I had the opportunity to exchange a private lesson for a haircut today. The stylist is an experienced shooter who has taken a number of classes and can run a pistol quite competently. This made the choice of modules for the lesson a little different than might usually be done for a private lesson. Since we were at her home, no live fire was indicated. I used three different learning modules for her lesson.
Image Based Decisional Drills
The first module was using the Image Based Decisional Drills from The Complete Combatant. http://www.thecompletecombatant.com/image-based-decisional-drills.html Only one category of Negative Outcomes relates to marksmanship, the other ten relate to Bad Decisions of one sort of another. IBDD provides a useful method to practice interactive decision-making. Although it was originally developed for live fire purposes, it can easily be done without live fire by using an inert training pistol.
We set up a small training area with a face target.
It took only a few minutes to run through all 25 cards in the deck.
Using IBDD to put context into the manipulation process showed that some supplemental instruction was in order. The supplemental items we covered were:
- Correct grip for pepper spray.
- Trigger manipulation under stress.
- Sequencing of movement, verbal communication, and firing.
- Non-verbal communication techniques for dealing with low life individuals.
- Changing direction quickly (close order drill).
This is an overview of the Image Based Decisional Drill concept, process, and kit.
Using a SIRT pistol is an excellent tool for non-firing sessions with IBDD but even an inexpensive toy gun from WalMart would be an adequate training aid.
NRA Pistol Marksmanship Simulator Training Course
Even with experienced shooters, I am finding value in the NRA Pistol Marksmanship Simulator Training Course. https://www.nrainstructors.org/CatalogInfo.aspx?cid=47
By adjusting the laser dot above the sights of a SIRT pistol, the simulator allows the operator to see the effect of their trigger manipulation and follow-through. The sights on my SIRT have been replaced with real metal sights.
Any NRA Certified Pistol Instructor can conduct the NRA Pistol Marksmanship Simulator Training Course. The Course of Fire is not specified so I use the previous and current versions of the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting qualification test.
Introduction to Snub Revolver
Finally, we did a quick dry practice introduction to the snub revolver. Since she is an experienced shooter, the introduction focused mostly on the differences between the revolver and an autoloader. The overview consisted of:
- Proper grip for a revolver.
- Trigger finger positioning and manipulation.
- Accessing a downed partner’s weapon from both face up and face down positions.
A great deal can be accomplished in a couple of hours when live fire isn’t required and contextual Learning Objectives are established.
To avoid confusion, I won’t list my books in this post because they’re not free. If you would be interested in purchasing any of my shooting workbooks for handgun or rifle, they are available from the menu at the top of the page. As the American Insurgency escalates, you may find having a functional knowledge of the weapons you own to be useful.
A discussion came up on a Firearms Instructor group that decried the fact that many indoor ranges only allow NRA training https://firearmtraining.nra.org/ and don’t teach ‘Concealed Carry’ classes. Let’s bear in mind that 999 out of 1,000 gunowners only have access to an indoor range. That’s a calculated number, not a SWAG.
More people don’t carry than do. According to John Lott, the current figure for those having some kind of weapons carry license is 18.66 million people. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3463357 The Gallup Poll indicates the 43% of US households have a gun. https://news.gallup.com/poll/264932/percentage-americans-own-guns.aspx That would be 51.4 million people, which is probably underreported as compared to licenses. My personal experience is that the demographic with the economic means to afford training is most likely to NOT have a carry license.
When we teach people, either formally or informally, we do ourselves and the gun owning public in general a disservice when we place so much emphasis on the techniques for carrying a gun. It’s unfortunate that the NRA’s philosophy of Personal Protection training is buried in the Instructor manual for the Personal Protection Outside The Home course.
A synopsis of the NRA concept as excerpted from that manual is as follows:
The NRA Basic Personal Protection Series is based on the building-block approach, moving from the simple to the complex.
The first course in this series is the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course, which develops in your students the basic skills of handling, shooting, and cleaning the firearm, as well as a thorough grounding in firearm safety.
The second course in this series is the NRA Basics of Personal Protection In The Home Course, (which builds on the skills already learned in the NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting Course). In this second course, participants learn to use a defensive or flash sight picture, …
The third course in the series is the NRA Basics of Personal Protection Outside The Home (which builds on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes learned in the NRA Basics of Personal Protection In The Home Course).
A very intelligent female friend explained to me her personal journey to carrying a gun. It involved five phases over the course of three years for her to consistently carry a gun and feel comfortable with it. That’s far more common than most people who teach, either as formal instructors or just friends giving guidance, seem to realize.
The NRA philosophy has a great deal of logic behind its structure. It pains me when our training community ignores it. We spend a fair amount of time talking about the ‘Crawl, Walk, Run’ approach to training but what we actually teach is ‘Run and then Run some more,’ period. Maybe it would be a good idea if we tried to guide people through a process one step at a time instead of ‘feeding them with a firehose.’ There’s a reason I wrote Indoor Range Practice Sessions before I wrote Concealed Carry Skills and Drills.
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
- 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
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
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.
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.
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.
I like inexpensive pistols. Not everyone can afford ‘mid-priced’ ($500-700) pistols, so I like to give those folks some options. Over a year ago, I picked up a S&W SD9VE on sale for about $300. It proved serviceable and reliable but the trigger was a little heavy. It wasn’t unmanageable but it was hard to shoot to the level I like to with it. The three dot sights had to go, so I blacked out the rear dots with a black marker and painted the front sight orange.
Shortly afterward, Apex Tactical Specialties was selling their upgrade kit at the NRA Annual Meeting for half price, so I bought it. It consists of several replacement springs and an ‘Action Enhancement Trigger.’ I didn’t care much for the hinged trigger on the gun, so I bought the kit. After installing just the spring kit, the trigger pull became noticeably easier to use. It lightened up enough that I didn’t even install the trigger.
Yesterday, I decided to install the trigger also. It is a Glock® style trigger with a safety bar that also reduces the length of travel and pull weight. Contrary to what the common taters on the Apex YouTube installation videos said, it was easy to install and didn’t mess up my gun. Some people have no mechanical aptitude and simply should not work on mechanical devices more complicated than a ball point pen, much less firearms kept for personal protection.
Another interesting factoid I discovered was that the SD9VE is actually the Glock 19 sized pistol that people have been clamoring for S&W to make for as long as I can remember. When I put the two pistols side by side, it was obvious they were in the same size class.
To test out what I could do with it, today I shot the IDPA 5×5 Classifier. The Classifier is a simple yet challenging test of equipment and shooter. It is only 25 rounds, requires only one target, and can be set up and shot in less than five minutes. It’s a little difficult for newer shooters, so I didn’t include it in Concealed Carry Skills and Drills.
I was able to shoot an overall score of 23.37 (3 points down), which put me squarely in the middle of Expert classification. Considering how little centerfire ammunition I’ve shot in the past few months, I think that gives a good indication of the pistol’s potential.
My gun has fired close to 1,000 rounds without a malfunction, so it has proven to be very reliable. Overall, this is a very underrated pistol. I’m looking forward to putting more rounds through it.
Note that I bought the pistol and the upgrade kit with my own money. I get no promotional consideration for writing about it, I just like the gun.
JULY 2018 AMERICAN RIFLEMAN
Yesterday’s post broke out the circumstances of the incidents of this month’s Armed Citizen® column. Today’s post breaks out the tasks involved.
Women have been buying an increasing number of firearms in recent years, and that trend is starting to make itself felt against those who try to commit criminal acts. In Arizona, for example, a shopper was getting ready to get into her car and drive home. While she was attempting to close the door of her vehicle, a man armed with a hatchet approached her vehicle, demanded that she hand over her keys and get out of the car. The woman drew a sidearm and told the man to back off. Instead, the assailant raised the hatchet. The shopper proceeded to shoot him, holding him at gunpoint until the police and medics arrived. The suspect was hospitalized, and charges were to be filed later. (Tucson News, Tucson, Ariz., 4/14/18)
Tasks accomplished by Citizen
- Retrieve from car (handgun)
- Challenge from ready
- Engage from ready (handgun)
- Shoot with handgun
- Hold at gunpoint until police arrive
Location of Incident
- In or around Vehicle
- Challenge criminal
- Shot(s) fired
- Held at gunpoint
Result to Criminal
- Criminal wounded
- In Vehicle
Number of Shots fired
Number of adversaries
- 1 adversary
Gaffney Continue reading →
JULY 2018 AMERICAN RIFLEMAN
Looking at circumstances and tasks involved in the Monthly Armed Citizen® column of the NRA Official Journals provides us with some food for thought about personal protection. The incidents are summarized in the column for copyright reasons. I have provided links to the original stories for further study.
We can look at the incidents from two perspectives; circumstances and the tasks involved for the defender. This post will categorize the circumstances for each incident. Tomorrow will analyze the tasks involved.
I was privileged to be the Guest Speaker at The Mingle 2018, a firearms community networking event this past Saturday. My topic was Myths, Misconceptions, and Solutions in the Firearms Training World. There is such a myriad of examples that I have decided to start writing #mythsandmisconceptionsmonday. I would like to acknowledge the influence John Farnam, Greg Hamilton, and Craig Douglas have had in the development of my fascination with the topic.
The misconception that resonated the most with the audience was Training is not an event, it’s a process. Too often in the training community, we put on a training event and our clients then leave with the impression they are ‘trained.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. Training is only the preparation for practice.
Zeroing any firearm is the process of understanding the relationship of Point Of Aim (where the shooter aims the firearm) [POA] to Point Of Impact (where the round actually strikes the target) [POI].
For Soldiers to achieve a high level of accuracy and precision, it is critical they zero their [sighting system] to their weapon correctly. The Soldier must first achieve a consistent grouping of a series of shots, then align the mean point of impact of that grouping to the appropriate point of aim.
–Appendix E – Zeroing, Department of the Army Training Circular 3-22.9 – Rifle and Carbine, May 2016
This is the process most shooters are familiar with regarding zero. However, zeroing a fixed sighted handgun is different than zeroing a rifle.
Bottom Line up front: With rifles, we zero the sights to the ammunition. With fixed sighted handguns, we zero (adjust) the ammunition to the sights.