Gee, Katy emptied her magazine and all shots were within two inches of the bullseye!

I’ve owned a pistol since I was in the seventh grade. You’d think that I’d be a decent shot with one but I’m not. Katy recently took a shooting class with Kerry LaFramboise that owns Watchmen’s Tactical Training and she went hog wild and got the shooting bug.

In the meantime, I was testing a Mantis X10 Elite Shooting Performance System. It is a great tool to help you learn how to shoot better.

We stopped by Stockpile Defense to talk to Tim that knows quite a bit about the Mantis X10. In talking he asked me what method I used to shoot a pistol. I told him the push and pull method. He told me that worked but you have a tendency to pull your aim off towards your off hand and that he uses the crush method.

Let’s see if I can adequately explain this method of shooting. You grasp the pistol with both hands just like normal but instead of locking in your elbows you squeeze the pistol and push upward with your elbows, thereby causing a squeezing effect on your grip which is where the term crush comes from.

We then went out on the prairie and practiced shooting. Any time you try a new method/skill, your proficiency will drop at first but if it is indeed a better method then you will soon rise to a higher level than you had before.

I learned this truth years ago. I used to play a lot of volleyball (I never was any good but I played a lot). I could take a course at a local junior college for $18. We played for two hours and then had instruction for one hour. It was a great deal. I took the class probably three times. In fact, the college finally told me that I had to declare a major since all I’d taken was volleyball. I told them to cork it, I’d already done the college deal, I just wanted to learn how to play volleyball.

One night the instructor came in all excited. He had been to a camp and learned a new method to spike called the hammer spike. He told us that we had probably become proficient at how we currently spiked but if we’d learn how to do the hammer spike that we’d rise to a new level. At first our proficiency would drop but eventually we rose to a new level. I’ve found this bit of advice to apply when learning any new skill.

So, while Katy and I were shooting I started practicing the crush hold. I’m going to switch over and stick with this method.

Sometimes it’s fun to just got out and blast plastic bottles filled with water and have a good time. But I think when you shoot you actually ought to always practice and try to improve your skills. I don’t want to sound like some drill sergeant but we can’t ever think that we’ve reached the pinnacle. I think we always have to try to improve ourselves or else we flatline. I don’t want to say that you can’t ever retire and relax but … lol, maybe not, or you will become irrelevant.

My daughter went out shooting yesterday and came home and said, Daddy, I think I shot over 300 rounds today.” Wow, she, too, has gone overboard with her momma! I don’t have a clue where she’d get that from.

So I’m on a quest to finally become a decent shot with a pistol. Here’s my game plan. I left the Mantis X10 with Katy and am on a plane right now flying to South Dakota (hopefully have a pheasant hunting article coming up soon). I’ve got a Umarex CO2 BB pistol that I’m going to practice dry firing and also doing some live firing with.

I’ve got to do something. Katy smoked me when we went shooting. I’m scared to fly back home now!

Tom Claycomb lives in Idaho and has outdoors columns in newspapers in Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Louisiana. He also writes for various outdoors magazines and teaches outdoors seminars at stores like Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Bass Pro Shop. He can be reached via email at