Tag Archives: SHOOTING DRILLS

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

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

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

SOURCE:  Team Springfieldby Ivan Gelo

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

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

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

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

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

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

I decided to drill / practice three techniques:

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

ccw draw

DETAILS
ONE: Drawing from Concealment with Movement

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

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

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

Back to my drill…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ccw training

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

multiple round drill

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

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

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

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

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

See you and your sub-compact carry gun there!

SKILLS: Pocket Pistol Drills

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Preparation is key to concealed-carry success, so make sure you take the time to prepare! Here are 4 drills for skills with the smaller end of the spectrum. Read on…

pocket pistol kit
This pocket pistol is the popular Ruger LCP II, carried in a DeSantis Gunhide SuperFly holster and loaded with Hornady Critical Defense .380 ACP ammo.

SOURCE: NRA Publications, by Ed Head

Small, easily concealed handguns have become an increasingly popular choice among firearm consumers. It makes sense to assume many of these pistols are carried in pockets. Pocket carry may actually be the most-popular mode of carry, but I wonder how many folks actually practice with it? Being small, lightweight, and often equipped with miniscule sights and heavy trigger pulls, pocket pistols aren’t the easiest guns to shoot well. Then again, attributes such as compact size and light weight make these handguns easy to carry around. Some folks use them as primary-defense pistols, while others relegate them to the role of backup guns.

There are a good number of folks who often rely on a pocket pistol but spend their practice time with a larger handgun. Don’t assume that because you’re confident and competent with the preferred “full-size” pistol that you’ve developed the skill set necessary for equal competence on the pistol you perhaps more likely will have to rely on.

Pocket pistols should be carried in a holster! Well-made pocket holsters protect against accidental firing by covering the trigger, position the gun in the same way in the pocket every time and break up the outline of the gun, making it more concealable and less likely to “print” while in the pocket. With the pistol in the pocket, you should be able to obtain a firing grip, with your finger straight along the outside of the holster, and pull the gun from the pocket, leaving the holster behind. Now here’s the important part: Never, ever attempt to re-holster the gun with the holster in the pocket. Keeping the pistol pointed in a safe direction, finger off the trigger, safety on (if there is one), take the holster out of the pocket, re-insert the pistol, then carefully place the holstered handgun back into the pocket.

Depending upon how big you are and the size and cut of your pockets, you may wish to pocket carry with the pistol in a front trouser pocket or rear pocket. Pocket carry is possible in jacket pockets as well. Have you ever seen a police officer approach a driver with his or her support hand in a jacket pocket? You can bet that hand is grasping a gun, most likely a small revolver. While not strictly pocket carry, I know people who use a pocket holster as an inside the waistband holster, either in the appendix or behind the hip position. The same careful holstering rules apply to this carry method.

Here are a few drills you can practice with your pocket pistol. If you’re really comfortable with drawing the pocket gun, start these drills with the handgun holstered. If not, it’s best to start with the pistol in the hands at a low-ready, muzzle-depressed position. After each shooting drill, top off or reload the pistol and carefully and safely return it to your starting position. This isn’t a quick-draw drill. Take your time and keep the finger off the trigger until your sights are on target. Considering the role of the pocket pistol, you can do these drills at close range — 3 to 7 yards — on paper. If you want to practice on steel targets, maintain a safe distance of 7 yards or farther.

Drill #1: Fire 2 rounds to the vital zone of your target. Repeat. Total of 4 rounds.

Drill #2: Fire 2 rounds to the vital zone of your target and 1 round to the head zone. Repeat. Total of 6 rounds.

Drill #3: With two targets placed side by side, fire 2 rounds to the vital zone of each target. Repeat. Total of 8 rounds.

Drill #4: Repeat Drills 1 through 3 by taking a step to the side as you bring the pistol up on target. Total of 18 rounds.

A little practice with your pocket pistol will pay big dividends in improving your accuracy and confidence. Put down your favorite big pistol for a while and spend some time with your little, constant companion.

SKILLS: Trigger Jerk: How to Solve It

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Trigger break is the “last thing” that happens in making an accurate shot, and if it’s not done well, you’ll probably miss… Here’s how to fix it.

finger on trigger

SOURCE: NRAFamily.org, George Harris

The Problem: Up until this point in your firearm training, the emphasis had been on achieving an acceptable sight picture and squeezing the trigger in a slow and steady manner until the gun fired as a surprise. That had been working fairly well, until you attended a tactical shooting class where all the drills and exercises were timed. Your shots were so slow, the instructor joked about getting a sundial to time you. His emphasis was making a relatively accurate shot in minimum time, which he referred to as command detonation. By the end of the class you had developed a command trigger jerk, as well as a pretty significant flinch to go along with it. You see the value of making a shot on demand, especially in a defensive situation, but hitting the intended target while jerking the trigger and flinching as well is iffy at best.

The Solution:
The objective of shooting is hitting your target. With that in mind, a person can’t shoot fast enough while missing the target to accomplish anything but the expenditure of ammunition. A good axiom to go by is: Shoot only as fast as you can hit your target. Keeping that in mind, it seems like perhaps you need to redirect your thinking a bit to speed up your shot delivery.

The first thing to do is remove the word “squeeze” from your vocabulary when referencing trigger operation. Squeeze in any other sense of the word means compressing all of your fingers as well as the palm of the hand together to hold or apply pressure to an object. Think of squeezing a tube of toothpaste or the hand of another with whom you don’t want to lose contact. Making those types of motion with a gun in hand will cause the muzzle to move off the target, low and to the inside as the trigger is being moved to the rear, therefore resulting in a miss.

In this case the trigger jerk comes from the tightening of the whole hand on the gun trying to make the shot as quickly as possible without regard to the muzzle’s position on the target. The flinch is usually a result of several stimuli that trigger responses in the emotional mind. Think fight-or-flight, self-preservation response, or the subconscious response to an unexpected or surprise event.

Being under the assumption you have undergone the noise- and recoil-inoculation drills in your previous training (both of which will all but eliminate the tendency to move involuntarily — flinch — when the gun fires) likely leaves the sound of the beep (go signal) as the likely culprit for the cause of trigger jerk. This is because it comes unexpectedly at random times which, for lack of a better phrase, scares you into action.

One of the methods we use to overcome the phenomenon of trigger jerk is simply to listen to the “go signal” while thinking that this signal is permission to do something you like to do. That is to shoot. This puts your brain into a “Let’s do it!” perspective as opposed to an “Oh $@&*%!” response when the signal is given.

The next step is to correct the deficiencies in trigger jerk, grip and trigger manipulation to where the trigger finger can move at any speed, independent of the rest of the hand, without affecting the position of the muzzle on the target. This can be done dry with the “Wall Drill,” which will give the basis for the live-fire segment, which we call the “Now Drill.” Try it without the beep at first, then integrate the beep once the trigger can be quickly and smoothly operated without moving the muzzle.

The “Now Drill” is a really simple exercise for the experienced shooter. A good starting point for a shooter new to the concept is placing an 8-inch paper plate at 7 yards while standing with the finger on the trigger, aiming at the plate, waiting for the command to fire. When the signal to fire is given, the initial goal is to hit the plate in one second or less with one shot. As proficiency and skill improve, times can be shortened and distances increased to further the challenge of shooting an accurate shot on demand.

A cautionary note should be included for this drill. Regardless of whether you call it command detonation, the now drill, or anything else, the student should have basic marksmanship skills firmly ingrained and extensively practiced well beforehand. This will lessen the likelihood of creating unnecessary problems such as a trigger jerk or a flinch when trying to increase their speed.

He who hits first wins, regardless of the speed of the opponent’s miss.