Category Archives: firearms

Training the trigger finger

#fridayfundamentals

The trigger finger should move back as parallel to the bore as possible when pressing the trigger. Here’s a little exercise I designed at the elite Rogers Shooting School to help our clients practice moving the finger correctly. It requires no equipment and gives biofeedback on your performance. It is also the safest form of dry practice, other than from quizzical looks by others.

For revolver shooters, this is a powerful learning exercise.

I enjoy wearing my NRA Certified Instructor cap when I’m teaching, even when it’s not an NRA class. 🙂

BOGO on Tactical Professor books

I’m grateful to my subscribers who send me news reports about the Negative Outcomes gunowners encounter. The ones about children gaining unauthorized access to guns really make me sad, especially because some folks defend practices that lead to those tragedies. Consequently, the purchase of any Tactical Professor book now includes a free copy of Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make.

In addition, I have reduced the price of Serious Mistakes by itself to $4.99. I’d make it free except that people only value things they pay for.

If anyone who has purchased any of my books would like a free copy of Serious Mistakes, email me through the About section above and I will send you one.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Weight transfer and stance

A good stance helps us minimize the effect of recoil on our ability to deliver multiple shots quickly. It also prepares us to rapidly move to another position, should that be necessary.

The entire post and YouTube link is available on my Patreon page.

https://www.patreon.com/posts/52312807

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Deadly Conduct and Attempted Murder

Those are the charges in two incidents where Negative Outcomes resulted from gunfire. Both situations occurred when people thought they were making good decisions about employing a firearm for Personal Protection but the legal system doesn’t agree. Unfortunately, both incidents are material for the updated and expanded Second Edition of Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com that will be published later this year.

Mom charged [with Deadly Conduct] after shooting her 5-year-old son while trying to target loose dog, H[ouston]PD says

https://abc13.com/mom-accidentally-shoots-her-son-trying-to-shoot-dog-5-year-old-shot-by-angelia-mia-vargas-deadlyconduct-of-a-firearm/10728726/

A mother [who was riding a bike down the street] has been charged after accidentally shooting her 5-year-old son [who was also riding his bike down the street] while trying to shoot a dog that was running across the street in north Houston, according to Houston police.

FBI agent charged [with Attempted Murder and other crimes] in off-duty shooting of man on subway

https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/fbi-agent-charged-off-duty-shooting-man-subway-78019158

Valdivia shot and wounded the man from a distance of roughly 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 meters) after repeatedly telling the man to back up, county prosecutor Robert Hill said in court.

The man had approached Valdivia on a train, sat across from him and asked the agent for money, Hill said. The man muttered expletives and began to walk away when the agent said he didn’t have any money to give, the prosecutor added.

‘Watch your mouth,’ the agent told the man, according to Hill.

After the man turned and approached him again, Valdivia pulled a gun from a holster and shot him, the prosecutor said. Another passenger was in the agent’s line of fire, about 15 feet (4.6 meters) away, [which resulted in an additional charge of Reckless Endangerment] but wasn’t harmed, Hill added.

Note that getting the last word in, e.g., “Watch your mouth,” is not the way to Break Contact. Breaking Contact (Part I) The moment a criminal, or in this case undesirable, breaks contact, let it go. If possible, increase your distance by going in the opposite direction. Moving away from an adversary is a good skill to practice, probably far more useful in everyday life than practicing shooting on the move.

Guns are not general purpose tools for Personal Protection. They are special purpose tools that are useful only in a very limited set of circumstances. The legal system did not believe either of these incidents fell within that set of circumstances. Probably both persons charged will end up pleading to lesser offenses. Whether those will be felonies or not remains to be seen.

The mother’s relationship with her son is unlikely to ever be the same and she may lose her right to own a firearm forever. The FBI Agent’s once promising career is over, even if he is acquitted on all the charges, which is unlikely. At best, he can hope to keep his job as an FBI Agent, if he wins acquittal. The chances he will ever advance or get a good assignment again are minuscule.

Minuscule – very small

If you carry a gun, carry pepper spray, PERIOD. Lacking a non-lethal force option implies that all you are willing and capable of doing to defend yourself and your loved ones is to kill someone. That’s not a rational decision.

Whether it was necessary to do anything in the dog incident at all is questionable but using pepper spray as a defensive tool would have had less consequences. Also try to avoid or deal with having irrational fears about dogs.

The important thing in viewing these stories is not to harsh on the persons involved because that’s easy but non-productive. Rather, try to learn something from their misfortunes.

  • Do you consistently carry a non-lethal force option?
  • Have you practiced with your NL force option using an inert version?
Practicing with an emptied inert unit
  • If you have irrational fears, have you confronted them and programmed yourself with a rational response to the trigger?
  • Have you mentally and physically practiced breaking contact?

Gaining knowledge from others’ experiences is one of the useful legs of Will Rogers’ learning triad. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/116468-there-are-three-kinds-of-men-the-ones-that-learn

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Breaking Contact (Part 5)

#mindsetmonday

Our goal in personal protection is to force a break in contact. We want them to go away, or we want to go away. One or the other.

The final segment of the CCW Safe Series about my concept of Breaking Contact is posted.

https://ccwsafe.com/blog/breaking-contact-pt-5

This edition focuses on success stories. I like those.

[W]hen a concealed carrier enters a self-defense situation with the goal of breaking contact — as opposed to a goal of killing or disabling an attacker — the defender has a substantially higher likelihood of avoiding a deadly shooting or making a successful self-defense claim when all else fails.

Shawn Vincent

Leg shots

Initial investigation revealed several individuals were in the home watching tv and playing games through the night. A 37-year-old Ridgely, Maryland man became enraged and began attacking the other occupants with a knife. At some point during the altercation, one of the stabbing victims retrieved a shotgun and shot the male subject in the leg.

The 37-year-old Ridgely man was transported by EMS to Bayhealth Kent General where he was pronounced dead.

https://abcnews.go.com/US/man-stabbing-spree-home-shot-killed-victims/story?id=77936754

So much for the idea that shooting someone in the leg isn’t the application of deadly force. The Village Idiot JRB has no clue but that’s no surprise.

The Delaware State POlice initial report for the incident.

https://dsp.delaware.gov/2021/05/26/update-homicide-investigation-police-activity-hartly/

Breaking Contact (Part 4)

Breaking Contact Part 4 is up.

https://ccwsafe.com/blog/breaking-contact-pt-4

Marissa Alexander,  Alexander Weiss, and Jerome Ersland are the cases discussed in the post.

The lesson for concealed carriers is that if you manage to break contact with a perceived aggressor, do not re-engage.

Breaking Contact (Part 3)

#fridayfundamentals

The CCW Safe https://ccwsafe.com/ series about my concept of Breaking Contact continues with Part 3.

https://ccwsafe.com/blog/34532

Part 2 of the series focused on situations where the concealed carrier initiated contact. Part 3 focuses on incidents where the carrier was initially approached and failed to take the opportunity to Break Contact.

I hate platitudes when they’re used in an attempt to simplify a complex topic into a sound bite. “Better to be tried by twelve than carried by six” is one of the most commonly parroted sayings in the firearms community. While many times we are presented with the optometrist’s question, “Which is better, A or B?,” decisions that are made in advance and are going to affect the rest of our lives seldom are binary. I like to think we’re smarter than parrots that have been trained to say one or two things.

As Shawn points out, the decision process has several more options.

When the goal is not necessarily to kill or disable a would-be attacker, a defender is open to other options that carry less legal risk and may produce more positive outcomes.

When breaking contact is the goal, sometimes it is better to disengage rather than attempt to de-escalate.

My personal paradigm is:

  1. Avoid
  2. Escape
  3. Confront
  4. Resist

Any attempt at de-escalation, even when benign, is a part of Confront. Disengage is part of Escape. Escaping is higher on my priority list than Confronting.

Similarly, in the Gerald Strebendt incident, he unnecessarily moved up the paradigm from Escape to Confront. A confrontation inherently carries more risk associated with it than an escape. As John Hall, former head of the FBI Firearms Training Unit put it:

Any encounter carries with it an element of chance.

My initial post about Breaking Contact (Part I) is located here:

The second is here.

If you would like to purchase my book, click on the image below. The detailed investigations and reports of incidents involving off-duty LAPD officers are very instructional for understanding the differences between Avoiding, Escaping, and Confronting.

Downrange Incident in Rock Hill

This story is about what I call a “downrange incident,” meaning that innocent parties are downrange and in close proximity to the criminal when the shot needs to be fired.

During the initial investigation process, officials learned the 19-year-old allegedly initiated a verbal altercation with others in the apartment. Authorities said the altercation then escalated when the 19-year-old began assaulting those in the apartment and threatened to kill them. The 19-year-old strangled a male who[m] he assaulted, officials said, and was then shot by another person in the apartment in an attempt to stop the attack. Officers said the 19-year-old then turned and started strangling a female in the apartment. He was then shot a second time, then collapsed.

https://www.wcnc.com/article/news/crime/19-year-old-shot-in-rock-hill/275-32c631c0-bb0c-415e-98c2-e8db8a9cd2a9

These types of situations happen more often than is commonly thought. Having it happen twice in one incident, such as this one, is rare however. Making a clean close range precision shot should be part of our practice regimen.

From my old YouTube Channel that I can’t access anymore.

The Magic of Knowing that You Can Shoot Quick and Straight

#mindsetmonday

J. Henry Fitzgerald’s book Shooting was published in 1930. Some things in it are dated but most of the book is still very worthwhile. The entire book is available online, courtesy of Sportsman’s Vintage Press.

http://sportsmansvintagepress.com/read-free/shooting-table-contents/

The chapter on The Magic of Knowing that You Can Shoot Quick and Straight is an example of practical mindset. Many times, explanations of ‘mindset’ are vague and nebulous but Fitzgerald’s is straightforward and actionable.

http://sportsmansvintagepress.com/read-free/shooting-table-contents/shoot-quick-and-straight/

Some things related to human nature and performance haven’t changed one bit. Fitzgerald’s commentary on the Dunning-Kruger Effect https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect is a hilarious example.

I have listened to many officers explaining how good they could shoot and when they got on the firing line they couldn’t hit a cow in the head with a snow shovel.

J. Henry Fitzgerald

It’s not necessary to be a great shot to defend yourself but having a degree of demonstrated competence is a valuable asset to your mindset. Drills like 3x3x3 are one way to demonstrate your competence to yourself. Shooting some of the drills from Indoor Range Practice Sessions and Concealed Carry Skills and Drills are another. Click on the images to purchase either or both books.

FTC notice: I am not affiliated with Sportsman’s Vintage Press and receive no commissions from them.