Because I’ve been asked for it so often, I’ve created a Skill Development practice program that goes far beyond my first two books, Concealed Carry Skills and Drills and Indoor Range Practice Sessions. CCSD and IRPS were intended for newer or inexperienced shooters.
The new Program is called Advanced Pistol Practice. It is intended for those shooters who are familiar with their handguns and are serious about taking their skills, both Technical and Decisional, to a much higher level. Although many people would like to take a high level training course, that’s often difficult or impossible because of resource constraints. While it can’t provide the practiced eye of a good instructor, Advanced Pistol Practice provides shooters with a practice approach similar to those used by many good trainers. It uses an integrated approach to Skills Development incorporating both Live Fire and Dry Practice that is found in many high level training courses.
The Live Fire component consists of Technical Drills, Decisional Drills, and Scenarios. While numerous technical shooting drills are widely available, drills that develop the skill of ‘thinking with a gun in hand’ are much less common. The Decisional Drills included in APP are intended to fill this gap. They consist of both Don’t Shoot/Shoot exercises and target identification/follow-up hit assessment exercises. Scenario shooting should be a part of every shooter’s practice but creating realistic scenarios isn’t always easy. The Live Fire Scenarios in APP are based on actual shootings, gunfights, and gunbattles involving both Private Citizens and Law Enforcement Officers, especially off-duty LE incidents.
Snub revolvers continue to maintain a healthy presence as backup and hideout gun among knowledgeable guncarriers. The Snub Revolver Program Of Instruction that I developed and used for many years is included in APP. Snubs are neither “arm’s length guns” nor “one-shot close range shotguns.” Given a structured practice regimen, shooters can learn to accomplish good work with a snub revolver. Dry Practice exercises for the snub are included in the Program, as well.
Dry Practice is often the most challenging practice component of Skill Development because it tends to be unstructured and boring, leading to unproductive “grabasstic gun-clicking.” To combat this, APP includes a series of different structured audio programs in different voices with different sound effects to keep dry practice focused and interesting. Since the space available for dry practice is usually limited, APP also includes reduced scale targets to facilitate the dry practice.
Proficient shooters are frequently asked by new or prospective gunowners to provide an introduction to shooting. To assist the proficient shooter in setting up a new shooter for success, APP includes a short training outline suitable for those with little experience with firearms. Setting up a new shooter for a productive and enjoyable session is an important part of growing our community. The New Shooter Outline can help a proficient shooter do that.
Recognizing that firearms are periodically involved in unfortunate situations, Advanced Pistol Practice also includes the entire Serious Mistakes and Negative Outcomes recording as MP3 files. The potential personal disasters that can result from poor decision-making and not thinking ahead are often overlooked among firearms owners. Serious Mistakes and Negative Outcomes challenges the gunowner to think ahead and avoid the pitfalls that can occur during ownership and incidents.
Advanced Pistol Practice is more than a book and contains many audio files and graphics. Consequently, it’s not feasible to offer it as a download. It’s available on my webstore in two formats; CD and USB flash drive. The CD version is $19.95, shipped. There’s a $3 additional charge for the USB flash drive option.
The Program is about the price of one box of ammunition and will pay for itself many times over by saving time, ammunition, and perhaps even lives.
Deputies found a 32-year-old man who said that he and his wife were sleeping when they heard a noise in the kitchen.
The husband took his handgun and walked in the kitchen area, where he shot the victim.
After the shooting the husband recognized the victim as his younger teenage brother.
Yet another tragic example of why I stress target identification so much. These situations are absolutely preventable. As I’ve said before, if you live with anyone else, my analysis is that there is a 97 percent probability that the ‘bump in the night’ is a member of your own household. With those kinds of numbers, gunowners cannot take the risk of shooting someone at home without establishing a positive ID.
This kind of situation is a further example of why I say we have to be very cautious of what we take of from our training, and even more so, what we read. Much of the good training available is conducted by former law enforcement or military personnel. Just as much as any of us, they are subject to unconscious biases resulting from their experiences and training. Since most reading now is done on the Internet, you have to assume everything you read is wrong because most of it IS wrong.
Responding with a firearm to a noise at night in the home absolutely requires that you visually verify your target before shooting. You probably will need a flashlight for that. And stealth is not your friend, it is your enemy. Therein lies a major divergence from the law enforcement officer or soldier, to whom stealth is an ally. The notions that ‘the light draws fire’ or that criminals will wait in ambush for you if they hear you coming are nonsensical. Those are bad paradigms for us to insert in our thinking. If your background is such that having assassins waiting in ambush for you in your own home is a concern, you need to work on some serious hardening of access points to your home.
If you keep a gun at home, put a flashlight next to your gun; no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Next time you go to the range, take the flashlight with you. Instead of just blasting 50 holes in a silhouette, shoot two shots at the silhouette 25 times. Sequence is very important in how you do this.
- Have your gun in your shooting hand and your flashlight in your support hand. The gun is not pointing at the target and the light is off.
- Before each two shot string, say out loud “Who’s there?”
- Wait to listen for an answer. If you go to the range with someone, have them stand behind you and sometimes respond with “it’s me, Daddy” or something similar.
- If they say that, immediately put your gun down on the bench and abort that sequence.
- Then illuminate the target without pointing the gun at it.
- Finally, bring the gun up and fire the two shots.
One of the things you will find when using this sequence is that the worthwhile two handed shooting techniques don’t work well for it. Harries is both clumsy and dangerous to assume when you already have the light on the target and are keeping it illuminated while presenting the pistol. The Rogers/Surefire technique takes some time and manipulation skill to assume. What you will discover is that only the Cheek Technique or the FBI Technique work well in this context.
That means you have to learn to:
- Speak while holding your gun.
- Abort the shooting sequence if there is not a threat.
- Do a dissimilar task with the other hand, i.e., orient the flashlight and work the switch, while keeping your gun off target and your finger off the trigger.
- Shoot with one hand only while continuing to perform the dissimilar task.
- Manipulate the safety or decocker of your weapon with one hand while holding something in the other.
For the final 5 repetitions (10 rounds), put up a clean silhouette target and shoot the LAPD Retired Officer Course (10 rounds at seven yards). Measure how well you do. You’re going to find it’s a lot harder than you think.
That sequence is obviously rather involved; practice it before you have to do it for real or you’ll forget to do it or get it wrong. Forgetting to do it is what leads to tragedies.