Category Archives: dryfire

Your Best Defense: Staying Out of Trouble

I was able to spend some time talking with Michael Bane last week about ‘Staying Out of Trouble.’ That means emphasizing the ‘Avoid’ and ‘Escape’ steps in the Avoid, Escape, Confront, Resist paradigm.

We had a great conversation that will be of interest to new gunowners, those who have been at it as long as Michael and I, and everyone in between.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Downrange drill target

My only question is whether you might have an alternate suggestion for target set up comparable to the one in this post and the one before. I shoot at two restrictive ranges without the ability to shoot targets spaced as indicated in your diagram.

Almost all indoor ranges are restrictive that way. There are still things you can do even if you can’t accomplish everything you’d like.

This is a target from my upcoming Dry Practice book you can print on letter size paper.

Downrange drill target

Tape it to the head of a silhouette target. It is anatomically sized correctly by using the ocular distance indicated by the line with arrows on the male mugshot of Dennis Rader, the notorious BTK Killer. https://www.biography.com/crime-figure/dennis-rader The dashed circle is sized to four inches in diameter. The pretty lady is a mug shot too, unfortunately, but she serves the purpose of occupying the place of a NO SHOOT.

Place the target at 10 feet, which is the mid-point of the far phase of Social Space in Proxemics. The object of the drill is to place one round in the circle as rapidly as your can. Do it five times in a row. If you hit the lady, you’ve shot a loved one; consider that in your evaluation of your abilities. As Dirty Harry said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

Even if you don’t have a lot of flexibility at your practice range, there are still things you can do to up your game.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF) (not Free)

Dry Practice Safety – Part II

#fridayfundamentals

The LAPD Categorical Use Of Force report about the UD of a snub revolver http://www.lapdonline.org/assets/pdf/040-19%20PR%20(NTUD).pdf generated a fair amount of interest. Here’s a follow-on idea.

These three Lessons To Be Learned From The Incident were mentioned last time.

  • While we sometimes have to perform administrative functions with our guns, those administrative actions should mimic our actual handling and firing procedures, whenever possible. In this case, ejecting the rounds straight down as if getting ready to reload would be a better procedure.
  • Count the rounds when they come out of the revolver. You should be aware how many chambers your revolver has. Five chambers but only four rounds indicates a problem. Note that a nickel plated single round in the cylinder of a stainless or anodized revolver is not necessarily immediately obvious. By counting the rounds and then carefully examining the cylinder, the chances of a round remaining in a chamber is mitigated.
  • Dummy ammunition not only protects the firing pin, hammer nose, or striker of a handgun during dry practice, it also provides an additional layer of safety during the practice session. If a visually identifiable dummy is in the chamber(s), then a live round cannot be. This is also physics. Dummies are available from A-Zoom and ST Action Pro. They can be found on Amazon or better gun stores.

Keeping a speedloader filled with dummy rounds accessible allows you to accomplish all three of these tasks. You could do the same thing with a Speed Strip, pouch, or loops.

J box dummies arrow

  1. Put your speedloader where you might carry it. If you don’t habitually carry a speedloader for your reload, just put it in your pocket.
  2. Eject the live rounds from your revolver on the ground.
  3. Reload with the dummies using the speedloader.
  4. Holster your revolver.
  5. Put the live rounds in the speedloader and secure it with your other live ammunition.
  6. Go to your dry practice area, which is a place where there is no live ammunition.
  7. When you have finished your dry practice, put your revolver away without reloading it.
  8. Do something else to remove dry practice from your thoughts.
  9. When dry practice is distant from your thoughts, reverse the reloading process and reload your revolver with the live ammunition. Replace the dummy rounds in the speedloader. This gives you a reminder that your revolver is now loaded with live ammunition.
  10. Put your revolver away or immediately exit your home to preclude the last repetition that makes a loud noise.

Using this procedure helps protect you, your gun, and gets in two good reloading repetitions.

Tactical Professor books are NOT FREE but if you would be interested in knowing how to better operate the firearms you own during the American Insurgency, they can be purchased from the menu at the top of the page.

Dry Practice Safety

#wheelgunwednesday

There are many valuable lessons to be learned from the LAPD Categorical Use Of Force reports. http://www.lapdonline.org/categorical_use_of_force Most of those lessons relate to the dynamics of Officer Involved Shootings. However, the reports also provide a detailed account for every Unintentional Discharge by a Los Angeles POlice Officer. This particular incident relates to the UD of a snub revolver.

http://www.lapdonline.org/assets/pdf/040-19%20PR%20(NTUD).pdf

Incident Summary

Officer A brought his/her back-up service revolver home with the intention to clean it.

With the muzzle of the revolver pointed toward the ground, Officer A held the revolver with his/her right hand and used his/her right thumb to push the cylinder release button, disengaging the cylinder from the revolver. Once the cylinder disengaged, Officer A placed his/her left hand under the open cylinder and used his/her left index finger to depress the ejector rod, releasing the live rounds into his/her left hand. Officer A did not count the live rounds and placed them on top of the kitchen counter directly behind him/her. Officer A then closed the cylinder.

Officer A held his/her revolver with two hands in a standing shooting position. He/she raised his/her revolver and pointed it in the direction of the vertical blinds covering a sliding glass doors, which led to an exterior patio. Officer A placed his/her finger on the trigger and pressed it to dry fire the revolver. Officer A conducted two dry fire presses of the trigger.

According to Officer A, he/she normally conducted dry trigger press exercises approximately three times per week, on his/her days off. However, Officer A stated that he/she usually practices with his/her semi-automatic service pistol, and this was the first time that he/she practiced with his/her revolver.

According to Officer A, believing his/her revolver was still unloaded, he/she placed his/her finger on the trigger and pressed it a third time, which caused the revolver to discharge a single round. No one was injured by the discharge.

Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners’ Findings

The BOPC determined that Officer A’s actions violated the Department’s Basic Firearm Safety Rules and found Officer A’s Unintentional Discharge to be Negligent.

Lessons To Be Learned From The Incident

The value of reading about incidents like this is not to criticize or heap scorn but rather to learn hard lessons from someone else’s Negative Outcome.

  • Revolvers have multiple chambers not just one like an autoloading pistol. Especially if the revolver is dirty, either from firing or carrying, it’s not uncommon for one or two rounds to remain in the cylinder when the rest eject. Two factors can contribute to this. One, the ejector rod of a snub is shorter than the cases so it doesn’t push the rounds completely out. Two, gravity has effect when loading or unloading a revolver. If the revolver is not held completely vertical when being unloaded, gravity causes the cases to drag on the bottom of the chambers. This is simply physics in action.
  • “Officer A placed his/her left hand under the open cylinder and used his/her left index finger to depress the ejector rod, releasing the live rounds into his/her left hand.” This is pretty much impossible to do with the revolver held vertically. It is also a bad repetition of reloading procedure. While we sometimes have to perform administrative functions with our guns, those administrative actions should mimic our actual handling and firing procedures, whenever possible. In this case, ejecting the rounds straight down as if getting ready to reload would be a better procedure.
  • Count the rounds when they come out of the revolver. You should be aware how many chambers your revolver has. Five chambers but only four rounds indicates a problem. Note that a nickel plated single round in the cylinder of a stainless or anodized revolver is not necessarily immediately obvious. By counting the rounds and then carefully examining the cylinder, the chances of a round remaining in a chamber is mitigated.
  • Dummy ammunition not only protects the firing pin, hammer nose, or striker of a handgun during dry practice, it also provides an additional layer of safety during the practice session. If a visually identifiable dummy is in the chamber(s), then a live round cannot be. This is also physics. Dummies are available from A-Zoom and ST Action Pro. They can be found on Amazon or better gun stores.
  • Dry practice should always be conducted at a specific target located on some kind of bullet resistant backstop. “[V]ertical blinds covering a sliding glass doors [sic] leading to an exterior patio” DO NOT fulfill this requirement.

Dry practice is a valuable way to build skill, especially with a wheelgun. Make sure that you are alert and focused on the task and observe safety procedures rigorously.

Tactical Professor books are NOT FREE but if you would be interested in knowing how to better operate the firearms you own during the American Insurgency, they can be purchased from the menu at the top of the page.

Private lesson –Training Modules

I had the opportunity to exchange a private lesson for a haircut today. The stylist is an experienced shooter who has taken a number of classes and can run a pistol quite competently. This made the choice of modules for the lesson a little different than might usually be done for a private lesson. Since we were at her home, no live fire was indicated. I used three different learning modules for her lesson.

Image Based Decisional Drills

The first module was using the Image Based Decisional Drills from The Complete Combatant. http://www.thecompletecombatant.com/image-based-decisional-drills.html Only one category of Negative Outcomes relates to marksmanship, the other ten relate to Bad Decisions of one sort of another. IBDD provides a useful method to practice interactive decision-making. Although it was originally developed for live fire purposes, it can easily be done without live fire by using an inert training pistol.

We set up a small training area with a face target.

3 IBDD layout face circled

It took only a few minutes to run through all 25 cards in the deck.

4 IBDD completed

Using IBDD to put context into the manipulation process showed that some supplemental instruction was in order. The supplemental items we covered were:

  • Correct grip for pepper spray.
  • Trigger manipulation under stress.
  • Sequencing of movement, verbal communication, and firing.
  • Non-verbal communication techniques for dealing with low life individuals.
  • Changing direction quickly (close order drill).

This is an overview of the Image Based Decisional Drill concept, process, and kit.

Using a SIRT pistol is an excellent tool for non-firing sessions with IBDD but even an inexpensive toy gun from WalMart would be an adequate training aid.

Walmart XD Glock

NRA Pistol Marksmanship Simulator Training Course

Even with experienced shooters, I am finding value in the NRA Pistol Marksmanship Simulator Training Course. https://www.nrainstructors.org/CatalogInfo.aspx?cid=47

By adjusting the laser dot above the sights of a SIRT pistol, the simulator allows the operator to see the effect of their trigger manipulation and follow-through. The sights on my SIRT have been replaced with real metal sights.

SIRT

Any NRA Certified Pistol Instructor can conduct the NRA Pistol Marksmanship Simulator Training Course. The Course of Fire is not specified so I use the previous and current versions of the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting qualification test.

Introduction to Snub Revolver

Finally, we did a quick dry practice introduction to the snub revolver. Since she is an experienced shooter, the introduction focused mostly on the differences between the revolver and an autoloader. The overview consisted of:

  • Proper grip for a revolver.
  • Trigger finger positioning and manipulation.
  • Accessing a downed partner’s weapon from both face up and face down positions.

A great deal can be accomplished in a couple of hours when live fire isn’t required and contextual Learning Objectives are established.

To avoid confusion, I won’t list my books in this post because they’re not free. If you would be interested in purchasing any of my shooting workbooks for handgun or rifle, they are available from the menu at the top of the page. As the American Insurgency escalates, you may find having a functional knowledge of the weapons you own to be useful.

Mr. Happy/Frowny Face Decisional Drill

For this drill you will need paper plates, a silhouette target, a deck of cards, and a table or platform to put the cards on. The object of this drill is to practice thinking with a gun in hand.

Draw faces on two paper plates. One plate with a happy face (no shoot), one with a frowny face (shoot). Different color markers for each plate, one Red and one Black.

Put the two paper plates on a silhouette.

drawn faces on silhouette

Place the silhouette at 4 yards

Use only the Ace, Two, and Three cards of all suits from a deck of cards and then shuffle those cards.

ace through 3 only

Place the cards face down on the table in front of you.

Sequence 1

Turn a card over.

If the card is the color on the frowny face, draw or present the pistol and then shoot the frowny face plate with the number of rounds indicated by the number of the card. I.e., if the card is the 3, then shoot 3 shots. The Ace is one shot.

If the card is the color on the happy face, don’t draw or present, i.e., no shooting.

Pistols having a capacity of less than 12 rounds will require reloading. This is a good opportunity to practice reloading skills under a bit of stress. Pistols with capacities more than 12 rounds can start loaded with less than 12 rounds to gain this additional practice opportunity.

After all 12 cards have been turned over, there should be 12 hits on Mr. Frownyface and NO hits on Mr. Happyface.

This drill can also be done at home using a SIRT pistol, a toy pistol, a water pistol, or some other simulation. The marksmanship might not be measured but the decision-making and thinking skills are the primary purpose of the drill.

The drill has several variations but for most people, this is a good start to work on decision-making.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Scaling targets

Since dry practice is our main practice method right now, it’s useful to know how to scale targets since most of us don’t have long distances available.

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Math is like going to the gym for your brain. It sharpens your mind.

Danica McKellar

“Claude, how do I shrink an IDPA target so it appears as though it is 25 yards away when my dry fire range is 7 yards? Thank you.”

Many people think they will never use elementary algebra once they leave high school but sometimes it still comes in handy. The above question can be simply solved through the use of cross-multiplication.

The first part of the problem is we have to determine the ratio of the two distances and then solve for the correct size (height) of the target. The IDPA target is 30 inches tall and would be full size at 25 yards. How tall would it be at seven yards?

Height 30 x
yards 25 7

Cross multiplication means the product of the upper left and lower right will be…

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Dry Practice Safety Procedures

The influx of new firearms owners in the past few weeks has generated considerable interest in dry practice. For both new and long time owners, a primer on dry practice is in order.

Dry practice is the process of practicing with a firearm without using ammunition. Generally, this is done at home but can also be done at the range in conjunction with live fire practice. The purpose of dry practice is to become more familiar with the operation of a firearm without the distractions of recoil and the Overpressure Event aka muzzle blast. In times of limited or no availability of ammunition and range resources, dry practice may be the only practice method available to us.

There are very specific safety precautions that should be used to make dry practice as safe as possible. A one page sheet listing safety precautions is available here. dry practice safety procedures Note that no usage of any potentially life-threatening device, such as firearms, automobiles, chain saws, or electric outlets can be considered completely safe.

Using a chamber safety device is highly recommended when dry practicing. A number of commercially available devices are available and they work well. A field expedient device is a pipe cleaner aka ‘craft fuzzy stick’ through the bore and bent over in the ejection port.
Fuzzy stick chamber safeThese can be purchased at Wal-Mart for less than one dollar for a large package of them.

Previous articles about dry practice, nee dryfire, can be found by clicking the ‘dryfire’ Category in the right column menu.

Practice and practice safely.

 

Snub Dry Practice During the Beer Plague

#wheelgunwednesday

We can use our time at home productively during the Beer Plague by doing some dry practice. Here’s a regimen for snub revolvers that’s quick and useful. It’s derived from the LAPD Back Up Firearm Qualification Course. There are two targets at 3 yards.

Use Double range square

String 1

From a concealed holster, using two hands, draw and snap twice on the right target, twice on the left target, then one snap on the right head.

String 2

From a concealed holster, using two hands, draw and snap twice on the left target, twice on the right target, then one snap on the left head.

String 3

From a concealed holster, using the Primary hand only, draw and snap twice on the right target, twice on the left target, then one snap on the right head.

String 4

From a concealed holster, using the Primary hand only, draw and snap twice on the left target, twice on the right target, then one snap on the left head.

String 5

From Low Ready, using the Support hand only, snap twice on the right target, twice on the left target, then one snap on the right head.

String 6

From Low Ready, using the Support hand only, snap twice on the left target, twice on the right target, then one snap on the left head.

Use Chief 2

You can use fired cases as snap caps to protect the hammer nose (firing pin). Marking the case head with a black Sharpie provides a visual indicator that the case is a snap cap and not a wadcutter. Having a specific container for them keeps them easily accessible.

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More about Refining the drawstroke

An excellent question was posed about Refining the Drawstroke. It’s worthy of repeating and answering in a post of its own because the answer seems counter-intuitive.

Shortest distance between two points is a straight line. He seems to catch with the support hand at the nipple line. We catch just a tad lower. Thoughts?

In this case, the line to follow is the eye-target line not the line from the holster to full extension. The sooner the gun gets into the eye-target line, at least peripherally, the sooner we can begin refining our visual reference of the gun to the target. If the gun is presented straight to extension, the visual refinement cannot begin until the gun reaches extension.

Dry Practice over boxes eye-target line

At this point, I am already achieving a coarse visual reference of the pistol to the target.

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