How do we know we’re doing the Fundamental of Pistol Shooting correctly? That’s where Standards and measurement come in. The term ‘Standards’ is intimidating to many people so if it makes you more comfortable, say ‘baseline’ instead.
The most important thing is to have a Standard, any standard. As the saying goes, “If you don’t know where you’re going, there’s no road that will get you there.” Even the gurus of 20th Century ‘point shooting,’ Fairbairn and Sykes, had standards their officers had to meet.
Another aspect of the situation is that Standards introduce pressure. Pressure brings about failures, both human and mechanical. The book Holloway’s Raiders https://www.amazon.com/Holloways-Raiders-Captain-R-Walt-ebook/dp/B01LWMDZ4D has an excellent example of a pistol that worked fine at the range but malfunctioned when the officer got into a gunfight. The gun was no different, it was how the officer handled it under the pressure of a gunfight that changed the pistol’s performance. Chuck Haggard https://agiletactical.com/ and I have both observed that malfunctions are far more common in POlice gunfights than is generally acknowledged. This phenomenon is well documented in the LAPD Categorical Use of Force reports. https://www.lapdonline.org/police-commission/categorical-use-of-force/
When shooters enter competitions, it’s very common for malfunctions in their pistols to show up. “I don’t understand it, my gun never malfunctions when I practice but here I’m having a lot of problems” is a frequent comment by new competitors. Consequently, the Standard you choose is less important than simply having one, and the pressure it brings about, in the first place.
The most relevant shooting task for those who want a CCW is to pass the Qualification Course, if their State requires one. Millions of people who obtain Licenses to Carry have had to qualify with their pistol to get the license. Only a few thousand, a tiny fraction, will ever fire a pistol for Personal Protection.
Experienced shooters often tell new shooters “It’s easy; blah, blah, blah” with regard to shooting a Qualification. No, it’s not. For someone who’s never fired a pistol before, it’s a daunting task. Most people have not taken any test at all, even one on pen and paper, since high school. Testing of any kind is a process that is usually hated and feared. Add in the presence of a deadly weapon and the test becomes a huge psychological obstacle.
Time is an aspect of any deadly force encounter. The saying “There are no timers in a gunfight” is foolish. The most important timer, your life clock, is running the whole time. It can be stopped if you don’t react in time. One POlice who was involved in an extended gunfight said to himself, “Hey, I need to slow down and aim better.” What he meant was ‘I need to apply the Fundamentals, shoot better, and start neutralizing my opponent with bullets.’ He came to realize the concept that time matters.
If you don’t take the time do it something right in the first place, how are you going to get the time to do it over?My mother
Until the invention of electronic timers, there was no way to accurately time individual shots. Timers didn’t exist in the Fairbairn/Sykes/Applegate era, only stopwatches. And yet, even Shooting to Live mentions that an observer with a stopwatch can be a tremendous aid to improving performance.
Pick a Standard, any standard, and see how well you can meet it. If your State requires a Qualification Course, that’s a good place to start. If not, pick some Standard, they’re readily available on the Internet, and use that. Then, over time, improve your performance against the Standard. For instance, using 100% as your goal on the Qualification instead of the minimum passing score. You’ll be better prepared if you do have to defend yourself and you’ll feel more confident in general.
The final two parts of this series will feature guest articles about the Decisions aspect of the Fundamentals paradigm.
Tactical Professor books (all PDF)
- Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com
- Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com
- Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice
- Real Shootouts of the LAPD https://realshootoutsofthelapd.com/
- Thinking Clearly about Self-defense and Personal Protection https://www.payloadz.com/go?id=3377208
- Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com
- Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com
- Package deal of Thinking Clearly about Self-defense and Personal Protection, Serious Mistakes, Indoor Sessions, Concealed Carry, and Shooting Your Black Rifle (50% off) https://store.payloadz.com/details/2644448-ebooks-sports-shooting-drills-package.html
Purchase of any book includes Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make.