One of the instructions I give CCW students before they come to our range day is that they should bring a gun they are comfortable with shooting 500 rounds. My reasoning is simple, many people permit a tiny little sub-compact or revolver yet they never shoot it, in particular they never shoot it 500 times in one day. A second reality, most people never shoot any gun 500 rounds in a day in practice. Those realities don’t make a lot of sense and even I find myself leaving the house and quickly grabbing my Sig Sauer P938 because it’s light and thin although I do not shoot it regularly in practice.
What do you practice with? Working a trigger is working a trigger but . . Most of my students come to the range with their full size or compact guns, lots of ammo and spare mags but these are not the guns they carry every day. While certainly triggers are triggers and if you’re good at working one you should be reasonably proficient regardless of which gun is in your hand.
The problem comes from manipulations. The grip is considerably smaller than your full size. Often your grip is not as strong on these tiny guns. When was the last time you just sat and practiced pulling it from a holster and slapping a perfect grip on the gun? Over and over and over, so it is just like breathing, you do not even think about it.
How do you practice? Concealed? Moving? Point shooting? Long Range? If you ever need to draw your gun you will not have the time to get your grip just perfect and then begin firing and honestly your survivability in the violent encounter to some degree requires having an effective grip that allows you to get accurate rounds on target . . . FAST.
What about clearing your gun from concealment? When you go to the range do you work from concealment? What about at home? You walk around every day with your gun hidden. The skill and ability to get it out and into action FAST is critical to your ability to defend yourself and your loved ones. If you are struggling to get that garment out of the way, or if your gun snags something on the way out it could all be over right then as the Bad Guy bowls you over onto the ground.
I read this somewhere and it took a moment for the real meaning to sink in. NEVER DRAW YOUR GUN FAST . . . while standing still. Movement is a critical aspect of surviving a violent encounter. Moving away, moving to cover, ducking, running . . . something! Anything! Just MOVE! This should be so engrained that you have to consciously remind yourself to stand still when drawing your gun where you cannot move such as at an indoor range. Going for your gun and stepping off the line should be as normal as breathing . . . if you wish to continue to breath.
What about those close encounters? Hand to Hand with the BAD GUY? How often do you shoot without aiming? Merely rotating the gun to target without extending your arms and put effective rounds on target? If you are attacked most likely it will come at very close distances, your ability to simply point the gun is a critical skill. I cannot think of anyone I know who practices point shooting from the hip.
How many rounds can you place consecutively in an eight inch target from fifteen yards? Can you make that long shot from cover, or on your knees or from behind cover? Some of the most “frightening” shooting I see are from little revolvers and sub-compact semi-automatics from distance. It is not unusual to see students completely miss the Two foot by Three foot target at this distance. To deny that this shot is going to be required is like denying you need to wear a seat belt while driving.
For the sake of argument let’s just say you shoot that little pea-shooter pretty well but can you reload it fast? In interviews with citizens who have been in gunfights EVERY single one of them ran out of ammunition BEFORE the Bad Guy went away. In over 1,000 classes I’ve only had one student who could reload a revolver in a reasonable amount of time. In fact in all of those classes I can count on two hands the number of people who have even been able to qualify with a five shot revolver and reloading has consistently been a major weak link. For the sub-compact folks if you have to use two hands to remove your magazine you might want to consider a lot of practice and or modifications because every wasted second could be reducing your life expectancy. Your reloads should be fluid in motion, no wasted movements and FAST.
The key to success will be practicing your skills until they are running on pure sub-conscious memory. Practice them until there is no thinking required and then measure your effectiveness running drills. Keep track of your times and scores so you can monitor over time how well you are maintaining these critical skills. Run a scenario putting them all together. Include movement, shooting while moving, reloads, point shooting and long range shooting, make it fun and track your progress.
What’s in your little gun? What kind of ammunition are you betting your life on? What is the terminal ballistics for that ammunition using a little gun? There can be a substantial reduction in velocity using the same ammo in a two inch barrel versus a four inch plus barrel. Will it penetrate fifteen inches, deeply enough to reach internal organs? Will it open significantly on impact and will it retain its weight? With a reduction in velocity come a reduction of penetration and the bullet will often not open fully.
On an almost daily basis I come into contact with people who believe they need a tiny gun in order to conceal it and that belief is sorely off the mark. I have many students who carry a full size gun daily and there is no way you can see it. Those people realize what they shoot well, what they will practice with and are willing to do what it takes to carry a gun they KNOW will save their lives if needed. The concept of “I need a tiny gun” because I am going to carry really needs to stop AND should you be stuck in that track then you need to step up and shoot that little tiny gun only. To do otherwise is foolish and it will get people killed, either YOU or the Soccer-Mom down the street because you’ve not practiced with your pea shooter and cannot hit the side of a barn. Where there is the will there is a way.
I enjoy shooting but I enjoy training and practice more. I enjoy measuring my performance while constantly striving to improve. I like pushing it until the wheels come off for when they do I learn and that knowledge and expertise gives me the confidence to carry a gun . . . that should it ever be needed to save a life I know I will perform effectively.
Failing to train IS training to fail.
Liberty Firearms Training