By the time of this publication, we should have run more than 90 people through the LTC Proficiency Test. Take a look at some of the key insight from an informal observation.
The vast majority of new applicants seem to be good enough shots in the eyes of Texas. While not a perfect system, the shooting test is a fair assessment. Totaling 50 rounds and fired from the 3yd, 7yd and 15yd lines it is a good distribution. There is 80% of the rounds are fired from inside the 7yd line, leaving only 20% at the 15yd line. Again, a pretty good cross section of typical engagement distance. What makes it a bit challenging are the par times. Most have not been exposed to par times and it seems to create a high level of anxiety.
Dance With The One You Brought
Many of the firearms brought to the test would easily be considered solid or good choices. Only a handful would be suspect. It doesn’t matter because it is what they have so you dance with the one you brought. If your handgun hiccups for any reason there are no alibis so that helps to drive the point of being smart in your decision. The biggest challenge I see too many of the new shooters is two fold. First, basic gun operation and then basic marksmanship. While the 3yd is a realistic engagement distance you see a lot of folks get by with poor marksmanship skills. Sometimes, they just need to warm up. The test begins at close range giving them a few Mulligans. The difficulty really begins when they get to the 7yd line.
The Realities Of Distance
Once at the 7yd line you can get a better understanding of their marksmanship skills. While the target zone is pretty generous the misses start to add up especially on the multiple round courses of fire. The average student is generating enough hits up to this point they can miss the target completely at the 15yd line and still pass the test. While not encouraged, it is a reality. It should come as no surprise most shots off the target come at this distance. If they can manage at least two or three hits at the 15yd line they have pretty much ensured a passing score.
To Drive A Car Or Not
Why do people fail this test then? The biggest reason is lack of marksmanship skills. I mean an almost zero percent understanding of marksmanship skills. There have been about a half dozen people who have never handled, much less fired a handgun. Most with a modicum of marksmanship skills will do well enough. The next reason is change of heart. Deciding at the last minute to bring a different handgun. A couple of the failures fall into this category and they regretted changing their minds. The last is wrong handgun selection. This can go both too big or too small. A couple of guns were too powerful for the student and one was too small to allow for a good grip. If these mistakes can be avoided then obtaining the minimum passing score is within just about everyone capable of driving a car.
Of course, we would like to see more skill demonstrated, but this is the minimum. What we all hope is the new shooters will become even more invested in their safety by including education and training.
A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals. Larry Bird, NBA Champion and Hall of Fame