When planning any journey, knowing where you’re starting from is a necessity. For those new to Concealed Carry and for those who have been carrying for a while, having some kind of Standard to benchmark your ability against is the way to determine where you’re at, skills wise.
Marksmanship skill is not the be all and end all of the skills involved in Concealed Carry, as my Serious Mistakes and Negative Outcomes commentary shows. However, understanding where your capability fits in the big picture helps decision‑making more than is often realized. Some degree of skill helps a gunowner focus on the solution to the problem of a criminal encounter instead of focusing on possession of the gun as the solution.
It’s finally done. My new book about Skills and Drills for those who Concealed (or Open) Carry. The book is based on my analysis of over 5,000 incidents involving Armed Citizens who successfully defended themselves and their loved ones.
This book was designed to fill a need. For many gun owners, training is a resource intensive activity that they have difficulty affording in terms of time, money, distance, etc. Introductory Concealed Carry licensing classes generally focus mostly on legal aspects and non-shooting tasks such as situational de‑escalation. The only shooting task, if any, involved in a licensing course will usually be a ‘qualification’ or evaluation of the shooter’s ability to perform to an established standard. In most cases, that standard is quite low but it is still intimidating to many.
The gunowner is thereby placed in an unenviable situation. First, having to learn to shoot prior to attending a licensing course. Even with some instruction, which will often be informal by a friend or relative, this can be a difficult task. Second, assuming the person passes the licensing ‘qualification,’ they often ask the question “What do I do next?” The standard response is “Get more training.” Since spending a day or a weekend at a remote location ‘getting more training’ doesn’t fit into most people’s resource constraints, they simply choose not to unless it’s required at license renewal time.
Gun ranges are not ideal learning environments. Trying to get even informal instruction from someone else when people are shooting on either side of you is rarely productive. The question of what are appropriate tasks to learn and how do we practice them comes next. How do we make the best use of our limited resources at the range is another question. The horrible visualization on TV and in movies of what shooting looks like is non-helpful at best and destructive of proper conceptualization and skill development at worst.
Self-Study is an activity most of us are used to. It is how we often learn to drive a car and perform many other physical and athletic tasks. Not many people who play sports have ever been to a sports training camp. They just go out and practice the activity, play the game, figure out their weaknesses, and then practice some more.
The difficulty of Self-Study with firearms is the question of how to do it safely and properly. Guns are esoteric tools that are not intuitive to use. We have no instincts that prepare us for having explosions repeatedly go off two feet in front of our faces. Few other tools we use have the capability to cause instant death during a moment of ignorance or carelessness.
What this book provides is a guide through the process of improving your shooting skills on your own in the context of Personal Protection. Guided training with a competent instructor is still the best way to improve your skills and will yield the best results. However, an intelligent person who can follow directions can still learn a great deal on his or her own, given a suitable program.
This book is not a guide to becoming a Champion shooter or being able to shoot like a member of an elite military unit. What it can do is help you to become a safer, more competent shooter who can focus your cognitive abilities on the situation, instead of the gun, during a criminal encounter. It is also an excellent reference for more experienced shooters providing informal training to new shooters.
There are 30 different drills in the eBook. They focus on building Concealed Carry skills from the ground up and then refining them. The drills are structured in a stair step approach starting at a level that a new shooter can achieve and then work to a greater degree of difficulty and achievement. Different types of drills are coordinated to build a variety of skills at the same time.
The vast majority of Personal Protection incidents are simple, if rather frightening, events, and are quickly solved by untrained inexperienced persons. The issue is that if an incident goes wrong, it tends to go horribly wrong, a NEGATIVE OUTCOME. The odds are low but the stakes are very high. Helping the Armed Private Citizen stack the deck in their favor is the object of this book.
Posts Part I and Part II broke out the circumstances and tasks of the incidents of this month’s (July 2018) Armed Citizen® column. Today let’s discuss the implications of the circumstances and tasks for those who own firearms for personal protection.
The most common task (all six incidents) accomplished was:
- Retrieve the firearm from storage.
There were no incidents this month in which the firearm was carried on the person’s body. This is a subjective call on the part of editors as to which of the plethora of Defensive Gun Uses to include in a monthly column. However, only 6 percent of the adult population has a license or permit to carry a weapon outside the home, according to John Lott’s Crime Prevention Research Center. It’s also commonly acknowledged that among those who have a license or permit to carry, actually carrying on the person is sporadic, at best. Accordingly, it is not surprising that the majority, perhaps vast majority, of Defensive Gun Uses do not occur in public places.
One implication of this fact is that a certain amount of emphasis should be placed on retrieving a firearm from its actual storage location, be it home or vehicle, and then putting it into operation. This is especially true if the firearm is kept in some sort of safe, whether it is large or small. If an autoloader is stored with the chamber empty, the need to be able to place the weapon into a fully fireable condition is also implied. Avoiding Negligent Discharges in the process is desirable.
JULY 2018 AMERICAN RIFLEMAN
Yesterday’s post broke out the circumstances of the incidents of this month’s Armed Citizen® column. Today’s post breaks out the tasks involved.
Women have been buying an increasing number of firearms in recent years, and that trend is starting to make itself felt against those who try to commit criminal acts. In Arizona, for example, a shopper was getting ready to get into her car and drive home. While she was attempting to close the door of her vehicle, a man armed with a hatchet approached her vehicle, demanded that she hand over her keys and get out of the car. The woman drew a sidearm and told the man to back off. Instead, the assailant raised the hatchet. The shopper proceeded to shoot him, holding him at gunpoint until the police and medics arrived. The suspect was hospitalized, and charges were to be filed later. (Tucson News, Tucson, Ariz., 4/14/18)
Tasks accomplished by Citizen
- Retrieve from car (handgun)
- Challenge from ready
- Engage from ready (handgun)
- Shoot with handgun
- Hold at gunpoint until police arrive
Location of Incident
- In or around Vehicle
- Challenge criminal
- Shot(s) fired
- Held at gunpoint
Result to Criminal
- Criminal wounded
- In Vehicle
Number of Shots fired
Number of adversaries
- 1 adversary
Gaffney Continue reading →
JULY 2018 AMERICAN RIFLEMAN
Looking at circumstances and tasks involved in the Monthly Armed Citizen® column of the NRA Official Journals provides us with some food for thought about personal protection. The incidents are summarized in the column for copyright reasons. I have provided links to the original stories for further study.
We can look at the incidents from two perspectives; circumstances and the tasks involved for the defender. This post will categorize the circumstances for each incident. Tomorrow will analyze the tasks involved.
How do you forget you’re carrying a gun?
This question was posed in relation to a recent article about a former teacher leaving his pistol in the stall of a public restroom. The pistol was shortly thereafter fired ‘to see if it was loaded’ by the homeless man who found it. A spirited discussion ensued on my Facebook Tactical Professor page about the topic.
The discussion brought to mind something John Farnam spoke about at his class I attended 20 years ago. John wrote one of his published quips about the topic years later. It is well worth reading and considering. One of his points about competent gunhandlers is: “We don’t have accidents with guns.” Accidents is a category that includes more than Negligent Discharges by the homeless. It also includes losing control of your personally carried weapon, either by leaving it behind or by unintentionally allowing others to gain access to it.
Following is John’s commentary.
Living with Guns
By John S. Farnam
Many years ago, while attending The US Army Command and General Staff College at Ft Leavenworth, KS, I submitted a paper entitled, “Living With Guns”. In it, I described my sometimes exasperating experiences as an infantry second lieutenant, platoon commander in Vietnam in 1968. I observed that, during that War, although we all had been theoretically trained to operate small arms, nobody had ever taught us how to actually live with them!
I submitted that individual soldiers need experiences that prepare them, not only to operate, but to actually live with, loaded guns during prolonged periods of intermittent (and sometimes continuous) fighting. One may argue that such training is dangerous, but without it I contended, our soldiers will continue to accidentally shoot themselves and each other with distressing frequency the moment they enter an area of active fighting.
For a long time, I’ve wanted to do a comparison of two very popular pocket pistols; the Airweight J Frame and the Ruger LCP. This #wheelgunwednesday, I made it happen. In this case, I used a S&W 642-2 for the Airweight.
The test I used for the comparison was the Nevada Concealed Firearms Permit Qualification Course. I used this as the graduation exercise in my Snub Nose Revolver Classes many times. It’s still one of my favorite CCW qualification courses. The course goes as follows:
The humanoid target, B27 or B21 or equivalent as determined by the firearm instructor shall be utilized.
For 6 shot or higher capacity:
3 yards 6 rounds No time limit Freestyle
5 yards 12 rounds No time limit Freestyle
7 yards 12 rounds No time limit Freestyle
For 5 shot or lower capacity:
3 yards 5 rounds No time limit Freestyle
5 yards 10 rounds No time limit Freestyle
7 yards 10 rounds No time limit Freestyle
A total of 30 rounds for 6 shot or larger capacity, 25 rounds for 5 shot capacity must be fired. A 70% minimum (18/25, 21/30) must be scored to pass.
Notice that as with the majority of State Qualification Courses for Private Citizens, drawing from the holster is not required. Nevada is not one of the States that forbid drawing from the holster, so I include a little holster work.
The way I did the test was to:
- Use the -1 zone of the IDPA target. Then, I fold the bottom tapered part up behind the target. This gives an area approximating the FBI QIT target, which I like.
- Shoot 25 rounds with both guns, even though the LCP would fall into the ‘6 shot of higher capacity’ category. This gives an apples to applies comparison of the two guns.
- Conduct the first Stage as five individual one shot draws.
- Do the second and third stages as two individual strings of five shots each.
- Carry the 642-2 in an AIWB holster, concealed under a polo shirt.
- Carry the LCP in a pocket holster.
- Start the draws with hand on gun.
- Start the Five shot strings with the gun at Low Ready, aimed below the base of the target.
In the end, I was able to achieve slightly better results with the 642-2 (19.87 seconds) than with the LCP (20.71 seconds). I’m not sure a 4% difference is worth writing home to Mom about, though.
Both guns were mostly stock. The front sights on both are painted with Fluorescent Orange paint. The LCP has a Hogue Hybrid Handall installed. This makes the gun much more pleasant to shoot and I highly recommend it. The 642-2 wears Sile rubber stocks, which are no longer made, unfortunately. No special trigger work has been done on either, other than a fair amount of dry practice.
In the end, either of these in your pocket will provide more personal protection than some big honking clunky autoloader that gets left home. What’s the best concealed carry handgun? The one you have on you.
This past weekend, Friday through Sunday, was the 20th Anniversary Rangemaster Tactical Conference. I have a long history of wheelgunning at the Conference, having shot it with a revolver in 1999 through 2001.
This year was no exception. I’ve also taught for many years at the Conference. This year I decided to re-visit teaching my Intro to Snubby Skills block of instruction. One of the other trainers had to cancel due to a family emergency. This gave me the opportunity to conduct my class on both Friday and Saturday. A total of 37 shooters took the two classes. I kept it to two hours and less than 50 rounds. Shooters sometimes lose their focus if the class is longer or the round count is higher and I want to set them up for success.
The topics I focused on were:
- Grip the snub firmly
- See the sights
- Press the trigger smoothly
We did all the drills dry first and then live. For the live practice, most included spinning the cylinder after a few shots to create a ball and dummy drill. Revolvers do this much more efficiently than autoloaders. I also emphasize loading with loose rounds because speedloaders are not as secure an ammunition holding device as an autoloader’s magazine.
As the final exercise, the shooters fired all five shots into an eight inch circle, reloaded with two loose rounds and then fired both shots at a facial target 3 inches by 4 inches. This is a good exercise for practicing shooting quickly and then accurately.
After the second class, I then shot the Pistol Match with a Model 65 S&W revolver. Out of 186 people who chose to shoot the Match, two of us used revolvers. The Match featured turning targets, which made it both challenging and fun. The entire match is shot with the shooter’s equipment concealed.
I’ve been using a Galco Walkabout holster for my J Frame so I used a homemade Kydex centerline speedloader carrier. I’m finding that a speedloader carrier at the centerline is extremely fast. One observer noted that on the Stage that required a mandatory reload, I finished first among my squad.
For each string, we had to shoot a given number of rounds in a fixed amount of time while the target faced. Those who fired a perfect score made it into the Semi-Finals.
The Semi-Finals were held on Sunday morning. Turning targets were used again but this time the Course of Fire was only 10 rounds and was shot on a B-8 25-Yard Timed and Rapid Fire Target. The Course of Fire is revolver neutral but I threw two shots into the 7 ring and that put me out of the running for the Final Shootoff.
The Final Shootoff was a single elimination contest shot on reactive falling targets. Two mannequins with a concealed steel hit area had to be knocked down first. Then a mini Pepper Popper had to be knocked down. Whichever shooter knocked down the Popper first was the winner. The competition was fierce and Mr. Gabe White was the winner.
The Ladies did not have a Semi-Final and the top eight Lady shooters of the Match went straight to the Shootoff. It followed the same format as the Men’s Shootoff. Once again, the competition was fierce. Ms. Melody Lauer was the Winner.
Three days of good training was a true pleasure. There were more blocks of instruction, both live fire and lecture, than can be attended. It was a great time and I’m glad I was able to attend and present again.
Next year’s Conference will be held just north of New Orleans on March 15-17, 2019. It is open to all those interested in personal protection.
If you would like to purchase my eBook Concealed Carry Skills and Drills, the link to the downloadable ebook is here. http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com
If you would like to purchase my eBook Indoor Range Practice Sessions, the link to the downloadable ebook is here. https://store.payloadz.com/details/2501143-ebooks-education-indoor-range-practice-sessions.html
Police responded to the scene and determined that a person who had a valid concealed firearms carry permit was seated in the theater and had accidentally dropped his firearm to the floor and retrieved and re-holstered it.
I have no idea what kind of holster this man had. What is clear is that the holster didn’t perform a primary function, to wit: keeping the gun in place. Who knows, it might even have been the crappy holster that inspired my Scam artists in the firearms community post.
Keep in mind that when carrying a gun in public, eventually you will probably sit down. Make sure your holster doesn’t rely solely on gravity to retain the gun. When you sit or slouch, that’s going to stop working. Either a retention system or being fitted to the specific handgun is important.
When carrying a pistol, the gun and holster form a system. That system has to work in a lot of conditions other than what you will encounter at a gun shop or shooting facility. Have that fundamental reality as part of your purchase decision.
Safariland, Galco, and even Blackhawk make decent holsters. Well, some Blackhawks, anyway; my distaste for the Slurpa is well known. But I’ve never heard of a Slurpa letting the gun fall on the ground in a movie theater, so there’s that. There are numerous smaller manufacturers who make high quality gear, as well. One clue is that if it’s made from nylon fabric, you should probably choose something else.
Having to interact with Law Enforcement because your gun fell on the ground is a Serious Mistake. Don’t scrimp for a few dollars and put yourself in that position.
Please don’t do this. There are a lot of newcomers to the world of weapons carry and there are no shortage of hucksters who are doing their best to take advantage of the newbies.
I’m not going to dignify the ad by posting the link. It’s for a $25 holster that has no value whatsoever, despite being advertised as a $99 value. If you see this foolishness, you know that ad in particular and the company in general are just scams. Don’t patronize them.