The book The Practicing Mind https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007C8NRSA/ was written by an accomplished musician and concert piano renovator. It contains the following story about when he started playing golf as an adult. The lesson in the story is well worth considering.
even though they had played golf weekly for many years, they still couldn’t accomplish basic things, such as getting the ball up in the air.
What I learned from golf was that all my failures in music had stemmed from my lack of understanding the proper mechanics of practicing, of the process of picking a goal, whatever that may be, and applying a steady effort toward achieving it.
The passage about ‘picking a goal, whatever that may be’ is particularly important in developing competency with firearms. The ‘whatever that may be’ part should be well considered as part of the goal setting process. It’s not uncommon for gunowners to place a high priority on marksmanship tasks. However, in the context of using firearms for Personal Protection, there are many implied tasks that complement or even surpass marksmanship in importance.
- Being aware
- Accessing a weapon
- Moving from place to place safely (e.g. without having an Unintentional Discharge)
- Making reasonable and appropriate decisions
- Coordinating with friends and loved ones
The ammunition deficit will give us all time to work on non-shooting tasks and skills that are, or at least should be, an integral part of our Personal Protection plan. For those who place a priority on their safety and their loved ones’ safety, range time can be re-prioritized to time to practice other skills. Some of those complementary skills do not even involve handling firearms. Others are easily accomplished with an inert or even toy gun.
The enjoyment aspect of the shooting sports is another worthwhile goal. My shooting goal this year is to achieve my Distinguished Expert rating in Shotgun from the NRA. Since I already hold two DE ratings, I will become one of the few Triple Distinguished Experts. My gun club is rebuilding our rimfire range, so I’ll also be able to get back into smallbore rifle shooting, a highly disciplined activity.
On the other hand, my interest in ‘Boyd’s Process,’ of which the ‘O-O-D-A Loop’ is part, has been rekindled. I am going to make a concerted effort to delve deeply into the entire process and produce a written piece and presentation for my Patrons about integrating all the parts of Boyd’s thinking into a cohesive paradigm. That falls into the ‘making reasonable and appropriate decisions’ and is only peripherally concerned with firearms, other than as a backup tool.
Think about what your goals are for 2021 for firearms and Personal Protection. Decide what a measurable indicator for reaching each of your goals would be and then make a plan for getting there. That is a different process than ‘New Year’s resolutions,’ which generally are ephemeral and therefore more easily dismissed than a goal with a concrete plan.
FTC notice: I receive no commission for any links mentioned in this post.
I almost never listen to podcasts I’ve been a guest on, which is probably a mistake. Since Charlie put the clip of me with my long gun (Zombie MP5) in his intro, I had to listen to this one, though.
There’s a lot of good information in this episode that doesn’t usually get touched on in the industry. I’m very happy that Charlie gave me the opportunity to share it with the community.
e.g. My father used to say to me ‘son, you’re much more sophisticated about this than I am’ and I want my clients eventually to be more sophisticated about this than I am.
The Negative Outcomes mentioned are detailed extensively in my book Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com/ .
The LAPD Retired Officer Course and numerous other courses that can be practiced at both indoor and outdoor ranges is in my book Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com
Since many people have never seen a structured Dry Practice session, here’s an example.
This session uses a State’s (Louisiana) Concealed Handgun Permit Qualification Course as the basis for structuring the session. Having a structured Dry Practice session accomplishes several objectives. Among them are safety, avoiding “grabasstic gun clicking,” and effective time management, among others.
Although the session seems simplistic, the way it is structured provides multiple repetitions of at least 10 different skills that are common in Defensive Gun Uses. In his groundbreaking book How to Win Friends and Influence People, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003WEAI4E/ Dale Carnegie wrote,
“Remember that the use of these principles can be made habitual only by a constant and vigorous campaign of review and application.”
Those words are every bit as true for physical skills as they are for human relations skills. The way we learn to do things competently by practicing them repetitively. As an aside, human relation skills can be very useful in defusing bad situations and Carnegie’s book is well worth reading for general interest.
Skills practiced in the session
- 36 Good First Round Hits.
- Good, for my purposes, means creating a serious enough wound that the shootee has to go to a hospital to seek medical treatment. At that point, the POlice will start asking those uncomfortable questions about how he got the wound. More about that definition in the next #mindsetmonday.
- There are several subsets of getting ‘Good First Round Hits’.
- 36 Presentations into the Eye-Target line
- 36 Sight Acquisitions
- 36 Smooth enough trigger presses
- 36 Follow-throughs
- 33 repetitions of Forming the Grip quickly
- 36 repetitions of Racking the slide in a safe (muzzle downrange) manner.
- 3 Draws to Ready
- 3 ‘Draw but DON’T SHOOT YET’ Decisions
- 3 Safe Re-holsters
- 33 repetitions of Return to Ready
- 3 magazine exchanges
- 1 Reload with Retention
- 2 Tactical Reloads
- 36 Deliberate SHOOT Decisions
- 36 Shot Analyses (Read the Sights)
- 3 Spatial Analyses (6 feet is in the Close Phase of Social space, 10 feet is in the Far Phase of Social space, and 15 feet is in the Close Phase of Public space) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxemics and how they affect your shooting.
The TRT (Tap-Rack-Training aid) mentioned is available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Pack-Safety-Training-Pistol-Magazine/dp/B07CNBDHSB Using it is much easier the making the UN (inert and doesn’t work) magazines that were its inspiration.
Image Based Decisional Drills https://www.imagebaseddecisionaldrills.com/ provided the face on the target. A face is available for download in the Downloadables section of their website.
Using a Qualification Course as the basis for a Dry Practice Session and Regimen is an effective way of maximizing the value of your effort. For those who plan to obtain a Weapons Carry License in a State that has a Qualification requirement, it is also useful as an introduction to the structure of pistol qualification, even if the Course used is not the same.
Today’s Patreon https://www.patreon.com/TacticalProfessor post will go into more detail about structuring Dry Practice for maximum effectiveness.
FTC note: I receive no compensation for the product links in this post.
Although dry practice (aka dry fire) is often recommended, many shooters are unclear about the specifics of dry practice. Here is a short video, first in a series, to get gunowners started.
This series will include a video about safety procedures and a few sessions. I hope it will be useful to my readers and clients.
If you enjoy my content, please consider supporting me on Patreon. I post more in-depth material there for serious students of Self-Defense and Personal Protection.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
At one time, shooting was the American pastime, let’s get back to it.
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.
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).
- Automobile Personage – Pistol presented in soft IWB holster (Uncle Mikes or Blackhawk) in either chambered or, possibly also, empty chamber carry.
- 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.
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.
We can use our time at home productively during the Beer Plague by doing some dry practice. Here’s a regimen for snub revolvers that’s quick and useful. It’s derived from the LAPD Back Up Firearm Qualification Course. There are two targets at 3 yards.
From a concealed holster, using two hands, draw and snap twice on the right target, twice on the left target, then one snap on the right head.
From a concealed holster, using two hands, draw and snap twice on the left target, twice on the right target, then one snap on the left head.
From a concealed holster, using the Primary hand only, draw and snap twice on the right target, twice on the left target, then one snap on the right head.
From a concealed holster, using the Primary hand only, draw and snap twice on the left target, twice on the right target, then one snap on the left head.
From Low Ready, using the Support hand only, snap twice on the right target, twice on the left target, then one snap on the right head.
From Low Ready, using the Support hand only, snap twice on the left target, twice on the right target, then one snap on the left head.
You can use fired cases as snap caps to protect the hammer nose (firing pin). Marking the case head with a black Sharpie provides a visual indicator that the case is a snap cap and not a wadcutter. Having a specific container for them keeps them easily accessible.
A friend sent me an email today that I think is very worthy of sharing. He is a twice retired POlice Officer, graduate of the elite Rogers Shooting School, and very seasoned firearms and tactics trainer.
What is your overall opinion of competition preparing you for a real gunfight?
I published my response on my Patreon page, which is generally limited to my subscribers there. It’s an important topic so I decided to make it publicly available. https://www.patreon.com/posts/33975252