View Full Version : Defense session with the wife.

Long Path
October 12, 1999, 11:16 PM
Due to a fool acting agressively toward me and my family in front of our abode, my wife found herself suddenly nervous while I work nights. Good. At least the point is driven home that you must be vigilant, EVERYWHERE.

So, off to the range we went. What gun were we to make the house gun? She doesn't trust the tired old .38 S&W that I gave her when we were dating 5 years ago, and I don't either. Springs are tired, and it sometimes goes "click" instead of "bang."

So we started her on the Buckmark at 4 yards. Very good, but 6" low. I'm talking .75" groups, 6" Low. Thinking the sights were off, I spied a grasshopper at the corner of the target. I borrowed the Buckmark. No more grasshopper.

So we went to my Gold Cup. Same exact grouping. Low and tight.
I pulled out a Mk IV Series '70 .45. Low and tight. (230g LRN over 6.5g Unique for ~850fps.)

At this point, we're shooting numbered paper plates at about 5 yards. "#2!" I shout. "Bang-bang." "#5!" "Bang-bang."

All the shots are going low. At 5 yards, they're about a foot low, now! I put my hand under hers, and feel the low flinch as she pulls the trigger. This is one of the more consistant flinches I've seen! ;)

Just out of curiosity, i raise the rear sight of my Gold Cup about 16 clicks. It helps, but not much.

I tell her what I think is the problem, and she endeavors to correct.

We now are shooting her late father's Berretta M.90 .32 acp. She's surprisingly good with this, firing tight groups in the middle of our plates at 4 yards. She, of course, wants to rely on the .32 (some emotional attatchment has to be part of this, but the little pistol really is a sweet shooter). I wanted to try a little more.

With my 6" Officer's Model Special .38 Special and 158g lead SWC, she was golden! Double action, everything was X-ring. This is the house pistol for her! I was very impressed. I think that the D.A. pull helps her overcome that downward flinch.

On a hunch, I tried her on the Kel-Tec P-11, not generally considered an easy pistol to shoot well (hard DAO pull, short sight radius, 15 oz pistol with full-house 9mm loads). She did great! All shots inside of the 7-ring, so to speak. I gave her her choice, and she preferred the Colt. Well, so do I.

It was getting dark, so we loaded up the 1100 with 8-shot, and proceded to practice charging it, bringing it up, and quickly engaging multiple tartgets at 6 yards. I'm going to need new target backstops.

On the way driving back in, we discussed contengency planning with firearms.

This was a lengthy process, but I feel a bit better when I leave the family at the house, now. So does Chris.

Will you, too, be one who stands in the gap?


Jessica Wellman
October 14, 1999, 10:13 PM
Kel-tec P11? Never heard of it. And what's DAO pull. You guys and your abbreviations!!

Sounds like Chris had a good time. I'm sure you will rest easier knowing she can protect the family in your absence.


Long Path
October 15, 1999, 10:14 AM
Lady DJ--

Kel-Tec P11 was one of the coolest innovations of the time (only about 3 or 4 years ago), in that it's pretty much the first real "pocket pistol" in 9mm. I've always felt that the 9mm would shine as a concealable pocket pistol cartridge, but is a bit under-powered for most main-battery usages. Anyway, the P-11 is very inexpensive at about $230, holds 10 + 1 shots, and is very simple to operate, because it is "DAO".

"DAO" means that it is Double Action Only. Double Action means that you are cocking the hammer as you pull the trigger. Most modern revolvers are double-action, but can be cocked, so that you can fire it Single Action, which is a lighter, shorter pull. About half of the semi-auto pistols out there are SA (single action), which means that you have to have it cocked before you pull the trigger, which necessitates carrying it on safety, or chamber-empty (Conditions 1 and 3, respectively, but that's another discussion).

ANY-flipping-way, ( :)) the P-11 cannot be cocked, like, say, the Berretta 92-F or the Taurus PT-99, or a bunch of other auto-pistols can. It can only be fired after that lonnnnnng hard trigger pull, that cocks the hammer with each pull. It takes some getting used to, and is not particularly conducive to fine accuracy, but that's not what the pistol was designed for; it was designed to be reliable and safe and extremely simple to use. If you're familiar with the Smith and Wesson Bodyguard snubnose shrouded-hammer revolver, this is operated in exactly the same manner in firing, and indeed, serves the same purpose. The safety is the trigger pull, which is so very heavy, one could pick up the loaded pistol by the trigger, and twirl it around by the trigger, without it going off (ahem. This is not advised... ;) ). Some P.D.'s are going to a DAO auto pistol now, partly in an attempt to save the lives of the people the gun gets pointed at by preventing accidental discharges by nervous cops with their fingers on the triggers of SA autos, and partly because there was a concern that the average street cop would be confused by the concept of knocking the safety off before shooting. Either concern, of course, would be overcome by proper training, but so many departments try to equip themselves out of proper training. It does help make sure that the gun only goes bang when the guy holding it means for it to, though, so maybe, given the status quo, that's a pretty good thing.

Wow. How I do ramble on. Keep asking questions! Gives us a chance to purge ourselves of all this stuff we've been collecting ceaselessly for decades... :D



Will you, too, be one who stands in the gap?


Jessica Wellman
October 15, 1999, 11:47 AM
Thank you Long Path. I enjoy reading on TFL, but sometimes I have to copy and send to other more experienced people and ask them:

I believe I shot a Sig the other day that was the same way. My first shot was very hard then the second shot was much easier. From the best of my memory it was the Sig. I shot about four different handguns that day. At least now I know what you are referring to with DAO.

Thanks again.

Zach Vonler
October 15, 1999, 03:46 PM
LadydeeJ: Almost, but not quite. The Sig that you fired was DA for the first shot, but the subsequent shots had the hammer cocked for you by the backward movement of the slide. In addition, you could have made the first shot like the rest by thumbing the hammer back before firing. A DAO pistol does not have an exposed hammer (so you can't make the first shot easier), and does not automatically cock the (non-exposed) hammer when the slide goes back (so all of the shots are the same as that first long, heavy pull).

Jessica Wellman
October 15, 1999, 05:31 PM
I see Zach...thanks.

Uuugghh..so much to learn. :)

October 16, 1999, 02:30 AM
Try a Glock. They don't like being called DAO, but they are. And most wheel gun (revolver) shooters transition to Glock easily BECAUSE of the long DAO pull. No hammer to pull back, so no single action second shot. Try one, you might like it. They come in several sizes from full to compact and in many calibers from 9mm to 45acp. They are a bit more expensive than a Kel-Tec, but they are a fine pistol if shot with factory ammo. I don't believe either the Kel-Tec or the Glock do well with reloaded ammo. Meaning that you or someone besides original ammunition maker loaded the 'bullets' for you. Hope that helps.

Long Path
October 16, 1999, 04:24 AM
Wallew: Wrong-o! I not only have fired my Keltec almost exclusively with reloads, but have fired and seen fired at least 3 other P-11's with literally thousands of rounds on my range. Reloads are not the problem with Kel-Tek, Glock, or any other pistol out there; BAD reloads are. I once loaded up a 1000 truncated cone .40 S&W's for a friend's Glock, exactly to specifications that fired beautifully in an uncle's Beretta. Didn't work. Why? They were loaded too long for Glock magazines, and had binding problems with the edge of the meplat dragging in the magazine. Bumped 'em back a few thousanths. Still no good. Wrong reload for the gun; BAD reload. Regular FMJ, it ate up like good pastry.

Now, we get plated TMJ 124g .355 bullets cheap, so we load all our 9mm to pretty much factory spec, and I've NEVER seen a failure to feed with that stuff, ever. Glock 19s and 17s really like that stuff. My KelTec even likes flying ashtrays. Keltec will, by the way, ramp your pistol for free, if you'll send it in, say, for other work (they'll add Trijicon night sights for $90, installed).

Will you, too, be one who stands in the gap?


Jessica Wellman
October 16, 1999, 07:50 AM
Hi Wallew, I've shot a Glock 19 twice. The last time I used it my five shots were all together in a tight little group. Don't you hate braggers. :D :D :D
Seriously, I did excellent with it and I remember my first shot was very hard to pull with that one too.

Long Path
October 17, 1999, 03:20 PM
With the Glock, all the shots will be a bit hard. It's sort of a lighter Double Action Only (Glock calls it "Safe Action," or some such-- part of the safety against negligent/accidental discharges is in a little petal that extends from the front of the trigger and must be depressed, rather than the traditional long, hard pull of a DAO). When discussing SA vs. DA vs. DAO, Glocks are just an anomaly; they don't really fit into the picture. They come closest, though, to being described as a very light DAO.

October 27, 1999, 11:14 AM
For a right hander shooting low and to the left means too much finger on the trigger. Have her back off on her finger a little bit and get a tighter grip on the pistol and see what happens.

Hope this helps, Mikey

When Guns Are Outlawed, I Will Be Another One Of The Quarter Million Violators Who Are Not Prosecuted

Edmund Rowe
October 27, 1999, 06:41 PM
Hits going low left can be several things.

-Not following through/looking at the target after the shot
-dipping the gun during the trigger press
-jerking the trigger (don't think NOW think almosssssstttttt)
-squeezing the grip too hard with the third and fourth fingers.

We cannot effectively diagnose over the internet, but one way to figure out what's happening is do a lot of (SAFE!) dry fire somewhere and see if the gun is shuddering, dipping, flinching, whatever. Then figure out what's causing that unwanted motion and strive for no gun motion at all as the trigger breaks.

Figuring out the problems dry-firing is a LOT cheaper than going to the range shooting live ammo. The next trip to the range should mostly verify that you're doing it right.

After you get the basics, some more advanced stuff like compressed trigger break and presentation from a holster and such is in order.

Hope I helped.


Long Path
October 27, 1999, 07:22 PM
My first order of business needs to be to get her under the tuteledge of another instructor. I'm her husband, and although we did fairly well last time, husbands should NOT attempt to teach their wives, on the whole. Especially when the husband's father is a certified instructor and is available.

BTW, who said her shots went left? Her shots were all clustered tightly at 6 o'clock, exactly.

Agreed that dryfire is very important. It's also easy to do, given that we've about settled on a double-action revolver for her for now.

Her grip on the pistol is almost too much, if anything. Her fingers are white, her hand fairly trembles, and her wrist is locked. My wife is 5'8" a sculptor, and has very strong grip. My first intuition was to tell her to grip the pistol tighter, lock her wrist more-- I swear she near squeezed the lubricant from the gun! :)

It's a true flinch. I ascertained that with the old "empty chamber technique" on auto guns-- she did well enough with the DA revolver that she didn't need it.

We're not working on holster presentation for quite a while. We're practicing a good solid Weaver with stress on sight picture and trigger squeeze, right now. For fun (and probably too early at that), we did practice coming up from Weaver Ready and popping called targets.

Edmund Rowe
October 29, 1999, 09:25 PM
They weren't low left?
Doom on me and TheOtherMikey