Category Archives: practice

First shots of the decade

First shots of the decade for me. I was invited to a local indoor range, so I shot the Ill-Annoy POlice qual and the Swiss CCW qual with a .22 revolver and .22 autoloader.

The ammo was Winchester M22. The 43C had one Failure to Fire so I applied Immediate Action, to wit: press the trigger again. That solved the stoppage.

With the M&P 22 Compact I had no Failures to Fire or other stoppages.

The Ill-Annoy qual is 30 rounds and the Swiss qual is 18. The target for the Ill-Annoy qual is a piece of legal size paper in portrait mode, so I used my letter size equivalent. The specified target for the Swiss qual has a hit zone approximately equal to the -1 zone of an IDPA target so I used my letter size target to increase the challenge slightly.

They are both timed courses, which can be problematic on indoor ranges. I used theDry Fire Par Time Tracker phone app and corded the phone to Howard Leight Sync Muffs. That solution worked reasonably well.

It was nice to get out and do some shooting.

 

Capable v. Likely

What are we capable of versus what are we likely to do?

John Johnston of Citizens Defense Research and I have been discussing this topic in relation to standards in a class. He and I are both believers in having standards and being able to demonstrate competent execution of those standards. Being able to demonstrate means both the instructor and the client.

One of the things I do in private sessions is to have the client take a hostage rescue shot. The target is a complete head next to and not obscured by the hostage head. Only one shot is allowed. The client gets to pick the distance. Most clients, even competent shooters, will close to 3 yards (9 feet) or less. That’s always interesting because the boundary between the near and far phases of Social Space in proxemics is 7 feet for North Americans.

M&P 22C NV CHL qual

Our technical capabilities are limited by what is within our own heads. What we think we can do represents ‘likely,’ regardless of what we’re actually capable of.

As Ken Hackathorn has said for many years:

You are unlikely to do something in a stressful situation that you’re not reasonably sure you can do competently.

The real value of training and practice isn’t gaining technical competence, it’s achieving confidence in your abilities.

If you are interested in bringing your Strategies, Tactics, and Options for Personal Protection to a higher level, please subscribe to my Patreon account for $5 per month. It’s an investment in yourself. https://www.patreon.com/TacticalProfessor

If you are interested in bringing your skill level higher, please purchase one of my books about how to practice effectively. https://store.payloadz.com/results/337896-tactical-professor

Tactical Reloading

There is still considerable disagreement about the utility of the Tactical Reload. However, whether it has utility or not, it doesn’t have to be a clumsy technique. This is how the Tactical Reload is taught at the elite Rogers Shooting School and Dodd & Associates.

The magazines are handled by the thumb, forefinger, and middle finger. For visual clarity in this photo essay, the partially depleted magazine is depicted by an empty stainless magazine and the full replacement magazine by a blue magazine with a dummy round on top.

  • Draw the reload magazine as usual, forefinger along the front.

1 Draw magazine

  • Slip the forefinger down the magazine so the full magazine is held between the forefinger and middle finger. This leaves the thumb and forefinger available to catch the partially depleted magazine.

2 slip finger

  • Eject the partial magazine between the thumb and forefinger and catch it.

3 catch depleted

  • Insert the full magazine, which is held between the forefinger and middle finger, into the pistol.

4 both mags

  • Stow the partial magazine in a pocket, pouch, or your belt.

This method uses the hand’s two most dexterous digits, the thumb and forefinger, to catch the partially depleted magazine. Using the hand’s most dexterous digits makes it simple to handle even double column magazines.

Thinking about what’s important

Man shot in neighbor’s home charged after allegedly undressing in 12-year-old’s bedroom during break-in

https://www.wdrb.com/news/man-shot-in-neighbor-s-home-charged-after-allegedly-undressing/article_184841ce-5f90-11e9-be1f-e328e3b39e3e.html

Although this incident occurred in April, it recently re-surfaced as an example of a Defensive Gun Use. As is frequently the case, Internet common taters had numerous things to say about it.

  • Needs more practice.
  • Only six? Should have emptied the magazine!
  • Too bad the dirtbag’s not in the morgue.
  • Etc.

It’s easy to focus on the unimportant aspects of an incident. All of the commentary focused on feelings, which are unimportant, instead of Lessons to be Learned (LTBL), which are important.

How do we focus on what’s important? One way to start is to identify who was involved by role rather than name. Most the time, news stories use last names but that tends to obscure who did what. Substituting a role for names in the story leads to more clarity about the actions of the participants. For this incident, it would look as follows.

Cast of characters in the drama

Donald Oliver – Intruder

Tina Burton – female of household (Female)

Ali Bracey – male of household (Male)

Daughter

Important aspects of the incident

  • The Male knew there was an actual intruder because of the Daughter’s text.
  • Despite knowing it wasn’t just a ‘bump in the night,’ the Male went to confront the intruder unarmed.
  • The confrontation between the Male and Intruder started verbally and then turned physical.
  • It was either an entangled fight or within arm’s length.
  • When it went physical, the male employed an improvised weapon, to wit: a broom.
  • The broom was apparently ineffective in the confrontation, so the male continued using unspecified improvised weapons.
  • They had a gun but didn’t think initially to bring it to the fight.
  • The Female eventually brought the gun to the Male to use.
  • There was a weapon handoff from the Female to the Male.
  • Shooting the gun caused the Intruder to flee.

Unimportant aspects of the incident

  • The intruder wasn’t killed.
  • The householder didn’t practice enough at the gun range.

Lessons To Be Learned (LBTL) and other important aspects

Guns are not useful if you don’t bring them to the fight. Have a plan ahead of time about how to handle an intrusion.

You can’t practice appropriately for an entangled or close range fight at a gun range anyway. This would most likely have been best handled as a retention shooting situation. Retention shooting is a skill best learned by taking a class from someone who knows what they’re doing. Few instructors are qualified to teach this task. I can recommend Brian Hill of The Complete Combatant, Greg Ellifritz of Active Response Training, and Craig Douglas of Shivworks.

Males of the household will often confront an intruder unarmed. It’s not uncommon for another family member to have to access the firearm and bring it to the fight. A handoff to the Male periodically occurs at that point. This means that several implied Personal Protection tasks for the other family member come into play.

  1. Know where the gun is.
  2. Be able to access the gun. Is it in a safe and can the family member open it?
  3. If the gun is not stored Ready to Fire, be able to place the gun into Ready to Fire condition.
  4. Move safely from the storage location to the fight location. Having an Unintentional Discharge en route will probably be a Tactical Disaster.
  5. Either be able to engage the Intruder with the firearm, or
  6. Safely hand off the firearm to the Male engaged in the confrontation. If the confrontation is physically entangled, a handoff may not be safely possible.

Whether the Intruder is killed or not is completely irrelevant. Let’s keep in mind The Cost of Killing. Achieving a Break In Contact is our objective as Non-Sworn Citizens. Note that in this incident, the Intruder had to be taken to court in a wheelchair. That probably means that he has some serious injuries, perhaps debilitating for his entire life.

We need to focus on the important tasks in Personal Protection incident analysis and not our feelings, which are unimportant. That is what I will be doing in the monthly incident analysis on my Patreon page.

https://www.patreon.com/TacticalProfessor

The Basics and Beyond

#Fridayfundamentals

The NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting course qualification has changed in the past few years. The old standard was to be able to hit a paper plate at 15 feet. The new standard is 5 shots/5 hits into a 4 inch circle at 10 feet. It must be done 4 times to qualify at the first (Red) Level. The tries do not have to be consecutive. Additional qualifications at 15 feet (White Level) and 20 feet (Blue Level) are available for those who pass the Red Level. There is no time limit. This is deceptively simple but many people who think they can shoot to this standard cannot.

Here is a target that you can download to try it out for yourself. It’s printable on standard printer paper.

4 inch circles with one inch centers portrait

You should be able to make the five hits in four consecutive tries at all three distances if you consider yourself a proficient shooter. If all the rounds don’t hit the circles in four consecutive tries, then dry practice all 20 cycles at the distance you didn’t make it. The dry practice should help you tune up your sight picture and trigger manipulation. After the dry practice, reshoot the stage at that distance. This totals a minimum of 60 rounds of disciplined fundamental shooting.

Putting the Qualification on Steroids

After you are able to successfully complete all three levels (Red, White, and Blue), you may want to really challenge yourself. Here’s the qualification on steroids using the downloadable target.

Start at 10 feet (Red Level). Shoot one shot into each circle as five separate strings. String one starts on circle one. String two starts on circle two. String three on circle three, etc. Finish with String five starting on circle one.

Putting it on steroids will teach you the visual patience to make sure your sights are well aligned before you break the shot when you are transitioning from target to target. It will also force you to press the trigger smoothly when you make a target transition.

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

What snubs can do

#Smith&WessonSunday

I shot the I’m With Roscoe 2019 Internet Match Friday at a local indoor range. The Match is modeled on the Pocket Revolver Championship of the US Revolver Association, as described in the 1915 edition of the book Pistol and Revolver Shooting by A.L.A. Himmelwright. This Match is an Internet enabled version of Postal Matches that were commonly shot in the 20th Century. The Course of Fire is five strings of five shots each at 50 feet. The time limit for each string is 30 seconds and the shooting is done Primary (Strong) Hand Only.

To time it, I used the Dry Fire Par Timer app, available on Google Play, on my phone with ear buds underneath my muffs. That’s a very workable setup for indoor range work.

CW IWR 2019 snub

The outer 4 Ring of the target measures 7 5/16 inches in diameter. Only two shots went outside the 4 ring, so that’s 23 hits in the largest circle out of 25 shots. I think Inspector Erskine would be satisfied with that.

There’s a common misconception that snubs are “arm’s length guns.” As I periodically remind people, that’s only true for the incompetent. Dry practice can go a long way toward improving our skills.

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

Civilian Carry Radio Podcast Tonight

I will be the guest on Civilian Carry Radio tonight. The co-hosts for the show will be Brian Hill of The Complete Combatant and Lee Weems of First Person Safety. Our topic is Effective Practice on an Indoor Range.

https://youtu.be/r2oVZAFpfqI

Some of the things we may be discussing include some of Claude’s Numbery Things. Data is frequently better understood in a visual way so here are some infographics and pictures that may help.

Size of the training base.

training base w numbers

Access to outdoor ranges in the Atlanta Metro area.

ATL outdoor opportunities

Nature of the indoor range environment.

IRPS Cover

Ability to do low light shooting.

Autreys neck revolver crop

I think my readers will find it to be an informative discussion.

DRY PRACTICE WITH REVOLVERS

#Fridayfundamentals

I am really enjoying getting back into the habit of structured dry practice. Revolvers are great tools for dry practice, in some ways better than autoloading pistols.

This month, I am serving as the Match Director for the I’m With Roscoe http://imwithroscoe.com 2019 Internet Match. It’s based on the Pocket Revolver Championship of the US Revolver Association. The Championship, along with the other USRA Championships, is described in A.L.A. Himmelwright’s 1915 book Pistol and Revolver Shooting. https://www.amazon.com/Pistol-Revolver-Shooting-L-Himmelwright-ebook/dp/B00AQM9SK0

The course of fire is quite demanding. Originally, it consisted of five strings of five shots in 30 seconds at 50 yards on the original NRA B-6 bullseye target. It is shot one-handed. Since not many people have access to a 50 yard range, I changed it to using an NRA B-2 target at 50 feet. The B-2 is the 50 foot reduction of the B-6 so this was an easy change. Official Rules are available on the IWR Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/groups/370742620287566/

Since it is a demanding course of fire, I’ve been doing dry practice for when I have the opportunity to shoot it live. My preparation is to work on the fundamentals. I practice with two revolvers each day, my pencil barrel Model 10 and my Model 38-2 J frame.

IWR Match guns

I created a reduced size target for dry practice, scaled for use at 10 feet. It is printed on a 5×8 index card. The target is stored behind a plaque for safety reasons. I take it out and position it when I start the session. Immediately after finishing the session, I conceal the target back behind the plaque prior to reloading my gun.

 

IWR dry practice target

Since they’re both older guns, I protect their firing pins (hammer noses). For the K frame, I’m using a piece of plastic that fills in the rear of the cylinder. It was manufactured years ago by a gunsmith in New Jersey, long since out of business. The plastic has proven remarkably durable though. For the 38-2, I’m using ST Action Pro Dummy Rounds that I filled the primer pocket in with hot melt glue.

For a timer, I use the Dry Fire Practice Par Timer, from the Google App store, on my phone. It’s set to give me five strings of 30 seconds each with a six second delay between strings. At the beep, I snap five times single action. My actual times are working out to about 25-26 seconds per string. This allows some leeway to accommodate recoil management when I live fire. I rest briefly between the strings.

What I am concentrating on when snapping is minimizing my wobble zone, pressing the trigger smoothly, and following through. These are especially important when shooting one handed. The follow-through is the aspect I have to personally work hardest on. Of those three fundamentals, follow-through is the hardest to learn in live fire so the dry practice is doing me a great deal of good.

It’s been good getting back into daily dry practice. I include dry practice in my shooting workbooks for a reason; it works. If you would like to try your hand at it, this is the reduced scale target. IWR Internet Match dry practice target 5×8 10 feet

Tactical Professor books

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/

Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com

Avoiding Mistaken Identity Shootings

Another Mistaken Identity shooting occurred last week. A teenage girl came home from college to surprise her mother with a visit and got shot instead.

https://www.wkbn.com/news/local-news/police-report-mom-mistakenly-shoots-daughter-in-girard/

The teen’s mother told police that she was in her bedroom when she heard a commotion inside the house. She said the noise scared her and that she was not expecting anyone.

The mother said someone came running into her bedroom and that’s when she fired one round from her handgun. She then realized that she had shot her daughter, the report stated.

Obviously, in between hearing the commotion and firing the shot, the woman armed herself. It’s unlikely that she said anything in the process or her daughter probably would have said something back. The ‘surprise visit’ was most likely a bout of homesickness.

decision inputs dont understand

As I mention in my book Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make, any ‘bump in the night,’ or in this case “commotion inside the house,” carries with it a set of competing probabilities. It could be an intruder, which is the assumption most people make when they hear it, or it could be a member of their household. The member of the household is the most likely scenario. Why is this true? Simply because they live in the same house as you do and they are not constantly updating you on their location. Where teenagers, such as the unfortunate shootee in this incident, are present, the chances of them leaving the house and returning without informing their parents is extremely high. This fact has to be figured into the home defense plan of any parent or adult in the household.

Competing probabilities

Continue reading →

Straight talk about Incident Research

Mickey Schuch, of Carry Trainer, was kind enough to do an interview with me. We talked quite a bit about incident research, among other things.

We also talked a little about my My eBooks.

Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com

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

Advanced Pistol Practice

Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com