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Old October 10, 2005, 09:34 PM   #1
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Join Date: October 9, 2005
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Good tips on improving the way you train (it might save your life).

Hello, I'm a new guy from Finland, and I just thought I would introduce myself with this, so here goes, please comment!

As most of you know, when the 'real deal' comes to some unfortunate person, they uncosiously shoot as they have trained, this means bringing habit's picked up from the shooting range.
And most people shoot at ranges in a way that might get them killed when god forbid a real gunfight emerges against a bad guy.

I am quoting an old copy of Combat Handguns, but the lessons here are basically the same as we were taught in the Finnish army.

In other words after we had levelled off on an ordinary range with our assault guns and pistols, we were taken to the 'real' range's, where one had 'killing rooms' and 'cat walks' where one or two guys walked in a forrest or mock town enviroment with pop up targets coming from unknown places and distances.

This was the real way to train.

But as I have personally found out after starting my target shooting hobby in a Helsinki shooting club, where there is a small tunnell like 25 meter range and you stand still, this being the only way you practice can get you killed.

So, I will go through four steps of advice given by Combat handguns magazine in somewhat my own wording.

The best way to get accurate shots is staying still, and is a safety procedure in most civilian gun ranges.

The result is that when one shoots, one draws (we even have the pistols at ready in our club, not even practicing draw)! Then assume your favourite stance, which is only too often the legs apart, and hands in front, which is stable, but not the way to go into a gunfight.
Why, because in a fight for real you have to move! And move so that you zig zag as far as your deadly opponent is conserned.
Standing still is the worst, even a step sideways is better than nothing.
John Farnham said the most important thing to do in a close up gunfight is to move laterrally.

Simple, really if you dont have time, go for it with all the agressiveness you got.
If you do have time, ie, the gunman is robbing a diner where you are as a customer and his backup starts to look like he will shoot somebody, you have time to formulate a plan.
IF things arent that bad, you can deside wether you want to be a possible witness, or if you really do want to get involved. Only you can make that judgement, and should have run it through at least a fiew times in your head before, so you dont panic.
HE WHO HESITATES IS LOST. This is the basic mantra about getting into or perhaps, not getting into a gunfight.

Simple enough, but have you trained ever shooting from behind a chair, or a car door? You might have to shoot from behind a corner where your left side is the one that is exposed when you are right handed, practice at least sometimes shots with our 'other hand'.
Remember, behind something is better than behind nothing.

Again, simple stuff really.
Cover plus distance makes you a hard target to hit. The 'magic' distance in a gunfight is 8 yards (about 7½ meters), beyond that distance (a rough estimate ofcourse, which depends on many factors, but is good to go by, try memorizing what 8 yards is like when looking at a person), In the army we practiced pistol combat from usually ten meters, they said that anything longer ranged should be executed with our assault guns if possible.
Anyway, you also gain such advantages as keeping your gun, and having more reaction time if you have distance, and even more if combined with anykind of cover!
We train at 25 meters in our club, this is not so easy as we shoot from a standing position, and I try to shoot in a martial arts style position, with my torso bent forward, getting neat little groups is not commonly seen.
But, if you train for harder distances, then when having some distance, the chanches are the bad guy misses, while you get a body shot into him.

Using verbal commands might make the difference between shot's being fired or not, in both ways!

This is tricky, and one can do everything right and still have the gang banger on crack unload after words spoken that would make sence to most people.

In the majority of citizen involved cases the mear showing of a firearm makes the bad guy give up.
However, unlike in tv, not everybody will be conviced by a guy holding a gun, saying 'put the gun down and everything will be ok', this might be his potential stricke three, and he might not want to go to the pleasures of jail for another 30 years, he might opt for the deadly shootout instead. This also tells a story about prison conditions in general, and how improving them will certaninly lessen violent crime, but that is me rambling.

To cap it off I quote a short story from the same article, a rookie cop made his first felonly stop on a bank robber, who fortunately opted to cooperate.
The rookie was trying to stop his motorbike from falling, speaking to the cop radio, shouting orders to his first prize and keep aim all at the same time.
Probably a sight to see! Anyway, the felon screamed at him: "Listen officer! I'm a three time looser, I dont want to be shot by no rookie, slow down! Tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it!"

Words to live by, is how Ralph Mroz capped off his article.

I will cap off my post by a saying that I came up with when hearing the evergoing discussion of which calibre is the best, I said suddenly "The best calibre is between your ears". (I felt like a sudden beam of wisdom had just passed through me, the words came from nowhere, but I think it has some truth to it).

Please comment on how to train for the worst, or tale's of incidents that are instrucive.

Oh, and what calibre gun saved so and so for this and this reason, is a very valid point too!

Cheers! From Finland.
Mr Poundr.
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Old October 10, 2005, 10:54 PM   #2
Dave R
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Join Date: January 7, 2000
Location: Idaho
Posts: 6,073
Welcome, Pounder! And congratulations on a great first post. There is much wisdom there.

I got a lesson in how to train when I went shooting with my brother-in-law for the first time. He's in the FBI. I shot smaller groups than he did, with his gun! That's because I shot like I trained--slow fire, careful aim, etc. I'm very good at a still hold.

Then he showed me how he trains. He could draw from concealment, and put 3-4 rounds in a palm-sized group, almost faster than I could see. That's how he trains. To get the first round on the target FAST, and then get multiple follow-up rounds. That's what'll save your life in a defensive shooting--hits on the target FAST.

So I changed the way I train. I practice drawing from concealment and getting on target fast. I can't practice that at the range. They don't allow drawing from concealment. So I got some of Speer's plastic training bullets, which are powered by primer only, and I practice in my garage. It has really made a difference in my draw times.
I am Pro-Rights (on gun issues).
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Old October 10, 2005, 11:26 PM   #3
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Join Date: November 28, 2004
Location: Silicon Valley, Ca
Posts: 7,117

Welcome to TFL and we hope to hear more from you in Finland!

Your advice is spot on - train for reality, not for games or competitions. Learning to shoot on the move AT a moving target is a critical skill.

My training was about 30 years ago when the standard instruction method was to draw and fire from a Weaver or triangular stance. We did practice reloading, weak-hand firing, distances up to 50 yards and various positions (standing, kneeling & prone). Some of you older guys will remember PPC shooting ("practical police course"). To some extent, that's generally sufficient training to get someone off to a good start. Even with that outdated training, most serious CCW carriers (who practice) would be a step up on the street thugs.

We were told to NEVER carefully extract our spent brass (revolvers) or pocket magazines -- the lessons learned by CHP at Newhall were just too fresh [they found one of the dead officers clutching empty brass due to his training at the range].

Lots of people talk about caliber, energy, etc. but we all know what stops a fight is shot placement. To further help develop skills, invest in paper targets that outline the critical body organs in their proper positions. You'll learn that there are locations on the body that are as good or better than the "X" ring of a silhoutte.

But it all gets back to what my original instructor taught us;
Speed is fine; Accuracy is final.
--Vic Musser, FBI (ret)
Most ranges don't allow holsters or move & shoot drills because of liability concerns (and who can blame them?). Working as a team is even less likely, such as practice for husband & wife pairs.

My Tip:
Do you shoot with your feet apart, or one foot ahead of the other? If you're shooting large calibers or Magnum loads, try placing your strong-side foot about a 1/2 step behind you. This will do two things. First it angles your body to provide a slimmer target to your opponent (at least it did in my younger days!). Second, it allows your body to be balanced and move easier - retreat, advance, or even sideways, plus the rearward leg acts as a shock absorber for heavier loads.
BillCA in CA (Unfortunately)
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