Shooting Myth: Competitive Shooting Will Get You Killed On the Street

Competitive Shooting is not only fun, it can help you build basic skills.

Competitive Shooting is not only fun, it can help you build basic skills.

Why is it that Internet opinions are so binary? Black or white, right or wrong, my way or the highway – it’s kind of like politics in the real world.

  • 45 is the only caliber! Because you only need to shoot once!
  • 9mm is fantastic – if you want to shoot balloons.
  • Competitive shooting skills will get you killed on the street!

As with anything in life, there is rarely all right or all wrong. I tend to think in terms of better, better still, and even more better. Or on the flip side, I like to consider worse, way worse, and worse than Piers Morgan’s ratings.

Listening to Internet arguments about the merits of competitive shooting, one might think that if you practice competition skills, you’ll instantly burst into flames and self-immolate should you find yourself in a self-defense situation.

A few weeks ago, I was watching an episode of Shooting USA with my college-age son and his roommates. We were having a great time – me feeling young, hip and cool, and them looking at their watches every few minutes.

Anyway, this particular Shooting USA episode included coverage of the IDPA Indoor Championships. If you don’t know, IDPA stands for International Defensive Pistol Association. In their words,

IDPA is the use of practical equipment including full charge service ammunition to solve simulated “real world” self-defense scenarios using practical handguns and holsters that are suitable for self-defense use. The main goal is to test the skill and ability of an individual.

In other words, it’s a competition structured to partially mimic potential real-life defensive encounters. In the interest of making competitions fun and stimulating, the “real-life” part tends to get a little stretched now and then.

For example, at the IDPA Indoor National Championships, one stage in particular appeared immensely fun, but just a tad outside the bounds of reality. It was an example of duck hunting gone horribly wrong. The shooter is placed in a duck blind, when suddenly a band of terrorists (or maybe hunting thugs intent on duck-jacking) makes their way across the front of your blind in a tactical rowboat. You have a short window of opportunity to deal with them as the entrance and exit of the “battle boat” are obscured with weeds or some form of aquatic plant life. Oh, there’s a hostage in the boat-jacking scenario that you can’t shoot. No word if that’s supposed to represent Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty.

Your mission, and you WILL accept it as you’re competing in the IDPA Indoor National Championships, is to take out the Duck Commandos as quickly as you can, without shooting Uncle Si, and before the boatload of doom escapes into the weeds.

Lest you think this sounds easy, the Duck Commandos planned in advance and had sniper over watch. When you start perforating the rowboat, the accomplices pop up all over the place from their hides, and you have to take them out too. You have to reload at least once in the process of filling the room with smoke and that delicious powder smell. Yum! I love the smell of what bad and uninformed novelists call cordite in the morning!

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

R.I.P. One AR-15 Rifle – Another 300 Blackout / .223 Kaboom

I’ve read a few stories recently about someone, somewhere, shoving a 300 AAC Blackout cartridge into a .223 / 5.56mm rifle and pulling the trigger – subsequently blowing their gun to bits. Some folks call BS and say it can’t happen as the rifle won’t go into battery and fire.

Well, I’m a believer now, considering a guy 3 lanes down from me blew up his fairly nice looking AR today. In the confusion, I was not able to get the brand of the rifle, but that matters little. Containing 55,000 pounds per square inch of pressure is not in the job description.

This was the round below the cartridge bomb in the magazine. I found it on the ground amongst lotsa small pieces of magazine, spring and follower. And quite a few case fragments. As you can see, it absorbed some violence.

This was the round below the cartridge bomb in the magazine. I found it on the ground amongst lotsa small pieces of magazine, spring and follower – and quite a few case fragments. As you can see, it absorbed some serious violence.

I was pretty occupied with my own business, gleefully trying out two new SilencerCo silencers for which I’ve waited about 10 months. A 22 Sparrow SS and an Octane 45 by the way. And yes, they’re awesome. Happiness = That feeling when your slide cycling makes more noise than the gun shot. That nirvana was achieved with a Smith & Wesson M&P22 with a SilencerCo Sparrow using Aguila Subsonic 60 grain .22LR ammunition.

Suddenly I heard a “splosion” noise and a scream from a few lanes to my right. Running over to see what happened, I saw a man holding his hand and obviously somewhat shaken up. I immediately started looking at his face as he was somewhat disoriented and all was clear there. His left (support) hand looked like he had fondled a few bricks of charcoal for a while. Thankfully, and maybe miraculously, no cuts or blood anywhere. While his hand was “stinging like crazy” in his words, there did not appear to be any burns of consequence. This is one incredibly lucky guy, especially since I can’t be sure he was wearing shooting glasses. The way they were placed on the table, I’m not sure he had them on when he blew up the rifle.

Here’s the apparent sequence of events, picked up from listening to the rifle owner and the shooter.

The owner had two uppers at the range. A .223 and a 300 AAC Blackout. He obviously hand loads as there were 100 round ammo boxes of each type nearby.

The shooter appeared to be new and somewhat inexperienced. I can’t be sure, that’s just an observation from seeing the interaction after the kaboom. Either the shooter picked up a magazine full of 300 Blackout cartridges, or the rifle owner handed him a magazine loaded with Blackouts. I can’t be sure. They weren’t sure themselves.

The shooter loaded the magazine of 300 Blackouts in the .223, chambered a round, and fired. Then the Kaboom. I was not able to discern, nor was the owner, whether the shooter felt anything abnormal trying to chamber the first round. As  the shooter appeared to be inexperienced, I’m not sure they will ever sort that out.

Once we determined the shooter was physically OK, I wanted to get out of their business, so I didn’t get any photos of the rifle, but I can describe the damage. In short, it was pretty much totaled. Perhaps the Magpul front hand guard, rear stock and trigger group can be salvaged. That’s about it.

Here's a .223 Remington cartridge dropped into a 5.56mm chamber.

Here’s a .223 Remington cartridge dropped into a 5.56mm chamber.

The magazine blew up, along with spring and follower. And you can see what happened to the other rounds in the picture here. I *believe* the fact that he was using a polymer magazine may have saved the shooter from additional injury. The explosion clearly took the path of least resistance. Perhaps a metal magazine would have allowed more pressure to go in other directions in addition to out the magazine well.

The magazine well on the lower was bulged out. Kind of like an Elmer Fudd cartoon shotgun.

The upper receiver was also bulged out from the explosion.

The bolt and carrier were both trashed – bent all to hell and completely stuck in the upper and barrel extension.

I assume the barrel extension and barrel were trashed, but as everything was fused together, there was no way to tell for sure until they rip things apart. Shoving a .308 inch diameter bullet into a .223 inch hole is asking for damage I would think.

While I was not shocked at the damage to the aluminum upper and lower, I was surprised at how much the bolt carrier and bolt were trashed. That’s hard stuff there.

Here's a 125 grain 300 Blackout cartridge dropped into the same 5.56mm chamber. Too close for comfort?

Here’s a 125 grain 300 Blackout cartridge dropped into the same 5.56mm chamber. Too close for comfort?

With the brief opportunity I had to look, that’s about all I could tell. But now I was curious. Would similar rounds allow the .223 rifle to go into battery? I decided to try under much safer conditions.

After removing the bolt and carrier from my Smith & Wesson M&P 15 VTAC (5.56 chamber) I dropped in a .223 Remington round to get a rough visual on where it sat. OK, that worked fine, as expected. Next, I dropped a variety of 300 AAC Blackout loads into the chamber, exerting no pressure at all and just letting the round fall. As expected, the big subsonic rounds didn’t get close to proper depth, however some of the longer and skinnier bullet profiles did – mainly the 110 and 125 grain ballistic tip bullet types. Not to the full and proper depth, but close. Close enough where a little encouragement by an inexperienced shooter could force the bolt into battery.

Lessons?

Wear eye protection. Always. This guy won the lucky human award today and I don’t think that’s given out more than once per lifetime.

When bringing a new shooter to the range, hover over them like a helicopter parent. At least until they gain some knowledge and proficiency.

If you own both rifles, figure out your own method for segregation. Perhaps wrap the Blackout magazines with colored tape, or put a colored base plate on them so they’re easily visible.

It might not be a terrible idea to take one or the other rifles to the range, but not both on the same visit.

Whattdya think?

Grab a copy of my free eBook, A Fistful of Shooting Tips. It will help make you a better shooter and the envy of your range in no time.

Reloading Ammunition: The Final Steps, Seating, Crimping and Inspecting

Most seating dies will also crimp in the same step, but I prefer to treat seating and crimping as separate actions.

Most seating dies will also crimp in the same step, but I prefer to treat seating and crimping as separate actions.

Last time we covered the powder charging step and briefly touched on the whole concept of pressure curves. While reloading is a safe pastime when proper care is taken, the care-taking part is a really big deal. The last steps, seating, crimping and inspecting cartridges, are equally important when it comes to safety.

Seating the new bullet

Seating the bullet simply means pressing it into the cartridge case to the proper depth. Precise seating depth is important for a number of reasons. Obviously, the cartridge has to fit in the magazine and/or cylinder and chamber. Far more importantly, the seating depth has a big impact on peak pressure when the cartridge is ignited.

It's important to pay close attention to seating depth because incorrect depths can have dramatic impact on pressure.

It’s important to pay close attention to seating depth because incorrect depths can have dramatic impact on pressure.

The Cartridge Overall Length (C.O.A.L. or C.O.L.) is specified for each type and weight bullet combination as a way to control the interior volume of the cartridge case. Any given published load recipe is carefully developed making an assumption about the volume in the cartridge case. If a bullet is pushed farther into the case, there is less interior volume. If the same amount of powder ignites in a smaller volume, pressure will be have to be higher. Likewise, if a bullet is not pressed in deep enough, there will be more available volume in the case, and pressure will be lower.

Most seating dies actually perform two functions: seating and crimping. If you adjust your die and press exactly right, then you can do both steps at once with good reliability.

I prefer treating these as separate steps – especially for the new reloader. Here’s why. Seating the bullet involves pressing it into the cartridge case. When you’re crimping at the same time, you’re applying inward pressure while also applying downward pressure. So you’ve actually got opposing forces that have to be perfectly timed for a correct result. If small details, like cartridge case length are out of whack just a bit, you can actually create bulges in the case which may prevent the cartridge from chambering properly.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

Want to start reloading? Then check out our newest book – The Insanely Practical Guide to Reloading Ammunition – it will help you start reloading in no time!

Learn how to reload ammunition the easy way with the Insanely Practical Guide To Reloading Ammunition!

Learn how to reload ammunition the easy way with the Insanely Practical Guide To Reloading Ammunition!

 

Shooting Myth: A Laser Will Only Give Away Your Position!

The benefits of surefire aim in low-light conditions and flexibility for shooting from unconventional positions far outweigh any realistic risk of "giving away your position" when using a firearm-mounted laser.

The benefits of surefire aim in low-light conditions and flexibility for shooting from unconventional positions far outweigh any realistic risk of “giving away your position” when using a firearm-mounted laser.

I’ve been a big fan of lasers on handguns for years. At first, this was because they sounded great on paper. After actually running around shooting in the dark at various training events and nocturnal competitions, my “fanboy” meter has maxed out.

But to be really clear, I want to stress that I am talking about gun laser applications for home defense and self-defense. Not door kicking in Afghanistan. Or serving no-knock warrants with the Department of Education’s new SWAT Team. Or anything else “offensive.” See what I did there?

I’ve had all sorts of responses to my discussion on lasers for home defense. One commenter informed me that a laser would clearly show my position and a sniper positioned 600 yards away, who would subsequently easily take me out. I don’t know about you, but I don’t anticipate this event in my home defense scenario—at least until civilization breaks down into a post-apocalyptic battle zone. I’ll take the risk that my burglar has not had the foresight to set up sniper overwatch in the nearest cell tower.

To put the discussion in perspective, let’s walk through a potential home defense scenario. It’s the middle of the night. It’s pitch-dark. You are sound asleep in your bedroom. You are awakened by the sound of crashing glass, which indicates someone has just entered your house. By the time you wake up and figure this out, they are probably already in your house. This is a defensive, not offensive, situation.

Now what? I don’t know about you, but my goal is simple. Get that person and/or their friends out of my house before they cause harm to me and/or my family. If that person happens to get hurt in the process of achieving the goal, then that’s an occupational hazard of breaking into peoples’ homes in the middle of the night. But that’s not my primary goal. Encouraging them to turn tail and leave is far easier for all involved than splashing them all over my new duvet cover.

Pretty simple goal right?

In order to think through my best plan for home defense, I’ll take this goal into consideration first, then apply the most likely scenarios I might encounter. Most likely scenarios. This is where folks get all wrapped around the axle when it comes to using gun-mounted lasers.

Stop and think for minute about the most likely scenario you could encounter in your home. Who is that person that just broke into your house? Is it a team of trained ninja marksman who intend to engage in a cat-and-mouse running shootout in your home, just like on TV? Were you waiting in your laundry room sniper hide anticipating their arrival? Maybe, but not likely. The more likely scenario is that some crackhead is looking to steal your Xbox to fund their next fix. And they woke you up. And they’re already in your house by the time you get your wits about you and get moving.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

While you’re here, why not grab a copy of my free eBook, A Fistful of Shooting Tips? It’ll help make you a better handgun shooter and the envy of your range in no time!

How To Rack Your Handgun Slide Like A Boss

Rack [rak]
verb

  1. to torture; distress acutely; torment: (His body was racked with pain.)
  2. to strain by physical force or violence.
  3. to strain beyond what is normal or usual.
This Beretta PX4 .40 S&W has a strong recoil spring, so proper racking technique is important. First, Keep the gun close to your body to gain leverage.

This Beretta PX4 .40 S&W has a strong recoil spring, so proper racking technique is important. First, Keep the gun close to your body to gain leverage.

In the shooting realm, rack has a different meaning (although the classic definitions of torture, strain and torment still apply for some people). For shooters, rack simply means to cycle the slide of a semi-auto handgun manually. Sounds simple doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, racking the slide is a source of pain, angst and frustration for many new shooters. Far too often, it causes people to make buying decisions that compromise what the really wanted for a model with an easier slide racking motion.

What if I were to tell you that anyone can easily rack most any slide using the right technique? Alright, that’s a pretty bold statement, and I realize there will always be some exceptions. Heck, right now I’m battling a shoulder injury that has me reduced to a whimpering puddle of whine and complain. But for the vast majority of folks, technique, body mechanics and simple physics make all the difference when it comes to successful racking.

First, let’s clarify racking, so we’re all on the same page. Racking the slide refers to the procedure of smartly (that’s a power word, isn’t it?) pulling the slide back in order to eject an empty cartridge case (if present) from the chamber. The passive part of racking refers to releasing the slide, allowing it to sling back into position, picking up and loading a new cartridge on the way. As you can tell by the description, racking applies to semi-automatic pistols, not revolvers.

If you use a semi-automatic pistol, effortless racking is a critical skill. Sure, it’s required to load the first round in the chamber. Just as importantly, it’s used to empty the gun after the magazine is removed. Racking is often required to clear a malfunction, and if you compete, it’s how you show the range safety officer that your gun is clear after completing a stage.

So why does racking the slide give so many people grief?

I think it’s a result of the curse of opposable thumbs.

Since we have them (opposable thumbs), we want to use them and pinch things between our opposable thumb and index finger – like babies noses, hors d’oeuvres and pennies. Unfortunately, we also want to pinch things like the back of pistol slides to draw them away from the frame. It’s only natural.

Here’s the problem. Thumb and index finger muscles are tiny and weak, at least compared to other muscles in the body.

Keeping that in mind, let’s walk through a simple way to use bigger muscles, the mass of your body and motion to rack even the most difficult slide. After all, we’re much stronger than recoil springs, so it’s just a matter of technique.

Read the rest at Beretta USA.

While you’re here, why not grab a copy of my free eBook, A Fistful of Shooting Tips? It’ll help make you a better handgun shooter and the envy of your range in no time!

New Book! The Insanely Practical Guide to Reloading Ammunition

Learn how to reload ammunition the easy way with the Insanely Practical Guide To Reloading Ammunition!

Learn how to reload ammunition the easy way with the Insanely Practical Guide To Reloading Ammunition!

When I started reloading, I made lots of mistakes. I learned the hard way by screwing things up on occasion. Yes, I had fun, but my learning process might have been more fun if someone had taken the time to explain the procedures and equipment to me. In plain non-engineering oriented English.

Fortunately, that’s what we do here at Insanely Practical Guides. Nothing would make us happier than to have a million or so folks start reloading their own ammunition.

This book is not a reloading manual. Great companies like Hornady, Sierra, Lyman and others publish those. They invest millions of dollars in fancy equipment like ballistic test barrels, strain gauges, piezo transducers and plenty of Cheezy Poofs and Red Bull for the lab staff — all to develop safe and tested load recipes.

The Insanely Practical Guide to Reloading Ammunition is an instructional guide that will walk you through the steps of reloading your own ammunition in a fun, and more importantly, easy to understand way. Reloading manuals are great resources for understanding safe and tested load recipes. While most include an introductory section that talks about the reloading process and equipment, none that I’ve found show you, step by step, exactly how to do it in an easy to understand way.

Think of reloading manuals as sheet music. And this book as Mrs. Clutterbuck’s piano lessons you took in third grade. If you develop a sudden urge to play Carnegie Hall, or even Bodean’s Wet Whistle Bar and Bait Shop, you could just order sheet music from the internet. But it probably wouldn’t be the most direct path to ivory key success. Take some lessons first, then order the sheet music. We’ll all thank you!

Although we think reading this book will be a far more pleasant experience than weekly lessons in Mrs. Clutterbuck’s den, the idea is the same. We’ll teach you how to do the steps. Then you’re off to fame, fortune and custom ammunition.

Loaded with pictures and simple and useful illustrations, this book will get you started reloading your own ammunition in no time!

Topics include: 

  • Why take up reloading?
  • Is reloading right for you?
  • What equipment do you need?
  • Cleaning and processing brass.
  • The reloading process: step by step.
  • Pistol caliber reloading.
  • Rifle caliber reloading.
  • Buying reloading components.
  • Advanced equipment options.
  • Introduction to advanced topics.

You can get the Kindle version on Amazon right now! The print version will be available April 14th!

How To Become A Better Pistol Shooter By Shooting A Wimpier Gun

Smaller caliber guns aren’t necessarily just for newer shooters. If you want to become an expert, practice with a light-kicking gun might be just the ticket.

Ammo Assortment

The classic example is a .410 shotgun. Folks assume that since the .410 is small, light, and shoots a low recoil round, then it must be great for new shooters. With some exceptions, I think the opposite is true.  The .410 is really an expert’s gun. If you see someone slinging a Beretta 687 Silver Pigeon on the skeet range, chances are they know what they’re doing. It’s hard to bust a moving clay target with a small shot charge. But if you can, then repeating the action with a 12 gauge will seem as easy as hitting water with a boat.

There’s a similar scenario with .22LR handguns. While it’s not harder to hit a target with a .22, I think a .22 pistol is just as appropriate for an advanced shooter as a beginner.

If you want to become an expert shooter, you need to master trigger press. Perhaps the best way to build outstanding trigger press skills is through daily dry fire practice, like the drills we explain in the Trigger Pull Drill article. Yet most new shooters are going to get bored with dry fire. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll always encourage lots of dry fire practice, as part of your handgun training. The best professional shooters in the world practice dry fire drills every day. But let’s face it. New shooters want to shoot! So let’s skip the dry fire stuff for now and talk about ways to become a better shooter while actually shooting.

Read the rest at Beretta USA!

Shooting Myth: Knockdown Power

Knockdown [nok-doun]
adjective

  1. Capable of knocking something down; overwhelming; irresistible: a knockdown blow.
  2. Internet lore referring to the ability of large guns like .45’s and shotguns to literally knock people off their feet.

Last week, I wrote about Ten Examples of the Internet’s Worst Gun Advice, and that created quite the discussion! A lot of the conversation stuck on the issues related to knockdown power. Some are still convinced that a shotgun will knock someone backwards, through a plate-glass window or into the next county. Others got hung up on related issues, like stopping power or lethality.

I decided that this was a great excuse to go to the shooting range and do silly things, so let’s talk about the literal definition of knockdown power. I don’t mean stopping power, or lethality or capability to cause damage. Those things are pretty clear concepts. I mean literal knockdown power. Can a projectile fired from a commonly available firearm literally knock someone off their feet? We aimed to find out – and brought a video camera along to document the experiment. There’s a link to the video towards the end of this article.

Testing the Knockdown Power myth with a 50 pound bag of sand and a bulletproof vest.

Testing the Knockdown Power myth with a 50 pound bag of sand and a bulletproof vest.

Since I couldn’t find any volunteers to get “knocked down” I decided to use a 50 pound bag of sand as a stand-in substitute. Yes, I’m the adventurous sort. I’m stacking the deck in favor of the knockdown power myth. Even though an average evil dude is likely to weigh 150 pounds or more, we’re going to see what various projectiles do to an object that weighs just 50 pounds.

One more thing. There was a lot of discussion in the comments last week about kinetic energy, bullets passing through targets and the concept of energy dumps. So to make sure that our Sandbag Stanley absorbed all the gusto and enthusiasm that each round had to offer, we clothed him in a bulletproof vest. It’s for science after all.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

10 Worst Examples of Gun Advice From the Internet

Apparently I’ve taken on a task that is simply not possible without violating several laws of our physical universe – picking only 10 of the worst pieces of shooting advice from across the vast and vacuous expanse known as the internet.

I stopped counting at 32,987,412,318. But no worries, I’ll persevere.

If someone starts talking to you about "knockdown power" they better be talking about one of these.

If someone starts talking to you about “knockdown power” they better be talking about one of these.

Here we go, drum roll please…

1. A weapon light or laser will just give away your position!

If the self-defense scenarios swirling around your brain involve moving ninja fights in the dark that emulate Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon moves, you’re absolutely right!

A weapon light will give away your position, and your tactical pose hanging from the chandelier will be compromised. (Tweet This)

In real life, the benefits of seeing where and / or what you’re shooting at far outweigh any realistic disadvantages of “giving away your position.” One more thing, make it a point to tell the hundreds of thousands of military and law enforcement personnel who mount weapon lights and lasers on their guns specifically for the purpose of fighting in the dark that this is a tactical blunder. What do they know anyway?

2. To defend your home, blast your shotgun through the front door!

We all know that politicians are (self-defined) experts in all things. Some of the best (worst!) gun advice in recent history comes from our very own Vice President. “If you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.” While blasting your shotgun through the door may help you drill a hole for one of those handy peep holes, it won’t help your legal cause in any way, shape or form. Most likely, this strategy will send you straight to jail. Just ask the Virginia Beach man who actually did this when confronted with two armed and masked home invaders. The bad guys escaped, but the Biden disciple was charged with a crime. The “Biden Defense” is just not likely to yield a positive outcome. Come on, we all know politicians are immune from repercussions of bad behavior. It’s an expected part of the job.

3. Don’t use an AR-15 for home defense!

With all this negativity, we should offer some helpful advice: Always keep one hand on the wheel while shooting a tactical rifle from a golf cart.

With all this negativity, we should offer some helpful advice: Always keep one hand on the wheel while shooting a tactical rifle from a golf cart.

You might have heard from internet commandos that a “high-powered” .223 round will go clear through your interior and exterior walls, Margaritaville machine, and most of Montana!

Or maybe that if you torch off a .223 round indoors, the building will explode! (Tweet This)

Actually, most standard AR-15 ammunition will only go through a few pieces of interior drywall with any significant energy. The projectiles are light and traveling extremely fast. This combination results in rapid tumbling and fragmentation when barriers are hit. While there may be other factors in the pro / con debate of using AR-15′s for home defense, over penetration is not one of them – especially when compared to pistol ammunition and buckshot. Of course, exceptions apply if you choose to use ammunition designed to penetrate.

4. You should carry your self-defense gun with the chamber empty.

Unless your self-defense gun is a single-action revolver with a hammer mounted firing pin, that’s almost always bad advice. If you think you can simply keep an eye on things around you so you have plenty of time to draw your gun, and rack the slide, in the event of an attack, try a Tueller drill sometime. It’s enlightening and will quickly relieve you of any security gained by carrying with an empty chamber.

Also, please write Hollywood and tell them to stop racking the slide every time someone is about to fire a gun. It’s a waste of perfectly good pretend ammunition. (Tweet This)

5. I only train for head shots.

Some of the couch commando elite speak of training for head shots to defeat body armor and perhaps save ammunition during these tough economic times. On the range, a cardboard target is pretty darn easy to hit anywhere you like. Now try that while running full speed. Then try that while you and the target are running full speed. Then try it when everyone is running full speed, shouting, and the target is trying to kill you. Enough said.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub!

8 Reasons You Need Professional Help

There are words and ideas that pass right through our brains like truthful reporting zips past the network news. In the shooting world, one of those words is “training.” Lots of respectable people talk about the importance of training. In response, we nod our heads and think “Yes! I need to get some professional training! I’ll get right on that!” But the moment passes, we go back to our daily life, and the next thing you know, we’re back to the normal routine – visiting the range once a month and perforating paper targets with great enthusiasm and vigor.

Pro Shooter and Trainer Todd Jarrett has the class moving fast and trying to hit small steel plates. It's an enlightening experience!

Pro Shooter and Trainer Todd Jarrett has the class moving fast and trying to hit small steel plates. It’s an enlightening experience!

You Need Professional Help!

Once you’ve made the decision to carry a firearm for self-protection (you can read more about it here), nothing can improve your ability to protect yourself and your family like professional training. Not equipment. Not ammunition. Not lights and lasers. Not watching Steven Seagal movies. Nothing.

I know for a fact that I need professional help – just ask my regular readers! But you need professional help too. Here are eight reasons why, in the form of easy-to-absorb concealed carry tips:

Concealed carry classes… aren’t.

Somewhere in the neighborhood of eight million Americans have concealed carry permits. Most of those folks had to complete some form of “firearms training.” Unfortunately state-required concealed carry permit training mostly addresses legal issues and carry regulations. Very, very few of those programs cover self-defense strategy and tactics training. If your concealed carry class does not have you out on the range drawing, moving, shooting, working on malfunction drills, and more, consider your concealed carry class as a starting point only. Please, please, please do not assume that your concealed carry class prepared you to carry a gun for self or home defense.

If it ain’t rainin’ you ain’t trainin’.

If you ever need to use your gun in a genuine life and death scenario, I can guarantee the participation criteria will be different than your decision process as to whether to go practice on any given day. Raining? Cold? Tired? “Nah, I’ll hit the range another day,” you think. None of that will matter in real life. If you have to defend yourself or family, you get no choice whether or not to participate based on your feelings or the weather. One of the best training classes I ever did took place in the pouring rain. The instructor didn’t wait it out. In fact, he was thrilled that we would have the opportunity to learn our deficiencies and improve our skills in less than ideal conditions. Wet and slippery hands, mud in our magazines, and soggy cover garments – it all was genuine. And enlightening. And did I mention, wet?

You too can learn how to create a triple malfunction.

A training class will induce just a little bit of stress, and this is a good thing. It won’t recreate the stress of a real-world encounter, but it will get your blood flowing and nerves off kilter. A little training stress can easily cause you to revert to your lowest level of performance. Trust me, I know.

In one of my classes, I managed to create a triple malfunction. The instructor was hollering at me, but it was all in good fun. I was slightly cocky about my accurate shooting and the instructor wanted to create some stress and urgency to throw me off-track. I managed to dump a full magazine on the ground, eject two live cartridges and inadvertently engage the safety before getting off a successful shot. After the class stopped laughing at my expense, we had a great learning moment. Real training, with some pressure, can show you how your “quiet range” skills might suffer in a real world encounter.

Read the rest at Beretta USA!

Legal Disclosures about articles on My Gun Culture