Tag Archives: handgun training

SKILLS: Consistency Is King

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Finding yourself right smack in the middle of harm’s way can give pause even to the hardest of the hard. However, chance favors the prepared. READ MORE

steve tarani

SOURCE: Team Springfield, Steve Tarani

Ask any real-world tier-one operator about preparation, and he will tell you that one of the most effective tactics in your personal defense arsenal is consistency.

Hailing from the operational world, none other than the granddaddy of soft skills — situational awareness — should remain paramount in your preparedness repertoire. Utilized more than any other soft skill, or hard skill for that matter, situational awareness is a staple to the seasoned operator.

SOFTWARE VS HARDWARE
Compare the last time you employed your situational awareness (SA) versus your firearm in a real-world scenario. The number of times you employ SA far outweighs the number of times you go to guns in a day, a month, a year, or a lifetime. Only by continual practice can you build that consistency over time. As useful as it is, the more you use it, the more comfortable you will be using it, and the less effort it takes to employ.

When it comes to hardware, you may want to consider which every day carry (EDC) tools best fit your personal profile. Best case scenario, your operational environment allows you handgun carry. If this is the case, then you would need a comfortable, quality holster, at least one spare magazine and a magazine pouch. The position on your body that this lifesaving equipment is carried should remain consistent.

In other words, don’t carry your blaster on your hip one day and then appendix the next day or change the position of your spare magazine(s). If you carry inside the waistband (IWB) appendix with a spare mag, then those same carry locations should remain consistent every time you strap them on.

DON’T BE LEFT IN THE DARK
Another important piece of gear, with or without a firearm, is a flashlight. It gets dark every single day. You could be in a building in the middle of the day and the power goes out, or you may need to go through a closet, attic, or basement with low or no ambient light.

Working on a protective services assignment, I was attached to a detail in charge of protecting a high-profile VIP at an equally high-profile televised event. Our team was directed to a holding area with several other protective teams, including the protectees.

Three protection teams, with their respective VIPs were moved to behind the filming stage in waiting for their entrance que. On the televised side of the stage it was brightly lit, but behind the stage curtain it was pitch black. Of all three teams, not one protective agent had a flashlight on them except for me. Flicking on my EDC hand-held flashlight I said, “Please watch your step, Sir,” as I directed our protectee up the backstage steps. The other teams flocked to my light like moths to a flame. Lesson learned: carry a flashlight and carry it in the same place every time so you can quickly access it without looking. Again, consistency reigns.

CARRY CONSISTENTLY
Carry your gun in the same position — as well as your knife, magazines, pen, glasses, flashlight, cell phone, first aid kit, and/or any medications — all in the same location on your limited personal real estate.

Extend this consistency practice to your personal training when you go to the range. Your eye and ear protection, sunscreen, cleaning kit, and the like, should always be in the same place so even at night, in complete darkness, you can find what you’re looking for without wasting any time.

Carrying the same gear in the same location every time ensures that you can get to it in complete darkness, in thick smoke, during a sandstorm (don’t think just the Middle East — there are places the likes of TX, NM, and AZ, where dust devils can impair your vision in broad daylight). The same applies to sleet, snow, and other natural or man-made causes of visual impairment. Consistency remains the “A” answer.

DEMAND RELIABILITY
Once you build consistency into your operational profile, like anything else, you can come to rely on it. What this can guarantee is, when you move your hand to that pocket, or that area on your body under duress and expect to find certain kit, there it will be waiting for you, accessible, available, when you need it — on demand.

When you train presenting your firearm, you practice clearing your cover garment(s), defeating any holster-retention devices and developing your draw stroke so that one day should you need it, that consistency will pay dividends on time invested. The same applies to reaching for that spare magazine, or pocket knife, or flashlight, all very useful EDC items. You purchased them because you need them — helpful tools for when the time comes. If you need one of them, there it is, right where you put it, ensuring accessibility and rapid deployment. You know you can rely on them, where they are, and that you can get to them in a timely manner. You are guaranteed this reliability, because you run your gear knowing that consistency is king.

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: Sheriff’s Tips: What’s Your Stance?

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Sheriff Jim Wilson shares some recollections and history on development of the pistol shooting stance, and, most importantly, puts it all into perspective for today’s modern world. Keep reading…

by Jim Wilson
Source: NRA American Rifleman
Images courtesy Gunsite.com

The first experience that I had with a two-handed shooting stance was the isosceles stance as taught by the FBI at our police academy. The shooter stood erect and shot with both arms extended and elbows locked. This was also the same stance that we used in department qualifications and PPC matches.

Jim Wilson

This stance worked pretty well as long as we were firing .38 Spl. wadcutter ammo out of our revolvers. Where it got weak was when we were trying to make multiple hits with .357 Mag. ammo, or even .38 Spl. +P. We simply could not do a good job of managing the extra recoil of the fighting ammunition.

Isosceles stance
Isosceles Stance.

It was this same need to manage recoil when firing more than one shot that caused Jack Weaver, a California peace officer, to develop a slightly different technique. Weaver bent his elbows and made sure that his support elbow was pointed down towards the ground. He also exerted an isometric hold on the pistol, pushing forward with his shooting hand and pulling back with his support hand. Using this technique, Weaver’s arms absorbed most of the recoil and made the gun more manageable under rapid fire. Col. Jeff Cooper quickly noticed that Weaver’s technique was helping him to win quite a few matches and incorporated it into the Modern Technique of the Pistol.

Weaver Stance
Weaver Stance.

For quite some time, a healthy argument ensued as to which technique was really the best to use in actual gunfights. The Weaver camp often suggested that the Isosceles was best used in target shooting, while the Isosceles crowd quickly pointed to the number of actual gunfights won by people using the Isosceles method. As it turns out, what the arms are doing may not be nearly as important as what the rest of the body is doing.

The defensive shooter should use an athletic body position. He should be squared to his target. The feet should be about shoulder width apart, with the support foot just slightly ahead of the strong-side foot. By that I mean that the ball of the support foot should be about even with the tip of the toes on the strong-side foot. The knees should be slightly bent and the shooter’s weight should be on the balls of his feet. The shoulders should be slightly forward of the feet.

In this kind of position, the shooter can manage the pistol’s recoil better. And it also puts the shooter in a good physical stance that allows him to move quickly in just about any direction. And, depending upon body size, the shooter may adjust this position a bit in order to be most effective.

Whether one shoots with both arms straight or arms bent, he or she can exert a firm grip on his pistol and somewhat of an isometric, push-pull, hold. The key is to be in an aggressive, athletic body stance without getting into a crouch. As Richard Mann puts it, “Do it like you are killing snakes!” A firm stance and a firm grip are what is needed to manage recoil and allow for multiple, accurate hits.

Many of us older shooters well remember the magazine articles by Col. Cooper and Massad Ayoob as they argued back and forth on the merits of the Weaver vs. the Isosceles. I am told that, later in life, Col. Cooper made the statement that he wished he hadn’t made such as issue of the two stances. Whichever one a person chooses to use, his success will be noted in his ability to deliver quick, accurate shots with full-power defensive ammunition.

It may even be that a good defensive shooter should be well versed in both techniques. Depending upon the available cover, whether he is shooting over or around something, and the angle in which he may have to deliver his shots (we can’t always plant our feet and assume a classic stance when under a surprise attack) one or the other technique might work best.

I have come to the conclusion that arguing the Weaver vs. the Isosceles is about as productive as arguing .45 vs. 9 mm. I have better ways to spend my time and the guys who want to argue these issues might spend their time more productively in good training and practice.

SKILLS: The Myth of the “Perfect Stance”

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Adapting to any situation is a very important ability in handgun shooting, competition or defense. Here’s a few ideas on how to hit the target — no matter what!

Team Springfield

Rob Leatham stance.

We all strive for perfection — but sometimes perfection is not possible. When it comes to shooting stance, a scenario will often force you to use an “imperfect” stance. So how do you train so you can still make your hits?

FINDING THE BALANCE POINT
Expecting to obtain the perfect “training” shooting stance is all well and good. But it’s not realistic. When it comes to real-life fast-shooting or competition scenarios, your stance has to be about getting acceptable hits on target as quickly as possible. It’s always a speed versus accuracy equation. You sometimes have to make “less than optimal” work in order to win.

The fact of the matter is that driving your torso forward while you’re shooting (to accommodate for recoil) helps resist pushing your frame back, keeping you in control and on target.

Don’t let your balance move to your heels. Trying to be comfortable and statically balanced is wrong. You have to absorb and resist the forces of recoil — and that is hard to do standing straight up.

“PERFECT” IS JUST AN ILLUSION
Achieving the perfect shooting stance isn’t a reliable goal. In fact, there are drills you can try that prove that, even in a non-ideal shooting scenario, your body will know what to do to achieve a stance that still maintains accuracy.

Place a target at desired distance.

Put a short obstacle in your shooting area, such as a chair.

Begin moving around the obstacle.

Shoot at the target while continually moving around the obstacle.

Keep moving until the mag is empty.

The beauty of it is, your body compensates for the movement and learns how to move and find balance. So quit trying for perfection in your stance — your body will instinctively know what to do.

Check out the video HERE

SKILLS: Hold Control

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Getting, and staying, steady on the target is the first step in learning to employ correct shooting technique. Here are some great tips on how to do it…

Hold control

by Larry Quandahl, NRA Family

What do we mean when we talk about “hold control”?

Simply put, “hold” is the relationship of the gun and shooter to the target. Hold control is the way in which you correctly maintain it long enough for the shot to break. Here’s how it works: The shooter uses sight picture to monitor the hold. In stationary target shooting (bullseye rifle and pistol), sight picture consists of sight alignment (relationship of your eye and the rear and front sights), and the relationship of the aligned sights to the stationary target. For beginning shooters, it is as simple as holding still while firing the shot, but the simplicity of hold control is deceptive. Controlling hold is actually the most difficult aspect of accurate shooting. Even world-class shooters experience movement in their sight picture while shooting. The goal — hold control — is to control the combined movement of the shooter and firearm on the target.

The NRA Muzzleloading Rifle Handbook describes hold control as learning to hold the rifle steady, but that’s just the beginning of the story. Hold control applies to shooting at stationary targets as well as at quick-reaction targets and moving targets. For simplicity’s sake, this article will deal with stationary targets.

When shooting at a stationary target, the shooter has to aim at the target and hold the firearm still as the trigger is pulled. Your hold is the movement of your aligned sights in relation to the target that you see while aiming. The amount and speed of movement shows how well you are controlling your hold. Your task is to hold the firearm as still as possible, which is best done by relaxing and letting your position and natural point of aim do the work for you. Concentrate on holding your body and the firearm as still as you can.

As a shooter, you need to learn to recognize the period of your steadiest hold. This is because the shot should be fired when hold is steadiest. Your goal is to reduce the amount and the speed of the movement and to release the shot when the hold is at its best.

So how do you do this? Start by establishing a benchmark to measure success at controlling hold. When you look through the sights at the target, you’re automatically aware of the amount and speed of the movement of the gun as you hold. Have a mentor or coach look over your shoulder and observe the front sight with relation to an object or area downrange. Now that you and your coach know what kind of “wobble” your current hold is giving you, you can move forward.

There are five elements of a shooting position: consistency, balance, natural point of aim, comfort and, for competitive shooters, the position must be legal. To improve your hold, start by focusing on balance and natural point of aim. If you fire from an off-balance position, or if the natural point of aim does not coincide with the target, hold will be larger. The resulting movement will be like a leaf blowing in a windstorm. And the longer you hold, the stronger the “wind” gets.

To develop good habits, you can use a simple “go/no-go” system to get into and check position. You should always stop and correct any problem, no matter how small. The position checklist can be divided into two categories: external checks and internal checks. For example, checking to see that the butt of the rifle is placed correctly on the shoulder is an external position check that you can observe. An internal check would be checking the muscles and bones of your body, to ensure that they are in the right position and work together to support the gun. (The internal check is largely a matter of feel reinforced by experience.)

A good coach or trainer will provide a position checklist for you. As you gain experience, you’ll create and continually modify a personal checklist to reflect refinements in individual position. Using this method of checking, you can determine whether a change has improved your hold.

Concentration improves hold control. Something as simple as thinking “hold” — or using hold as a key word — can slow and reduce movement. This will allow you to focus on sight alignment and sight picture. Through concentration, you literally reduce the amount of hold and its speed. If the hold is small and slow, your position is good with respect to natural point of aim.