Category Archives: practice

Using Negative Targets

The Top 5 Missed Shots in Handgun Shooting

  1. The first shot.
  2. The last shot.
  3. The first shot after reducing a stoppage (which includes a reload).
  4. The shot after an Unintentional Discharge (it’s missed because it’s not fired).
  5. The first shot after the transition to another target.

The first shot is easily the most missed shot of all. Walking rounds into the target is a very common exercise. However, as Theodore Roosevelt wrote in his 1893 book Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail https://www.amazon.com/Ranch-Hunting-Trail-Theodore-Roosevelt/dp/1414505108 :

No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.

If the gun isn’t indexed into the eye-target line with adequate precision, relative to the distance involved, the first shot is likely to miss. Brian Enos called the necessary personal characteristic “visual patience.” Get the gun adequately aligned prior to pressing the trigger.

The last shot is often missed due to lack of follow-through. There always needs to be one more sight picture than rounds fired. Follow-through may be the least understood of all the Fundamentals of Pistol Shooting. https://thetacticalprofessor.net/2021/11/05/fundamentals-of-pistol-shooting-part-1/

A stoppage is any unintended interruption in the cycle of operation. Whether that’s a malfunction or simply running out of ammo is irrelevant. Any stoppage reduction is a complex motor skill. That means a combination of gross and fine motor skills. Once the stoppage is reduced, we need to transition back into the fine motor skill only (trigger manipulation) mode before we fire the next shot.

After an Unintentional Discharge, the next shot is frequently not fired at all, which is why it’s missed. Periodically, a POlice dashcam or badgecam will record an officer firing one shot, then clearly displaying some type of startle response, and then immediately reholstering. That means it was an Unintentional Discharge, even if shooting was Justifiable under the circumstances. In competition, shooters will occasionally have a UD and then look at the pistol in a dumbfounded way. If they’re not Disqualified by the Range Officer, they will eventually get back to shooting but it’s often several seconds later.

Transitioning from one target to another and then making a good hit with the first shot is difficult. Very few people ever practice it, which increases the difficulty. It’s a sacrilegious view, but my observation is that when someone who isn’t a highly experienced and capable shooter (GM, M, A, Expert) moves their eyes to another target ahead of the sights, the first shot is going to be a miss. If the target is in an unexpected location, this is even more true.

Understanding the Top 5 Missed Shots makes them easier to avoid and shoot gooder.

The following isn’t related to the 5, but it’s an interesting comment from a previous post on my blog.

If you can’t be bothered to expend fifteen minutes a week in dry practice, two extra magazines on your person are most likely meaningless.

Setting Boundaries and Communication

One of the most important personal protection skills we can develop is to set boundaries and clearly communicate them. Simply saying NO! in a firm voice is the most concise method of doing it.

Although the comment has been made that I give my clients permission to be rude, that has evolved in my mind to simply giving permission to say NO! As a society, we have placed so much emphasis on consensus and negotiation that our ability to firmly set boundaries and communicate them has become sadly neglected.

When someone refuses to respect a boundary that you have set very clearly, their intent becomes immediately clear. That clarity allows us to make definitive decisions about our own course of action.

Practice saying NO! every day in your normal daily activities. You don’t have to be mean or discourteous about it, simply say it firmly and with conviction. Often, when you say it, the other party will physically react and rock back on their heels. You have utterly reset their OODA Loop at that point.

The LCP Project – Ill-Annoy CCL Qualification (5 yard stage)

Continuing The LCP Project, this video shows the 5 yard stage of the Illinois (Ill-Annoy) Concealed Carry License Qualification shot with a Ruger LCP. This stage was shot by drawing from a concealed holster, although a concealed draw is not required when shooting the Qualification to obtain a CCL. The 10 required shots were fired as 3 shots in 3 seconds 3 times. The 10th shot was a shot to the face in 3 seconds.

The 5 yard face shot reminds me of something my Dad once said to a would be robber, “Do you want it in the belly or the teeth?” The robber suddenly remembered an appointment he was late for and left. No shooting was necessary in that incident. My shot placement on the Qual was unintentional but brought back a memory.

Ammo for the LCP Project was furnished by Ammoman https://www.ammoman.com/

The 10 yard stage video can be seen at https://youtu.be/3EKAoExWDE0

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Purchase of any book includes Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make.

STOPP Presentation at Rangemaster Tactical Conference

https://www.payloadz.com/go?id=3381307

The LCP Project – Ill-Annoy CCL Qualification

The Ruger LCP is a far more capable gun than it’s given credit for. The LCP Project is intended to show what the gun is capable of and some modifications and equipment that are useful when carrying and shooting it.

This video shows the 10 yard stage of the Illinois (Ill-Annoy) Concealed Carry License Qualification shot with a Ruger LCP. The target was a standard B-27 with the addition of a legal size sheet of paper. The sheet of paper is the size of the scoring area of the Illinois POlice qualification that the CCL Qual is derived from. The score on the legal sized sheet was 100%. Note that when the Course is shot to obtain a CCL, hits anywhere on the silhouette count and only 21 hits (70%) are required to pass.

Ammo for the LCP Project was furnished by Ammoman https://www.ammoman.com/

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Purchase of any book includes Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make.

STOPP Presentation at Rangemaster Tactical Conference

https://www.payloadz.com/go?id=3381307

Defense of Others

#fridayfundamentals

‘Self-defense’ is only one subset of Personal Protection. Defense of Others is the other subset. September’s Armed Citizen column of the NRA Journals Shooting Illustrated – September 2021 has two incidents involving Defense of Others. Both occurred in public places outside the home. One was successful, the other Not So Much. Defense of Others situations often do not fall in the 3 shots, 3 seconds, 3 yards paradigm.

In the successful incident, a man and woman were in a Madera, California Wal-Mart parking lot. The man was attacked, the woman pulled out her pistol from her car, fired one round, and dropped the attacker in his tracks at 10 yards. In the words of commentator Raymond:

In the Not So Much successful incident, Calvin ‘Mad Dog’ Gonnigan shot at three people in Chicargo who were celebrating Independence Day. A nearby Concealed Carry Licensee shot at ‘Mad Dog’ but only peripherally wounded him several times. ‘Mad Dog’ left but then came back to murder one of his victims by shooting her in the face and even further seriously wounding the other two victims. Eventually, the POlice arrived from the District Headquarters, which was a block away, and took ‘Mad Dog’ into custody.

Photo: Chicargo POlice Department

Madera County is largely rural. It’s a likely bet that the woman had practiced her aim before. Chicargo, being an urban area, is unlikely to result in much practice. That’s probably why ‘Mad Dog’ did most of his shooting at close range and probably why the CCL was not particularly successful. The Illinois qualification course can be passed by only hitting one shot out of 10 at 10 yards and that only has to hit an arm of the silhouette target.

For those who carry a gun not only to protect themselves but also to protect their loved ones and friends, getting in a little structured practice can be useful, maybe even life saving. Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com has a series of drills that could be done even in Chicargoland. And Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make is included with your purchase.

Tactical Professor books (all PDF)

Purchase of any book includes Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make.

STOPP Presentation at Rangemaster Tactical Conference

https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/09/14/stopp-presentation-now-available/ https://www.payloadz.com/go?id=3381307

Recognition Primed Decision-making (part V)

As stated in Part IV https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/07/31/recognition-primed-decision-making-part-iv/ of the series:

A predator also has a group of Options/Reactions when the intended victim begins to Confront or Resist rather than being caught up in the Victim Mix.

Since Boyd’s Process is iterative and interactive rather than static, a predator takes a ‘turn’ in the process after the intended victim’s response. If the intended victim Freezes or Complies, the predator will exploit the opportunity. Even if the intended victim chooses to Confront or Resist, the predator still has a group of Options/Reactions available, unless he has been instantly put out of action by the intended victim’s Resist choice. These options are similar, but not identical, to the intended victim’s list.

  • Fight
  • Flight
  • Comply
  • Freeze
  • Increment

An example of the criminal’s possibilities would be if an Armed Citizen responded to an armed predator by shooting the predator. If the predator was incapacitated by the shot, it would be a version of Comply because they are no longer threatening the Citizen. If the predator wasn’t incapacitated, he could also choose Flight, which is probably the most common response to armed resistance. In either case, the incident is no longer a gunfight. The Citizen must choose a different response than if the predator chose to Fight.

The sad case of Caroline Schollaert https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/08/12/suspect-held-at-gunpoint-temporarily/ makes clear that sometimes predators do choose the Fight option. Fight and Flight are not mutually exclusive. The unfortunate incident involving Lieutenant Williams in Chicargo https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/02/26/using-cover-effectively/ makes this abundantly evident. The lack of mutual exclusivity is another reason why chasing a predator who has taken flight can be dangerous.

Another possibility to consider is that youthful or first time predators may simply Freeze in response to an Armed Citizen Confronting or Resisting. When this happens, it’s neither Fighting nor Failing to Comply but rather simply becoming overwhelmed mentally when the predation doesn’t go according to plan. Initially, this may look like Compliance, say, to a command of “Don’t Move” or “Freeze,” but then when further commands are given, there is no response. We need to recognize the possibility that predators may not be completely in control of their own bodies once actual conflict begins. The attempted home invader in Hesperia, California https://www.foxla.com/news/shocking-video-captures-shootout-between-suspect-who-tried-to-break-into-home-homeowner-in-hesperia probably did not intend to pee in his pants during the gunfight. Even though he had enough presence of mind to use cover and to recover ammunition he had ejected on the ground, he wasn’t completely in control of his body.

Consequently, commands like “Get on the Ground” or “Hands up, Manos Arriba!” may not result in the predator doing what he’s told to do even if he wants to. The predator may not be able to do what he’s being told to. One of the best commands may be “Get out of here.” The idea that a predator will then intentionally flee to ‘a position of cover’ or ‘circle around’ to continue the fight is probably a figbar of gunwriter imagination. We can also give the “Get out of here” command to ourselves, if only mentally.

An experienced predator may choose the Increment response when Confronted. This is a dangerous situation for those Armed Citizens who lack experience at dealing with predators. It is the predator’s equivalent of the Negotiate response by a defender. However, the predator’s intent is to close the distance to the defender and gain a more advantageous position for a takedown or weapon takeaway. Two tactics can help prevent a Negative Outcome from such a situation. The first is that a verbal Confrontation must be forcefully delivered. Most people need to practice delivering commands before they actually need to. The saying “He who hesitates is lost” applies here. Hesitation is not necessarily in terms of time but also to being tentative when delivering a command. The second tactic is to have a ‘line in the sand.’ The concept of a line in the sand is the real utility of the Tueller Principle https://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org/44-our-journal/86-the-tueller-drill-revisited.

It’s also worthy of note that at any time after the beginning of the predation, third parties can and do inject themselves into the action. The recent case of an Armed Citizen who stopped an Active Killer event but then was shot by a responding Officer is an excellent, although unfortunate, example. Boyd’s Process is far more involved than the simplistic circular diagram usually depicted. Rather, the process then becomes an intricate flowchart that can be very hard to navigate.

Predators have their own array of options that are similar, but not identical, to the Armed Citizen’s. We need to bear in mind what those options are before we initiate our response to the initial predation. Knowing the predator’s possible reactions then allows us to be prepared for their response to Confrontation or Resistance. That response may not be what we want it to be and we will have to either counter it or take advantage of it.

Tactical Professor Information Products

STOPP Presentation at Rangemaster Tactical Conference
https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/09/14/stopp-presentation-now-available/

https://www.payloadz.com/go?id=3381307

Books (all PDF)

Friday Fundamentals – Ball and Dummy

My last post about shooting Dots https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/09/24/marksmanship-practice-shooting-dots/ generated a few questions about whether my ammo was bad. No, I incorporated random Ball and Dummy into the Dot Drill, just as I do in most of my practice sessions. Ball and Dummy, both random and alternating, is an excellent method for evaluating how smooth your trigger press is and if you are refining your sight picture adequately. This is not the same as practicing malfunction clearance, as mentioned in the article.

Highly recommended. My favorite dummies are from ST ACTION PRO. They are inexpensive, highly visible, and don’t get lost on the range as much as others do.

Tactical Professor Information Products

STOPP Presentation at Rangemaster Tactical Conference
https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/09/14/stopp-presentation-now-available/

https://www.payloadz.com/go?id=3381307

Books (all PDF)

tacticalprofessor

What is ball and dummy?

Sometimes, we instructors take our subject matter knowledge for granted. A friend posted that she was pulling a few of her shots low and left. She’s right handed. My reply was ‘ball and dummy.’ She then asked me what that meant.

Ball and dummy means interspersing dummy (inert) ammunition among your live ammunition during a practice session. It’s a key training tool at the elite Rogers Shooting School. The dummies can be random, e.g., three or four dummies in a 15-17 round magazine. They can also be alternating; i.e., live, dummy, live, dummy, live, dummy, etc. for the entire magazine.

The purpose of ball and dummy is to watch the sights when the dummy round is clicked on to learn how smoothly, or not, you are pressing the trigger. Ball and dummy for marksmanship training is NOT the same as an Immediate Action Drill…

View original post 277 more words

Marksmanship practice – shooting dots

#fridayfundamentals

I’ve written about shooting dots and the history of dot shooting in a previous post. https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2018/07/27/the-origin-and-evolution-of-dot-torture/

This is a video I made a decade ago about how to shoot dots. The Course of Fire details are in my previous post.

Tactical Professor Information Products

STOPP Presentation at Rangemaster Tactical Conference
https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/09/14/stopp-presentation-now-available/

https://www.payloadz.com/go?id=3381307

Books (all PDF)

The Sandra Ochoa Incident (Shooting Analysis II)

In a previous post https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/08/17/the-sandra-ochoa-incident-shooting-analysis/, I discussed Officer A’s shooting performance during the incident. The weapon system manipulation aspects also bear discussion.

This incident forced Officer A to manipulate two different flashlights in rapid succession. He approached the scene with a hand held light, which most industry professionals would consider a best practice. At the gate, he immediately had to make a SHOOT decision and held onto his handheld light while shooting using his weapon mounted light. His shooting grip was compromised as a result. This image capture is from immediately after his sixth shot.

It’s apparent he is holding onto his handheld light with the ring and little fingers of his Support (left) Hand and trying to wrap his index and middle fingers around his pistol. The compromised grip may have been part of the reason for his low hit rate with the first five shots. This observation is not a criticism of Officer A, rather it’s a recognition of the complexity of the manipulation problem he encountered. Having and rapidly using two different types of flashlight in succession is not a training drill we often practice, myself included.

As is often the case, technology has advanced more rapidly than practical doctrine for using it. Several possibilities arise for using the two lights.

  1. Simply do the best you can with what you’ve got, as Officer A was forced to do.
  2. Shoot one handed, while maintaining control of the handheld light in the Support Hand.
  3. Drop the handheld, shoot with the weapon mounted light, and then retrieve the handheld light when necessary or feasible.
  4. Have the handheld on a large flexible ring that allows it to be dropped without losing total control of it. This is the approach I am currently experimenting with.

It’s worth noting that one incident in Real Shootouts of the LAPD involved the use of a flashlight. Also, some of the tragedies referenced in Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make could have been averted by the use of a flashlight. The Ochoa Incident gives us some food for thought about the need for doctrine and practice with flashlights.

Other Tactical Professor books (all PDF)