Category Archives: Shooting Skills

SKILLS: COVER — A MISSING TRAINING ELEMENT

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When it comes to correct and comprehensive defensive training, nothing, no matter how simple it seems, can be taken for granted. This is a very good example. READ MORE

using cover

SOURCE: Springfield-Armory Armory Life, by Travis Pike

You would think something like using cover would be easy, and self-explanatory. Just get behind it and avoid getting shot — simple, right? Well, yes, but let’s look at the process of using cover and talk about how to use cover to its maximum potential.

Cover vs. Concealment
Concealment is a barrier that prevents an enemy from seeing you. Cover is a barrier that prevents an enemy from shooting you. Concealment is more common and bullets will often zip right through it. While your average car is mostly concealment, the engine area makes good cover. Things like walls, doors, and furniture are rarely suitable as cover. You need thick wood like a powerline pole, a concrete column, or something made of thick, layered metal.

If you are wondering how to find cover start looking now. Make it an exercise to find and identify effective cover when you are out and about in your normal everyday life. You’ll learn how to identify cover and you’ll be ready in case something pops off.

Step 1: Establish Proper Standoff
Standoff is the distance between you and the barrier you are using for cover. The rule of thumb is roughly two arm’s lengths from cover. There are a few reasons for this. First, the extra distance from the cover allows you to essentially pie the cover, and this keeps the maximum amount of cover between you and your target.

using cover
Establlish proper standoff. Not too close!

If you stick too close to your target you won’t maximize coverage. You could also run into issues with an opponent’s rounds striking the cover and causing splatter from their bullets as well as the cover itself. Catching some of that splatter can result in an easily preventable injury. Additionally, if you are too close and start firing you could send debris and dirt up in the air that can distract and potentially blind you.

Having the proper standoff from your target will also allow you to maintain better situational awareness and to have better peripheral vision. You’ll also have more room to reload and fix potential malfunctions. Using cover to rest your weapon is not advised and works better in three gun competition than a gunfight. Unless your weapon is belt felt you might want to keep it from resting on cover.

In a situation where an opponent is above you, it’s advised to get closer to your cover. This allows you to present less of a target to your opponent.

Step 2: Maximize Your Cover
Cover saves lives, so make use of it. When engaging your opponent expose as little of your body as necessary. You should lean out from the waist, and only lean out far enough from cover to put your front sight on your target. Hide whatever you can possibly hide when trying to take your shot.

using cover
Good use of cover.
using cover
Coming too far out from cover.

If possible, lean out and shoot from around your cover. Shooting over your cover exposes more of your head and makes you a bigger target.

Step 3: Be Unpredictable
Predictability and complacency go hand in hand with each other. If you are dipping behind cover, try to present yourself from a different angle the next time you break cover. Being predictable allows your opponent to simply wait and play whack the gunfighter. Break cover from a lower position, or from a higher position, or from the complete opposite side.

Step 4: Account for Sight Offset
Look at your gun. How high are the sights above the bore? With a handgun it’s just a little above, while with an AR, it’s quite a bit. Regardless, you have to account for your sights being taller than your bore. Ensure your barrel is clearing cover before you fire. This was something we ran into with new Marines quite a bit when teaching the basics of battleground micro cover. Many would be striking something nearly directly in front of them because their ACOG was higher than the barrel.

using cover
This can create splatter, potentially poking your own eye out in a gunfight.

Staying Covered
This is the basics of using cover and from here the next step is getting out and practicing the basics. Your cell phone and its front-facing camera is an excellent tool you can use to see if you are using cover effectively. You can see yourself and obtain real-time feedback. As you utilize that feedback and continue training, you’ll find yourself becoming more comfortable and using cover to its maximum effect.

See the complete article here, plus VIDEO

Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

TRAVIS PIKE is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms based hobbies.

 

SKILLS: Recommendations, Rules, and Essential Skills For All New Shooters, Part 2

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Team Springfield Armory’s Kippi Leatham shares her firearms education experiences. There’s a lot here to learn from! KEEP READING

kippi leatham

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Kippi Leatham

[This is part two of an article started on last edition. Last time talked about the importance of technical and safety education. See it HERE.]

STUDY TECHNIQUE
Being taught the right techniques from the get-go can make learning to shoot so much more enjoyable. Good technique also increases the likelihood that you will progress more quickly. Once you develop bad habits, they can be difficult to break, leading to poor results and possibly frustration.

FIND YOUR NATURAL SHOOTING STANCE
There are many opinions on stance, and what works for one may not feel right for you. What’s most important when you begin learning to shoot is that your balance is forward and you don’t lean back (or get pushed back) as you are firing the gun.

My natural (right-handed) shooting stance is:

Standing with my feet hip-width apart
Left foot positioned slightly forward
Knees slightly bent
Relaxed shoulders, forward of my hip bones
Both arms extended fully toward the target
Wrists firmly locked

GET A GRIP
I cannot stress the importance of a good grip enough. As you’ve heard from me before, I always grip a gun the same way, whether I’m picking it up out of the safe, drawing from my holster or shopping for a new addition to my family of firearms. I am always reinforcing my good shooting grip. If you are not properly gripping the gun, you cannot control the shot or recoil as well as you can with a perfect grip.

For more detailed info on how to achieve the perfect grip, check out our blog Mastering Grip: 5 Ways You’re Holding Your Gun Wrong.

And one more gripping tidbit for you newbies – train yourself to hold onto the gun more tightly with your support hand, as it is the hand that will likely move out of position or loosen as you shoot.

EYE DOMINANCE
Do you know if you are right-eye-dominant or left-eye-dominant? This matters, especially when shooting a pistol with iron sights. You most likely will have to close one eye to see a proper sight picture on the target. Knowing your eye dominance will help you determine which eye to close (your non-dominant eye), if needed.

Note that if you are cross-eye-dominant (i.e., right-handed but left-eye-dominant), you may need to make a slight adjustment when aligning the gun, as it will naturally point under your right eye.

SIGHT ALIGNMENT
You know where your front and rear sights are on the slide, but do you understand how to properly align them? Here is where a picture is worth a thousand words…

sight alignment

When learning to align your sights, this is what you should see:

Front sight centered in the rear sight notch with equal space on each side of the front sight
Top of the front sight level with the top of the rear sight

SIGHT PICTURE AND TRIGGER PRESS
Now, all you have to do is place that perfect alignment of sights on the target where you would like the bullet to impact (that combination is what I refer to as the “sight picture”) and press the trigger without moving the gun/sights out of position. Simple as that, right?

Actually, this is one of the more challenging parts about shooting and the technique that you will probably spend the most time on once you’ve got a good, basic foundation.

 

Recommendations, Rules, and Essential Skills For All New Shooters, Part 1

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Team Springfield Armory’s Kippi Leatham shares her firearms education experiences. There’s a lot here to learn! KEEP READING

kippi leatham

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Kippi Leatham

I wasn’t introduced to firearms until I was 23 years young. But even as a new shooter, I always viewed my pistol as another tool in my toolbox of life skills. It’s a piece of equipment, like my 9 iron, that I want to have the utmost ability and confidence with when it comes to taking that shot, whether onto the green of the first hole or to knock down that 25-yard steel pepper popper during an IPSC World Championship.

Learning to shoot pistols and getting into competitions completely changed my life for the better.

Dedicating an enormous number of my adult years trying to master proper shooting techniques in combination with speed and accuracy has been a challenge and a thrill with highs, some lows and wonderful opportunities for travel and life-long friendships. And, as another bonus, I’ve also learned a skill that could one day save my life, Heaven forbid the need ever arises.

Making the decision to enter the world of firearm ownership and learning how to shoot, whether as a hobby, for hunting or home or self-defense, should not be taken lightly, as it comes with huge responsibility and a commitment requirement. To quote the great Jeff Cooper, “Owning a handgun doesn’t make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician.”

As with any new hobby, craft or martial art, there are rules and essential skills every new shooter must learn. Let’s start with the most important aspect – safety.

SAFETY FIRST
Learn the universal firearm safety rules. And make a commitment to follow them from this day forward:

Treat all firearms as if loaded.

Keep the gun pointed in a safe direction — never point the muzzle at anything you don’t intend to destroy.

Keep your finger off of the trigger and out of the trigger guard until pointed at the target and you have made the decision to shoot.

Know your target, what’s beyond your target and what is in the line of sight.

Always securely store your firearms, keeping them inaccessible to children and other unauthorized users.

GET PROFESSIONAL HELP
I have worked with hundreds upon hundreds of new shooters over the past decade and have witnessed first-hand the challenges that newbies face. Which is why I highly recommend that first-time shooters take a class from a competent fellow shooter or professional firearms instructor as their first step.

There is so much to learn and a lot to actively think about, and the process can be downright overwhelming. So get a recommendation for a good instructor or Google “pistol classes” or “firearms instruction” to get your journey started. (Just try to avoid those Groupon deals with the picture of the woman with the low-cut shirt and improper grip.)

LEGAL UP
The legalities that accompany owning a firearm are complex, are constantly changing and vary by state. As a firearm owner, it is your responsibility to know the laws regarding purchasing, selling, possession, usage, licensing, carrying, self-defense, etc., that are in effect federally, locally (where you reside) and where you travel with your firearm.

A few good resources include:

NRA Gun Laws Map
NRA’s Citizen’s Guide to Federal Firearms Laws
Handgun Laws Website

MASTER THE LINGO
Before you attend your first class, take time to understand the terminology as it relates to your pistol and peripherals. Learning to shoot is a process, and part of the process is learning the nomenclature. You can reference your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website if you’re not already familiar with the proper terminology.

OPERATION
It’s also extremely important to understand how your semi-automatic pistol operates:

How to properly load and safe/decock it (if applicable)

How to properly unload it and check that it is empty

Next time, experiences and wisdom about getting to the shooting itself.

 

Scoop: New Hornady A-Tip MATCH Bullets! Part 1

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Witness the creation of the ultimate low-drag, high performance match bullet!

Hornady A-Tip Bullets Now At Midsouth Shooters!

After weeks of teasers, we’re finally able to talk about the new projectile from the folks at Hornady. We actually got to visit Grand Island, Nebraska to tour the facility, and get a first-hand look at the new milled aluminum tipped bullets. This thing is beautiful!

“New to Midsouth Shooters and Hornady, the A-Tip MATCH bullets are the latest and greatest from the Hornady Ballistic Development Group! After years of research, testing, and a new advanced manufacturing process with state-of-the-art quality control measures, Hornady has created an all new Aluminum Tipped projectile. This precision machined tip is longer than polymer tips which moves the center of gravity, thus enhancing inflight stability. The aeroballistically advanced tip design results in tighter groups, and reduced drag variability.”

By using some of the most sophisticated tools in projectile development, Hornady created a bullet with a milled tip, 99% repeatable, and a Doppler Radar verified low-drag coefficient (super-high Ballistic Coefficient) with a winning blend of ogive, tip length, bearing surface, and optimized boat-tail within each caliber.

“We wanted to incorporate aluminum tips in a full line of match bullets for years because we can make longer tips than we can with polymer materials,” said Joe Thielen, Assistant Director of Engineering. “This longer tip is a key component that helps move the center of gravity of the bullet rearward, thus enhancing in-flight stability and reducing dispersion. The problem has always been the cost to produce a tip like this, but we’ve developed a cost-effective process for manufacturing these aluminum tips while staying affordable for serious match shooters. The longer aluminum tips are machined to be caliber-specific, and when coupled with highly refined AMP® bullet jackets, aggressive profiles and optimized boattails, the result is enhanced drag efficiency (high BC) across the board. Each bullet design is carefully crafted for minimal drag variability for the utmost in shot-to-shot consistent downrange accuracy.The materials, design and manufacturing techniques combine for the most consistent and accurate match bullets available.”

– Hornady

Right off the press, the projectiles are sequentially packed, for ultimate consistent performance, from lot to lot, ensuring your projectiles are truly YOURS every step of the way. Think of it like shooting clones of your load every time (100 in each box)! Minimal handling throughout the process means there’s less of a chance of YOUR bullet being marred, scuffed, or altered, which is why each box is packaged with a Polishing Bag for you to give the final buff to your beautiful new projectiles!

Hornady A-Tip MATCH Bullets:

6MM 110gr Hornady A-Tip6.5MM 135gr Hornady A-Tip 6.5MM 153gr Hornady A-Tip  30CAL 230gr Hornady A-Tip 30CAL 250gr Hornady A-Tip

Part 2 is forthcoming, with more in-depth analysis from Hornady’s lead technicians. Get ready for graphs, charts, and more! To read the press release, CLICK HERE!

SKILLS: Priority One With A New Concealed Carry Gun

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New gun? Here are some pro tips on getting it ready to go right off the bat. READ MORE

priority one article

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Kyle Schmidt

Recently I had the chance to field test the new Springfield Armory 9mm XD-S Mod.2. I was pretty excited when I received the gun, as my 9mm XD-S is already my go-to concealment gun. After checking out some of the cool new features, like the extended grip safety, the improved grip profile and the Pro-Glo Tritium sights, I immediately took the gun to the range.

PRIORITY ONE
Whenever I get a new gun, my top priority is to get the gun zeroed and shoot some groups with different ammunition:

First and foremost, I need to make sure the gun is zeroed with my primary ammunition.

Second, I like to see how the gun shoots with my practice ammo.

Call me weird, but I like shooting groups; it gives me a chance to practice some fundamental marksmanship skills while I am testing other important criteria. And shooting groups / zeroing a firearm is a skill; one that I find challenging, rewarding and beneficial.

Since this is a gun I would plan to carry concealed while off-duty, I needed to zero the gun using some self-defense type ammo. In this case it is old duty ammo, as that is what I would be required to carry in an off-duty gun.

kyle schmidt

SIGHT-IN SESSION
When I am testing ammo, or zeroing the gun, I always try to get the gun as stable as possible. How I do this may change depending on the gun and the range configuration.

TABLE & CHAIR:
If I have a chair and a high table available, I will shoot off the table while seated in the chair. This allows me to relax into a comfortable position, while stabilizing the gun on the table.

PRONE POSITION:
Most of the time, I just shoot from the prone position because I consider it the most stable. If I am shooting a full-sized gun, I will rest the frame (magazine base pad) on the ground to help stabilize the gun. In this case though, the frame of the gun is so compact that I can’t comfortably get the frame on the ground from the prone position. So, while I was prone, I used a sandbag to both elevate the gun and stabilize my hands while shooting.

TARGET CHOICE:
I prefer to use a USPSA target at 25 yards to shoot my groups. “A” zone hits at 25 yards with a sub-compact gun like the XD-S Mod.2 9mm is a reasonable test of accuracy.

Before shooting the groups, I attach a 4-in. black circle in the middle of the target to give me a consistent aiming point.

DEFENSE AMMO:

kyle schmidt
Kyle Defense Ammo Group

I shot a group of 6 shots with the self-defense ammo first, just to see what zero adjustments I might need to make. The zero was perfect! The group I shot was about 2-in. and all in the black circle. That is far better than what my expectations are for a concealment gun, especially right out of the box.

PRACTICE AMMO:

kyle schmidt target
Kyle 115 Practice Ammo Group

I then shot a group of 6 with some cheap 9mm 115-grain FMJ ammo that I bought online. This ammo had virtually the same impact location as my self defense ammo, although the group wasn’t quite as tight, but it was definitely still acceptable.

MATCH AMMO:

kyle schmidt group
Kyle 147 Grain Ammo Group

Lastly, I shot 6 extremely soft-kicking 147-grain ammo that I would typically use for fast-paced competition matches. I know from experience that this ammo doesn’t typically group as well. It is designed to have a softer feeling recoil, but since I had some in my truck, I wanted to try it out. As expected, the 147s did not group as well as the self-defense ammo, but it felt really soft, and the gun functioned perfectly. All but one of the shots were in the “A” zone.

REPETITION & RESULTS:
After repeating the grouping session with all 3 types of ammo a couple more times, I now know that the gun shoots both the self defense ammo and the less-expensive practice 115-grain ball ammo extremely well and with the same zero. This is important to me because it allows me to do most of my practice with the cheaper stuff and save the expensive ammo for when I carry.

I encourage you to take the time to check your zero with your carry ammo. As responsible, safe gun owners, we need to be 100% certain the ammunition we are using impacts the target where we expect it to. You may not be able to shoot really tight groups at 25 yards initially, but keep working on the fundamentals for accuracy and you should see your group size shrink. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn something about your ammunition and gun, while practicing fundamental skill building.

And you may even grow to enjoy it.

 

SKILLS: Your Best Defense

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Personal defense is not all or only about having a handgun! Steve Tarani discusses developing your own broad-spectrum skill set. Important! READ MORE

steve tarani

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Steve Tarani

As a professional instructor and keynote speaker throughout the public and private sectors, my courses range from awareness-based training (preventative measures) to empty hand defense, to non-ballistic weapons defense (edged, impact, flexible), to defensive firearms.

At the very end of each course delivery, time is allotted for participant’s questions. In a year’s time I deliver training to about 1,500 attendees. Over the past 30 years (yup, do the math), that’s lots of folks asking me the very same question that plagues any defense-minded individual seeking viable solutions to tactical problems.

THE QUESTION IS: WHAT’S MY BEST DEFENSE?
At the risk of sounding pedantic, personal defense is, well, personal. To provide an appropriate answer to such a broad-spectrum question, one must consider that each of us have certain physical and mental attributes that make us better at one thing or another than the person standing behind us in line at the store. Given this consideration, there are three things you can do to build your very best personal defense against a real-world active threat:

Be Prepared
Be Aware
Be Trained
BE PREPARED

Success favors the prepared. Referencing personal defense against an active threat, it’s my conviction that there are only two types of people walking the earth today, the prepared and the unprepared.

What does it mean to be prepared? It means to take responsibility for your own personal security and that of those you protect. During a violent physical threat, you don’t have the time to wait for the cavalry to ride over the hill. You need to handle it, and now. AKA mindset, you must decide that you’re going to take defensive action before an event occurs or you will be left far behind the action-reaction power curve when it does.

You must accept the fact the bad things can and do happen to good people. It can happen not at some far-off imaginary date, but the split second you step out of your car, walk into a shopping mall or step into a restaurant.

You must have the will to do whatever it takes to get yourself and your protectee off that fateful “X” and to safety. If you do not have the will to take action against another human being, then when the time comes, you most certainly will not take action. If you do not have this will, then you can forget about any personal defense as you will not be able to act.

Lastly, there is a stark difference between preparedness and paranoia. If you’re paranoid — you are looking around every corner, behind every tree and under every table for some imagined threat — it’s hard to live like that.

Being prepared is simply adopting the mindset that it’s your responsibility. Having the will to take defensive action, and knowing that bad things can happen and that they could happen at any time gives you the advantage. If you’re waiting at a red light and the light turns green and you look left and then right before moving, is that being paranoid or prepared?

BE AWARE
Being aware of your immediate environment solves more potential problems than you can imagine. Situational awareness can defuse a situation before it even starts. Using input from your senses, can make you aware of fire (if you smell something burning), screeching tires, gunshots, etc., which provide you with the earliest defensive warnings. Having your face buried in your phone like a cow eating grass, can attenuate or even eliminate this critical input.

Your ability to read body language and recognize threat indicators are two important skills that are part and parcel of being aware. Much more information on threat recognition and how to raise your awareness, can be found in my latest book Your Most Powerful Weapon: Using Your Mind to Stay Safe.

Think about how many times you’ve been in a knock-down, drag-out, face-in-the-dirt street fight or have had to use your firearm in a defensive situation. Compare that to how many times you’ve used your situational awareness so that you didn’t need to go to hands, knives or guns. Odds are you will continue to utilize your awareness far more often than your hand-to-hand or defensive firearms skills.

BE TRAINED
According to the seventh century BC Greek author Archilochus “We do not rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” Looking at it from a personal defense perspective, you have only two choices: remain untrained or get yourself some training. Which of these two choices will better prepare you to defend yourself and or your protectees in the event of a violent physical altercation?

THE QUESTION THAT USUALLY FOLLOWS IS: GET TRAINED IN WHAT?
There’s an endless list of hand-to-hand options, such as:

Muay Thai
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Karate
Aikido
Tae Kwon Do
Western Boxing
Krav Maga, etc.

And many options for ballistic weapons and non-ballistic training :

Handgun
Shotgun
Carbine
Filipino Martial Arts

It truly doesn’t matter which one(s) you choose. My recommendation is to match your natural attributes with the art designed to best fit your personal profile and available time. Either way it’s time and money well spent. Far better to have and not need, then to need and not have.

Being prepared gives you the right mindset. It makes you accountable, which provides you the motivation, or will, to take action against another human being if need be.

Using your awareness affords you the opportunity to see it, hear it or smell it coming — a tremendous tactical advantage, so be aware.
Get trained — any type of physical skills are better to have in your tool kit than standing there holding your fruit basket when it hits the fan.

Be prepared, be aware and be trained. You can choose one, all of these (your best defense), or none of the above. The choice is yours.

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, Part Three

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This is the third and final installment of this series by Team Springfield Armory’s Kyle Schmidt. It really works wonders! READ ON

laser practice three

EDITOR’S NOTE: I ran Part 1 of this installment a spell ago. Find it HERE to refresh your memory. Part 2 is HERE. Good stuff! And it really works.

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Kyle Schmidt

In Part II of Dry Fire Practice With Lasers, I focused on Acceptable Sight Picture Drills. Let’s move forward now to some more-advanced laser drills.

REFINED TRIGGER PRESS — DRY PRACTICE DRILL
Once a shooter has identified (and hopefully improved) how well they are able to hold or keep the gun aimed on the desired target area — and they understand what an “acceptable sight picture” is, the next obstacle is to determine if they have the ability to press the trigger without moving the gun out of the intended target area.

To practice this technique, try my “Refined Trigger Press” (RTP) dry-practice drill.

laser target 1
LASER TARGET 1

RTP DRY-PRACTICE DRILL — PART I:
Place Laser Target 1 (with C-Zone side of the dry practice target facing you, above photo), at your desired distance.

Make sure the laser and sights are zeroed for this distance.

Aim the [unloaded] gun in the center of the C-Zone using the laser.

While watching the laser, start pressing the trigger.

Watch the dot closely as you press the trigger.

Does the act of pressing the trigger move the dot outside of the C-Zone? If it does, then while you are pressing the trigger, you are also moving the gun. Ideally when you press the trigger, you do NOT also move, push, pull, jerk the gun out of the intended scoring zone. You must learn to isolate the trigger finger so that the act of pressing the trigger does NOT move the gun out of the intended scoring zone. Repeat this drill until you see a noticeable improvement in the movement of the “dot”.

Once you have mastered the C-Zone, repeat and master the RTP Dry Practice Drill on:
The body A-Zone (Laser Target 2)
The entire, head (Laser Target 2)
The A-Zone head (Laser Target 1)
Finally the black 1-inch square

Once you have mastered each of the above zones, move back from the target, re-zero the laser for the new distance and start all over with the C-Zone, eventually going through each of the zones.

You can gradually increase the difficulty at one distance by reducing the target size, and then increase the difficulty again by increasing the distance.

laser target 2
LASER TARGET 2

Ultimately you are trying to find the level that is difficult for YOU and learn to master that.

Continue to experiment at different distances to see how well you can press the trigger while keeping the gun aimed in the desired scoring zone.

INSTANT TRIGGER PRESS — DRY PRACTICE DRILL
Once you have mastered the refined trigger press (RTP), you cannot stop there. That type of trigger press is rarely ever used, but it’s a great starting point for you to learn what is happening to the gun as you are moving the trigger.

If you want to shoot fast, some shots require that you develop the ability to instantly move the trigger from its at-rest position all the way to the rear position to fire the gun.

Try my “Instant Trigger Press” (ITP) dry practice drills to hone this skill.

ITP DRY PRACTICE DRILL — PART I:
Place Laser Target I (with the C- Zone side of the dry practice target facing you), at your desired distance.

Aim the gun in the center of the C-Zone using the laser.

While watching the laser, press the trigger as quickly as you can.

Watch the dot closely as you move the trigger.

Does the act of moving the trigger quickly move the dot outside of the C-Zone? If it does, it’s because you are also moving the gun. Ideally when you press the trigger you should not also move the gun out of the intended scoring zone, regardless of the pace you pull the trigger.

You may have to practice this drill hundreds of times before the movement diminishes on a consistent basis.

When you can easily pull the trigger quickly without moving the gun, move on to ITP Part II dry practice drill.

Once you have mastered the Instant Trigger Press in the C-Zone, repeat and master the ITP Dry Practice Drill on:

The body A-Zone (Laser Target 2)
The entire, head (Laser Target 2)
The A-Zone head (Laser Target 1)
Finally the black 1-inch square

Once you have mastered each of the above zones, move back from the target, re-zero the laser for the new distance and start all over with the C-Zone, eventually going through each of the above zones.

Continue to experiment at different distances to see how well you can quickly move the trigger while keeping the gun aimed in the desired scoring zone. It’s not as easy as it may seem, so I recommend practicing these drills on a regular basis.

 

SKILLS: Dry-Fire Practice With Lasers, Part 2

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Team Springfield Armory’s Kyle Schmidt shares some insight on a use of a laser sight that’s truly beneficial to shooting better. READ MORE

laser sight

EDITOR’S NOTE: I ran Part 1 of this installment a spell ago. Find it HERE to refresh your memory. Good stuff! And it really works.

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Kyle Schmidt

In Part I of ‘Dry Fire Practice With Lasers,’ I outlined the following:

Creating the dry fire targets, specifically Laser Target 1 and Laser Target 2
Attaching and zeroing the laser
Holding / Aiming Dry Practice Laser Drills

Let’s move forward now to some intermediate laser drills.

ACCEPTABLE SIGHT PICTURE — DRY PRACTICE DRILL
One of the more difficult concepts to get people to understand is the concept of an “acceptable” sight picture. If you’re like me, you were probably taught that “perfect sight alignment” requires:

The front sight perfectly centered in the rear sight notch
Equal lines of light / space on each side of the front sight
Front and rear sight perfectly level across the top

perfect sight picture

That sight alignment should then be placed perfectly in the center of the target before you should even start to move your trigger finger to the trigger.

Luckily for me, I was “un-brainwashed” of this filth by my buddy Rob Leatham many years ago. Not all shots require the above-mentioned “perfect sight alignment.”

We must learn what an “acceptable sight picture” is based on the difficulty of the shot.

An acceptable sight picture is a relatively difficult concept to explain because there are so many variables that affect how the sights appear from one shooter’s gun to the next. Target size, target distance, the type of sights, the sight radius, the length of the shooter’s arms, even the head position can affect how the sights look in relation to each other and how they correspond to the intended target.

And although I immediately understood the concept of an acceptable sight picture, it still took me a long time to really be able to apply it regularly.

When instructing, I use this dry-practice drill to help others better understand what an acceptable sight picture is, for the difficulty of the shot. The latter part of that sentence is very important! I would recommend first doing this drill at a relatively close distance, maybe 3 to 5 yards.

center c zone

ACCEPTABLE SIGHT PICTURE DRY PRACTICE DRILL:
Place Laser Target 1 (with the C-Zone side of the target facing you), at your desired (and zeroed) distance.

Aim the gun in the center of the C-Zone using the laser (above image).

Now look at the iron sights. They should also be lined up in the center of the target.

While watching the laser, start moving the front of the gun, and the laser dot, to the LEFT.

Try to keep the rear sight in the middle of the target and only move the laser and the front of the gun.

Stop once the dot from the laser reaches the left edge of the C-Zone (below image).

left edge of c zone

Shift your eye focus back to the iron sights.

If the rear sight is still in the middle of the target where you started, then look where the front sight is. It should be really far to the LEFT. If you are only a few yards from the target, the front sight will likely be completely hidden behind the rear sight.

This is how mis-aligned your sights can be to still be aimed in the C-Zone of the target. Pretty amazing, right?

When you are done being mesmerized and you’ve finished trying to convince yourself this can’t be possible, repeat this drill a few more times. Then move on to the right side of the target:

Aim the gun in the center of the C-Zone using the laser.

Now look at the iron sights. They should also be lined up in the center of the target.

While watching the laser, start moving the front of the gun, and the laser dot, to the RIGHT.

Try to keep the rear sight in the middle of the target and only move the laser and the front of the gun.

Stop once the dot from the laser reaches the right edge of the C-Zone (below image).

right edge of c zone

Shift your eye focus back to the iron sights.

If the rear sight is still in the middle of the target where you started, then look where the front sight is. It should be really far to the RIGHT.

Now repeat the drill two more times, but use the top and bottom of the C-Zone.

top c zone

Make a mental note each time you do each drill so you can recall the positioning of the sights later.

Once you get a good feel for the C-Zone, use Laser Target 2 (flip the target over to the A-Zone side) and repeat the drill, left, right and top, bottom.

left a zone top a zone bottom a zone

Although the A-Zone is substantially narrower than the C-Zone (almost by half), notice that you could have quite a bit of sight mis-alignment and still be in the A-Zone.

Once you figure out the body A-Zone, move up to the head and see if you can keep the dot in the head reliably.

Next, use Laser Target 1 (flip the target back over) and move up to the head’s A-Zone.

Finally use the 1-in. black square of tape for your aiming spot.

You should continue to experiment at different distances to see how mis-aligned the sights can be, even out to 25 yards and still be in the corresponding scoring zone. (Remember you need to make sure the laser is zeroed with the sights for whatever distance you are experimenting at.)

As long as the laser is “aimed” in the desired scoring zone, the corresponding sight picture would be “acceptable.” All that is left is to fire the gun.

CHECK OUT LASER SIGHTS HERE

 

The Unequivocal Instrument: Snubnose Magnum Revolvers

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While the revolver is often looked down on as old technology, few handguns are as reliable and accurate as the short-barrel .357 Magnum revolver. KEEP READING

ruger sp101 357

Wilburn Roberts

With the great and growing abundance of concealed carry permits as Americans exercise their rights and commons sense, and with a present political climate that nurtures such progress, armed citizens are choosing to be responsible for their own safety. Choosing which handgun may be an easy enough choice for seasoned shooters, but quite a few of the new generation of handgunners are newcomers to one handgun in particular…

Many are steered toward a handgun that doesn’t fit their skill level. A semi-auto 9mm or .40 compact isn’t for everyone. However, the novice and very experienced shooter alike often choose a revolver. They are well armed when they do so.

snubnose revolvers
Short barrel revolvers are great personal defense firearms. Be certain to train well!

The snubnose .38 Special is a reasonable choice, however, the snubnose .38 is seen as less powerful than the 9mm pistol. (A “snubnose” is generally defined as having a barrel length 3 inches or less.) This is overcome by the power of the .357 Magnum revolver. When comparing the types, the advantages of the revolver have to be plain to make the short-barrel revolver an attractive choice.

Reliability is one advantage.

A further advantage of the revolver is that the revolver can be fired repeatedly even if it’s contacting an opponent. The semi-auto would jam after the first shot. It may also short cycle due to a less than perfect grip.

taurus 605
This Taurus 605 .357 Magnum revolver is carried in a 3Speed holster. This is a great deep concealment rig.

For a weapon to be used at conversational distance, the revolver’s reliability in this scenario is a big plus. A further advantage would be in a struggle for the gun — and this happens often — the gun grabber has little to hang onto in the case of a short-barreled revolver.

As said, an alternative to the .38 Special is the .357 Magnum. The .357 operates at almost three times the pressure level of the .38 Special. The Magnum operates at some 40,000 copper units of pressure compared to 18,000 for the .38 Special, and 20,000 for the .38 Special +P. This gives the magnum a great advantage in power, and the ability to use heavier bullets. There are .357 Magnum revolvers almost as compact as the snubnose .38, but often the Magnum will have a heavier frame and a heavier barrel which offers a better platform for the more powerful cartridge.

galco holster
Galco’s Carry Lite revolver holster is among the best for concealed carry. This inside the waistband holster is affordable and available.

These handguns also willingly chamber the .38 Special, providing a power level option in the same gun (that’s not available in a semi-auto). A .38 Special +P load is a good choice for the beginner for use in his or her .357 Magnum revolver. The shooter may move to the Magnum loadings after sufficient practice.

The obvious mechanical advantages of the revolver as related to reliability, the ability to use the weapon with a less-than-perfect grip and at point-blank range, are compelling sales features. However, in the end, the ballistics might be the best selling point. There has been a myth circulated for some time that the snubnose .357 Magnum is no more powerful than a .38 Special, as the Magnum loses velocity when fired in a short barrel. This is far from true. The Magnum does lose velocity when fired in a 2- to 3-inch barreled compact revolver, but it remains far more powerful than the snubnose .38 Special as the accompanying table shows. The .357 Magnum considerably outperforms the .38 Special by any measure.

With these revolvers, recoil could be grim to the uninitiated. Recoil energy approaches 12 pounds in some .357 Magnum revolvers, compared to 6 to 8 pounds in the 9mm and .40 caliber handguns, and a slight 4 pounds with .38 +P ammunition in a snubnose. This is a sharp jolt not to be underestimated. The person deploying this revolver must engage in practice and use the proper techniques to master this revolver.

sp101
The Ruger SP101 in .357 Magnum is among the strongest handguns — ounce for ounce — ever built.

Modern .357 Magnum revolvers such as the 5-shot Ruger SP 101 are designed with every advantage toward making the gun controllable. The factory grips on these revolvers are among the best ever designed. If you are able to find a Smith & Wesson K-frame revolver at a fair price, the 6-shot Smith & Wesson is even more controllable, albeit a bit larger.

Use a proper holster such as one of the Galco inside the waistband holsters and you will find the snubnose revolver very concealable. The revolver is simple to use — simply draw and fire. The Ruger and Smith & Wesson each have smooth double-action triggers that promote accuracy.

Another advantage of the revolver is superb accuracy. The Smith & Wesson Model 19 I often carry has been in service for four decades. A combination of excellent high-visibility sights and a smooth trigger make for fine accuracy. As just one example with the .38 Special Fiocchi 125-grain Extrema, this revolver has cut a 1.5-inch 25-yard group for 5 shots.

The .357 Magnum revolver isn’t for everyone, but for those who practice, one offers excellent accuracy, reliability, and proven power.

magnum specs

Check out Midsouth AMMO here.

HANDGUNS: 10 Minutes of 10mm History

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Many-time champion Rob Leatham gives his take on one of the most powerful semi-auto loadings. Listen! HERE’S MORE

springfield armory 10mms

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Rob Leatham (find Rob on Twitter)

The 10mm auto is a curious cartridge.

Designed originally as a best-of-all-options for the defensive pistol world, it was targeted to be an all things to all people service pistol cartridge. Sort of a hybrid of the service pistol standards, .45 ACP and 9×19 rounds. The goal? To have more capacity than the .45 and be more powerful than the 9mm.

Without completely retelling the detailed history, in the early 1970s, the late Col. Jeff Cooper was reportedly looking for a round that combined the advantages of both velocity and momentum. The ballistics of a 200 grain .400 (10mm) diameter bullet traveling 1000 feet per second looked good to Jeff on paper.

CASE CREATION
There was a problem, however. There wasn’t a readily available cartridge case for an auto pistol that would handle that bullet diameter. So it wouldn’t be as simple as just powering up an existing cartridge as had been done with .38 Special, .38 Auto, and .44 Special.

A new case had to be devised. Well, maybe not new, but altered and repurposed.

Similar “wildcat” cartridges had been developed previously using .224 Weatherby and .30 Remington brass. These had been chambered in a number of different guns. Most promising was the .40 G&A round developed by Whit Collins, followed shortly thereafter by the Centimeter and then the .40 S&W.

Of those, only the .40 S&W would ever make it into production, albeit much later, but the ground was laid for the 10mm as we know it.

10mm

BREN TEN
When the design of this new hybrid cartridge occurred, a new gun (with design input from Colonel Cooper) was being developed to accept it. Known as the Bren Ten, it was basically a sized-up CZ 75.

Both the 10mm gun and round were in development about the same time. However, the ammo was finished long enough before the gun that people were becoming impatient to try this new hybrid.

WE HAD AN INTERESTING NEW ROUND AND NOTHING TO SHOOT IT IN.

So, what to do? The combat pistol world was in its hey-day and the buzz over this new combination was eagerly awaited by pistol enthusiasts worldwide. As time dragged on and the Bren Ten didn’t seem to be happening, Colt stepped in and introduced a model to accept the 10mm. While familiar, it really wasn’t the totally new, complete package we were all hoping for.

AMMO ADVANCES
Remember that the design goal was originally to achieve a 200 grain bullet at 1000 FPS. This would deliver a flatter trajectory, greater penetration with a slightly higher level of power in both energy and momentum than standard .45 Auto (with the bonus of increased magazine capacity).

Norma, the company that originally developed the 10mm, in their enthusiasm to make the round as good as modern propellants would allow, made their ammo far more powerful than was originally requested. The ammo was approximately 20% higher in velocity than the original specifications called for. While this sounds like a good idea, it was in fact not. At least not for service-pistol use.

With that increase in power came costs that were just not worth it for the majority of shooters.

While exceeding the power of any other standardized auto pistol combination encountered, the gun/ammo combination was just too difficult for most to control.

To add to the overall problem, the Bren Ten Pistol was long delayed and in the end, sadly never made it. Some were built, but they too couldn’t take the beating of the “hot” Norma ammo. Other manufacturer’s 10mm guns did not deliver on the promise the 10 had made. They were harder to shoot than .45 in the same platform and did not hold up well to the very high-pressure ammunition.

So for most shooters, the existing 1911 platform pistol with the powerful 10mm ammo just didn’t offer enough benefits to replace the already-available and time-tested .45ACP.

Springfield Armory 10mm

10MM TIMEOUT
With no viable new gun, the high expense of ammo, and the excessive recoil that made it hard to control and shoot, the 10mm never became as popular as was hoped. And it mostly vanished from the public eye.

But it didn’t die.

Although too hot for most applications for a service pistol, the 10mm with its potentially higher power levels continued [slowly] to make friends in the civilian and law enforcement world. A lot of shooters still wanted a 1911 with more velocity, penetration, momentum, energy, and flatter trajectory than the .45 offered. The 10mm’s devout but small following, by those who recognized its niche, soldiered on.

FBI CONNECTION
The FBI adopted the 10mm after the infamous 1986 Miami shootout, where they unfortunately discovered that they needed more gun, power, and firepower than they currently had.

The bureau soon concluded after the adoption, that existing 10mm ammo was “too hot” and as a result, requested a special lower-pressure load developed for them. This new load didn’t exhibit the same problems the original hot 10mm cartridges did, and proved a good compromise between power and controllability.

This ammo was more inline with the original request. Due to the FBI adoption, the 10 was back in the limelight and major loading companies jumped on the band wagon.

Since then, the 10mm has continued to exist for both gun manufacturers and ammunition companies, albeit not as a best seller. I sense a change in the air though…

SPRINGFIELD ARMORY 1911 TRP 10MMS
Springfield now produces their top-of-the-line TRP in 10mm in both a 5-in. and long-slide 6-in. model.

But wait, what about all the 10mm problems of gun wear and tear and hot ammo?

Better materials, 10mm-particular specifications, and improved manufacturing capabilities allow us to produce superior, more-durable 10mm pistols. Specifically, one that will withstand the force of the “hot stuff” and still work with the lower pressure “standard ammo.”

Flat out, the Springfield 10mm pistols are better than any previously available models from any manufacturer.

The only thing that could make our 10mm TRPs better, is if they were easier to aim. #OldEyes

springfield armory optic 10mm

MEET SPRINGFIELD’S 1911 TRP 10MM RMR
With the Trijicon ACOG® RMR® optic sight, this 1911 offers the ballistic advantages of the 10mm round in a strong, accurate, durable package with the latest in optical sights.

For many shooters, aiming is difficult. Some eyes just don’t see that well. While vision issues can be resolved with glasses or contacts, there is almost always a compromise. You can correct vision to either the sights or the target, but one of them is NOT going to be in focus.

Optical sights allow focusing on the target. You never have to refocus back to the gun to align the sights. Seeing all the elements of a good sight picture clearly is no longer difficult. Look at your target and the dot is superimposed, showing the potential impact point of the round. The old argument of whether to look at the sights or the target no longer applies. Everything is in focus.

The 10mm is the most powerful round commonly available that fits the 1911 platform. It can be a viable “all things to all people” chambering.

For you speed junkies, the 10mm offers high velocity. Some loadings have bullets going upwards of 1300 FPS. This guarantees high energies and flat trajectories.

For the big-and-heavy-is-better guys, the 10mm bullet is .400 inch in diameter and regularly available in 200 grain weights. So it’s a perfect fit for those who like the old saying, “I don’t care what caliber it is as long as it starts with 4.”

So thanks to all you stalwart 10mm fans, a purposeful caliber has survived and will continue to thrive into the future.

Check out the new gun HERE