ve even fired an AR 15 a few times. But you know what I haven’t done before this weekend? Hit a target at 100 yards with an AR 15. Matt Burkett showed us the basics of the AR-15 for those of us (myself) who hadn’t learned anything from where the safety was to how to pull back the slide. Yes, I was that new to the rifle. It was really neat to be able to try shooting from different positions; standing, kneeling, prone. First I was nervous with something almost totally new for me, but by the end I was having just as much fun as everyone else, plinking away at those far targets!
Shooting a barricade can be totally different depending on the person. Some people can see over the barricade. Other people, like me and other female and junior shooters have to lean a little far over to see the targets. It has always been a struggle for me to find the best angle, the best foot position, everything when it comes to a barricade. Thankfully, there was an entire two hours where Max Michel taught us how to properly shoot around a barricade. Some of the lessons I had no idea about, such as sliding your foot to give you more of a view of the targets rather than leaning impossibly far! He had us doing fun drills so we could get used to hitting targets when there’s something obstructing your way. He covered everything, from how far away to stand to where to put your feet, to how to hold your arms!
Randi Rogers, a prior female junior shooting champion spent two plus hours with my squad! Not only a great shooter, she always has a smile and a hug! That day she wasn’t only giving out hugs and smiles, but giving us instruction on reloads! Reloads could be one of the biggest ways to save time on stages. Of course, avoiding needing to reload is the best option, but when you do need to reload it’s best to do so FAST! That’s what Randi Rogers taught us! As I was the only revolver in the group, she had to take a couple minutes to explain what I could do to increase my reload speed with a revolver. She even taught the group some IDPA reloads! That was really interesting to see.
At the end, she gave us time to ask her questions on any aspect of shooting. I had the opportunity to ask her about shooting one handed. She showed the group a great stance to take up when shooting with one hand. Put the leg of the side you’re shooting with forward (right handed, right leg forward) and lean into it while putting the arm you aren’t using to your chest.
By the end of camp, I felt so confident because of the wonderful instructors.
But that’s not the most important part. Rhonda Gibbson of MGM targets is awesome! Thank you so much for all your hard work, Rhonda! From coordinating and lining up extremely generous sponsors, to your generous caring and loving support of all the junior shooters. The MGM Junior Shooting Camp is an experience that I will never forget! Rhonda is an amazing lady for her dedication to junior shooters and the shooting sport. I can’t wait for next year!