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.
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.
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.
Man shot multiple times while trying to steal couple’s SUV at gas station
“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)
- 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
- Package deal of Serious Mistakes, Indoor Sessions, Concealed Carry, and Shooting Your Black Rifle (20% off) https://store.payloadz.com/details/2644448-ebooks-sports-shooting-drills-package.html
A friend of mine asked an excellent question on Facebook. “If you were going to pick a target for general training purposes, which of these nine would it be?” He included a photo array of commonly used silhouette targets.
My reply was:
Since I am a believer in and practitioner of spot shooting, there’s [sic] none of these I find particularly appealing.
An article about the .25 ACP pistol cartridge came to my attention today. It says I endorse the use of that caliber for Personal Protection. This is not true. Through personal experimentation, not on humans, I have determined it simply does not have enough penetration to be a viable cartridge for the purpose.
The only incident in my database in which an Armed Citizen was seriously injured after shooting a criminal with a ‘mousegun’ occurred with a .25. The first round bounced off the attacker’s teeth at point blank range.
I would much rather have a .22LR for Personal Protection than any .25 ACP. At least it will penetrate a piece of wood enough to stick in. That has not been my experience the .25 ACP.
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.
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
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.
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
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.