Gunfighter Moment – Pat McNamara

Plateaus in training suck. I write often here on ways to bridge gaps and come off of plateaus but I do not always follow my own advice.

One course of fire I run in nearly all of my courses is a fifty yard, four position rifle shoot on IPSC targets. Five shots are taken from each position of standing, kneeling, sitting and prone. The shoot is timed and penalties are one second added for ‘C’ zone and head, two seconds added for ‘D’ zone shots and five seconds added for misses.

My wheel house, or plateau, was 25. For years! This is usually better than most in my classes but I accepted it as my normal. I knew that if I burned it down in 18 seconds, I would throw six or seven shots into the ‘C’ zone. I was accepting mediocrity in my personal performance because by way of comparison, it was still a rockin score.

Last week in California, nursing a bad knee and elbow, I switched mental strategy. I turned off my analytical mind and switched from thinking mode to trusting mode. One’s body works well enough. It’s our minds that get in the way and distort one’s ability to perform at the next level.

I shot a 19.8 with two seconds penalty for a 21.8. Now the Roger Bannister effect has consumed me. Pretty sure I will break 20 in the next week or so.

If you haven’t shot this before, you should try it. Love to hear some scores. BTW, anything under 35 in total score is pretty good. Sub 30 is bad ass.

Patrick McNamara
SGM, US Army (Ret)

Patrick McNamara spent twenty-two years in the United States Army in a myriad of special operations units. When he worked in the premier Special Missions Unit, he became an impeccable marksman, shooting with accurate, lethal results and tactical effectiveness. McNamara has trained tactical applications of shooting to people of all levels of marksmanship, from varsity level soldiers, and police officers who work the streets to civilians with little to no time behind the trigger.

His military experience quickly taught him that there is more to tactical marksmanship than merely squeezing the trigger. Utilizing his years of experience, McNamara developed a training methodology that is safe, effective and combat relevant and encourages a continuous thought process. This methodology teaches how to maintain safety at all times and choose targets that force accountability, as well as provides courses covering several categories, including individual, collective, on line and standards.

While serving as his Unit’s Marksmanship NCO, he developed his own marksmanship club with NRA, CMP, and USPSA affiliations. Mac ran monthly IPSC matches and ran semi annual military marksmanship championships to encourage marksmanship fundamentals and competitiveness throughout the Army.He retired from the Army’s premier hostage rescue unit as a Sergeant Major and is the author of T.A.P.S. (Tactical Application of Practical Shooting). He also served as the Principle of TMACS Inc.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.

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9 Responses to “Gunfighter Moment – Pat McNamara

  1. Call Sign Chief says:

    One of the best “Gunfighter Moments” columns in sometime. Thank you.

  2. Ron says:

    Very good Gunfighter Moment.

  3. Thanks. says:

    Great post. Will try this soon.

  4. Mike Nomad says:

    Mr. McNamara,

    This looks like a bit of a humbler, and pretty fun. If I understand this correctly, you are doing a 50 yard sprint to one station, and firing in all four positions at that station. How far are the targets from the firing line?

    A variation that immediately comes to mind is running 50 yards to four different stations, shooting in only one position at each, and in the order you have them.



  5. BAP45 says:

    Definitely copying this drill. It’ll work perfect on the range I use. Thank you

  6. Mike M says:

    Got a chance to try this out a few times today. Hung around 27-32 seconds after penalties. Thanks for the course of fire Sir. It’s going stay in my rotation.