View Poll Results: How Often Do You Practice With Your Carry Weapon?

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Thread: Competency - Responsibility, Legal Competency and Demonstrated Ability With a Handgun

  1. #1
    Regular Member ODA 226's Avatar
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    While we speak of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, CC, OC, caliber's weapon and holsterselectionetc., I have yet to see any thread on the importance of competency with a handgun and knowing your limitations as a responsible shooter.

    Having spent 18 years as a US Army Special Forces Trooper and 5 years as a LEO, I place a premium on marksmanship skills in all sorts of tactical and non-tactical settings. I religiously practice on a regular basis, usually weekly, with my carry weapon AND the ammunition that I carry on the street.

    It is expensive, but it serves one well to know where the round will strike with your chosen weapon/ ammo carry combination and will assist your defense if you are ever involved in a shooting incident. It additionally shows you what your limitations are as a shooter.

    How often do you practice with your carry weapon? What is your TRUE level of marksmanship? How often do you maintain your weapon and rotate your ammunition? Are you up-to-date on self-defense laws in your state? Do you KNOW that you are doing everything in your power to be a RESPONSIBLE citizen while carrying a weapon?

    I know that some may be offended by the above questions, but I truly believe that all of the above points are important for us as individuals and as a group.

    I am attaching photos of targets from my most recent trip at the range. I very well know at what ranges I can competently engage a man-sized target with my carry weapon and how fast I can engage my target and hit where I aim with a reasonable degree of professional certainty. Do you know YOUR limitations?

    I challenge all to post range photos, but please, be honest with your data! This is not a marksmanship challenge, but merely an attempt to get us thinking about our responsibilities as legally armed citizens.


    Bitka Sve Rešava!
    B-2-10 SFG(A)/ A-2-11 SFG(A) 1977-1994

  2. #2
    Regular Member ODA 226's Avatar
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    This target should have been written as 16 rounds, not 15.

    226
    Bitka Sve Rešava!
    B-2-10 SFG(A)/ A-2-11 SFG(A) 1977-1994

  3. #3
    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    Nice shooting ODA!

    I try to get to the range every few weeks. Since the only local public range is outdoor and 30 minutes away in the middle of nowhere, it is difficult to get to in the winter so I haven't been in several months (plus my weekends have been encumbered by my fiancee of late). Now with DST and longer daylight, I can run out to the range after work every few weeks again.

    My proficiency is not any where near where I want it to be. I developed an anticipation flinch last fall that is very frustrating and has eroded some confidence. I don't exhibit it at all during dry fire. I started training with snap caps mixed in the mags at the range which was rather effective towards getting me over it just before winter weather and other obligations interfered with my training. The more I think about my shooting the worse it gets. When I just relax and do it not a problem. Kinda like my golf game. Need more range time for sure.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

  4. #4
    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    Accurate range shooting. Very proficient. You would do well in our occasional postal shooting matches. What range do you use?

    There are many motor function skills that one should practice:

    1. Drawing a magazine from the magazine pouch to and reloading.

    2. Transitioning to a BUG with either hand.

    3. Quickly drawing one's gun from the holster.

    4. Turning on the voice recorder before OCing.


    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

    The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us....There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! ...The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come …………. PATRICK HENRY speech 1776

  5. #5
    Regular Member ODA 226's Avatar
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    Thanks Deep!

    Anticipation flinch is a big problem with many shooters, even extremely proficient ones. This occurs when you take too much time to "think" about proper sight alignment, body positioning, grip, recoiletc. As a matter of fact, the one flier in my 32 round group was caused by me "slapping" the trigger and I knew I had screwed up the moment the pistol discharged!

    There is a way to overcome this. Have a range partner load multiple magazines with a couple of dummy rounds interspaced with live rounds. Make sure that you do not know when the dummy rounds are coming up in the magazine.

    Then with each shot, lower your weapon into a low ready position and then present the weapon byPUSHING the weapon OUT and UP TO YOUR EYES, aim and fire within 3 seconds of presentation. Concentrate only on the front sightpost, smooth trigger manipulation and follow-through. Return to the low-ready position.

    If you are suffering from recoil anticipation and pull the trigger on a dummy round, your over-compensation or flinch will show immediately. After pulling the trigger on multiple dummies, you will no longer anticipate the recoil or if you do, it will be lessened with practice and time.

    If possible, video your shooting sessions. You will be able to observe and critique yourself and be able to SEE what you're doing wrong and correct yourself. This is something I've done for years and it has definately improved my shooting ability. I also keep records of all of my shooting practices just in case something "bad" happens some day and if I'm forced to go to court.

    I was really hoping to get more responses to this thread as I really think it to be important. I hope that more folks here will comment and post pics here also. Let's help each other become better shooters!
    Bitka Sve Rešava!
    B-2-10 SFG(A)/ A-2-11 SFG(A) 1977-1994

  6. #6
    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    That is the techniqe I was working with at the range, ODA. It's a totally psychological thing and it doesn't matter what pistol I'm using, ie it is not a "fear" of the round. Frustrating because it only shows up in live fire so it is not something I can work on off range.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

  7. #7
    Regular Member ODA 226's Avatar
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    deepdiver wrote:
    That is the techniqe I was working with at the range, ODA. It's a totally psychological thing and it doesn't matter what pistol I'm using, ie it is not a "fear" of the round. Frustrating because it only shows up in live fire so it is not something I can work on off range.
    I wish you lived in Virginia. I know that if we worked together on this, we could have you squared away in about an hour.
    Bitka Sve Rešava!
    B-2-10 SFG(A)/ A-2-11 SFG(A) 1977-1994

  8. #8
    Regular Member ODA 226's Avatar
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    Thanks Thundar! I shoot at Lynnhaven on the week nights near closing time. The staff there know me and will let me shoot my Class III weapons and shoot my pistols with no "speed limit".

    I also have a friend up in Saluda that has 100+ acres to shoot movers, steel and bowling pins, so I go to his property a lot.

    I agree with your recommended list of motor skills to master and I would add one more very important item: transitioning from strong-to-weak hand shooting. I would bet my next paycheck that less than 10% of the membership of this board have EVER fired a weapon, be it rifle, pistol or shotgun, with their weak hand.

    (BTW: Regarding drawing a weapon REMEMBER THIS... SMOOTH IS FAST!)

    This is a CRUCIAL skill in your shooting development. Think of all the times when making a transition to your weak hand exponentially increases your survivability, such as moving around corners, proper utilization of cover, etc.

    What IF you are wounded in your strong hand before being able to fire your weapon? Does the average OC or CCer know how to react? With no military or police experience, probably not. Even then, without advanced professional training that is practiced to the point of muscle memory even these advanced shooters may fail the ultimate test.

    I hope people will read this advice and take it to heart. Practice weak-side shooting. Practice mag changes. Practice making transitions to your BUG if you carry one.Practice immediate action drills. Do everything you can to ensure that you are totally prepared for ANY situation...mentally, physically, legally and mechanically.
    Bitka Sve Rešava!
    B-2-10 SFG(A)/ A-2-11 SFG(A) 1977-1994

  9. #9
    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    ODA 226 wrote:
    deepdiver wrote:
    That is the techniqe I was working with at the range, ODA. It's a totally psychological thing and it doesn't matter what pistol I'm using, ie it is not a "fear" of the round. Frustrating because it only shows up in live fire so it is not something I can work on off range.
    I wish you lived in Virginia. I know that if we worked together on this, we could have you squared away in about an hour.
    I do too. I would love to go shooting with you. I am sure it would be a "take it to another level" experience.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

  10. #10
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    Depends on the time of year how often I practice.During the summer when its warm it can be as often as once a week.During the winterit may be as infrequent asonce every two months.

    But then, I can't afford really to shoot anything other than a .22 every week. I can only really use "serious" calibers once a month or so.

    I always practice left hand only (left eye) and right hand only (right eye), as well as both hands. [both eyes are always open, but only one can line up the sights at a time]

    Honestly, I'm not a very good shot (relatively), but Iknow what Ican hit atvarious distances, and I wouldn't attempt a target beyond the distance that I felt I could safely hit it without endangering others.


    Even without being able to hit a nickel at 300 yards in 1/10 of a second left handed from the hip, and not knowing the proper techniques to root geurillas out of spider holes, I feel at the least much better prepared for defending myself and those around me than the average person who goes about unarmed.I know the stuff I mentioned in this paragraph is exaggerated, and that I'm not as proficient as I couldbe,but it takes timeand moneyto become the fastest shot in the west. I'm all for being more skilled though, and if I had infinite money you bet I'd practice all the time.


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    I go at least weekly. The local gun store has a 2 lane indoor range (25 yards) & meand the owner are pretty friendly, so the only rule he gives me is, "just don't shoot yourself."

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    I've only been to a range once. I've put many thousands of rounds into desert embankments, though.

    Lately I've been working a lot more on drawing and firing. I'll "hide" my target a few steps out of sight, then walk back towards it. As soon as it comes into view, I'll draw and fire once, then reholster, examine my shot placement, and go walk out of sight to repeat the process.

    (This is in a wash in the desert with only one way in and out, so there is no chance of someone getting into my shooting area without me being aware of it.)

  13. #13
    Regular Member mmdkyoung123's Avatar
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    Great post. I have an indoor range about 15 mins from the house and I try to go out there every sunday morning, but I make it out atleast every other week.

    P.S. just saw you sent me a P.M. ODA. sorry about the long response. kind of new to the forum thing still so haven't looked at those message things up top. LOL

  14. #14
    Regular Member ODA 226's Avatar
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    I've decided to keep this thread going indefinately. I really hope that someone else posts pics of their trips to the range....

    This is my last trip this weekend. Shot a little low at 75' but my firing cadence was a little faster than normal. (And NO I wasn't trying to make a smiley face!...my youngest daughter asked me that! )

    I'll be overseas for 3 weeks, but will try to log-on here every chance I get.

    Craig
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    B-2-10 SFG(A)/ A-2-11 SFG(A) 1977-1994

  15. #15
    Campaign Veteran Nelson_Muntz's Avatar
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    ODA 226 wrote:
    I would bet my next paycheck that less than 10% of the membership of this board have EVER fired a weapon, be it rifle, pistol or shotgun, with their weak hand.
    Sir, I practice this and I guess I'm able to do it well because I keep both eyes open when aiming. Incredibly, sometimes I shoot more accurately with my weak hand.

    Q: If you shoot better with your weak hand, is your weak hand your strong hand, and if so, what is your strong hand?

    Q: Do I need two OC holsters now?



  16. #16
    Wisconsin Carry, Inc. Shotgun's Avatar
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    Nelson_Muntz wrote:
    ODA 226 wrote:
    I would bet my next paycheck that less than 10% of the membership of this board have EVER fired a weapon, be it rifle, pistol or shotgun, with their weak hand.
    Sir, I practice this and I guess I'm able to do it well because I keep both eyes open when aiming. Incredibly, sometimes I shoot more accurately with my weak hand.

    Q: If you shoot better with your weak hand, is your weak hand your strong hand, and if so, what is your strong hand?

    Q: Do I need two OC holsters now?

    Firing weak hand is one thing, the even bigger challenge involves weak hand reloads, malfunction clearing, etc. Fortunately the combat league I belong to requires us to do these things, plus shooting in the dark, under barriers, while moving, multiple targets, on and on.
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    Nelson_Muntz wrote:
    ODA 226 wrote:
    I would bet my next paycheck that less than 10% of the membership of this board have EVER fired a weapon, be it rifle, pistol or shotgun, with their weak hand.
    Sir, I practice this and I guess I'm able to do it well because I keep both eyes open when aiming. Incredibly, sometimes I shoot more accurately with my weak hand.

    Q: If you shoot better with your weak hand, is your weak hand your strong hand, and if so, what is your strong hand?

    Q: Do I need two OC holsters now?

    Dual wield, baby!

  18. #18
    Campaign Veteran Nelson_Muntz's Avatar
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    Shotgun wrote:
    Firing weak hand is one thing, the even bigger challenge involves weak hand reloads, malfunction clearing, etc.
    I hear ya. Fortunately for me I'm a southpaw shooting mainstream simply because it's easier to get along and I guess I'm used to adapting. When switching to weak it is as the equipment is originally designed.

  19. #19
    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    My work schedule combined with where I live hasn't allowed me to practice nearly as much as I would like to. I do practice drawing and dry firing at a bad guy target on my wall at least once a week, and I make it out to the range 1-2 times per month. Every 3 weeks sounds about right. When I do make it out to the range, I like to set up PVC framed bad guy targets from 5 feet to about 15 yards, and practice drawing and firing. With my long guns, I like to do about 5 feet to 50 yards for combatish shooting.

    I've always felt it very important to practice regularly with any gun I have to bet my life on in a pinch. Dry firing isn't a replacement for range time, but it does practice some of the same elements, so it beats not practicing.
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  20. #20
    Regular Member Huck's Avatar
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    Sweet shooting Oda! Nice pistol too. But why are you doing head shots? In the Mech Infantry we were trained to shoot center of mass which is a much larger target area than the head. My dad, who was a Paratrooper in WWII and a cop on LAPD for a few years,taught my brothers and I to do the same.

    Snow permitting I go out to a place in theboondocks on public land and shoot about once a week.There aint no indoor ranges around here so that kinda limits me on practicing in the winter.
    "You can teach 'em, but you cant learn 'em."

  21. #21
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    ODA 226 wrote:
    I would bet my next paycheck that less than 10% of the membership of this board have EVER fired a weapon, be it rifle, pistol or shotgun, with their weak hand.
    I'm not a particularly experienced shooter, but being a southpaw, I have had to operate a rifle (FN FAL), submachinegun (Uzi) and pistol (Glock 17) with my off-hand, and by "operate" I mean (re)loading, clearing malfunctions, the lot. Actually, in the case of the Uzi, I'm not sure I ever got to operate it with my strong hand at all...

    Now that I shoot on my own time (and dime), I do continue to make sure I can operate the weapons I own adequately with either hand. You know, shooting off-hand really shouldn't be that a difficult; in my experience, which eye you have to use plays a larger role than which hand.

    -+-+-+-+-+-+-+-

    To address the questions in the OP, I'm not as good as I could be, and I know it. I've read extensively and I think I'm thoroughly versed in the theory of shooting technique and laws governing use of lethal force by a private citizen, but I know I would benefit from taking a few classes.

    That said, I do think my skills and knowledge are sufficient that I am not, on balance, a public safety hazard when I carry, provided I bear in mind my own limitations. There are shots that I cannot reliably make (yet), and therefore it would be extremely irresponsible of me to try to make them, as doing so would likely result in stray rounds. When I carry, I try to remain aware of which directions would be hazardous to shoot in.

    I acknowledge I don't practice with my carry ammo; not much, anyway. However, part of the reason I selected Speer Gold Dots as my defensive round is because Speer manufactures the Lawman training round to (notionally) exhibit the same ballistics as the Gold Dot in the same caliber and bullet weight. Early on, I've tested this as best I could by loading a few magazines with a mix of Gold Dots and Lawmen to see if there was any variation in performance from round to round, and I couldn't observe any.

    And I am punctilious about keeping my weapons clean. Any weapon that gets taken to the range gets cleaned that evening, after the rest of the familiy has gone to bed so can I set myself up on the kitchen table with the window open and a fan going without the smell of solvent or the cold air bothering anyone else.

  22. #22
    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    I have practiced with my weak hand a bit. When I was a lad I used to practice with the BB-gun, .22 rifle and shotgun weak side. On my list of practice goals this year (after fixing the flinch) is weak side shooting.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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  24. #24
    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    Pointman wrote:
    It's kind of a dangerous topic. We know that this information can be scanned by prosecutors, and if someone had a defensive shooting it could be a mess in court. If you don't shoot well then it's negligence. If you do, you were looking for a fight. If you used the word "is" you're a lier.
    I'm not so sure. I doubt that anyone on the forum is simply an awful shot. And being proficient with your firearm can easily be argued as just being responsible firearm owners or active sport shooters. Neither have anything to do with fighting or harming any living being.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

  25. #25
    Regular Member ODA 226's Avatar
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    Huck wrote:
    Sweet shooting Oda! Nice pistol too. But why are you doing head shots? In the Mech Infantry we were trained to shoot center of mass which is a much larger target area than the head. My dad, who was a Paratrooper in WWII and a cop on LAPD for a few years,taught my brothers and I to do the same.

    Snow permitting I go out to a place in theboondocks on public land and shoot about once a week.There aint no indoor ranges around here so that kinda limits me on practicing in the winter.
    Thanks Huck! In Special Forces, we are trained to shoot at a 2 inch band around the eyes. It is the most positive way to drop your target. We called it "surgical shooting" down at Mott Lake.
    Bitka Sve Rešava!
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