- At night, have a flashlight next to your gun.
- Pick them both up at the same time and identify the person before making the shoot decision
- Flashlight usage implies the need for one handed shooting
- Competing probabilities are in favor of it being a family member
- Thinking the light is a ‘lead magnet’ is a problem
I emphasized very strongly about the need for keeping a flashlight next to your ‘nightstand gun’ during my Negative Outcomes presentation at the Rangemaster 2015 Tactical Conference. Although I practice dryfire with a flashlight regularly, it occurred to me that I don’t have a structured regimen for doing so. Tonight, I thought I would work on that a bit.
At first, I started doing my 12 shot drill on my dryfire range with the flashlight. I used the left column to practice with the Harries technique as my ‘outside’ technique. For a general search and ‘inside’ technique, I used the right side column. I just did it this way due to habit because that’s similar to the way I shoot the drill livefire.
By ‘outside,’ I mean the flashlight is outside both my body and the pistol. ‘Inside’ means the flashlight is inside of the gun and toward my body. It’s necessary to have both an inside and outside technique so that you can use the light on either side of a piece of cover or concealment. For a right hander, the outside technique is used when using the light around the right side of cover and the inside technique is used around the left side. Left handers reverse that.
It occurred to me that I could use the same setup I use for the Air Marshal Tactical Pistol Course. I’ve modified that target setup slightly so I get more traverse on the multiple target strings. My setup also allows me to use both inside and outside techniques because of the arrangement of my apartment.
I started the Harries practice with the light pointing toward the target but the pistol down at low ready. Even when we’re identifying a target, we don’t want to muzzle them until the shoot decision is made. Then I practiced bringing the pistol up on target while keeping the light pointed at the target. At first, I did this in the hallway, just to get my mechanical movement correct.
For the cheek practice, once again, I started with the light pointing toward the target but the pistol down at low ready. Since I use the cheek technique as a general search technique, this means I’m going to be shooting one handed, if the shoot decision is made. I like the cheek technique as a general search technique because it allows me to use the light as an impact tool, if necessary. Because there is a possibility during a general search, I would be in a hallway when shooting started, I incorporated turning off the light after the shot and taking a sidestep. But, there’s not much maneuver room in a hallway, so don’t think this is some magic potion that prevents getting shot.
Once I was satisfied I had the mechanicals down pat, I moved to positions of cover, both left side and right side. I practiced on both sides, making sure I didn’t splash the light off the wall and into my face.
Note that in the photographs I took, I was using a flash or the regular lighting for clarity. When practicing, the place was completely dark. Also note that the camera wasn’t positioned exactly where the target was, so I look more exposed than I actually was.
I’m glad I developed this as a more formal program. I’ll be doing it at least once a week from now on as part of my 1000 days of dryfire.
How much you last practiced isn’t as important as when you last practiced.
One of the Facebook groups I’m a member of is called 1000 Days of Dryfire Challenge. It’s a group whose members have committed to doing my ‘1000 consecutive days of dryfire’ concept. What I found the first time I did the 1000 days was that regularly devising new regimens and switching them around was important to keep the program interesting and avoiding boredom with doing a single regimen all the time.
A regimen I’ve been doing the past few days is a dryfire version of the Federal Air Marshal Tactical Pistol Course. The target I made is a reduced scale triple QIT printed on 11×17 paper at FedEx Office. It’s scaled for 2.5 yards. What I do is print the image from a flash drive on 11×17 paper at FedEx office and set the copier to ‘resize to fit page.’ Resizing is one of the menu options when printing from a flash drive. Feel free to download the image and try it yourself.
The spacing isn’t quite wide enough on a single piece of paper but nothing is perfect. I punched a hole in the paper at the measured middle point so I can hang it on a picture hanger in the wall. Regular paper tends to sag when hung on the wall, so I stapled it to a piece of cardstock.I’m using my SCCY pistol because it’s DAO with second strike capability so I can pull the trigger on almost all the shots. The only one I have to fudge is the final stage because it involves two strings starting with a slide lock reload. I start those strings with the slide locked back, so the first shot is a dead trigger.
Since the TPC is based on Par times, like most police courses, I set the par times on one of my CED 6000 timers. It’s a great training timer, which isn’t made any more, unfortunately. The CED has an option for multiple strings of par time, which makes it easy to set up the multiple string stages. Like most timers, it only sets par times to one tenth of a second, so I round the times down, e.g., 1.65 becomes 1.6 seconds.
Federal Air Marshal Tactical Pistol Course (TPC)
|Drill||Starting Position||Seconds Allowed||Total Rounds|
|One Round (twice).||Concealed Holster||1.65 (3.30 total)||2|
|Double Tap (twice)||Low Ready||1.35 (2.70 total)||4|
|Rhythm; fire 6 rounds at one target; no more than 0.6 between each shot.||Low Ready||3.00||6|
|One Shot, speed reload, one shot (twice).||Low Ready||3.25 (6.50 total)||4|
|One Round each at two targets 3 yards apart (twice). (Use the outer targets. I go left to right for one string and right to left for the other.)||Low Ready||1.65 (3.30 total)||4|
|180 degree pivot. One round each at 3 targets (twice). Turn left, then right.||Concealed Holster||3.50 (7.00 total)||6|
|One Round, slide locks back; drop to one knee; reload; fire one round (twice).||Low Ready||4.00 (8.00 total)||4|
- TIME: Cannot exceed total time for each Drill. Example: Drill #1 – 1st time 1.70 seconds, 2nd time 1.55 seconds; Total = 3.25 seconds = Go. Must achieve a “GO” on each Drill.
- ACCURACY: Target is FBI “QIT” (bottle). Total rounds fired is 30. Point value that hit the inside bottle = 5. Point value touching line or outside bottle = 2. Maximum possible score = 150. Minimum qualifying score = 135.
All stages must equal “GO” to qualify.
This is a fun course that only takes a few minutes to do but tests a number of skills and is fun, at least for me.