Dillen Easley: High-functioning individuals can set aside their ego, go into the training to soak up every pennies’ worth of knowledge.

About the author

Dillen Easley, competitive shooting instructor and regular shooter at competitions, primarily 3-gun/Multigun (with some USPSA and PRS), since 2012.

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An attentive student with a decent instructor will beat out a stubborn student who has the best instructors money can buy

The Article

High-functioning individuals can set aside their ego, go into the training to soak up every pennies’ worth of knowledge regardless of their field, and walk away from training with more value than the average person.

I’ve shot competitions, primarily 3-gun/Multigun (with some USPSA and PRS sprinkled in), since 2012.

I have taken pistol courses from Merle Edington, a great local resource in my area for pistol training, and leaned on long-range knowledge from my teammate Garrett Grover for matches like the Vortex Extreme.

I have no prior military service or law enforcement background, so I wanted to soak up any knowledge they could give me, and it has paid off immensely for me in competition.

Although, now I’m not sure I really took as much from that training as I could have!

Let me tell you a quick short story to explain why.

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Set aside ego to focus on learning as much as possible

This summer, a friend of mine and owner of The Tactical Games (TTG) tells me about a Crossfit Games competitor that has crossed over to TTG and how he needs help with his shooting skills.

He tells me the guy is physically dominant and placed 4th in the Elite division at a larger TTG competition while “missing the broadside of every barn” when shooting.

I didn’t know what to expect, and frankly, men are typically harder to train than women, where it’s not uncommon to get a lot of “ya, I got it” comments while trying to train men.

Also, I didn’t know who Jacob Heppner was; I’ve never paid attention to the Crossfit games.

We set up a time to hit my training range, and Jacob showed up with a mindset motivated to learn right from the moment he got his gear out of the truck and had it ready to look over.

He set aside any ego to focus on learning as much as possible from someone who was doing better at the part of the game he was not excelling in so far.

So we first handled some gear issues, checked zeroes for pistol and rifle, and got to work on the most basic fundamental skills before slowly advancing things from there.

Start with fundamentals, regardless of experience level

Everything and everyone should start with fundamentals, regardless of experience level, in my opinion.

I would randomly stop him, suggesting alterations to his stance, grip, etc., which often irritates shooters.

His response tho?

He would stop what he was doing, holster or sling his weapon, repeat what I mentioned, then run a slow rep or two in dryfire trying to do exactly what I’d mentioned until it was committed to memory enough to try it live.

We spent less than 5 hours on the range, and before we were done, he was hitting 6” steel at 50 yards with a pistol and 4” wide steel at 300 yards with his rifle.

He took home a single sheet of paper with items to work on, practiced like someone on a mission, and Jacob finished just 13 pts behind the National Champion’s score of 857pts, barely 1.5% off pace.

My prediction for 2022?

He wins it.

My takeaway here: An attentive student with a decent instructor will beat out a stubborn student who has the best instructors money can buy.

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Photos by Dillen Easley