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Old October 20, 2008, 04:43 PM   #1
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Practice Methods when you can't Live Fire

A lot has been said about aiming, shooting, and hitting your target under the stress of a gunfight. Most seem to agree that shooting a lot is the best strategy for practice. However, none of the ranges in my area allow drawing from concealment, or even rapid-firing (usually they will allow double taps as long as it is controlled). Below is one drill I do 3-4 times a week for 10 or 15 minutes - for practice when I can't shoot live, and for those techniques the ranges won't allow on their firing line. I am fairly new to CCW, and invite your analysis or feedback, and hope you'll share your training thoughts and practice drills.

This is all based on a scenario of an encounter with a BG where you draw from CCW and need to fire first (because otherwise you wouldn't draw - right?). With an verified unloaded gun, i chamber a snap cap and re-holster it. The drill is to make one motion and draw, thumb the safety off, put the gun on target and pull the trigger - keeping the gun on target. I quickly re-cock the hammer (to simulate cycling the action) and then complete the double tap. I always verify the sight picture after the second faux shot.

Anyway, I think i'm accomplishing the following:
a) practice drawing from concealment until it is fluid, fast, and automatic.
b) becoming intimate with the trigger in both single and double action.
c) Making the safety release automatic, every time i draw the gun.
d) drawing down on a target fast and BEING on target - fast and automatic.
e) making point-shoot as deadly as aim-take your time-shoot.

Am curious how the rest of you train when you can't perforate paper. So far this seems to have definitely improved my quick-shooting at the range.
"To my mind it is wholly irresponsible to go into the world incapable of preventing violence, injury, crime, and death. How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessness... How pathetic." - - Ted Nugent

"Cogito, Ergo Armitum Sum" - (I Think, Therefore I Am Armed)- - anon.
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Old October 20, 2008, 08:43 PM   #2
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i will practice several days a week in my bedroom with my S&W686-4pp. i do this mainly to be ready in case i need to react to a home defense situation.

my routine is to place the gun in different positions (barrel up, down, left, right) on hard and/or soft surfaces around the room. then i'll pick the gun up using either hand, aim at a target and dry fire. while i do this, i will see myself in an actual dangerous situation.

by playing this practice game, i hope to be as focused as possible, when the real thing comes along.

we cannot CCW in illinois

Last edited by vytoland; October 21, 2008 at 11:40 AM.
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Old October 21, 2008, 06:24 AM   #3
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+1 for practicing drawing. Do it with several different covering garments and from different positions. Be SURE you can quickly clear your clothing and get the gun out cleanly. Practice getting it up on target from the holster.

+1 for practicing releasing the safety, too, especially if you carry different guns with different safeties.
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Old October 21, 2008, 10:09 AM   #4
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Daughtry16, you are touching on an area of practice that far too few CCW folks take seriously. Most folks feel that as long as they have a gun on them and they shoot it OK at the range, they will be better prepared than most others should a gunfight come their way. Presentation drills is one of the most critical skills a CCW holder needs to master. And all so true that ranges typically forbid this exercise due to liability concerns.

I have always learned and taught presentation drills in a sytematic way. Once proper attire and equipment (firearm, belt, holster) have been determined, I start off training with a "by the numbers drill" in slow motion and practice this until the movements are fluid, repeatable and consistent. [I'll state it here, even though it goes without saying that these drills are performed with an unloaded firearm, verfied as unloaded by each person present.] Starting off slowly and progressing through each step repeatedly will provide the user with correct muscular memory and eliminate the majority of poorly trained habits.

I also agree that many different clothing examples need to be trained. A person training with a vest and a speed holster is not prepared when carrying an IWB holstered weapon under a sweater.

Daughtry16, I will give you my opinion on one thing as a critique. I do not practice presentation through execution 9shot fired) as one step. To do so, again, IMHO, may lead a person to shoot prematurely as a conditioned response. I do still time myself to see how well I hit from presentation but I don't train puling the trigger as the final step. Also, your motion of cocking the hammer again to fire a single action shot towards replicating the doubletap may hurt you over time. If you are conditioned to bring your thumb up behind the slide to cock it each time you shoot, you may inadvertantly place your thumb in contact with the slide causing a malfunction. Even if the weapon doesn't jam, you are conditioning yourself to shift your grip while firing.

Anyway, please don't think I am being critical, I applaud you for training this way. Best of luck.

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Old October 21, 2008, 12:48 PM   #5
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SnapCap dry fire training

Appreciate the feedback - it refines what i'm doing and confirms it. My typical carry is a Beretta 8000, essentially a compact model 92 in 9mm with ambi safety/decocker, IWB, cross-draw.

Keltyke - you're absolutely right - as soon as i sent the post i thought about how we all hope mere presentation could stop the encounter with no shots fired. Maybe 2 drills - presentation with hammer cock and finger off trigger - and a 2nd going through the shot - are better. Good point about the clothing, especially with winter coming.

ChrisP - good points. You fight like you train, so you train like you'll fight; i hadn't thought of re-cocking the hammer as anything but good. Suddenly i can envision breaking my thumb subconsciously trying to get off a 2nd shot the way i practice. Ouch. This is why i asked for perspectives.
"To my mind it is wholly irresponsible to go into the world incapable of preventing violence, injury, crime, and death. How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessness... How pathetic." - - Ted Nugent

"Cogito, Ergo Armitum Sum" - (I Think, Therefore I Am Armed)- - anon.
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Old October 22, 2008, 03:31 AM   #6
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I practice drawing a 1911 in Condition One in order to get the "muscle memory" down. I feel that this has to be done hundreds of times.
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Old October 22, 2008, 01:13 PM   #7
Bob F.
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If you carry/shoot a revolver, wax bullets are great for point-shooting practice. Yeah, they're sort of live-fire, but not really. I can pop 'em in my basement w/o disturbing anyone, although I do tell my wife what's happening if she's home. Lead contamination might be a concern.

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Old October 22, 2008, 01:30 PM   #8
Rob Pincus
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We just taped a great video for the PDV series yesterday with Claude Werner, Chief Instructor a the Rogers Shooting School, on dry fire practice and methodology. Claude has done a great job of breaking down dry fire procedures to ensure safe, effective and efficient practice that is as consistent as possible with live fire training and preparation for real world defensive shooting.

I highly recommend a trip to Rogers Shooting School to work with Claude live fire if you get the chance and learn more about his dry fire approach.

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Old October 22, 2008, 07:49 PM   #9
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Airsoft 1911

I have a gas-operated airsoft 1911 replica. I use that to practice drawing from my fanny pack, moving and shooting. I do it in my basement. Seems to work well.
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