The most important Fundamental of all is to be sure your gun works. A recently purchased used revolver seemed okay in most aspects except the cylinder lockup had a hitch. Upon actually shooting it, it worked fine for the first 10 rounds. After that, the trigger could not be pulled with the cylinder closed. As I suspected, something was wrong with the center pin spring and the center pin would not push the bolt into position when the cylinder closed. Moving the bolt into position before it will fire is fundamental to double action revolver design.
Upon examining it later, there was no center pin spring, hence the issue. Someone had obviously messed with it because the extractor rod came free quite easily. Fortunately, the sear/bolt spring for a S&W fit adequately and fixed the problem.
As my colleague, the late Paul Gomez, was fond of saying, “Shoot Yor ….. Guns.”
After repairing it, I used it for another form of progression in practice, increasing distance incrementally. Starting out at a close distance, marking your target after each string, and then increasing the distance gives you an indication of where your strengths and weakness lie. Knowing them gives you an idea of what to practice next.
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.
A client asked for a private lesson as preparation for an upcoming class at the elite Rogers Shooting School. Rogers is a very structured learning environment, so the format for the lesson was obvious. Fundamental to learning to shoot at a high level are Repetition and Progression, which are the underlying structure at Rogers. You don’t learn to shoot well by thinking about it, you learn by doing it. Visualization is a useful learning technique but you have to know what to visualize before visualization can have any value.
First in a series about ‘Running the Snub.’
In a discussion of revolver reloading techniques on my 1000 Days of Dryfire Facebook group, I posted a video of myself shooting the Alabama State IDPA Championship with a snub revolver.
The video generated the following question, which I think is worth some discussion and explanation.
Claude, I watched your video, and to me, you display amazing recoil management – the gun hardly moves. I was under the impression that snubbies are especially hard to shoot and control, particularly in this skill area. Can you share what you are doing to control recoil so well? Maybe details on how you grip the gun, and what kind of load you are firing?
Let’s deal with the simple questions first. I was shooting a two inch K frame at the Championship, which weighs almost twice what an Airweight J Frame does. That has some effect on the recoil management. The load I was using was my IDPA handload, which is ballistically equivalent to 158 grain Round Nose Lead standard pressure. I prefer not to use lead bullets so my load used a plated bullet.
The next issue to deal with is “snubbies are especially hard to shoot and control.” That’s been ‘common knowledge’ among the shooting community for as long as I can remember but how true is it? Like many other aspects of ‘common knowledge’ among gun industry common taters, I’m skeptical about that. So, I decided to do a little more Comparative Testing.
The test I chose was 5^4 (5 rounds in no more than 5 seconds at 5 yards into a 5 inch or less group). The 5^4 protocol was originally developed by Gila Hayes of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network for her book, Effective Defense: The Woman, the Plan, the Gun and subsequent later editions. .
Gila Hayes of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network was kind enough to do an interview with me about Better Practice in this month’s Network Journal. Her interest was piqued because many members of the Network had said that ongoing training wasn’t possible for them due to resource constraints. Gila said that she wanted to give the members an option for maintaining and improving their skills that fit their budgets.
How far, I wondered, could the armed citizen proceed in his or her skill development through self-guided practice alone?
She’s an excellent interviewer. You will probably find it interesting reading.
She also did a book review of Concealed Carry Skills and Drills.
If you would like to purchase Concealed Carry Skills and Drills, the link to the downloadable ebook is here. http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com
If you would like to purchase 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
I enjoyed the #wheelgunwednesday Comparative Standards exercise enough to repeat it. This time the test was with Double Action autoloaders. Five different autos, three Double Action Only and two Traditional Double Action were the test subjects. Four were 9mm and one was a .22.
- SCCY CPX-2
- Sig P250
- Smith & Wesson 6906
- Beretta Centurion 92D
- Walther P22 (Remington Golden Bullet bulk ammo)
All the guns were similarly sized enough that I used the same Mister Softy holster for all of them. The Mister Softy is interesting in that the gun sits low enough in the pants that a full firing grip can’t be gained in the holster. I didn’t notice the lack of a full firing grip was an impediment. The need for a full firing grip in an AIWB holster is another one of the industry maxims I have doubts about. Maybe I just have clever hands.
I used the same protocols for shooting and scoring as last time so I won’t reiterate them.
Brian Hill of The Complete Combatant likes to call me ‘The Clarifier.’ However, I apparently have slipped up on that. I received the following question today, via email.
“Comment: Is your “Concealed Carry Skills and Drills” ebook available and downloadable in PDF?”
Yes, it is.
The link to the ebook on my store is Concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com
Clicking on the above link will take you to where the ebook can be purchased. A download link will then be sent to your email. Clicking on the download link will send the PDF of the book to you.
My other ebooks are available by clicking on this link. Claude Werner’s ebooks. The Flashlight practice session of Indoor Range Practice Sessions is available there for FREE because I believe every gunowner should have some familiarity with how to use a flashlight in conjunction with their pistol. It could prevent the Negative Outcome tragedy of shooting a family member or someone else who shouldn’t be shot.
I hope that clarifies things.
I like inexpensive pistols. Not everyone can afford ‘mid-priced’ ($500-700) pistols, so I like to give those folks some options. Over a year ago, I picked up a S&W SD9VE on sale for about $300. It proved serviceable and reliable but the trigger was a little heavy. It wasn’t unmanageable but it was hard to shoot to the level I like to with it. The three dot sights had to go, so I blacked out the rear dots with a black marker and painted the front sight orange.
Shortly afterward, Apex Tactical Specialties was selling their upgrade kit at the NRA Annual Meeting for half price, so I bought it. It consists of several replacement springs and an ‘Action Enhancement Trigger.’ I didn’t care much for the hinged trigger on the gun, so I bought the kit. After installing just the spring kit, the trigger pull became noticeably easier to use. It lightened up enough that I didn’t even install the trigger.
Yesterday, I decided to install the trigger also. It is a Glock® style trigger with a safety bar that also reduces the length of travel and pull weight. Contrary to what the common taters on the Apex YouTube installation videos said, it was easy to install and didn’t mess up my gun. Some people have no mechanical aptitude and simply should not work on mechanical devices more complicated than a ball point pen, much less firearms kept for personal protection.
Another interesting factoid I discovered was that the SD9VE is actually the Glock 19 sized pistol that people have been clamoring for S&W to make for as long as I can remember. When I put the two pistols side by side, it was obvious they were in the same size class.
To test out what I could do with it, today I shot the IDPA 5×5 Classifier. The Classifier is a simple yet challenging test of equipment and shooter. It is only 25 rounds, requires only one target, and can be set up and shot in less than five minutes. It’s a little difficult for newer shooters, so I didn’t include it in Concealed Carry Skills and Drills.
I was able to shoot an overall score of 23.37 (3 points down), which put me squarely in the middle of Expert classification. Considering how little centerfire ammunition I’ve shot in the past few months, I think that gives a good indication of the pistol’s potential.
My gun has fired close to 1,000 rounds without a malfunction, so it has proven to be very reliable. Overall, this is a very underrated pistol. I’m looking forward to putting more rounds through it.
Note that I bought the pistol and the upgrade kit with my own money. I get no promotional consideration for writing about it, I just like the gun.
Dot Torture is a well known practice regimen among skilled shooters. Its origins and evolution are less well known, however.
Shooting on dot targets, i.e., small filled in circles from 1.25 to 5.54 inches in diameter, as a speed shooting training and practice exercise, was originated by John Shaw, a World Champion shooter, in the early 1980s. In his book, You Can’t Miss: The Guide to Combat Pistol Shooting, he explains the training standard he established for his students. Until they could consistently hit the black bullseye (5.54 inches) of an NRA B-8 bullseye target from the holster in two seconds at seven yards, he didn’t allow them to move on to more advanced drills.
Shaw’s school, the Mid-South Institute of Self-Defense Shooting evolved the concept of dot shooting to a high level. Combined with shooting at steel targets, as originated by Bill Rogers, founder of the elite Rogers Shooting School, dot shooting became a standard component used in the practice regimens of knowledgeable shooters who aspired to a higher level of competency.
The concept of dot shooting was so effective at teaching shooters to hit the target, it quickly became part of military counter-terrorist pistol training. The US Army Special Forces developed a course called ‘Special Operations Training’ [SOT] during the 1980s to train its personnel to use the 1911 pistol at a level not seen before that time in the military.