Before you buy a gun, you should go to a range that rents guns and try different ones out to see which one is best for you.
What does “try them out” mean? How do we measure “which one is best for you?” Here is a list of worthwhile items to evaluate for you to make an informed decision about an autoloading pistol. For those who are helping a prospective purchaser, demonstrate the technique but then place the pistol in a sterile (unloaded with slide forward) condition and let them do their own evaluation without comment or coaching. You won’t be there to coach them if they need to use the pistol for real; that’s part of the evaluation.
- Load the pistol. This has two components.
- Load a magazine to full capacity.
- Load the fully charged magazine into the pistol and chamber a round.
- Manipulate the controls of the pistol.
- If the pistol has a decocker, decock the pistol after loading it.
- If the pistol has a safety, engage it, and then disengage it.
- Remove the loaded magazine from the pistol.
- Engage the slide stop while safely ejecting the round from the chamber. The muzzle must remain pointed downrange during the unload sequence.
- Inspect the chamber visually and physically (with a finger) to be sure it is unloaded.
- Let the slide go forward.
- Shoot the pistol.
- For new shooters or prospective purchasers, use a standard silhouette target.
- Experienced shooters should use a more meaningful target.
- An 8 inch circle at 3 yards.
- A sheet of paper in landscape orientation at 5 yards.
- Two sheets of paper stacked one above the other in landscape orientation at 7 yards and 10 yards.
- A suitable target can be downloaded here. Printable Silhouette drawn face
- Fire six shots at each of four distances (Stages); 3 yards, 5 yards, 7 yards, and 10 yards. This will replicate the difficulty level of most States’ Carry License Qualification Courses of Fire. A Carry License Qualification is the most likely shooting task the average purchaser will use their handgun for so you may as well evaluate the ability to pass it. This shooting evaluation consists of 24 rounds so two different pistols could be evaluated with one fifty round box of ammo.
- The six shots for each Stage should be fired in three Strings of Fire. The magazine should be loaded with six rounds only except when evaluating stoppage clearance.
- Fire One shot
- Fire Two shots
- Fire Three shots
- If the pistol has a decocker, decock the pistol after each string and then disengage the decocker.
- If the pistol has a safety, start each string with the safety engaged.
- After shooting at each distance, czech to make sure the pistol is unloaded, let the slide go forward, and decock, if the pistol has a decocker.
- Record how many hits were made on the target and then cover them with masking tape. You should bring a roll of masking tape with you to the range.
- Start the next distance’s shooting by loading the pistol from a sterile condition.
- The 3 yard string should be fired with the Primary Hand Only, i.e., One Handed.
- The six shots for each Stage should be fired in three Strings of Fire. The magazine should be loaded with six rounds only except when evaluating stoppage clearance.
- Evaluate your ability to reduce stoppages of the pistol.
- When shooting the 5 yard Stage, start with the chamber empty and a six round magazine inserted. Attempt to fire the first shot on an empty chamber. After the click, tap the base of the magazine, cycle the slide, and then fire one shot (Tap-Rack-Bang). This is a simulation of clearing a bad round or a partially unseated magazine.
- When shooting the 7 yard Stage, start with the slide locked open and a six round magazine in the pistol. Eject the magazine onto the table, pick it up, insert it into the pistol, release the slide, and then fire three shots. This is a simulation of an Emergency Reload because most rental pistols will only come with one magazine. After the three shot sequence, fire the two shot String and then the one shot String.
- When shooting the 10 yard Stage, start with the chamber empty and a six round magazine inserted. Attempt to fire the first shot on an empty chamber. After the click, remove the magazine, cycle the slide three times, re-insert the magazine, and then fire three shots. This simulates clearing a double feed. After the three shot sequence, fire the two shot String and then the one shot String.
This evaluation procedure will give you a good idea of two different aspects of how well the gun works for you or a prospective purchaser. The ability to shoot the gun to pass a possible standard for obtaining a Carry License and also manipulation tasks that are frequently overlooked.
Here is a downloadable checklist you can take to the range with you. Autoloading Pistol Suitability Checklist
What is YOUR real world like? It’s different from everyone else’s real world, for sure.
Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com
Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com
Advanced Pistol Practice http://store.payloadz.com/go?id=2613612
Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com
This morning, I had an opportunity to do some work on putting my money where my mouth is. I’ve been haranguing about Negative Outcomes and wanted to come up with some actionable practice. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, as the saying goes.
Around 5 a.m., someone was loading a pickup in the parking lot outside my apartment. There was quite a bit of ‘bumping,’ which woke me up. Everything was still dark and otherwise quiet. I was satisfied that it was indeed a truck being loaded and what was being loaded wasn’t mine. While lying in bed, I realized I had been awakened by a ‘bump in the night.’ So, I decided to clear my apartment as a dry run.
First, I cleared my pistol and put an orange dummy round in the chamber. I then dryfired it once. If I hadn’t…
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It’s all hype by the media to boost their ratings. The active shooter possibility is so small it wouldn’t even be worth talking about if the media didn’t stir up such a (you-know-what) storm about it. Look at the breakout for 2017, the latest year exact numbers are available. Note that the mass shootings number for 2017 includes the Las Vegas concert incident so it’s higher than other years.
Source: CDC and Time
In comparison, how often do you hear about multiple fatality car crashes on the news? They rate one minute, once. Then they’re out of sight and out of mind. In 2017, the CDC figure for car fatalities is 40,231. Dead is dead, period. Run an internet search for “multiple fatality car crash” and limit the search period to the past month. The number you’ll find is shocking.
No, we don’t.
A rare editorial commentary.
In the wake of the recent ‘mass shootings,’ an amazing amount of rhetoric has arisen on both sides of the political spectrum and from the Venn diagram of those who bridge the continuum. Both sides are wrong. I’ll probably annoy some people with this commentary and lose some subscribers but so be it.
On one side, commonly referred to as the Left, we hear renewed call for various forms of gun control, ranging from Universal Background Checks to outright banning of ‘assault weapons.’ These calls are the continued extension of a propaganda campaign that would have made Nazi propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels proud. In numerical terms, the probability of being involved in a ‘mass shooting’ is so small a possibility that it’s not even worth considering in our daily lives much less for making public policy. There were more one-on-one homicide victims last year than in all the so-called ‘mass shootings’ of the 20th and 21st Centuries combined. I feel sorry for the victims of active killers but no more so than for the Dekalb County murder victims who annually outnumber ‘active killer’ victims but who get about one minute of news coverage every few days.
The whole ‘mass shooting’ thing is an invention of the mass media elites to boost their ratings and push forward the topic of gun control. Anyone who thinks that media personalities making millions of dollars a year care one whit about the plight of the average person is seriously naïve. What they care about is their ratings and how much money and power they can accumulate.
The Bill of Rights
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
There continues to be controversy about the meaning of the Second Amendment. Advocates of Gun Control maintain that it only refers to the National Guard. On occasion, even firearms owners will say that regulated means ‘trained.’
The Federalist Papers (#29 by Alexander Hamilton) gives this interpretation of a ‘well regulated militia.’
“Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped; [emphasis mine] and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year.”
I.e., everyone should own an assault rifle, a basic load of ammunition and be required to show up for an inspection thereof at least annually.
Hamilton alludes to the difficulty of having the entire citizenry participate in military maneuvers sufficient to develop proficiency at a unit level. Any soldier who has been on a Field Training Exercise (FTX) can understand this. But having military weapons in the hands of the People seems to be a viable solution to him. Maintaining individual proficiency with those weapons isn’t something he speaks about.
James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 46:
“Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation … Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”
Yet another reference to the value of citizens owning arms.
Madison also makes reference to “that the traitors [emphasis mine] should, throughout this period, uniformly and systematically pursue some fixed plan for the extension of the military establishment.” In a time when a member of Congress talks about using nuclear weapons against the American people, it’s even more important that the people at large possess military weapons.
Professor Eugene Volokh of the UCLA Law School provides some References to the Militia in The Federalist.
The Second Amendment has never been about hunting. That has always been a fiction. The intent of the Founding Fathers was for the people to able to resist a tyrannical central government.
I’m pleased to announce that I’ve finished my latest book – Shooting Your Black Rifle.
There are many books about how to shoot rifles in general, and Black Rifles in particular. This book focuses on applying the principles and techniques of those books to live fire and dry practice. The book contains numerous Courses of Fire applicable to training and practicing for Personal Protection, along with other useful information for Black Rifle owners. These Courses are drawn from POlice Patrol Rifle courses that involve shooting at 50 yards or less, so they are highly applicable to the needs of the Armed Private Citizen.
This book should be thought of as a guide for practicing the techniques that owners of AR-15s and other Black Rifles have learned or are interested in. Understanding a technique without repetitively practicing it will not yield particularly good results. The Courses of Fire provide a method for practicing what an owner has learned and evaluating what techniques work best for each individual.
Recognizing that many people do not have access to a readily available source of targets, Printable Targets that can be produced on any printer are included. Because many gunowners do not have access to a 50 yard range, reduced scale targets are included. These reduced scale targets can be used on ranges that are only 25 yards long to simulate longer distances.
Table of Contents
- Zeroing Your Rifle
- Patrol Rifle Qualification Courses
- Decisional Drills, Verbalization Drills, and Dry Practice
- Gun Safety, Serious Mistakes, and Negative Outcomes
This is an excellent guide for both new AR-15 owners and those who have owned one for a while but would like to practice with the rifle more effectively. For those who have taken a class about the AR-15, the book provides you with various shooting drills to help you maintain and sharpen the skills you learned. For those who have little or no training, the book gives you a structured way of learning and improving your skills.
It is available in downloadable format. The cost is only $7.99 and I think you will find it is well worth it.
I just completed the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan POlice Department Online Firearms Safety Training Course. It’s actually well done and informative. There are a few parts particular to D.C. laws but other than that, nothing odious. The animations are generally well done and informative for newcomers to firearms ownership. The course took me about half an hour to complete.
There were only two errors noticeable to me, one technical and one typographical. I’ll let the webmaster know about them.
I was the guest on another podcast last night. Knowing that many people like to listen to podcasts, I compiled a list of the podcasts and topics that the hosts have been so kind to invite me to join.
Eye On The Target – Book philosophy and Dry Practice drill, July 14, 2019
P(rimary) &S(econdary) 168 – Mouse Guns, October 14, 2018
Safety Solutions Academy – Decision Making, September 20, 2018
Ballistic Radio – The Neediest of Pre-Needs, July 8, 2018
Ballistic Radio – Dear Instructors, Get a Real Job, February 11, 2018
Civilian Carry Radio – December 28, 2017
Ballistic Radio – Whose Standards?, May 7, 2017)
Ballistic Radio – 50 Shades Of Werner, September 25, 2016
Ballistic Radio – The Boyd Part About The OODA Loop, February 7, 2016
Handgun Radio 118 – SHOT Show 2016 Handgun Preview, January 5, 2016
Gun Guy Radio 189 – LAPD Use of Force Reports, November 10, 2015
Handgun Radio 102 – Handgun Comparison Testing Protocols, – July 14, 2015
Ballistic Radio – Training, Practice, and Shooting Standards, May 10, 2015
Ballistic Radio – Negative Outcomes 101, Part 2, March 15, 2015
Ballistic Radio – Negative Outcomes 101, March 1, 2015
Ballistic Radio – The Rise of the Sentinel (Event), September 16, 2014
Ballistic Radio – Threat Management For The Armed Citizen, August 24, 2014
Ballistic Radio – Gunfight Analysis, Understanding the Threat YOU Are Most Likely To Face, April 20, 2014
Ballistic Radio – The Efficacy of Pocket Guns, Misconceptions, June 30, 2013
A few days ago, I did some grocery shopping. Since I only had a few items, I went to the Express Czechout line.
There were two ladies in front of me in line. They were engrossed in a conversation about their pets. The first lady in line had put her items onto the conveyor and placed a yellow marker stick behind them. The second lady (directly in front of me) was so busy talking with the first that, even as the belt advanced, she didn’t put her items on the belt.
When there was plenty of space on the conveyor for her stuff, I put another yellow stick down and unloaded my items onto the belt behind it. Their lively conversation continued but the lady in front of me still didn’t put her items on the belt when it stopped at the first lady’s stick. Then the lady in front of me removed the first lady’s stick, talking all the while. Doing so let my items advance to the cashier.
After the first lady paid her bill, the two ladies continued their nonstop talking. The cashier removed my stick and started ringing up my items. The second lady was still talking and standing there with her items in her basket.
If you can’t see the sights on your snub, you can’t use them. While there are some ways gunsmiths can put better sights on a snub, careful application of paint and perhaps Magic Marker can go a long way to improving your ability to see the sights. Most snubs’ sights are not of a color to contrast against the target. The lack of contrast makes it difficult to pick up a quick visual reference. Fire trucks and school buses aren’t painted blue or silver for a reason. Silver generates glare easily and blue doesn’t contrast against a dark target nor in limited visibility.
Colored nail polish or paint is an old trick to increase the visibility of the front sight. If you paint the sight first with white paint as an undercoating, the color will stand out much better. Degrease the sight before applying paint to ensure the paint sticks. Let the white paint cure completely and then apply the color paint over the white.