Category Archives: skills

Equipment is not a proxy for skill

Yesterday, this article showed up in the search that I continually have running for personal protection incidents and I shared it on Facebook.

Prosecutor: 13 bullet holes showed self-defense for man cleared of murder charge https://www.victoriaadvocate.com/counties/dewitt/prosecutor-bullet-holes-showed-self-defense-for-man-cleared-of/article_def55934-d637-11e8-9546-637075a1ed02.html

When I share things, I often quote what I consider an important point of the story. For this incident, I thought this was important.

The number of bullets fired by Martinez [27] stood in stark contrast to the single, fatal shot from Kirkman’s antique, bolt-action .22-caliber rifle.

winchester 22 rifleSomeone immediately took me to task about the .22 caliber aspect. Apparently, they thought I was advocating carrying a single shot .22 rifle for personal protection. I don’t recall saying that, I merely used the quote as an illustration of the difference between being a spray and pray artist vis-à-vis aiming and getting a good hit. Perhaps that wasn’t clear from the quote.

antonio shooting giphy

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Too quick on the trigger?

Every month, Tamara Keel pens a page called Good Guys Win https://www.swatmag.com/articles/more-articles/good-guys-win/ in SWAT magazine. It’s similar to The Armed Citizen from the NRA Official Journals in that the stories are based on real life incidents rather than ‘Ninjas Coming from the Ceiling’ fantasies. One of her stories this month came from this incident.

Cable man opens fire during robbery attempt while working in north Houston

Police say one of the suspects was shot in the leg.

Whenever I see an incident in which the Good Guy shoots the Bad Guy in the leg, which happens on a regular basis, I wonder if it’s because GG got on the trigger too quickly. While ‘shoot him in the leg’ is a rather popular meme, I doubt it’s something that people do instinctively. We’ve got to practice getting the gun into the eye-target line before putting our finger into the trigger guard. Another possibility was some serious trigger jerking, which is why we need to learn to press the trigger smoothly, even when we’re stressed.

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Consistency

Consistent. Merriam-Webster defines it as:

marked by harmony, regularity, or steady continuity: free from variation or contradiction

During his Technical Handgun: Tests and Standards class last weekend, John Johnston of Ballistic Radio commented to me that the class had been heavily influenced by two conversations he and I had. In one, I said

You’re a good shooter but your consistency sucks.

He took that to heart and developed a personal program to increase his consistency. Technical Handgun is his road show about how shooters can use a personal program to increase their consistency and competency. Good shooting, even decent shooting, is the result of consistency. By that I mean the ability to perform at some level with a high degree of regularity. As we develop our consistency, the level we are able to perform at ‘on demand’ increases. Many shooters are perfectly content with being incompetent. Many others are not but don’t know how to go about increasing their competency.

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Measuring your capabilities

Last Sunday, The Complete Combatant hosted a class for which I was the Guest Instructor. The Class is called Personal Performance; this particular class is for Ladies Only. This is the third iteration of the class we have done, the first having been in October of 2017.

The class is based on the NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program Course of Fire called Defensive Pistol I. The MQP has numerous Courses of Fire for a variety of different firearms and shooting disciplines. Unfortunately, it’s probably the NRA’s best kept secret.

The Defensive Pistol I Course of Fire is described as “designed to supplement the Personal Protection In The Home courses.” Since PPITH does not include doing any work from the holster, neither does DP I. This is a good place to start measuring one’s performance capabilities because the variable of drawing from the holster is eliminated. The Course of Fire consists of six levels of increasing task complexity and decreasing time limits.

DPI table

Since its addition to the MQP in December 2012, I’ve put nearly 200 people through Defensive Pistol I, both men and women. The results have been both surprising and informative, to say the least.

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The value of a college degree

A Facebook friend commented about the fact that some major corporations had dropped the requirement for a college degree. She agreed with the change because her experience was that her education had no apparent value to her current employment.

There’s a lot of validity in her comments although she may not be considering the totality of what she learned in college. This is especially true given the amount of subsequent education, in different forms, she has undertaken. In the words of the motivational speaker, Steve Chandler, she clearly has emotionally left High School behind, which many people never do.

diploma-clipart-vector-5

For many years, employers valued a college degree for a number of reasons. Some of them, STEM and professional related degrees, related to an entry level understanding of material necessary for job performance. In a broader sense, a college degree had value in that it demonstrated the ability to think clearly about a myriad of subjects, communicate effectively, do research, and to have a goal and stick to the tasks required to achieve it for an extended period of time. These values also applied to getting a High School Diploma. The system involved both Process and Performance.

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Safety Solutions Academy Podcast

Paul Carlson and I had a good conversation.

This is episode 441 of the SSA Podcast and I am so pleased that you have joined us.

Today’s guest, Claude Werner and I discuss personal protection and the firearms training industry through the lens of data. Claude is a self proclaimed “Quant” meaning that he has a strong focus on collecting, analyzing and applying data to solve problems. His focus on the application of data to personal protection helps to bring quality solutions to people that they may not find from other sources. I really think you are going to enjoy this episode of the SSA Podcast!

Screenshot_2018-09-25 441 Claude Werner the Tactical Professor – Safety Solutions Academy

Topics we spoke about:

  • Making decisions based on data instead of emotions
  • Evaluating a defensive gun use based on financial criteria
  • The defense of others and how third party defense can be significantly more difficult to avoid negative outcomes
  • Dynamics of home invasions that may surprise you
  • Negative outcomes and why Claude focuses on mitigating those negative outcomes
  • How competence can increase your ability to deal with a defensive gun use more efficiently

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Repetition and Progression (Part 2)

#fridayfundamentals

The most important Fundamental of all is to be sure your gun works. A recently purchased used revolver seemed okay in most aspects except the cylinder lockup had a hitch. Upon actually shooting it, it worked fine for the first 10 rounds. After that, the trigger could not be pulled with the cylinder closed. As I suspected, something was wrong with the center pin spring and the center pin would not push the bolt into position when the cylinder closed. Moving the bolt into position before it will fire is fundamental to double action revolver design.

Upon examining it later, there was no center pin spring, hence the issue. Someone had obviously messed with it because the extractor rod came free quite easily. Fortunately, the sear/bolt spring for a S&W fit adequately and fixed the problem.

As my colleague, the late Paul Gomez, was fond of saying, “Shoot Yor ….. Guns.”

After repairing it, I used it for another form of progression in practice, increasing distance incrementally. Starting out at a close distance, marking your target after each string, and then increasing the distance gives you an indication of where your strengths and weakness lie. Knowing them gives you an idea of what to practice next.

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The Value of Standards

When planning any journey, knowing where you’re starting from is a necessity. For those new to Concealed Carry and for those who have been carrying for a while, having some kind of Standard to benchmark your ability against is the way to determine where you’re at, skills wise.

Marksmanship skill is not the be all and end all of the skills involved in Concealed Carry, as my Serious Mistakes and Negative Outcomes commentary shows. However, understanding where your capability fits in the big picture helps decision‑making more than is often realized. Some degree of skill helps a gunowner focus on the solution to the problem of a criminal encounter instead of focusing on possession of the gun as the solution.

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Repetition and Progression

#fridayfundamentals

A client asked for a private lesson as preparation for an upcoming class at the elite Rogers Shooting School. Rogers is a very structured learning environment, so the format for the lesson was obvious. Fundamental to learning to shoot at a high level are Repetition and Progression, which are the underlying structure at Rogers. You don’t learn to shoot well by thinking about it, you learn by doing it. Visualization is a useful learning technique but you have to know what to visualize before visualization can have any value.

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Running the Snub – Recoil Management

First in a series about ‘Running the Snub.’

In a discussion of revolver reloading techniques on my 1000 Days of Dryfire Facebook group,  I posted a video of myself shooting the Alabama State IDPA Championship with a snub revolver.

The video generated the following question, which I think is worth some discussion and explanation.

Claude, I watched your video, and to me, you display amazing recoil management – the gun hardly moves. I was under the impression that snubbies are especially hard to shoot and control, particularly in this skill area. Can you share what you are doing to control recoil so well? Maybe details on how you grip the gun, and what kind of load you are firing?

Let’s deal with the simple questions first. I was shooting a two inch K frame at the Championship, which weighs almost twice what an Airweight J Frame does. That has some effect on the recoil management. The load I was using was my IDPA handload, which is ballistically equivalent to 158 grain Round Nose Lead standard pressure. I prefer not to use lead bullets so my load used a plated bullet.

The next issue to deal with is “snubbies are especially hard to shoot and control.” That’s been ‘common knowledge’ among the shooting community for as long as I can remember but how true is it? Like many other aspects of ‘common knowledge’ among gun industry common taters, I’m skeptical about that. So, I decided to do a little more Comparative Testing.

The test I chose was 5^4 (5 rounds in no more than 5 seconds at 5 yards into a 5 inch or less group). The 5^4 protocol was originally developed by Gila Hayes of the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network for her book, Effective Defense: The Woman, the Plan, the Gun and subsequent later editions. .

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