Things That The Shooting Schools And Gun Magazines Don’t Tell You
THIS is just our personal opinion of course: Anyone who wants to learn how to use a handgun plainly and exclusively for self-defense and close combat is a complete FOOL if he spends his time, money, and energy taking one or more of the well-promoted and popularly touted “combat handgun shooting” courses that are given by so-called “name” instructors, and/or name instructor wannabes — which we have everywhere, including a couple here in Washington State. These courses certainly do provide the student with lots and lots of range time (that is, shooting time); but actual combat and wartime experience has proven that learning how to use a handgun in close quarters combat is a technically simple process, and that man-killing accuracy and competence can be acquired (assuming the right method is being taught) within a matter of a few hours, and with an expenditure of a single box of ammunition. This does not produce a competition shooter or a shooting “champion” — but competition shooting is irrelevant for close combat work with a sidearm, and so-called shooting “champions” are not necessarily combat shooters, per se. They are masters of managing totally impractical “race-tuned” pistols, and shooting expertly at unrealistic targets, under unrealistic conditions, at unrealistic distances, with unrealistic tactics, and with an unrealistic mindset.
Laugh or disagree at your own peril. We speak with half a century’s experience culling practical combat knowledge — armed and unarmed — from those who, in wartime, had been and done. If you wish to shrug off that which we have to say, go right ahead. It’s your ass, so to speak; and we do not debate facts.
Remember that gun magazines aim to make a profit by selling issues, attracting advertisers, and garnering subscibers. And the popular shooting schools that run week-long “basic”, “intermediate”, and “advanced” courses in combat shooting make money by enrolling people for extensive, and we’d say in our opinion, needlessly “padded” courses. The person wishing to be able to use a handgun in personal defense can learn how to do it in a few hours, and then practice what he’s learned on his own. Real combat teachers (like Jim Gregg, for example) conduct modest two-day courses, a little more extensive than, but very much along the lines of the courses Fairbairn, Sykes, O’Neill, and Applegate conducted, and along the lines of that which we also conduct, when we occasionally run students through a combat handgun course.
What follows is a synopsis of very significant and important things you really should understand and be guided by when you enter upon the study of handguns for self-defense. We teach these things, among others, to our personal students, and hope that they will benefit you.
1. While certainly the ultimate constant-carry self-defense weapon, the handgun is inferior to the shotgun, carbine, and rifle, and there is no special cartridge, modification, or “new technique of the pistol” that can change this fact. That ridiculous myth (popularized by Jeff Cooper) that by “using his ‘new technique’ you can shoot a handgun like a rifle” is horrendously misleading. You certainly might be able to shoot a handgun at what is in reality ranges appropriate to a shoulder weapon; however, the bullet that hits the target will NOT be as potent as a carbine, rifle, or shotgun round. Thus, the fact that you can “reach” targets at rifle range by using sighted firing means nothing. 1. Because you are reaching the target with a cartridge of greatly reduced power, and 2. Because in practically no handgun encounter is the range greater than about four yards!
A handgun is strictly a combat weapon for close ranges and quick reactions to violence.
2. Shot placement is the single most critical determing factor as far as the likelihood of stopping the individual you shoot, is concerned.
3. While it is always preferable to employ a heavy caliber handgun in combat, the so-called “lesser calibers” (which the competition commandos sneer at) are often excellent choices for many people in many different situations. The .38 Special and the 9mm are, despite popular bullshit, excellent rounds for personal protection. If the shooter does his job, the round will do its job.
4. Both revolvers and automatics are excellent, valuable weapons. And there are times when a revolver serves best. Revolvers are not “antiquated”.
5. The single most important factor that is required in order to be fully prepared to use a handgun in self-defense is that you be ready and completely willing to take a human life when necessary.
6. Quick draw, rapid reloading, weak hand shooting, and weapon retention are all ancillary, secondary skills, and a person can become fully prepared to use a handgun in self-defense without having acquired them. If you’re interested, you can learn these skills on your own.
7. Night shooting is actually easy when the correct, point shooting method of combat firing has been learned.
8. If you are interested, learn how to use your handgun’s sights for deliberate sighted shooting after you’ve mastered point shooting. Use of the sights is almost 100% irrelevant for close combat handgun work.
9. Unarmed and armed combat should be studied together. They compliment each other.
10. One single carry method and one single handgun will rarely be sufficient.
11. Practical carry methods differ greatly from what the competition commandos use. Ankle holsters, crossdraw holsters, shoulder holsters, small of the back holsters, and (some pretty odd!) specially-designed holsters for ladies are all very useful and important.
12. Your finger goes INSIDE THE TRIGGER GUARD as you acquire and ready your weapon. Never mind what’s done in matches or what nonsense you may see on a recent cop show.
13. You are in great danger when you hold a person at gunpoint!
14. When you fire, move! Never stand still or “plant” yourself.
15. An empy or disabled handgun is an excellent hand-to-han combat weapon.
There is not time or space here to elaborate on those and additional key points. For now our purpose is only to introduce you to them — since commercial interests apparently have no intention of ever doing so, and in some cases see these points as “unprofitable” for their commercial endeavors.
Unless you are a dyed-in-the-wool “gun bug” we’d say, “Stop wasting money on gun magazines, and steer clear of the ‘popular name shooting schools’. Take your money and buy a copy of Kill or Get Killed, Shooting to Live, and Quick or Dead. Take your weapon and practice the methods expounded in those works. And finally, pay attention to what we’ve presented here, and study our article Guidelines For The Armed Citizen in the Monthly Instruction Section of this web site.”