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Monday, November 16, 2009

Inexpensive Firearms Practice

As anyone who owns a firearm knows, shooting skills are "perishable" - if you don't practice on a regular basis, your ability to put bullets on a target diminished greatly.  Anyone who golfs once a year at the company tournament can understand this.  Without practice, you can make yourself look pretty silly.

Obviously, when using a handgun, the stakes are much higher.  A bad shot can result in an innocent person being harmed or killed.

Two of the biggest excuses people have for not going to the range on a regular basis are time and money.  It may take a couple of hours out of your day to pack up all of your gear, head to the range, put a decent number of rounds down-range, then pack up and come home.

With the cost of ammunition and the difficulty in finding certain calibers of handgun cartridges, it can become cost-prohibitive to practice on a regular basis.  Plus, each time you do go down to the range, you have to pay the range fees and target costs.

This is where Air Soft pistols can eliminate both of these excuses.  While they won't fully replace real handgun practice, they do offer a fantastic option for what is perhaps the most important aspect of using a pistol:  First shot accuracy.

I teach an Advanced Pistol class where the overall philosophy is to be able to quickly and accurately hit multiple targets with multiple rounds.  I explain up front that this is not a traditional marksmanship class, per se.

For instance, one of our objectives is not to see how many rounds can be put into a half-inch circle from 10 yards.  It is to learn how to put two or more rounds into an 8 inch target at 10 yards in 2 seconds.  Misses are unacceptable.

To meet that standard, your first shot has to happen VERY quickly.  As soon as your arms are fully extended, the trigger must be pulled.  Immediately.

So how do you do that - essentially shoot your gun without aiming?

By repetition of motion practice.  We find the natural point-of-aim of the shooter and leverage that basic mechanical motion to allow them to "hit paint" with a very high degree of accuracy.

After every class, I drill into my students that they need to go home and practice their first shot drills with an Air Soft pistol.  Basically, start from a high-compact gun position, extend their arms and fire the first shot ONLY.  Again, and again, and again until it becomes second-nature.  They don't need to align the sights in the traditional sense - their body does it for them.

You may have noticed that I have stressed that this is for the first shot only.  That is very important to heed this suggestion.  Obviously, with a real handgun, after the first shot, you're going to have the muzzle rise from the recoil.  You won't have this with an Air Soft gun.  If a student practices double- or triple-taps (I hate that phrase, but you know what I mean), they will get a false - and potentially deadly - sense of confidence.

The second shot will go off in a direction that IS NOT the center of mass of the bad guy.

IMO, the only way you can accurately train for multiple, rapid shots on target is with the guns you expect to have in your possession, and with live ammunition.  Using the Air Soft guns let's you practice the first part of the shooting equation very inexpensively.

Accept The Challenge

If you own a handgun, practice with it on a regular basis.  If you truly want to become proficient at stopping a threat without endangering others around you, practice is a MUST.

Consider using Air Soft guns by setting up a target range in your backyard or, as I do, in my garage.  You can pick up a spring-loaded Air Soft that mimics virtually any widely available handgun for less than $20.  The CO2 powered models are often made of metal (with some running very close to $100), and more accurately reflect the size and weight of a real handgun.

If you need to justify spending $100 on a "toy", take your average cost of a box of your ammunition, multiply it by the number of boxes you shoot when you go to the range, and divide that into the price of the Air Soft gun.  It pays for itself pretty quickly.

The Air Soft "BBs" are incredibly inexpensive (they're little plastic pellets).  If used indoors in a garage out to perhaps 10 yards, the accuracy is well within the tolerances needed make the training worthwhile.

Another benefit of the Air Soft guns is that you can practice shots while you are moving.  You are not restricted to a stationary shooting point in the range.  As long as you are only taking one shot at a time (take a couple seconds between shots), this can give you some extremely valuable defensive shooting practice.

Copyright 2009 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

1 comment:

riverwalker said...

Great post! Simple and straight forward advice. Thanks.