The new Practics book will be available early 2018. The Perfect Pistol Shot is available under a new publisher at Amazon.com
The year is nearly passed; I hope all enjoyed a merry Christmas.
The Perfect Pistol Shot has suffered a recent market absence because our Publisher, Paladin Press has gone out of business. Paladin Press was an excellent small house, in my opinion, and it will be sorely missed by firearms enthusiasts. Perfect Pistol Shot is back on amazon.com now though it will require a little searching for the present to separate the new book from third seller used books. The contents are the same, only the publisher has changed. Continue reading
Safety has to be trained. It is not enough to have rules read to the shooter. Firearm safety includes muscle memory actions, which by the nature of muscle memory require repetitive training. Certainly, properly conducted range time reinforces safety practices and develops a second nature of safe handling. However, all skills deteriorate and require formalized training to correct and maintain them. The next time you’re on the range, watch how many experienced shooters have slipped into sloppy slide manipulations. The muzzle should always be downrange but the further the shooter gets from training, the more the muzzle begins to wander to the side. Continue reading
The gun control effort has taken on new life largely because of a recent attack in a Florida bar. The arguments, as always are the same. A few years ago, novelist Stephen King wrote a kindle book–Guns. Mr. King strongly favors gun control. I do not. In 2013, I wrote a kindle response to Guns. An unedited draft was published for a short period to check reviews and then pulled for editing; the Practics manuscript diverted my attention and the following essay wasn’t released. The American Gun Fight draft is posted below and while it specifically addresses King’s book, it is a general response to popular gun control.
I wish everyone a pleasant Fourth of July.
Its been vigorously reported that an extraordinary number of Americans are now buying their first handguns. Interestingly, many of those buyers are over 50 and a good number over 65. Much of the correspondence I receive comes from older shooters with questions about sighting with vision defects. Here’s some suggestions concerning imperfect vision and marksmanship:
Be aware of lighting. Indoor range lighting is dramatically different from natural light. You can test this by trying to read small print indoors and then trying the same after stepping into direct sunlight. If you must shoot indoors consider light-colored, reduced reflection, shooting glasses which will magnify light and reduce glare. Continue reading
There is very little that is intuitive about successfully shooting a handgun. The same thing applies to good driving, splitting firewood, cooking a pot roast, or any other human endeavor. We all understand that education is required to master a skill but for various reasons many of us believe that shooting is like being left-handed, some are born with it and others are not. I suppose this comes from the informality which imbues marksmanship and guns in general. In the 19th century it was not uncommon for homegrown medicine salesmen to refer to themselves as “Doctor.” Today, every guy who has shot a gun twice is “Instructor.” Consequently, we too often rely on myths, old wives’ tales, and pop culture to form theories about shooting.
If you’re struggling with mastering your handgun take control of your training in the following manner:
- Start over. Accept that you may believe things which are incorrect. Receive formal instruction in handgun operations; I am referring to basic operations not marksmanship. Many shooters, cannot load a semi-automatic pistol while keeping the muzzle pointed downrange. Muzzle control in marksmanship is the next step after muzzle control for safety.
- Learn the fundamentals of marksmanship from someone qualified to teach them. I’m sorry to offend, I know there are many good independent instructors out there but I also know you probably haven’t found one. An NRA instructor course is worthwhile but it does not qualify a shooter to teach. Being a lead instructor requires having spent a lot of time coaching on the firing line in order to understand why shooters miss their intended targets. Being a good shot doesn’t mean one can teach. The instructor has to see errors repeated in many different shooters to understand how corrective action can be applied by a particular shooter. It took me years.
- Record every shot and analyze your results. A right-handed shooter tends to shoot low left for a very specific reason. If you know that reason you can correct the error, and panic and hopelessness disappear.
- Be patient. I am certain that no one expects to fly a plane through a storm the first hour of flight school. Marksmanship is a skill that you can learn and apply as you learn.
My first visit to a gun range was as a teenager. I took my father’s revolver and went as the guest of a range member. I was told by a well-intentioned shooter (who was kind enough to let me shoot his 1911 pistol) that “maybe the .45 isn’t your gun,” and the local gun nut insulted me for not being able to hit a bullseye with my dad’s Colt Python. I learned to shoot the .45 pistol (and handguns in general) because the U.S. Marine Corps knew how to teach. Leaving your shooting education in the hands of unqualified instructors will succeed only in making you give up shooting. For more, read my book, The Perfect Pistol Shot.
As a young cop, I was taught to “stack charges.” That is, write arrest reports to include all possible and applicable crimes. For instance, if a rape arrest could include lesser burglary and vandalism charges they were to be included. The prosecutor would winnow through the whole thing and make the ultimate decision on charging crimes but they wanted the report to be broad enough to support any prosecutorial strategy. What all this means is many criminals who got arrested for one particular crime wound up being booked for three to six crimes. There is no shortage of statutory law. In California, there’s probably 50,000 violations in the state vehicle code, which means every driver is guilty of something every time they get behind the wheel. Yet people still needlessly die every day on California roadways. Law lessens crime when the citizen believes punishment is likely and the risk of such punishment is not worth the risk of getting caught. Continue reading
Marksmanship training requires precise training at known distances and specific targets. Practical shooting requires the student develop both sighted and non-sighted firing skills at those distances most likely to be encountered during an attack. Likewise, targets and environment must reflect probable circumstances. Fortunately we have one hundred years of recorded law enforcement shootings to guide us. We know that the overwhelming majority of defensive shooting occur at 6′ or less. We also know that a reasonable minority of shooting will involve distances beyond a couple of car lengths. Most armed attacks will involve one assailant. However, a large minority of unarmed attacks will involve multiple attackers. We know that the legal use of deadly force is used against illegal deadly force regardless of the weapon. So we need training that includes the following: Continue reading
Yesterday, the president announced another plan to prevent gun violence. Of course, as with every other gun scheme the focus was not on the offenders. Notice no one ever suggests lessening armed robberies by outlawing convenience stores or banks. Some will argue that the president’s plan does address potential offenders by “keeping guns from those with mental health problems.” Sure, provided they’re in a magic mental health database which is only accessed by reasonable and detached psychologists and psychiatrists, and not the local NGO nut with a mental health worker certificate from a community college. The problem is that the right to keep and bear arms is primarily for defense against tyranny. Now we must trust the tyrant to be fair when deciding who may possess a gun. Lunatics should not have firearms but I fear we are not speaking of those who have been legally determined incompetent through a medical/legal process. Every child custody dispute, VA treatment for PTSD (a disorder the military almost promotes amongst veterans), or restraining order (a process often with little judicial scrutiny) will create a whole new class of “crazies” everyday. A database depends on the integrity and restraint of those who determine the entrants. Do you think discretion and care of the rights of the governed are going to be the primary concerns of whatever agency oversees the magic database? As a former peace officer I assure it doesn’t work that way. Continue reading
Let’s return to a familiar topic before everyone gets their Christmas guns. No single marksmanship fault impacts as many shooters as improper grip. In my book, The Perfect Pistol Shot (Amazon) I discuss the elements of a good grip, and in this blog, on several occasions, we have discussed the need for a light grip. But let’s take another look at grip solely from the standpoint of pressure. How much pressure is really needed? To begin, we have to know the reasons for applying pressure to a handgun, or any object for that matter. The purpose is allow the firearm to be held in the hand and adjusted for the purpose of sighting and operation. We don’t want to drop the handgun, right? But we don’t want to drop cell phones, babies, or pencils either. Do we hold an 8 pound babe as if he weighs 100 pounds? If we do, we’ll rightly go to prison for murdering a child. Continue reading