Category Archives: Tactics & Training

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.

 

3 Rapid-Access Safes For Your Long Guns

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Your best choice for defense doesn’t do any good if you can’t get to it. Jason Hanson shares a few ideas on how security and speed can go hand in hand. READ MORE

Jason Hanson

A 79-year old Benzie County, MI man was sitting in his home one evening around 11:20 P.M. when he heard a noise in his barn.

The homeowner grabbed his shotgun and proceeded to his barn to investigate.

Once inside the barn, the homeowner confronted an unknown man and told him to leave the property.

Unfortunately, the man inside the barn decided to move toward the homeowner in an aggressive manner, resulting in the homeowner firing his shotgun, striking the intruder in the legs.

The armed homeowner kept his shotgun pointed at the suspect until deputies and paramedics arrived.

The intruder was transported to a local hospital with multiple wounds from the round fired by the homeowner.

According to the Benzie County Sheriff…

“We believe he was defending himself, he did this in self-defense, but the prosecutor ultimately gets to make that decision.”

Clearly, this homeowner stopped a criminal from not only burglarizing his barn but also from physically harming him in the process.

This 79-year old man was prepared to defend his home and was ready with a shotgun quickly available so he could stop a threat.

The thing is, so many people who own long guns such as AR-15s or shotguns have them tucked away in large gun safes located in their closet.

This is clearly not a good idea if you are planning to use one of those guns for home defense.

Instead, consider a rapid-access safe for your long gun.

A few types to consider are below…

Hornady Rapid Safe AR Wall Lock. This particular safe is more like a lockable gun rack than an actual safe.

hornady gun lock

SEE MORE HERE

It’s designed specifically to fit a standard AR-15 or larger AR-10 style rifle and they sell a version for shotguns as well.

The lock can be opened with a numeric code or you can use one of the included RFID tags.

There’s also a bypass key. The Hornady Rapid Safe AR Wall Lock sells for around $175.

Fort Knox Shotgun Security Box. This security box is an under-the-bed style safe.

The Fort Knox Shotgun Box is a big 10-gauge steel box with a spring-assisted door and a Simplex lock.

fort knox gun safe

SEE MORE HERE

It’s limited in what it can store since it’s only 45 inches long and the opening is only 9 inches by 5 inches. That’s enough room for most shotguns, but it might be a tight fit if you’ve got a pistol grip.

An AR will most likely fit if there’s no magazine or optic attached.

One drawback to this safe is that there are no holes for cables or for mounting it to the floor.

However, this means you can easily move it around from under a bed or under a living room couch. The Fort Knox Security Box sells for $400.

Tactical Walls Rifle Length Shelf. Tactical Walls is a company that makes all different types of gun safes that look like ordinary furniture.

GUN SAFE

SEE MORE HERE

The Rifle Length Concealment Shelf is the largest and most popular wall mounted safe the company sells.

It has a foam lined compartment that is 12-in. D x 42-in. W. The installation for the safe is the same as hanging any common shelf.

To access the secret compartment, simply disengage the hidden locks with the supplied keys.

The bottom half of the shelf is lowered with the assistance of a pneumatic strut.

Depending on the color and wood options you select, the Tactical Walls Rifle Shelf starts around $400.

Any of these three safe options will allow you to more quickly access your long gun than if it’s sitting in a giant safe in your closest that takes an eternity to open.

Since long guns are such a good option for home defense, I would have at least one of your ARs or shotguns in a safe you can open fast.

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: 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.

 

SKILLS: A Beginner’s Guide To Choosing Pistol Ammo

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If you’re new to all this, there is an overwhelming amount of ammunition options. Team Springfield Armory’s Kyle Schmidt helps sort through them. READ MORE

pistol ammo

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Kyle Schmidt

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

The authors of the Declaration of Independence were brilliant. The wording they used was so profound that it still has a tremendous impact on our lives today.

Sure, all people were created equal – but when it comes to ammunition, not so much.

THE AMMUNITION SPREAD
As a newer shooter, choosing ammunition can be a daunting task. Full-metal jacket, ball, hollow point, wad cutter, round nose, flat point, plated, coated and the list goes on. These terms can seem pretty overwhelming, and these are just common types of pistol bullets.

So, how is a new shooter supposed to know what kind of ammunition to buy?

KEY COMPONENTS
Centerfire pistol and rifle ammunition are made up of four components:

Case
Primer
Powder
Bullet

(NOTE: I often hear people refer to ammunition as a bullet. Although this is generally accepted slang for some, it can be confusing when discussing ammunition. For the purposes of this guide, when referring to a “bullet,” I am referring to the individual component that is a part of a single round of ammunition.)

Generally speaking, the two biggest variables in ammunition come from the powder and the bullet. The type and quantity of powder will predominantly affect the velocity of the bullet. The bullet design has a significant effect on accuracy and performance once the bullet impacts the target.

PURPOSE
When determining what ammunition to choose, the first question to ask is, “What’s it for?”

Ammunition is designed with a variety of purposes in mind — hunting, target shooting, competition, and personal defense among them.

hornady critical defense

HUNTING & PERSONAL DEFENSE
In general, ammunition made for hunting and personal defense is designed to have a higher velocity, a heavier bullet, and a bullet designed to expand when it strikes the target. Commonly, this type of ammunition is sold in containers of smaller quantities and often comes with a higher price tag. This ammunition generally has more felt recoil, which is more commonly referred to as “kick.”

match ammo

COMPETITION
Ammunition made for competition is usually designed with the specific requirements of a given type of competition in mind. Some competitions heavily favor extreme accuracy, while others may be more speed-oriented. Because some events require a great deal of accuracy, this may lead to an expensive bullet design and a higher cost. But it’s typically still less expensive than hunting ammunition.

Generally speaking, competition shooters look for ammunition that has less felt recoil. So, keep in mind that many competition shooters modify their guns so they will work with ammunition of different lengths and with ammunition that requires very little energy to function the gun. Be cautious when purchasing ammunition designed for competition, as it may not function all firearms.

target ammo

TARGET SHOOTING
“Target ammunition” is a general-purpose term. This is the ammunition you might see in bulk packaging at the sporting goods store. The bullets and powder used vary significantly. Unlike competition ammunition, this ammo is generally designed to function a wide variety of firearms reliably but does not have the same high level of felt recoil as the hunting or self-defense ammunition. This ammunition is probably the most common type purchased by the typical shooter for practice. This ammunition also gives shooters the most “bang” for their buck, as it can be the least expensive option.

Most importantly, the ammunition you purchase needs to safely and reliably function the gun.

JUST REMEMBER
When purchasing ammunition, there are a couple of other things to consider before filling your home with a new type of ammo.

Quantity: Start in small quantities when purchasing new ammunition. Most places will not take ammunition back, so if you find out the ammunition does not function your gun and you just purchased thousands of rounds of it, you’ll be stuck with trying to sell it to someone else.

Function: Some guns just don’t like some ammunition. The ammo may work fine in one gun, but cause constant malfunctions in another.

Accuracy: Some bullets shoot better out of some guns than others. Even if you buy the latest, greatest new ammunition that your favorite YouTube video depicted to be the most accurate ammo in the history of galaxy, it may not shoot well out of your barrel. Conversely, you may find that a particular bullet shoots well out of your gun that your know-it-all buddy says is terrible.

Manufacturer: Consider the source. I have seen numerous problems with ammunition over the years, including ammunition that did not have any powder and ammunition that had way too much powder. Occasionally, I have seen ammunition destroy a gun. I have even seen this happen with ammunition from well-known manufacturers. However, they have been responsive when paying for repairs or replacing the gun if needed. That same expectation may not be realistic for the small, garage-based ammunition companies.

ASK YOURSELF…
At the end of the day, the ammo questions you need to ask yourself are:

Will you shoot it?
Does it meet your reliability requirement?
Does it meet your accuracy requirement?
Does it meet your felt recoil requirement?
Does it meet your cost requirement?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” you probably shouldn’t purchase the ammo, as you likely won’t enjoy shooting it. If you don’t enjoy shooting it, the ammunition will just stay in the box and you won’t get any practice. If you don’t get any practice, you definitely will not get any better.

And if you don’t get any better, you won’t ever get to experience the great enjoyment that comes from being a competent gun owner.

 

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.

Federal Court Finds California Magazine Ban Violates the Second Amendment

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Major 2nd Amendment boost! Judge overturns California’s ban on “high-capacity” magazines, the ban was “turning the Constitution upside down.” READ MORE

high capacity magazine

SOURCE: NRA-ILA

In one of the strongest judicial statements in favor of the Second Amendment to date, Judge Roger T. Benitez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California determined last Friday that California’s ban on commonly possessed firearm magazines violates the Second Amendment.

The case is Duncan v. Becerra.

The NRA-supported case had already been up to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on the question of whether the law’s enforcement should be suspended during proceedings on its constitutionality. Last July, a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit upheld Judge Benitez’s suspension of enforcement and sent the case back to him for further proceedings on the merits of the law itself.

Judge Benitez rendered his opinion late Friday afternoon and handed Second Amendment supporters a sweeping victory by completely invalidating California’s 10-round limit on magazine capacity. “Individual liberty and freedom are not outmoded concepts,” he declared.

In a scholarly and comprehensive opinion, Judge Benitez subjected the ban both to the constitutional analysis he argued was required by the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller and a more complicated and flexible test the Ninth Circuit has applied in prior Second Amendment cases.

Either way, Judge Benitez ruled, the law would fail. Indeed, he characterized the California law as “turning the Constitution upside down.” He also systematically dismantled each of the state’s purported justifications for the law, demonstrating the factual and legal inconsistencies of their claims.

NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox hailed the decision as a “huge win for gun owners” and a “landmark recognition of what courts have too often treated as a disfavored right.”

“Judge Benitez took the Second Amendment seriously and came to the conclusion required by the Constitution,” Cox said. “The same should be true of any court analyzing a ban on a class of arms law-abiding Americans commonly possess for self-defense or other lawful purposes.”

Unfortunately, Friday’s opinion is not likely to be the last word on the case. The state will likely appeal to the Ninth Circuit, which has proven notably hostile to the Second Amendment in past decisions.

Nevertheless, the thoroughness of Judge Benitez’s analysis should give Second Amendment supporters the best possible chance for success in appellate proceedings, particularly if the case ultimately lands before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the meantime, Friday’s order prohibits California from enforcing its magazine restrictions, leaving its law-abiding residents safer and freer, at least for the time being.

To stay up-to-date on the Duncan case and other important Second Amendment issues affecting California gun owners, click HERE. And be sure to subscribe to NRA-ILA and CRPA email alerts HERE and HERE.

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