tHE PERFECT PISTOL SHOT
Generally, when starting out or doing maintenance marksmanship training it is advisable to fire from 3-5 yards. This allows you to work on accuracy without problems from indoor range lighting or outdoor wind. When learning to fire at distances, start close and move incrementally to greater distances. The goal is to train yourself to believe that the ammunition does the work and the handgun is as reliable as your computer. You don't shoot "harder" at distances, and you don't shoot differently. The only problems unique to distance are wind, lighting, and vision. Everything else is a mechanical function and requires nothinng more from the shooter than when firing at close range. So take it in small steps from 3 yards and learn wind, lighting and bullet drop. It's that easy.
This afternoon an old friend of mine, who I knew to be an excellent shot in the Marine Corps, told me he had problems with sighting now that he wore glasses. I think that is a common complaint. The goal is a crystal clear front sight with a blurred rear sight and target for marksmanship. If you can't do that with your eye glasses, try a couple pairs of reading glasses at different magnifications. You can buy them in drug stores or dollar stores. You may otherwise need a "shooter's prescription" for eye glasses . I have noticed that an adjustment period with any type of glasses helps with sighting. Tell your eye doctor what you need to accomplish. Be patient, a lot of shooters with bad eye sight are able to sight very well.
Include long distance training in your shooting regiment. Successful long distance firing will increase speed at shorter distances and develop confidence in proven abilities. Distance forces you to confront wind by magnifying breezes. Likewise, lighting problems are dramatically increased when firing at distance. If you can fire your handgun at 100 yards, you will never have to worry about 15 yards (though too many shooters do.) Rifles are made for distance. If you can fire at 500 yards or more, do it, and 75 yard shots will be little more than point-and-fire exercises for you. Remember, in training, whether for recreational shooting or defense, you train to acquire skills, not to simply duplicate circumstances. If you only train to quick-fire at five yard silhouettes, that's all you'll be capable of doing. If you train to hit a bullet-sized point at 50 yards, man-sized targets at spitting distance are no problem. I am not suggesting you abandon tactical skills training. But as always, if you can't hit your mark, all the rest is just a waste of time and money.
One of the primary questions from defensive gun owners concerns the amount of ammunition to be kept by the individual. The broad answer is, "all you can afford." The real question is not the amount you should own but how much you should you carry. Circumstances matter, of course, but for a home defender you ought to have whatever your weapon holds and a reload of that much. I know there is merit in having a lot of ammunition but it is rarely used or needed. When it is needed it is because the shooter was irresponsible with his firing. An exception to the above rule would be a single shot or double barreled weapon. In those cases, take a pocket full of shells (hopefully, you've got something on the stock to hold extra rounds.) Pistol shooters will not need 31 rounds for a home invasion robbery. The 31 rounds ensures that the shooter has an extra magazine to protect against magazine breakage or malfunction. Whatever you decide to carry needs to be on a belt or sling (pouched ot looped) and ready to go. Boxes of ammunition are not ready ammo. Know the reason for everything you do defensively and then plan your defense according to those reasons. You don't need to carry all your ammo.
Movement in defensive situations can be critical. No one should stand still in the open or behind compromised concealment. Too often in training shooters run faster than they can assess surroundings and targets. When you need to run - run, but when you need to move tactically don't let your feet outrun your eyes and brain. If you shake your head from side to side very quickly, you will notice it is hard to recognize what you see and just as hard to stop the motion when you do recognize something. To some degree that is what shooters do with the enter-fast-and- wave-the-gun-around-like-air-freshner nonsense. When you are THERE and can't recognize and react, you're in trouble. Know what you can do and limit yourself to doing that.
Both Practical Tactical shotgun and rifle will be published on Amazon Kindle this weekend. Each piece is priced at 2.99 and compliment P/T Handgun. The series is intended to be a quick overview of single defender tactics with each of the three weapons. More than just a rehash of military or SWAT techniques, the information is intended specifically for lone operators.
It is not uncommon for people with guns to peek around doorways into dark rooms. There is a problem with that, of course, because the "peeker" is illuminated by the hallway or room he may be standing in. If you can't turn the other guy's room light on, at least turn yours off. If the darkness is equal but there is some ambient light, you will be able to see as well as the criminal and not have to give yourself away with a flashlight. Always use the tools under your control.
Albert League is a former Marine Corps and law enforcement firearm instructor who consults on a variety of security topics. He is the founder of the Practics firearms defense system and author of the Practics book series.(www.practicsusa.com)