Category Archives: gunhandling

Once you can shoot…

Some instructors, including myself, had an interesting discussion on Facebook about the phrase “once you can shoot.”

My question to the group was ‘What does that mean?’ I asked it as a serious question. The personal journey I’ve made in answering that question over time has been interesting. My answers to myself about it have changed dramatically as a result of some related research I’ve done. The two most significant areas of research were Negative Outcomes and what higher level thinkers in the POlice community had to say. The discussion was involved enough that I wrote a Patreon post about it.

https://www.patreon.com/posts/43213970

I’m making the Patreon post public because I think it’s a much neglected philosophical discussion. At The Mingle this month, I asked the ladies present to write out their personal policy about when to draw or present a weapon. It was the first time that many of them had ever been asked to do that. We need to realize that ‘Have Adequate [Hard] Skills’ is only one aspect of the issues we face.

Marksmanship is a hard skill but soft skills are important too.

Gripping an autoloading pistol correctly to reduce malfunctions

Gripping the gun firmly, including stiffening the wrists, is important in terms of running autoloaders without having malfunctions aka stoppages (Unintentional Interruptions in the Cycle of Operation). This has been demonstrated several times in classes I’ve taught this month; Personal Performance http://www.thecompletecombatant.com/personal-performance.html  and The Mingle. http://www.thecompletecombatant.com/the-mingle.html During both classes, simply increasing the tension in a shooter’s wrists completely eliminated malfunctions in guns that had previously been troublesome.

Rob Leatham gives an excellent explanation about gripping the pistol in this video. Although his video addresses shooting speed, the concept applies equally to increasing reliability of a pistol.

Note how he tests the tension of the shooter’s wrists at 1:05. With a handheld recoil-operated firearm, tensioned wrist(s) are a key input for the gun’s functionality. If the shooter’s wrists are not adequately tensioned, the receiver of the gun moves at the same time the slide is cycling. When the receiver moves simultaneously with the slide cycling, the possibility of the slide not completing its travel fully to the rear increases. Failure to maintain tensioned wrists is often referred to as ‘limp-wristing.’

Knowing the mechanical steps in the operation of an autoloading firearm is useful to understand this problem. Once a loaded magazine has been inserted, the eight steps in the cycle of operation for a locked breech firearm are:

  1. Feeding
  2. Chambering
  3. Locking
  4. Firing
  5. Unlocking
  6. Extracting
  7. Ejecting
  8. Cocking

The steps most affected by limp-wristing are Feeding, Chambering, and Ejecting. Feeding is the step wherein the round rises completely up in the magazine and presses against the feed lips. Chambering occurs when the breech of the firearm strips the round from the magazine’s feed lips and pushes it completely into the chamber. Ejecting occurs after the entire case has been pulled from the chamber and the case is completely expelled from the firearm.

If the slide does not move fully to the rear because the receiver is moving at the same time, the breechface may not clear the rear of the cartridge. If so, Feeding will not be complete. The front of the cartridge will rise to the feed lips but the rear of the cartridge cannot because the lower part of the breechface is obstructing it. This is a Failure to Feed. Then, when the slide moves forward, friction between the bottom of the breechface and the cartridge will push the nose of the cartridge into the feedramp. However, because the round is presented at the wrong angle, a Failure to Chamber occurs with the nose of the round jammed against the feedramp. In some pistols, a Failure to Cock will also occur but this is incidental to the problem.

This stoppage must be cleared by using Remedial Action.

Remedial Action

  • Strip the magazine out. This may or may not require locking the slide to the rear, depending on the type of pistol. There are two schools of thought about what to do with the stripped out magazine, however, neither is relevant to reducing (clearing) the stoppage.
  • Work the slide several times to ensure that no fired unejected brass remains in the gun.
  • Insert and seat a magazine.
  • Operate the slide completely to chamber a new round of ammunition.
  • Get back to work.

An even more exaggerated of the issue can occur if the slide’s rearward travel is so shortened that that the base of the cartridge doesn’t make contact with the pistol’s ejector. This then will result in a Failure to Eject in addition to the Failure to Feed and Failure to Chamber. This stoppage must also be reduced by using Remedial Action. The Failure to Eject aspect is why the step of working the slide several times is included in Remedial Action. Theoretically, a Failure to Extract could occur but this is almost universally ammunition related (oversized, dirty, or grossly underpowered) rather than due to Operator Error.

Working with a partner and a completely unloaded pistol or Blue Gun, as demonstrated in the video, to test and increase the tension of the wrists is a simple way to increase the reliability of the pistol.

Gripping the wrists while moving the pistol.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF) (not Free)

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)

Priorities of Work

Someone on Instagram asked me about doing 65 yard headshots with a pistol. My response was that it doesn’t really concern me. I’m much more interested in teaching as many gunowners fundamental skills as I can and then integrating decisional training along with those skills. As long as a person can pass an entry level CCW Qual Course, they’re probably ready to start working on the decisional aspects of Personal Protection.

Skip Gochenour, who ran the National Tactical Invitational for many years, and I had a conversation about this years ago. Skip’s opinion was that we need to get training about human dynamics and decision-making into the training sequence much earlier. I agree with him 100 percent. Decision-making is what makes us or breaks us when the situation starts getting dicey.

I’ll be testing my theory at The Mingle 2020 in a couple of months. In the meantime, I’ll be starting a new 3 dollar Patreon tier for teaching marksmanship and manipulation skills early next month (September).

The way it’s going to be structured is by using CCW Qual courses as a baseline and a learning vehicle. The head of the US Army Ranger School once commented that the purpose of Ranger training is to teach leadership under conditions of stress. Patrolling is just the vehicle or method used to teach leadership to Ranger Students. I think we can use qualification courses in the same way. Given the ammo shortage, it will be largely dry practice with an occasional live fire session.

Here’s the first set of videos that show the first Course of the series. There will be demos for both autoloaders and revolvers.

One using the SCCY pistol:

One with a 317 revolver:

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

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.

Know the rules or suffer a Negative Outcome

know the rules

Whatever side of the mask controversy you’re on, pulling a gun on someone because they want you to wear a mask is foolish.

According to prosecutors, the victim told police he was shopping in the produce section when he saw a man not wearing a mask. The victim told police he approached the man and told him to ‘put a mask on like the rest of us,’ prosecutors said.

After arguing, prosecutors said the man pulled his .22-caliber revolver from its holster, pointed it at the victim’s sternum, said ‘get the f— away’ and threatened to shoot him.

https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/prosecutors-man-told-put-mask-like-rest-us-pulled-gun-fred-meyer-shopper/LKIWZGE5JZGQHOEVM4YPFC5XXU/

Prosecutors are requesting second-degree assault, third-degree assault and resisting arrest charges.

This man is in the process of suffering a Negative Outcome. Whatever the end disposition is, it will be expensive. The Process will probably not be the only Punishment.

Another aspect of the situation is the possibility of someone in such an agitated state having an Unintentional Discharge when they pull a gun. His weapon was pointed at the interventionist’s sternum and not ‘below the subject’s feet.’ Any intervention carries an element of risk associated with it. An alternate Negative Outcome would be springing a leak as a result of giving someone your two cents. Fortunately, the agitated man was carrying a revolver in this case.

As a peripheral issue, notice also the ineffectual positioning of the POlice department spokesperson’s mask.

Screenshot_2020-07-19 Prosecutors Man told to ‘put on a mask like the rest of us’ pulled gun on Fred Meyer shopper

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.

 

Guns 101 – Loading a magazine

Loading (charging) a magazine is another task that’s neither intuitive nor easy for beginners. Here’s an explanation of one way to do it.

Not everyone is going to practice with their new pistol but for those who do, this is a useful skill.

Other useful skills are listed in my book,

Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

For those who only have access to an indoor range, which means 99.999% of new gun purchasers, my book

Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

is a useful resource.

Guns 101 on Polite Society Podcast

The Polite Society Podcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkVLaQzRB5DKDzZ05J7o2KQ on YouTube has created a series for new gun owners called Guns 101. Each segment is a short (less than 10 minutes) standalone lesson in various fundamental aspects of gun ownership and usage.

The Tactical Professor did a segment on storing guns in cars when it’s necessary. For instance, if a gunowner needed to go into a courthouse, the Post Office, or other denied area, the time to think about what to do with the gun is before you get there.

Also, my book Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com is an excellent primer for new gunowners who actually want to shoot their guns. When the ranges start re-opening, you can have a plan for when you go.

Make Ready speed

Here’s an interesting metric for response time I’ve never seen tested. The question came up because of a Twitter post about two unpleasant people having a confrontation in Philadelphia. The verbal confrontation occurred as a result of a car blocking traffic.

two homeys have confrontation

https://twitter.com/CollapsePosts/status/1243473965332541446

Cast of Characters

  • Footmobile Personage – Centerline holsterless IWB carry, Browning pattern autoloader in either Condition 2 (hammer uncocked) or, more likely, Condition 3 (hammer down, empty chamber).

foot homey shows CIWB

  • Automobile Personage – Pistol presented in soft IWB holster (Uncle Mikes or Blackhawk) in either chambered or, possibly also, empty chamber carry.

car homey shows gun in UM holster

  • Automobile Personage’s passenger, who is put in the line of fire as a result of the confrontation.

Possible response time metrics

For the Automobile Personage: if he perceived the Footmobile Personage’s display as an actual deadly threat, how long would it have taken him to get his pistol into action? Within that question, there are numerous different possible start positions; 1) starting with holstered pistol in belt, 2) starting with holstered pistol on seat next to him, or 3) starting with holstered pistol in the console or glove box.

Starting with the holstered pistol in the belt has two variations; 1) holster stays in pants and the draw proceeds normally or 2) the holster comes out of the pants along with the pistol. Then the holster would have to be wiped off the pistol. All three possible starts then have two possible further variations; 1) pistol has a round in chamber, in which case the holster has to be wiped off, necessitating sweeping the Support Hand with the muzzle or 2) the holster has to be wiped off and then the slide cycled to put a round in the chamber.

For the Footmobile Personage: if he perceived the Automobile Personage’s display as an actual deadly threat, how long would it have taken him to get his pistol into action? Start position is with the Primary Hand holding the concealment garment up. The concealment garment is released to draw the pistol. This then has two possible variations; 1) the draw goes as desired with no fouling of the draw by the concealment garment or 2) the concealment garment falls down and fouls the draw, requiring the entire draw sequence to be repeated using the Support Hand to clear the concealment garment. Further variations are; 1) if the pistol is in Condition 2 (hammer down), then the hammer has to be cocked, either with the thumb of the Primary hand or swept to cocked position by the thumb of the Support hand or 2) if the pistol is in Condition 3 (Chamber Empty), then the slide has to be cycled to put a round in the chamber.

For the Automobile Personage’s passenger: how quickly can he exit the Kill Zone if the Footmobile Personage decided to start shooting? There are at least two possible variations; 1) get as low as possible in the car and hope that the car and Automobile Personage absorb any bullets fired by the Footmobile Personage or 2) completely exit the vehicle and take cover outside of it.

Target engagement

From the standpoint of target engagement, the Footmobile Personage is in a much better position to achieve a good firing stance, either for aimed fire or indexed fire (point shooting). The Automobile Personage would probably be forced into an indexed fire stance because of the angle the target is to him. Unfortunately, indexed fire in this position tends to be very erratic because the left eye has a better view of the target and tends to control the movement of the gun.

Fortunately, the entire incident turned out to be an example of social distanced monkey dancing. Nonetheless, we can ask certain doctrinal questions to help our future preparation and Recognition Primed Decision-Making.

Also, is there gun registration in Philadelphia? I thought that was pre-empted by Pennsylvania State law.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com

Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice

Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com

Thanks to Gun Free Zone for drawing my attention to the incident.

Can we be a little less judgmental?

(First in a series)

There’s a picture of a woman carrying a pistol non-doctrinally (i.e., a lot of people are unhappy with the way she’s doing it) circulating on the Internet now. The pistol is in a holster attached to her yoga pants and despite being a small pistol, it’s pulling her pants down some on that side. I’m not going to post the picture because it’s unnecessary to my point. The picture has generated almost universal criticism, the following being typical.

The freedom to carry a gun is a great thing.

But you will never, EVER convince me that carrying a gun without training is smart decision. If you’re untrained[,] you do stupid things like this, which actually puts you and those around you in more danger than if you were unarmed.

Carry a gun. But don’t be an untrained fool about it.

My comment about the picture is:

At least she has a gun and her holster has a safety strap.

“Get some training” is a meme in the industry. Unfortunately, both the size and the availability of the training base are very small. This is true even if every NRA and State certified CCW instructor is included in the number. There’s also the issue in my mind of those who make statements like this but got their training from the government while in the pay of the government. That generates an ethical issue you can ponder some time.

Here’s an infographic about the availability of training to gunowners. The concept of ‘the training base’ is something that people who haven’t had to regularly conduct resource intensive training for a lot of people simply don’t understand. Once again, it’s the Tactical Professor with those pesky little numbery things again.

training base w numbers

That tiny triangle where the three circles overlap is the real availability of ‘training’

And my estimate of training facilities is based on those capable of supporting at least NRA Basic Pistol not any kind of ‘meaningful’ training for carrying a weapon. Basic Pistol or its equivalent is as far as most facilities are prepared to go, for various reasons. I wouldn’t be surprised if the number where holster oriented training is allowed is less than 1,000. The good news is that the NRA Instructor base has grown to over 120,000 so we’re probably under 500 students per instructor now. Other good news is that the NRA Training Department has created a CCW course. However, that will take years to generate any significant number of CCW Certified Instructors.

Here’s my first question:

Did the person who took the picture approach the woman and offer to help her out with her knowledgebase, either personally or by referring her to someone who is a trainer?

As a community, we need to do a better job of the way we interact with beginners and novices instead of just being socially maladroit jackwagons and calling them fools.

More in the next installment.

BTW, my Concealed Carry Skills and Drills eBook would have been a nice reference to point her to or maybe even buy for her if the observer actually really cared about her welfare. Or was finger pointing, ego stroking, and shaming the real object of the exercise?

Tactical Professor books (all downloadable PDF files)

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com

Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com

Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice

Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com