Monday, April 21, 2008

We Get Letters

"All of the internst forums are full of ways to learn how to shoot a gun...can you receommend a gun and the right grips and holsters and how do you tell if it fits you?... who is a good teacher that teaches the basics of how to draw then shoot and how the best way is to do it?

First a little background; way back when, I had the good fortune to correspond with several of the top gunslingers of their day. Jordan, Cooper, Keith being the most recognizable. Each and every one of them wrote back because my address was a military one and I was a military guy, of this I am certain, and not because I made any sense or had a damned thing on the ball.

To a man, they agreed that a defensive firearm should have the largest grips possible so that by the time the barrel was pointed towards something in need of a hole the firing position was well established. Tiny lil grips mean fussing hour after hour to get the hang of shooting something not really designed for tiny lil grips, but such are the demands of the modern world. Retention holsters? Bill Jordan would look at the prototypes and gasp, being unable to comprehend why in all hells a cop would ever let someone get in a position to make a grab for his gun. Retention holsters inhibit the draw, making one a slower responder, but such are the dictates of the modern world.

If at all possible, arm yourself with a gun that has the largest grip area you can easily conceal, in a holster that is comfortable and, well, concealable. Doesn't have to be leather or plastic or mammoth skin as long as it doesn't itch, bind, or fall off. The gun of course should fit in it. That is always a good thing.

More Basics:

There are TWO things the wise gunslinger first does when confronted by a threat. At the same time. While reaching for his or her weapon, movement begins. Movement towards cover and/or concealment, or movement to simply make oneself a more difficult target. Drawing and moving. NOT assuming your range stance, Weaver, Iso, whatever. Range stances like the Weaver are for, oddly enough, the range. If in real life, you take the time to position your eyes, head, arms, hands, and feet, chances are you're heading for a body bag. Sight shooting, more often than not, is unheard of when confronting a lethal threat as time is of the essence. Draw and fire. Hunters and snipers and guys waiting for Charlie to get within range use their sights. Most others draw and fire.

Practicing at the shooting range teaches proficiency in the manual of arms for a particular weapon during the best possible conditions. Repeated attempts at acquiring a proficiency in said manual of arms is important, as familiarity with the firearm is a good thing. That said, I still cannot recommend standing stock still and taking aim during a life threatening situation. If however, you find yourself in the best possible conditions then by all means do your thing.

Who is "the best" teacher around? Next time leave me if not an address then at least a state. Failing that, check the yellow pages, and chat up the folks at the local ranges, using the information included herein as something of a guide.

As with everything in the real world, your mileage can and will vary. Different strokes for different folks. A stitch in time saves nine. Nothing that has been said is written in stone, and should be considered a basic primer, nothing more. There are more than one ways to skin a cat, and your particular ergonomics may very well be more conducive to other methods of training. Anyone who says that there is only one way, his way, should be shown the way to the highway.

Acquire a firearm that you are comfortable with. Practice with it as often as possible. Dry fire when going to the range is not going to happen. Get an airgun that approximates the configurations of your main carry piece and shoot, shoot, shoot to your hearts content in the comfort of your own home. There is no good excuse for not learning how to defend yourself. Once you've grown accustomed to the gun you'll use, and find yourself wanting advanced training...not that there really is such a thing for real-world encounters as a "civilian"...then shop around for a good instructor. But don't go cold. Learning the wrong way can be worse than not learning at all. Know a little bit about your gun, how it works, and what you'd like to do to improve your chances for survival should worst come to worst.

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