For many years if you wanted your Iowa Permit to Carry Weapons you pretty much shot a bulls-eye style match shooting at 50' on a bulls-eye target (NRA B3) with a score of 65 (up to 85 pending on where you went). This was to obtain your permit to carry weapons on your person, to be used for defensive purposes...that never sat right with me. Most students who didn't know what they were walking into would come to class bringing the gun they intended to carry with them. Students bringing a pocket auto or j-frame revolver had very little chance of passing the course of fire with their carry guns and after flushing I don't know how many hours and dollars worth of rounds, they would then be handed a .22LR target gun to complete the course of fire. And the passed.
But what did that really accomplish?
Not much if you ask me. A lot of these people were/are new to shooting in general and now their confidence level in their would-be carry gun is shattered because they couldn't shoot a bulls-eye course of fire with the thing even shooting two handed.
Thankfully that era is behind us as the shall issue law (SF2379 enacted 1-1-11) now allows applicants to attend a variety of training to meet the requirements of chapter 724.
I've had two opportunities over the last two weekends to work with both long time permit holders and new permit holders and expose them to more defensive oriented shooting. Some permit holders that have been carrying for years had never drawn and fired at a target from their holster. Some have never reloaded under pressure and some have never even made any attempt prior to practice these things even in a "dry" environment.
But things are starting to change. In our last Iowa Defensive Pistol Class students were forced to work from the holster and belt. Today I had an informal shooting session with two previous students from one of our NRA Basic Pistol Classes and we spent a lot of time on working from the holster.
The student doing most of the shooting was a little overwhelmed as this was all new and had never been done before. The gun that he was familiar with didn't work quite the same as when simply loading and manipulating from a bench or under more casual circumstances. The levers and buttons that seemed to be OK now seemed a little small and hard to actuate while on the draw, but I have to give him credit, by the end of the day he was getting it down pretty good from cue to first shot while working from the holster. His weapon handling seems more confident and I'm sure he has more faith in his abilities.
Working from the holster and belt for reloads is a lot different than lolly gagging on the pistol bench. It's a whole new world and one that needs to be explored by those looking to carry arms on their person for defense. In a life or death incident you're movements will have to be sure, fast, and well executed in order to get your shots off and if you've never drawn and fired from a holster before you could be hindering your chances of coming out on top.