This subject came up again today and the evaluation criteria are worth repeating.
Before you buy a gun, you should go to a range that rents guns and try different ones out to see which one is best for you.
What does “try them out” mean? How do we measure “which one is best for you?” Here is a list of worthwhile items to evaluate for you to make an informed decision about an autoloading pistol. For those who are helping a prospective purchaser, demonstrate the technique but then place the pistol in a sterile (unloaded with slide forward) condition and let them do their own evaluation without comment or coaching. You won’t be there to coach them if they need to use the pistol for real; that’s part of the evaluation.
- Load the pistol. This has two components.
- Load a magazine to full capacity.
- Load the fully charged magazine into the pistol and chamber a round.
- Manipulate the controls of the pistol.
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Not surprisingly, yesterday’s church shooting incident has generated a great of deal of discussion. As Mr. Wabash of the CIA said in Three Days of the Condor, “I miss that kind of clarity.”
Someone asked if I have analyzed various documents about Active Murderers and if I keep the documents on my website. My response was:
I tend to think about the other 3,300 violent crimes that occurred yesterday, including 43 other murders, 400 rapes, and 2,200 Aggravated Assaults.
Yesterday. Except for the other murders, they didn’t even make the news. And the other murders received about 90 seconds of coverage, on average, with no streaming replay of the event.
The kind of clarity that Mr. Jack Wilson, the Counter-Murder Operator who prevented further murders, had is rare. We should also consider the depth of Mr. Wilson’s shooting resume in terms of skill development.
This morning there was a murder in a church in Texas. A few seconds later, further murders were prevented by the quick action of a counter-murderer who protected the congregation. In the incident, it appears that someone tried to draw a pistol but was unsuccessful and got shot for his trouble. It is possible he was trying to get his cell phone to call for help, though. The footage is not very clear.
What was the requisite level of skill to end this situation? The shot would appear to be two aisles plus the width of a pew.
At the recommended 24 inches per person for 12 people (4 hymnal racks per pew with 3 per), that would be 24 feet for the pew plus 10 feet (two 5 foot aisles). https://www.lifeway.com/en/articles/church-architecture-rules-thumb-space-dimensions
As long as a person can consistently (95% of one shot presentations) hit a target the size of two sheets of paper, stacked in landscape orientation, at four yards, they have the requisite level of marksmanship skill to dominate 99% of personal protection shooting incidents by non-sworn personnel.
That’s not a popular opinion but after studying over 5,000 Armed Citizen incidents, it’s the conclusion I’ve come to. Here is the Male torso hit zone target sheet.
There are other skills that are more important than marksmanship.
Why do people carry an autoloader with an empty chamber? Because they’re concerned about having an Unintentional Discharge.
One of the comments about the incident on Facebook sums up many people’s feelings about it.
Which is more likely to save your life? Carrying an autoloader with the chamber empty or carrying a revolver ready to go? Active Self Protection provides us with some food for thought.
A Stark Reminder to Keep Your Defensive Firearm Chambered
Armed Robber Kills Store Owner Whose Gun Wasn’t Ready
Another Reminder to Carry Chamber Full
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.
- 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.
- Eject the partial magazine between the thumb and forefinger and catch it.
- Insert the full magazine, which is held between the forefinger and middle finger, into the pistol.
- 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.
Man shot in neighbor’s home charged after allegedly undressing in 12-year-old’s bedroom during break-in
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.
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)
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.
- Know where the gun is.
- Be able to access the gun. Is it in a safe and can the family member open it?
- If the gun is not stored Ready to Fire, be able to place the gun into Ready to Fire condition.
- Move safely from the storage location to the fight location. Having an Unintentional Discharge en route will probably be a Tactical Disaster.
- Either be able to engage the Intruder with the firearm, or
- 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.
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.
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
Last night, I had an interesting conversation with John Daub of KR Training about the new NRA CCW Course. KR Training is one of, if not the, premier provider of firearms training in Texas, so his thoughts about the CCW Instructor Course he and Karl recently completed were something I wanted to hear. One of the most interesting items of the conversation was that the NRA has adopted a 100 percent hit standard for the NRA’s Qualification Course, if instructors choose to use the NRA’s Qual Course.
I’ve been a big believer in 100 percent standards for a long time. The importance of an exacting standard was emphasized by a recent Incident where a woman in Oroville, California shot and paralyzed her husband as a result of taking a Hostage Rescue shot on a home invader. Although she killed the home invader when she “emptied the clip” at him, her husband is now paralyzed for life. That incident reminded me of how imprecisely we use the term Worst Possible Case.
‘Worst Possible Case’ discussions inevitably devolve to one of two possibilities; TODD, the heavily armed criminal who is as impervious to gunfire as Superman or becoming involved in an entangled fight. However, there are numerous possibilities of what could be the Worst Possible Case as listed in Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make. So there actually is no single Worst Possible Case, there are various Negative Outcomes; it’s situationally dependent. The situation will dictate which of the possible Negative Outcomes is the ‘worst.’
It’s very important for us to understand our capabilities. The CAN, MAY, SHOULD, MUST paradigm developed by Steve Harris, Esq. puts CAN first for a reason. CAN, what are you able to accomplish at that moment?, has two components – Mental and physical. The Oroville woman had the mental part of CAN but not the physical. Let’s compare and contrast her incident with that of Meghan Brown, who also shot and killed a home invader during a struggle. Ms. Brown had been to the range with her pink Taurus revolver and knew she was not a very good shot. As a result her strategy was to close with the struggle and take the shot at a point where she was sure she could make her hits.
The ‘Downrange problem,’ in which an innocent person is downrange of the shooter, is far more common than we think. Those who keep a firearm for Personal Protection need to keep in mind that the situation may not be ‘self-defense’ but rather protecting another person.
How to put this into practice becomes the question. The Decisional Exercise Family taken hostage from Concealed Carry Skills and Drills is one example. Simply use two sheets of paper as the hostage. Put them on the same side as your Support Hand so you maximize your opportunity to hit them if you jerk the trigger. If you hit those two sheets of paper, assume you seriously wounded or killed a member of your family.
To add some realism, you can put a facial photo of a family member above the printed sheets or just draw a face above them. Here’s a Non-threat PDF Printable Non threat Silhouette torso that is included in Advanced Pistol Practice and Shooting Your Black Rifle. When practicing on an indoor range, you probably won’t be able to set up the full scenario but you can still do the individual strings.
What’s the Worst Possible Case? It’s a situationally dependent individual decision. Using a little forethought and doing some practice may help you solve it without a Negative Outcome. Going to the range and figuring what distance YOU can make 100 percent hits will give you a very important piece of information in the context of Personal Protection.
By popular demand, we’ve opened up our biannual Personal Performance Class to men as well as women. It will be held October 20, 2019 in Dahlonega, Georgia.
The focus of this class is a little different than most. There will be some coaching but the class is more about giving our clients a benchmark of where their shooting is at. From that benchmark, our clients will have a program they can follow after leaving the class to measure their ongoing performance level.
This is probably the only group class I will be teaching for the rest of the year. It is a joint effort between myself and Brian and Shelley Hill of The Complete Combatant.
The NRA Defensive Pistol I Marksmanship Qualification Program is the standard we use for the class. I’ve run hundreds of people through the program over the past six years. Having to shoot a Course of Fire that has a 100% hit standard is a quite a surprise for many (90%) of the shooters.
All participants will receive a Patch and rocker at the class. In addition, you will receive Rating rockers for the skill level(s) you achieve during the class. You will also receive a takeaway booklet to help you practice and advance in the Program after you’ve finished this class.
Whether you’re a newer shooter or a more experienced shooter, I think you will find this class to be an eye-opener.