Category Archives: Shooting Skills

SKILLS: When Small Is All…

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…that you have to carry. Read what professional trainer Steve Tarani has to say about making the most of a small handgun HERE

steve tarani

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Steve Tarani

Why carry a .380 when you can carry a .45 or 9mm pistol? Looking at it from the opposite end of the spectrum, why carry a .45 when you can carry a .50 caliber handgun? Why carry a pistol when you can carry a rifle?

It all filters down to personal decision based on deference to why and how you carry a gun. Further introspection should draw your attention to three important defensive carry factors that you’ve got to consider:

Accessibility
Concealability
Personal Comfort

ACCESSIBILITY IS A MUST
First and foremost is accessibility. Depending upon what you’re wearing, whether it be a business suit, a pair of running shorts, or perhaps a skirt or dress, attire plays a critical role in accessibility.

Accessibility is defined as the speed with which the weapon can be acquired and drawn.

Accessibility is directly affected by the location of the holster on the body, the body position of the shooter when the weapon is drawn, and the ability to establish the proper grip on the weapon while it is still in the holster.

A handgun used specifically for self-defense must be readily accessible. In other words, you need to be able to get at least one hand on it quickly and easily. The more time it takes for you to get to your carry gun, the longer it takes you to respond to the threat and not defending against it.

Will you be carrying your protection piece in a shoulder holster, belly band, ankle holster, IWB, OWB, appendix holster, cross-draw holster, fanny pack hol­ster, handbag holster, thigh holster, or pocket holster? The list of holster types and styles is quite lengthy and how and where you carry will determine your weapon accessibility.

Springfield Armory’s 911 .380 affords you several viable, easily accessible carry position options, including the recommended pocket holster. Depending upon the threat level, pocket carry of the .380 allows you to position your hand on your gun with your hand inside your pocket. Designed for defensive use at extreme close range, the .380 allows for immediate accessibility in stressful close-quarter situations.

springfield armory 911

CONCEALABILITY
Concealability is defined as the ability of the holster to be worn without detection. Concealability is a major consideration to plainclothes (under cover, off duty, etc.) law enforcement officers as well as defense-minded citizens. The smaller the holster and gun, the easier to conceal, especially if large, over-sized cover garments are not an option.

If you’re at the beach or someplace where you may be wearing a pair of shorts, or maybe running or working out, how concealable will a full frame .45 be? And what carry configuration is best should you find yourself in demanding physical exertion or dynamic movement. Again, the .380 may be an optimal choice given your operational environment.

Are you carrying in a place that is predominantly not gun friendly? In some states, if a gun prints through your shirt, either from a larger framed pistol or perhaps due to an OWB holster with a snug cover garment, it may be construed as “brandishing” and could land you in hot water.

COMFORT
Last but certainly not least is comfort. Shooter comfort is defined as the ability of the holster and gun to be worn for extended periods of time without discomfort. This factor is important in that if a holster/ gun combination is too uncomfortable, the shooter may choose not to be armed.

If you’re planning on driving for eight hours a day for the next three days, how comfortable will that full-sized .45 caliber handgun be in your appendix holster after the first ten minutes, let alone a couple of hours?

Unloaded, the 911 .380 weighs slightly over 12 ounces. Given a height of just under four inches with a barrel length of less than three inches, plus an overall length of 5.5 inches, the small lightweight construction of the 911 offers you one of the best concealable options in the industry.

Overhearing one of my students speaking to another student (while attending a forty-hour defensive handgun course), and referring to his .380, one asked, “Hey Joe, what possible damage would that little pea-shooter do against a determined attacker?” Joe’s reply was a pithy, “Well, go ahead and attack me and find out!” #PointTaken

Bottom line is, if you find yourself in a violent physical altercation and he is (or they are), within arm’s reach, things have taken a turn for the worse and are pretty darn serious — especially if you assess it to be a life-or-death situation. Withstanding such duress and imminent danger, your last line of defense must be equally accessible as it is effective.

PROS OF SMALL
Concealability provides you the element of surprise, especially when the odds are stacked against you. Carrying inside the pocket or in your purse, allows for hands-on accessibility while maintaining concealability before even coming out of the holster.

When it comes to comfort, nothing beats small and light — a combination of desirable personal defense attributes that will almost cause you to forget you’re carrying.

The Springfield 911 .380 is approved for the most-advanced and modern .380 defensive ammunition available in its classification.

The 911 also comes with a 6-round and 7-round extended magazine. Add the “plus-one,” and those aren’t bad numbers for a small defensive handgun.

When small is all, it doesn’t matter how tough-guy your assailant(s) may be. A few rounds of .380 hammered in succession will undoubtedly get their attention and cause them to change their course of action.

To learn more about training conducted by Steve Tarani, go to Steve’s websites:

HandToGun.com

SteveTarani.com

About the author: Steve Tarani is a former CIA protective services subject matter expert who served on Donald Trump’s pre-election protection detail and is the lead instructor for the NRA’s new Non-ballistic Weapons Training program offered nationally to 2.3 million members. Tarani, an active protective agent, is a Central Intelligence Agency and FLETC-certified federal firearms instructor who also provides services for the US Naval Special Operations Command, FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association, National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), and others.

5 TIPS TO UP YOUR SKILLS

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Team Springfield Armory’s Steve Tarani shares martial arts secrets to more effective training for defensive handgun use. READ MORE

steve tariani

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Steve Tarani

Back in my early Filipino Martial Arts training days (in edged and impact weapons), I would put in anywhere between 40 to 60 hours (sometimes more) of hard skills training every week.

During that time, one of my Masters, Punong Guro Edgar Sulite (founder of the LAMECO fighting system), would always remind his committed disciples, that at any level of training, “Repetition is the mother of all skills.”

We’ve all heard the adage “practice makes perfect” or more accurately “perfect practice makes perfect.” The back-story to this axiom is practice makes PERMANENT. If you practice something that is not correct thousands of times, you will burn it into your system exactly as you trained it — incorrectly.
Making permanent, can include the imprinting of training scars.

SCIENCE OF TRAINING
As with any effective self-defense training, at the higher skill levels, defensive shooting is as much a martial science as it is a martial art. Taking your skills to the next level requires raising your level of understanding, as well as your level of performance. The only way to up your skills is to put in the number of correct reps it takes for you to measure a desired change in performance.

Following are 5 tips from the masters that can help you get there more effectively.

TIP 1: SET AN ATTAINABLE GOAL
First off, you need to know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish. In other words, what is your objective? If your objective is to draw from concealment and make accurate and rapid round placement on a target, then you will need to establish a few performance parameters such as how many rounds, what target size and distance. Once you’ve decided upon the parameters, you can then determine your baseline performance.

TIP 2: FIND YOUR BASELINE
To establish your baseline, execute the drill at a comfortable speed with which you can guarantee the hit from your starting position. Run the drill multiple times — again guaranteeing each hit. After you can do it reliably without missing, then measure how long it takes you to execute this skill on demand.

Running a timer to determine how long it takes you to make that guaranteed hit gives you a measurable start point. Let’s say it takes you 4 seconds to guarantee a successful run. You can then set your goal to reduce that time to 3.5 seconds. You now have everything you need to set a training foundation upon which to build your next-level skills.

In that foundation you know exactly what your baseline is, what the training parameters are, and your desired result of guaranteeing a hit at 3.5 seconds on demand. All that remains is to crank out an unknown number of correct repetitions.

TIP 3: ISOLATE YOUR MOVEMENTS
One crucial tip that will help you tremendously in building your repository of correct repetitions, is to cut out any wasted movement. When I asked my martial arts masters and shooting instructors how they can move so quickly and with such accuracy, they replied in kind, “No unnecessary movement.” Doing only what you need to do to accomplish the task is all that is required. Any additional movements do not contribute in any way to your task and further add unwarranted time to the process.

Cutting out unnecessary movement is simply a matter of training. Isolate each individual movement in your presentation from concealment by running them a single step at a time:

Clear cover garment

Defeat any retention devices

Establish a positive grip


Draw from the holster


Align muzzle with your target


Make guaranteed round placement


Mindfully practice each one of these individual tasks standalone. Remain vigilant about eliminating any wasted movement. Forget about the timer — stick to the process.

TIP 4: ELIMINATE LAG TIME
The next step in your skill-building repetitive process is to reduce the lag time in between each of the isolated steps until the entire process is one fluid, purposeful motion. The master says, “Training without purpose is no training at all.”

Why you are doing what you’re doing is just as important as what and how you are doing it. It is said that the “why” is the mortar that holds the bedrock of your “what” and “how” together. Being mindful of why motivates you to run all the individual steps together with focus on reducing any wasted time in between those steps.

TIP 5: DETERMINE NUMBER OF REPS
What’s the exact number of reps needed to make a difference in your performance? According to the experts, repetitions vary from shooter to shooter. Some trainers say it takes a minimum of 3,000 reps while other say 7,000 and still others suggest over 10,000 repetitions.

How do you know how many reps it is for you?

After multiple training sessions, chipping away at less time between the steps, removal of any wasted movement and guaranteeing the hit on demand, you will have accumulated sufficient repetitions that may make each movement feel more comfortable, easier to execute and effortless.

When you start to feel yourself reach that comfort zone — ease of movement with very little effort — you may then want to re-measure your process time. These are personal indicators that the mother of all skills may have just moved you up a notch in your level of performance.

To learn more about training conducted by Steve Tarani, go to Steve’s websites:

HandToGun.com

SteveTarani.com

About the author: Steve Tarani is a former CIA protective services subject matter expert who served on Donald Trump’s pre-election protection detail and is the lead instructor for the NRA’s new Non-ballistic Weapons Training program offered nationally to 2.3 million members. Tarani, an active protective agent, is a Central Intelligence Agency and FLETC-certified federal firearms instructor who also provides services for the US Naval Special Operations Command, FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association, National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), and others.

SKILLS: Dry-Fire Practice With Lasers

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Not everyone agrees on laser sights for handgun defensive use, but Kyle Schmidt thinks it’s a great training tool. READ WHY AND HOW

SOURCE: Team Springfield,  by Kyle Schmidtlaser sightAlthough some people seem to disagree on whether or not a laser on a pistol is a “good” aiming device for self-defense shooting. One thing about them is undeniable: lasers are a great training tool.

Occasionally, when I am training friends, clients, or co-workers how to shoot, I will attach a laser to their gun to help them better understand some basic shooting concepts.

Before using the laser though, I like to make a target that has multiple areas to aim at with some level of contrast so it is easier to identify exactly where the laser is aimed.

LASER TARGET TIME
I make a dry practice target out of 2 USPSA targets. I use USPSA targets because they are different colors on each side. USPSA targets have an upper head with an A and B-zone and a body with A, C, and D-Zones. You will need a razor or a pair of scissors. You will only cut one of the targets, the other will remain intact. For simplification, we will refer to the target that we are cutting as Target 1 and the target which will remain intact as Target 2.

TARGET 1 CUTS:
Cut out the A-zone of the head (upper target zone).
Cut the C-zone out of the target. The body A-zone is included in this cut. Be careful to leave the head attached (don’t cut off the head); You need to razor / cut under the perforations while trimming near the head.

Target 1 should now have two big holes in it; one where the A-zone head was and one where the body C and A-zones were.

Cut the body A-zone out of the C-zone piece you previously removed (Step 2). Keep the body A-zone, but discard the left over C-zone piece.

COMBINE TARGETS:

target 1

Stage Target 2 with the shoot side (tan side) facing up.
Stage Target 1 with the no-shoot side (white side) facing up.
Place what remains of Target 1 on top of Target 2.

This should make a white colored target in the D and B-zones, with the tan colored target in the C and head A-zones. Use small pieces of white tape to tape the top, bottom and sides of the two targets together.

This is your new Laser Target 1.

ALMOST DONE:

target 2

Flip the targets over so Target 2 (white side) is facing up. Place the tan colored side of the body A-zone (that you cut from Target 1, step 4) on top of Target 2 A-zone. If you have trouble lining up the A-zones, you can push a small push pin through the diagonal corners of the A-zone on Target 2. Use the push pin holes to align the corners of the body A-zone.

To finish the dry practice target off, I add a one-inch black square piece of tape to the center of the corresponding scoring zone. I like to measure the center of the C-zone’s height, as the perforated “A” is NOT the center of the A-zone.

This is your new Laser Target 2.

Now you should have one practice target that has 5 distinctly noticeable scoring zones; A-zone body, A-zone head, entire head, C-zone body, and the entire target. Additionally, you have a one-inch black piece of tape on each side of the target.

ATTACH AND ZERO LASER
Before you begin your laser dry practice, attach and zero the laser at the distance you plan to practice. This is critical for some of the drills we are going do with the laser. (Check out sights HERE.)

Here is how I zero the laser for dry practice:

Choose your distance and target.
Point / aim gun at specific spot on target.
Line up the fixed notch and post sights on target.
Adjust the dot (from the laser) so it is 1) centered (left and right) on the front sight and 2) the front sight covers half of the dot (up and down). Only the top half of the dot will be visible.

Because the laser is mounted so far below the fixed sights, the laser will need to be realigned with the sights if you want to try a drill at a different distance.

HOLDING / AIMING LASER DRILL
When I was writing this, I had just returned from Camp Perry where I was learning about shooting the sport of Bullseye. This is the ultimate challenge in fundamental pistol accuracy. It requires execution of some of the most fundamental techniques required for extreme accurate pistol shooting. If you are not familiar, all of the strings of fire are shot with your strong hand only, at 25 yards and 50 yards, on a target with the 10-ring measuring just under 2.5 inches. Bullseye, in short, is a very difficult shooting discipline.

One of the things I noticed as I am trying to shoot the 50-yard line strings is how much my gun is moving (or appears to be moving) compared to the center of the target. This is not only a problem in bullseye shooting, it is just greatly magnified due to the distances.

A shooter must know what their ability to “hold” on a target is, with varying degrees of difficulty. One of the best ways to test this is with a laser, and generally, it is easiest to see the laser in reduced lighting. Try this “holding” drill:
Get your Laser Target 1 — with the C-zone side visible.
Set the target up at the distance of your choice, let’s say 15 yards for this example.

With the laser turned off, use the iron sights to aim in the center of the C-zone. Make note of how stable the gun is while you are aiming in the middle. We are not pressing the trigger yet, only aiming the gun.

Now turn on the laser and shift your focus to the laser’s dot on the target. Make note of how stable the dot is on the target while you are aiming. It’s probably moving around more than you would think or like.

Try to keep the dot inside the C-zone — hopefully this is fairly easy. It should be readily apparent when the dot leaves the C-zone and enters the white background of the D-zone on the dry practice target.

When you can easily do this, flip the target over to use Laser Target 2, and repeat the drill.

First steady the dot in the body’s A-zone.

Once you are able to keep the dot in the A-zone of the body, move up to the head and see if you can “hold” the dot in the head reliably. This may not be as easy as it seems.

Once you have mastered the entire head, move to the head’s A-zone (on Laser Target 1).

Finally, test your hold on the 1-in. black square of tape.

target 3

You can continue to experiment at different distances to see how well you can hold in the different scoring zones.

WHY DOES HOLDING MATTER?
Quite simply, if you can’t “hold” or keep the gun aimed in a particular target zone, it is unlikely that your bullet will impact the desired scoring zone reliably.

You can use this dry practice tip to determine if you are improving your ability to keep the gun steadily aimed in the intended target area.

HERE is a great laser sight!

 

 

Nearly 2,700 Youth Compete at SASP/SCTP Nationals

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The Scholastic Clay Target Program and Scholastic Action Shooting Program National Championships event and results, KEEP READING

SSSF nationals

SOURCE: SSSF 

The Scholastic Clay Target Program and Scholastic Action Shooting Program National Championships were conducted July 14-21 at the Cardinal Shooting Center in Marengo, Ohio. Youth from 26 states participated in the eight day event with 2,692 competitors putting over one million rounds down range.

Highlights of the week-long event included Wednesday evening’s Opening Ceremonies, Thursday’s pizza party, Friday’s ice cream social and college recruiting day plus the filming of a major motion picture about our sport!

Scholastic Clay Target Program competition events included 16 yard trap, handicap trap, trap doubles, skeet, skeet doubles, sporting clays and bunker trap.

SCTP Award Ceremonies for Skeet and Sporting Clays were held on Thursday evening and for Trap, Skeet Doubles and High Over All on Saturday.

SCTP Main Event H.O.A. results:
1st Place — Lake Oconee Shotgun Team (Georgia) — 2,112
2nd Place — Forest City Juniors (Georgia) — 2,106
3rd Place — Central Georgia Elite Shooters (Georgia) — 2,103
4th Place — North Scott Trap Team (Iowa) — 2,102
5th Place — PC Eagles (Iowa) — 2,074

SCTP High School H.O.A. results:
1st Place — North Scott Trap Team (Iowa) 2,865
2nd Place — PC Eagles (Iowa) 2,791
3rd Place — Allen Eagles Competitive Shooting Team (Texas) 2,781
4th Place — Union Grove Broncos Shooting Club (Wisconsin) 2,757
5th Place — Marquette Hilltoppers Trap Team (Wisconsin) 2,744

Complete results for the 2018 SCTP National Championships available HERE

The Scholastic Action Shooting Program events included competition in rimfire pistol, centerfire pistol, rifle optics, rifle iron sights, 1911 and pistol caliber carbine (PCC). Award Ceremonies were held on Saturday evening and for the 5th year in a row the Lake Country Action Shooters of Wisconsin won the Senior Division of Centerfire Pistol!

Centerfire Pistol — Senior Division results:
1st Place — Lake Country Action Shooters 186.36
2nd Place — Central Florida Rifle & Pistol Club 207.66
3rd Place — Arnold Junior shooters Red 230.16

Other notable results for the SASP Rifle Competitions included two athletes, Ethan Inocando and Nate Gibson, who shot sub-30 second match times, which has never been done before at the SASP National Championships.

Optics Rifle Men results:
1st Place — Ethan Inocando (South Texas Shooters) Senior/Varsity, 29.06
2nd Place — Nate Gibson (Steel Shooters of Traer) Intermediate/Advanced, 29.68
3rd Place — Holdon Perez (South Texas Shooters) 30.92

Complete results for the 2018 SASP National Championships available HERE 

The Scholastic Clay Target Program and Scholastic Action Shooting Program introduced a new event at this year’s National Championships — the Top Gun Challenge. Over the years SCTP and SASP watched the steady increase in athletes shooting multiple disciplines in both their programs at nationals. They wanted to find a way to recognize the commitment and stamina these athletes have shown competing in so many events, over the course of the week. CZ-USA, a large sponsor of both SCTP and SASP graciously offered to sponsor the top prize for the winner. CZ-USA donated a Shotgun, a Rifle and a Pistol to SCTP/SASP and awarded all three prizes to the winners.

Top Gun Winners:
Tom Keeshan — North Scott Trap Team (Iowa), Rookie/Intermediate/Varsity Division
Mark Beardsley — Mason Dixon Shooters (Pennsylvania), College Division

View complete Top Gun standings HERE

Side competitions held during the week included Make a Break and Last Competitor Standing.

Make a Break Winner, Todd Hitch of the William Blount Shooting Team, received the Grand Prize, a Blaser F16 Sporting Shotgun donated by Double Guns of Nashville.

The first of two Last Competitor Standing Competitions was held Wednesday evening following the Opening Ceremonies. Over 550 athletes stood shoulder to shoulder and competed for the title of Champion in the Men’s, Ladies and Collegiate Divisions. The second competition was held on Friday night. Winners received custom championship belt buckles and the Men’s and Ladies Division winners won SKB IS300 or Beretta A300 shotguns.

About the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation
The Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation (SSSF) is 501(c)(3) public charity responsible for all aspects of the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) and Scholastic Action Shooting Program (SASP) across the United States. SCTP and SASP are youth development programs in which adult coaches and other volunteers use shooting sports to teach and to demonstrate sportsmanship, responsibility, honesty, ethics, integrity, teamwork, and other positive life skills. SCTP was developed as a program of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) until the SSSF was created in 2007 to operate SCTP. In 2012, SSSF created SASP and became the managing foundation of both programs.

VISIT SSSF

SKILLS: 3 Quick and Compact Drills For Your Sub-Compact Carry Gun

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Do not neglect range time with your small carry gun! Here are some fun and valuable drills to hone your skills. KEEP READING

XD-S Mod.2
XD-S Mod.2

SOURCE:  Team Springfieldby Ivan Gelo

One of the old mantras many of us continue to see and hear is that the sub-compact firearm is, “Carried often, but shot little.”

Let me just go on the record right now stating that I TOTALLY DISGREE with this old adage. Like many of you, my every-day carry (EDC) companion is a sub-compact handgun (the dark-earth framed 9mm Springfield Armory® XD-S® ), and I shoot it on a regular basis.

It seems this adage is often repeated by instructors because, in their experience, many of the subcompacts of the past were difficult to manage and the recoil was harsh. These “cons” resulted in little practice time with the firearm.

With the smaller versions of the Springfield XD® series though, I do not find this to be the case at all. I actually enjoy practice sessions with these small pistols.

SPECIAL CONCEALMENT ASSIGNMENT
Quite often I get requests from friends in the security business requiring assistance with multi-day protection details. A few days prior to receiving the Springfield XD-S® Mod.2® for evaluation, I answered one of these calls. After obtaining some of the specifics related to this executive detail, it was clear that a suit and tie were the “uniform” of the day. Knowing that 1) dress belts are not the best rig when carrying full-sized firearms and 2) blending in and concealment were the high priority, I opted to carry my sub-compact 9mm Springfield Armory® XD-S® as my primary firearm. My Springfield Armory® SAINT® was relegated to the trunk of my transport vehicle as the “back-up” weapon. Good choice, I know…

RANGE TIME REQUIRED
With the protection detail a short week out, I focused my range training specifically to the XD-S® 9mm and the .45 caliber XD-S® Mod.2® that I had not yet shot.

I decided to drill / practice three techniques:

One: Movement while drawing, with a concealment garment.
Two: Multiple round engagements, more than the traditional 2 shots per target
Three: “Failure drills”; multiple rounds to the body, followed up by rounds fired to the head.

ccw draw

DETAILS
ONE: Drawing from Concealment with Movement

Practicing the draw, and specifically drawing from concealment if this is your EDC mode, is a MUST. Incorporating movement during a draw is an additional skill set that should be practiced and perfected. Movement makes you a more difficult-to-track target and is therefore worth the investment.

As with all new shooting skills, If you haven’t previously practiced concealment draws or concealment draws with movement, dry draws are HIGHLY recommended first.

When dry drawing / dry firing, the gun is UNLOADED and condition VERIFIED. NO ammo should be allowed in the practice area. And, find a SAFE backstop (that’s able to stop a potential negligent discharge). Dry practice can also be done at the range if your facility permits.

Back to my drill…

There are several methods of drawing from concealment. Some of the more popular are:

Sweeping the cover garment with your strong hand.
Pulling back on the garment with your support hand.
Pulling up on the garment with your support hand.

I personally prefer the “sweep” method. This approach allows my support hand greater freedom to perform any of the numerous defensive empty hand responses, such as a palm heel strike, shielding technique, or deflection.

The Sweep Draw
Sweeping the concealment or cover garment involves only your holster-side (strong) hand:

The hand starts with an open palm, similar to your normal draw, however, the fingers are spread apart more than normal and the pinky and ring fingers curve in slightly.

Use those two fingers to hook the front of the garment and sweep it to the rear and behind / past the holster and firearm. Some instructors teach that during this process the cover garment is also “flung” back (which might clear the gun and draw better). Try both approaches and see which is best you, your carry rig, and the concealment garment you most often use.

With the holster area clear of the garment, draw the firearm as you have trained.

Appendix note: If you prefer appendix carry, it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to first practice just the draw portion of this with an unloaded gun! Get that down before you live fire and/or add concealment and movement.

ccw training

TWO: Multiple Round Engagement
This drill does not have to be complex. One target is all that’s needed. I most often use cardboard USPSA or IDPA targets, as I like the zone markings.

Start close — 3 yards — just beyond contact distance. Move the targets out 3 yards at a time as your training progresses, and you master each distance.

The goal is to draw and fire 4 rounds in quick succession. Keeping all hits in the “0” zone or top half of the A zone is what I expect.

At this close range, even a shooter with a moderate skill level, should be able to accomplish this with some practice.

Use a shot timer and start with 1 second splits (time between shots). Decrease your split times by .25 seconds when you can repeatedly put all shots in the “center zone” on demand.

Remember, at this close distance perfect sight alignment is not required. The sight index, “flash sight picture,” or whatever term you use, should deliver good hits on target as long as you do your job keeping the gun aligned with minimal grip pressure increase or hand/wrist movement.

When you make it to the .25 second split time speed, you will have to move the trigger FAST. To do this, you will most likely be “banging the trigger,” but that’s okay. Learn to work the gun at this speed in training; especially when the threat is CLOSE.

THREE: “Failure Drill”
If you are justified in using deadly force on another human being and body shots are not stopping the lethal threat, then face or head shots could be one of the best ways to end the confrontation.

Using the previous drills as a base, after firing 4 rounds in the body at 3 yards, move the shot placement to the face or head area and fire 2 more rounds.

Given the limited rounds in the magazines in your carry sub-compact gun, shot placement is even more critical. Work at speed, but have the discipline to hit the center of the head zone area; the A zone on a USPSA target and the “0” zone on the new IDPA target are a good go / no-go standard.

Again, once you have made improvements at 3 yards, move the target distance out 3 more yards.

multiple round drill

DETAIL DRILLS COMPLETED
In my several training sessions through the noted week, I fired over 300 rounds of .230 grain ball and 50 rounds of duty / self defense .230 grain jacketed hollow point .45 ACP ammunition. As I expected, the Springfield XD-S® Mod.2® was enjoyable to shoot and had zero malfunctions!

So, ”Don’t be that guy…” The one who carries regularly but practices irregularly, especially if your EDC is a sub-compact firearm. Practicing with a sub-compact firearm might even assist with your focus on the fundamentals of shooting.

Once practiced up and proficient with your sub-compact pistol, check your local ranges and their match schedules for International Defense Pistol Association (IDPA) matches. The events are set up with defense-minded scenarios and drawing from concealment is required on most stages. Additionally, there has been an increase in the popularity of back-up gun (BUG) matches, directly designed for your carry gun. Either event, IDPA or BUG, is great for confirming your ability to shoot your sub-compact carry gun under a little pressure.

And what could be more perfect? Take advantage of someone else setting up a match, so you can practice your pistol skills, all while enjoying a variety of challenges and courses of fire.

As a matter of fact, I’m one of those “someone elses” (match directors). If you ever visit the Phoenix area, I’d be honored to have you attend one of my events — 2nd Wednesday night of every month at Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club. DETAILS HERE 

See you and your sub-compact carry gun there!

RELOADERS CORNER: Blissful Moderation

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Glen Zediker recollects and reflects on the first advice he ever got on choosing a load: all things in moderation, pressure and velocity included! READ IT ALL

range load
When you just want to load up and go have a go at the range, there’s no need for speed. But! There is a need for enough pressure-power for reliable, clean function. I suggest trying something in the “medium” range for daily use. Your rifle, your barrel, your cases, and your senses will all thank you for reducing the shock by taking “two steps to the left” to find a load. Promise: you will not notice anything at all negative from any lack of “power.”

Glen Zediker

I spend a great amount of space in this department warning, and I hope educating, on the signs, signals, dangers of excessive cartridge pressure. That’s all been and being done because, for the majority, maximizing velocity is an ammo-goal. Hunters, varmint and game, competitive longer-range shooters, usually want the most they can get from bullet flight performance, and also impact strength.

For me, there’s zero doubt that more speed is a better score on a full-length NRA High Power Rifle course. (Side note: it is a fallacy that lighter loads are more accurate. They’re not, or not because they’re lighter. Some of the best perforations I’ve seen are with maxed loads.)

But! I shoot a toned-down load for reduced-distance courses (as well as for the 200-yard events on full-length), and my general-purpose clods-and-cans load is a lower-stress recipe.

I mentioned last time that I had recently fired a good deal of current NATO-spec ammo and was, I guess “impressed” is the right word, with its power level. The stuff I make up for afternoon fun-runs is a good deal less stressed.

I’m not at all recommending a “light” load. Just let’s call it a solid “medium.” Looking over my notes for the past umpteen years, going through my last most current load-data notebook, I saw what was to me an interesting happenstance. I tended to be pretty much right at one-and-one-half grain less than maximum (and about two grains with .308-class rounds).

dirty case
Signs of a load that’s too “light” include, clearly, one that won’t cycle the action reliably on a semi-auto. Another couple, for any action type, include an unusually dirty chamber and sooted-up cartridge case necks and shoulders. A little lighter still and you might see a primer that’s backed out a tad. Those all result from the case not expanding fully to seal the chamber forward and stretch to comply closer to chamber dimensions end to end. A little reduction won’t normally show any of this, and, tip: go a tad toward the faster end of suitable burning rate for general use.

Thats not a light load! It’s “three halves,” three one-half grain drops. That half-grain, and some might recollect my mentioning this a few times in the past, is my always-recommended “come-off” step for any pressure sign (not a tenth or two, but a “full” half grain). Any other over-pressure indicator from that point then signals need to come off another “full” half-grain. So I pretty much come off those two halves from the get go, add another, and, guess what? Never nary a pressure concern.

Slightly faster-burning propellants, in my experience, lend themselves better to the “medium” power level reduction in terms of maintaining accuracy. As always, “faster” and “slower” are values within a small range of propellant rates suitable for a particular cartridge and bullet. And, in following this plan, when needed bump it up to full speed with predicatable results.

For .223 Rem.-class cartridges, a half-grain is worth ballpark 40-50 feet per second, again depending on propellant.

The advantages of a “medium” load are predictable, but here’s my list: plain old easier on the gun, and on the barrel, and on the self. Again (and again) I’m not talking abut a “light” load, just one that’s maybe 95-percent, a solid 150-200 feet per second less than published maximum. Case stress will be reduced, and that’s associated with length trimming frequency and overall “life” before primer pocket enlargement and general stretch-thinning, cracking symptoms retire the brass.

Back to my “story,” which was the interesting happenstance (all this was all brought back to me by the initial outing with my new old AR15 I talked about last edition, and my 16-year-old son asking me if I could teach him how to reload because we ran out of ammo so quickly…): So. When I first learned to reload I was 15. This event coincided with my first AR15 rifle, which was purchased new at a Skaggs drugstore. Right. My mother did not eagerly agree to sponsor a reloading setup, but, being a wise-enough woman, did interpret the math the same way I did: I could shoot a lot more for a lot less if I was doing my own. So, I had a friend, Gary. Most fortunate man to know. Gary, and I see this more clearly each year that passes, knew more about guns and shooting than any 10 people I have since encountered.

We went to Bald Bob’s Sporting Goods in Rifle, Colorado. He chose an RCBS kit for me, a piece at a time. Bob sold RCBS only. Press, dies, scale, meter, case lube, doo-dads, and, of course some propellant and brass and bullets and primers. And a Sierra Bullets loading book. So, back home, and a short time later, there I sat before my new array of green pride-and-joys. After stern lectures about things I was never supposed to do, and at least an equal number of things I was always supposed to do, we got this show flowing downriver.

Gary had chosen IMR 4198 for me for a propellant. He said it was clean-burning and economical. Didn’t take much of it. I had some Speer 55-grain full-metal-jacket bullets, some Remington cases to go along with the empties I had saved in a paper bag, and some CCI primers. Now. We looked at the loading tables in the Sierra Manual, and he had me find my cartridge and bullet. (He already knew exactly where we were going, so this was for my benefit.) He pointed out the “maximum” load and the “starting” load, one on the far right and the other on the origin point of the table on the left. He then counted back two places from the far right: 20.5gr. He said, “There. That’s the one. It’s not going to give you any troubles, and it’s adequate for function.”

“That was easy,” I thought.

I have since learned that advice was too good not to share.

If you’re looking for a good load, and you know the propellant is wisely-chosen, going two steps down from the manual-listed maximum should, indeed, be a great place to start, or to stay if you are sans chronograph. Time after time, I have noticed over the many, many years I have now been doing all this, that the “two steps back from max” procedure is safe, sane, and satisfying.

reduced load list
Here’s a page (“the page”) from my now-ancient Sierra manual. Not all manuals agree (not nearly) on max loads, and not all are done in multiple increments, but the essential advice is reducing the max load by two steps, or about one-and-one-half grains of propellant in this case (reduction amounts vary, certainly, based on the cartridge). It’s wise advice from a wise man, and I’m talking about Buddy Gary. I just pass it along because it sho works for me!

I shot about a gozillion rounds of 20.5 grains of 4198 through that SP1. Since it was not a max load, I could also change the bullets without worry, going from one brand to the next at the same weight, of course. I could change cases and even primers. It was a tenth shy of one-and-one-half grains under maximum. I don’t recollect ever grouping that rifle on a paper target. I zeroed it based on preference and I also don’t recollect ever missing anything I aimed at by more than a little bit, and never twice.

This article is adapted from Glen’s books, Handloading For Competition and Top-Grade Ammo, available at Midsouth HERE. For more information about other books by Glen, visit ZedikerPublishing.com

SKILLS: Counter Sight Fixation

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Watching the front sight is important to accuracy, but there’s more out there to pay attention to! READ MORE

rob leatham rob pincus

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Rob Leatham and Rob Pincus

It’s amazing what “over thinking” can do to your accuracy. Whether you’re in competition or self-defense mode, speed and accuracy are a key part of your shooting acumen. So why do we let fixating on the front sight deter both of those elements?

DON’T FIXATE — JUST AIM
One of the biggest myths about shooting is that we only need to see the sights when firing the gun — the front sight in particular. If it’s bullseye accuracy you are after and the speed of the shot is of little to no concern, knock yourself out. Take aim, put your finger on the trigger and then idle for several seconds, double and triple-checking your sights before firing.

If it’s close and fast, though, and time means winning or dying, you will need another tool.

The truth is when the goal is speed, you will go slower if you “over-aim.” This is because fixating on the front sight can hinder your ability to pull the trigger.

You should be able to get the accuracy you need with an increased level of speed by not requiring that crystal clear front sight.

Here’s why: Often while going for that perfect sight picture, an internal mental battle occurs. Going for “perfection” instead of accepting “good enough,” increases the likelihood of mistakes. Flinching (pulling the gun out of alignment) increases due to the hesitation of pulling the trigger. This of course leads to poor accuracy and it’s slow.

Keep it simple and speedy.

Point the gun at the target, aim, move to the trigger and fire. This should all occur very quickly. Not always one smooth motion, but still done fast. Faster than you can read this sentence.

There are so many old sayings like “slow is fast” or “smooth is fast,” and so on, but just remember this: Fast is fast and accurate is accurate. Sometimes fast is violent and not perfectly clear visually.

Too slow — just like too fast — is bad. Remove any hesitation once the decision to fire has occurred. Only an obstruction of the target or a late decision to abort the shot should stop the process.

If you’re a competition or defensive shooter who wants to maintain a fast pace, don’t bother trying to maintain a perfect, clear sight picture for every shot. It’s not going to happen.

WATCH THE VIDEO

SKILLS: Concealed Carry on the Go

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Dealing with a concealed weapon when you’re out on the road and away from home raises a few questions, here are a few answers! READ MORE

Console storage vault
Console storage vault.

Jason Hanson

LOCATION: Parking lot. Tucson, Arizona
TIME: 8:40 p.m.

An unsuspecting woman had just gotten in her vehicle when a man with a hatchet appeared and demanded her car keys.

The woman retrieved a handgun from her car and told the man to leave, but he ignored her commands. As he raised his hatchet to strike the woman, she shot him. She held the suspect at gunpoint until police arrived to secure the scene and render medical aid.

According to police, the woman stayed on scene and complied with all police requests. The suspect was treated at a local hospital and is expected to survive his injuries. Currently, charges are pending against the man even though he was shot, because the woman shot him in self-defense.

The fact is this woman quite literally saved her life by having an accessible firearm in her car.

Have Permit, Will Travel
With summer here, lots of people will be hitting the roads to visit unfamiliar locales far and wide. So today, I want to share with you some tips for storing firearms in your vehicle.

Just because you are going out of town (or even driving to the store) and can’t carry your gun, you do have options for leaving it in your vehicle. Obviously, I’m a big believer that your gun should always be on your person, but I realize that there are places you may not legally be able to take your firearm — or maybe you don’t want to.

Now, I recommend storing a gun differently based on whether you are in the vehicle or plan on leaving it in the vehicle.

What I mean is if you are in the car traveling, you still want to be able to quickly access your gun in case you need it. However, if you are going into a courthouse for a few hours (for example), you should make sure your gun is secured and out of sight.

Read on for specific recommendations…

You Can Take It With You
There are a number of different holsters on the market designed for use in cars to give quick access to your firearm while you are in your vehicle.

CrossBreed makes a modular holster backed with Velcro so you can conveniently mount it almost anywhere in your car. These types of holsters are a good idea if you spend a lot of time in your car and don’t want to keep your gun on your person.

CrossBreed holster
CrossBreed holsters can have variable use options, including a car mount.

In addition to mounted holsters, you can also find holsters that attach underneath your steering wheel, allowing you to draw quickly while seated. These holsters clip to the piece of plastic that surrounds the steering column.

Another popular alternative is seat drapes. These hang down in front of your seat with a pocket holster to secure your firearm. The nice thing about this option is that seat drapes are easy to remove when not in use.

These are all great options for storing your firearm when you are in the car, but they are not ways I recommend storing your gun when you aren’t there. The fact is these methods usually leave the gun visible, which is the last thing you want to do when you are gone.

Seat drape
Seat drape.

Leave It Behind
On the other hand, let’s say you always carry your firearm but work in a secure building where you can’t have it with you. You need to store it in your car in a manner that will keep it secure, hidden and out of the hands of criminals.

One of the most common places people keep guns in their cars is the glove box. But if someone breaks into your car, this is the first place they’d look. Although if you keep it locked, they might not waste their time trying to get in.

Another option is the center console, which you should also keep locked if you decide to use it. In fact, several companies make locking inserts you can put in the center console to secure your firearm.

Some of those companies are Tuffy, Console Vault, and Guardian. These locking consoles are among the best options for keeping a firearm secure in your vehicle when you are gone.

Another option is to store your gun under the front seat. Some of the same companies I mentioned above also make lock boxes that can slide under the front seat.

Or you could simply buy a small firearms lockbox and secure it to the seat with the cable it comes with. This would prevent a criminal from stealing your firearm even if they did find the safe.

Typically, you are more vulnerable to criminal threats when you’re in your vehicle. It’s critical that you are prepared to defend yourself.

So whether you are taking your family on a road trip or just leaving your gun in your car to go grocery shopping, make sure that your firearm is stored safely and securely.

Jason Hanson is a former CIA Officer and New York Times bestselling author of Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life. To get a free copy of his book, visit www.SpyEscape.com.

SKILLS: 6 Tips To Getting A Better Grip On Your Gun

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One of the most poorly understood elements of handgun control is how to grip your pistol. 24-time National Champion Rob Leatham knows a thing or two! READ MORE

rob leatham

SOURCE: Team Springfield, by Rob Leatham

A lot of people struggle to properly position the gun in their hand. There are varying opinions on how much effort, or gripping pressure to use and how to maintain that pressure.

I’m going to outline how to improve your grip and control over a firearm.

1. GET A FIRM GRIP
Most shooters are told to relax and not grip the pistol tightly. This is ok if all you will ever fire is a .22, but even that gun is going to kick. You need to hold firmly.

A new shooter or beginner may have better things on which to concentrate, but even they need have a strong enough grasp to completely control their gun. If you’re an experienced shooter, you can just go ahead and ignore the “relax” part all together.

2. LOCK YOUR WRIST
Many shooters have too much movement in their wrist. This leads to problems returning the gun to alignment and can cause you to move the gun out of alignment prematurely when trying to shoot fast.

Try to immobilize your wrist joint. Being too loose can, in extreme cases even cause weapon malfunctions. When trying to gain speed, the old adage “do not jerk the trigger” should be replaced with “do not move your wrist.”

Keep everything solid as if the gun was mounted in a vise.

3. POSITION THE GUN IN YOUR HAND SO YOU CAN REACH THE TRIGGER
The angle the gun sits in relation to your arm is not that important. Being able to place your finger properly on the trigger is.

Don’t try to align the barrel of the pistol with your arm. For me to reach most triggers, because of my short fingers, the gun actually points a little to the right or outside of the line of my forearm.

4. TWO HANDS ARE BETTER THAN ONE
If you can get both hands on the gun, do it!

The whole point of a two-handed shooting stance is to create a triangle between your shoulders and the gun. Doing so allows the force of the gun to be transmitted through your torso, making recoil much easier to control.

5. KEEP THE PRESSURE ON
Do not vary the amount of pressure you exert on the gun when pulling the trigger. This will cause a shift in the gun’s alignment and start a whole avalanche of problems.

Keep it solid and consistent.

6. PRACTICE HOLDING ON TIGHT
Gripping properly will not just happen. I have to address this issue with many experienced, top-notch shooters. Most think it will just come with practice, but it doesn’t unless you think about it. One area that dry fire can really help is maintaining a tight grip while pulling the trigger.

It’s easy to pick up bad habits from dry firing with no live fire to support the techniques being learned. If you never have to deal with effects of the gun firing, muzzle flip and recoil, you will never learn how to control them.

In my three decades of training every level of shooter, I have seen only a handful that held on too tightly. On the flip side, I’ve seen hundreds that hold on too loosely.

Learn the hand postions and make yourself do them correctly. Remember, you will do whatever you teach yourself to do. Once you memorize a technique, good or bad, that is what is likely to occur when you shoot under pressure.

Make sure you are doing it correctly.

SKILLS: Take The Curve

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Stay ahead of action-reaction power curve! Steve Tarani lays out a 3-step formula for a personal protection plan. Pay attention! READ IT ALL

steve tarani

SOURCE: Team Springfield, written by Steve Tarani

When it comes to personal protection against an active threat, having a defensive action plan is not a luxury but a necessity. The advantage of such a plan is:

You’re not waiting around to be caught in the middle of an attack.
You are not forced to come up with a solution on the fly.
You have a widened scope of awareness prior to an attack.

Your intent should always be to predict or prevent your involvement in any violent physical threat. However, if you have no choice but to engage a threat, you must consider your response options based on realistic expectations.

REACT FACT
Most people, without ever having attended any formal training, think, “Well, I’ll just shoot him.”

The fact is, should you even consider going to guns (to “shoot yourself out of a bad situation”) in self-defense, means that you’ve been pushed back on your heels reacting to that situation.

Being reactive means you’re already behind the action-reaction power curve and are forced to take immediate physical action to regain the initiative.

WHO TAKES CONTROL WINS
The bad guy(s) will always hold the initiative at the onset of an active threat. They are the ones who decide, when, where, and how the attack will go down. They also determine what weapons will be used, and who will be their victims. Because the bad guys set these battle parameters, they have complete control of the action-reaction power curve.

When challenged with an active threat, your objective is to take back that curve. To do this, you need to accomplish only one task — make them react to you. There is a very simple three-step formula you can follow to take the curve:

Bad guy has control
Good guy makes bad guy react
Good guy takes control

SIMPLE BUT NOT EASY
Although a simple objective, it is not an easy one. You’re starting at a tactical disadvantage. Engaging a threat reactively means that you didn’t see it, hear it, or smell it coming and have been taken off-guard. You’re starting at the bottom of the hill and you must scramble to the top to take control as quickly as possible.

What are some vetted climbing tools you can use to take the curve?

IDENTIFY THE SOURCE
First and foremost is to acquire a clear picture of exactly what’s going on around you. Snap your attention from wherever it was (perhaps buried deeply into your text messages?), to your immediate environment. Instantly scan your surroundings using visual and audio sensory input for threat indicators — such as gunfire, explosions, screeching tires, etc. — and determine the source of the threat. Once you’ve identified the source, your very best tactical option is to create space — distance from any threat is always your friend.

DON’T BE AN EASY TARGET
One of the most effective methods to help you take the curve is to make yourself a more difficult target. If you can’t change your distance, you can certainly change your physical position relative to your threat — such as movement behind cover or to higher ground. To change your distance or position and to make yourself a more difficult target, stay mobile. A moving target is always more difficult to hit than a stationary target.

FORCE A REACTION
Becoming a more difficult target by changing your physical position and staying mobile forces your opponent(s) to react. Your actions have pressed them to ask two critical questions: “1 — Is this difficult target really worth it?” and “2 — Are there softer targets?” It may very well be the case that you ARE NOT worth their continued efforts. If so, they will hunt for lower hanging fruit (softer targets).

Bottom line is that by your decisive actions, you’ve changed the game. You’ve caused them to react. The split second you cause them to react is that exact moment in time that you take control of the action-reaction power curve. And that’s always the best place to be.

To learn more about training conducted by Steve Tarani, go to Steve’s websites:

www.handtogun.com

www.stevetarani.com

About the Author: Steve Tarani, is a former CIA protective services subject matter expert who served on Donald Trump’s pre-election protection detail and is the lead instructor for the NRA’s new Non-ballistic Weapons Training program offered nationally to 2.3 million members. Tarani, an active protective agent, is a Central Intelligence Agency and FLETC-certified federal firearms instructor who also provides services for the US Naval Special Operations Command, FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association, National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), and others.