Category Archives: practice

Have a plan

As the late William Aprill was fond of saying,

Spontaneity is overrated.

“That’s what heart surgery is,” he said with a soft laugh. “It’s a script. To you, it probably looked like I was just sewing those collars into Meeko’s chest any old way. But every motion was planned, tested, practiced. Turn my hand eight degrees and poke the needle through; swivel my hand back 22 degrees and draw the needle up four inches; turn my hand back just so and bring it to the left a half inch: a precise number of stitches, pulled just so tight and no tighter. What heart surgery takes is remembering an incredibly long and complicated script and following it exactly, step by step.”

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/no-pulse-how-doctors-reinvented-the-human-heart

The idea of having a script, i.e., a very specific game plan, doesn’t just apply to heart surgery. One of the learned aspects of firearms competition is to develop a plan ahead of time and then follow it through.

https://www.20min.ch/story/schusswechsel-nach-einbruch-in-geschaeft-eine-person-verletzt-108142673425

The quaint Google translate version of the story’s precis reads:

That’s what it’s about

* On Friday [note that the incident actually occurred the previous Wednesday] night there was an exchange of fire between the owner of a gun shop and burglars who had tried to gain access to his shop in Wallbach AG [Switzerland].

* What the perpetrators did not expect: The owner is a marksman and former Swiss champion in dynamic shooting [IPSC].

* One person was injured in the shooting. The POlice assume that this is one of the perpetrators, as no injuries were found on site.

Whether it’s IPSC, IDPA, GSSF, ICORE or some other form of competition is largely irrelevant. What is important is the concept of having a game plan ahead of time and then putting it into action when you get the ‘GO’ signal.

Teach your children to shoot

In the current political situation, if you have teenage children and haven’t taught them how to shoot a rifle adequately, you’re wrong, PERIOD.

I have taught a number of teenage boys to pass the Ohio POlice Rifle Course in just a couple of hours. Girls could do it just as easily. It’s not the greatest qualification course but it’s short, easily administered, and someone who can pass it is a force to be reckoned with, especially from a fixed position or support role.

With the exception of the reload in Stage Six, the entire Course can be done even using a tube fed autoloading .22 rifle with iron sights. The reload can still be done with a tube fed autoloader but probably not in the time frame allotted. Although many people think that a .22 rifle can only cause a bee sting, they are sadly mistaken. Rifles in .22 caliber are highly lethal within 25 yards, often even with only one shot.

Our great Nation is in perilous times and it behooves us to be ready for what’s to come.

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)

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)

Why we practice marksmanship – number 2

Investigators say Mills walked into the bathroom where the female homeowner was showering. She screamed and her husband ran in to confront Mills. Police say Mills had a knife and stabbed the husband in the face and stomach before running from the home.

https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/brookhaven-couple-attacked-their-home-yesterday/VFLHWHIBVNANFJ4JIF5NEGR6OY/

A downrange drill including standoff.

Once again, we’re more likely to need to do a close range precision shot on a predator than a 25 head shot on a terrorist. Let’s use ‘hit a 4 inch circle at 10 feet’ as a definition of ‘close range precision shot.’ That’s the standard to pass the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting course. Just like BOPS, our standard should be 100% hits for a five shot string.

Why we practice marksmanship

Man shot multiple times while trying to steal couple’s SUV at gas station

https://www.click2houston.com/news/local/2020/09/17/man-shot-while-trying-to-steal-couples-vehicle-at-gas-station-police-say/

“The suspect walked away from his truck and toward a couple that was at a gas pump with their SUV, investigators said. Officers said the suspect then entered the driver’s seat of the SUV while a woman was in the passenger seat.

At some point, police said the man saw the suspect inside of the SUV. He then fired at the suspect sitting in the driver’s seat, striking him multiple times, investigators said.”

Note the position of the bullet holes in the windshield.

Hopefully, the wife exited the vehicle before the shooting started. If not, that was a scary downrange drill, i.e., friendlies or non-threats somewhere downrange between the defender and the criminal. Scary for both the shooter and the downrange friendly. Consider the position of the shooter when the shots were fired.

Armed Citizens are far less likely to have to make a 25 yard headshot on a terrorist than we are to need to make a close range precision shot with no-shoots downrange. It’s something that very few gunowners practice but ought to. In this situation, the hit ratio needs to be 100%, not 70% or 20%.

Even during the Beer Plague, we’re often out of our homes with our loved ones and there’s no guarantee that they will be behind us when trouble starts.

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.

Get some structured practice in

Things are starting to open back up, so we can get back to the range. To help you use your time and other resources productively when you go to shoot, here’s a package deal of my three most popular shooting workbooks:

  • Indoor Range Practice Sessions
  • Concealed Carry Skills and Drills
  • Shooting Your Black Rifle

Ordinarily, these three together would sell for $23.97 but as a package, they are 20% off at only $18.99.

As an added Bonus, the ebook Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make is included at no extra charge. It’s a free gift with a value of $7.99.

The package is available as an immediate download of all four ebooks at this link:

https://store.payloadz.com/details/2644448-ebooks-sports-shooting-drills-package.html

At one time, shooting was the American pastime, let’s get back to it.

Package deal image

Why we test our equipment

As part of my Purse Carry Project (PCP), I picked up a small purse a neighbor was giving away.

little blue purse

The purse had a canister of OC in it.

OC canister from purse

When I tried the canister at the range, this is what happened.

OC on purse sq

There are numerous other problems that were associated with the setup but being non-functional was the primary one. My colleague Brian Hill of The Complete Combatant http://www.thecompletecombatant.com/ remarked:

Think of what would have happened if that can was the only method for Personal Protection the woman had and it failed when she needed it.

That’s the same reason we test our guns. The majority of guns purchased for Personal Protection in the past few months will never be fired at all. The purchaser really has no idea what will happen. Just shooting one or two exercises from Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com would go a long way.

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)