Jesus Ain’t Gonna Load Your Gun!

Rangemaster Defensive Pistol Class

Rangemaster Defensive Pistol Class

So went part of our instruction at the Defensive Handgun training class taught by Rangemaster this past weekend at the LuckyGunner Gun Blogger Shoot.

The folks at, Sellier & Bellot, MagTech, and Rangemaster partnered to host a shooting event of epic proportions. 50 or so infamous gun bloggers were invited to a top secret range for a weekend of shooting free ammunition, testing a wide variety of fully automatic weapons, and participating in an abbreviated defensive handgun class.

Tom Givens taught most of the class with assistance from his wife (and Rangemaster instructor) and a few others of the Rangemaster staff. While handling a class of 28 gun bloggers was an exercise in herding cats, especially since I was not the only one with a short attention span, the Rangemaster staff succeeded in teaching us some solid foundational principles about safe gun handling, gun manipulation under stress, dudes that need to be shot and how to avoid harm from them.

Tom is the only instructor I’ve met that has managed to make discussion of the 4 rules of gun safety both informative and funny.

I went into the class figuring that I learn something new every day so I might as well learn something new about handguns as a defensive tool. While not everything was new, the class gave me a number of things to think about.

  • Don’t look in the fiery death end of your gun. While SayUncle beat me to the punch on posting this, it stuck in my mind as a pretty good learning to share – again.
  • Store your trigger finger so that it’s in the ejection port (if you can easily reach) as it provides a tactile reminder that your finger is not on the bang switch.
  • When discussing the debate over whether to finger check a chamber to verify that’s it’s clear (in addition to visual checking) the question was posed – why would you ever want to clear a chamber in the dark?
  • Hold your semi-auto pistol with both thumbs high and pointed upwards rather than at the target. Because it helps ensure that your grip is as high as possible while minimizing potential interference with the slide lock.
  • A rifle is easier to shoot than a pistol primarily because the weight of the gun is more than the weight of the trigger pull (attributed to Larry Vickers)
  • About follow through and recovery after a shot: what you really need is another hit on dude.
  • You keep shooting until one of two things happens: the bad guy falls down or runs away.
  • It takes two sight pictures to fire one successful shot. One to aim and one for the follow through.
  • A partial gangsta grip can be beneficial in some situations. When shooting one handed, tilting the gun inwards about 45 degrees can help control muzzle flip – if you can deal with the weird sight picture.

Those are just a few of the more fun and interesting tidbits I picked up in the class. All in all, I love the style and quality of training and am anxious to sign my family up for the full two day course.

Now back to Jesus

During a passionate discussion about the importance of reloading your gun during any perceived lull in the action, Tom warned against being caught in the middle of a fight with an empty gun, with the natural result of thinking “Oh, Jesus!” While He may choose to intervene in other ways, He’s probably not going to load your gun, so you might as well.


    • says

      Yep – I really enjoyed the class! And I’m pretty sure I know which end of the gun is which now. And that’s a big step forward for me. Great seeing you again!

  1. Str8shutr says

    Mr. Tom,

    I don’t know about your guns, but mine tend to get a little warm around the ejection port after a few magazines. How’s that working for ya? I guess you have a little crocheted finger sock you slip on before you begin shootin’? Or maybe I’m not man enough to take the pain…ROFL…love your blog…keep up the good work!

    • says

      Dang! I was wondering where that huge blister on my finger came from! How much are you asking for the finger sock? Do you have one in camo? Or maybe one with a Glock logo embroidered in?

      Interesting thing though – his uber-point in the whole discussion was to keep your finger as high as possible so that nothing is visible through the trigger guard from the other side (good advice)

      He also indicated that flexibility issues (and maybe heat!) would prevent the whole trigger guard rest concept. Personally I don’t have the flexibility to reach that high – along the slide works for me pretty well.

      One of the things I liked about the class was that be discussed reasoning behind these ‘suggestions’ which led to discussion about ways to achieve the goal without following the letter of the suggestion exactly. Everyone is different and all…

      Thanks for the nice comments on the blog!

  2. Tasso Rampante says

    I had an instructor once berate me for a thumbs-up grip, repeatedly stopping the entire class while he corrected and re-corrected me.

    He also refused to let us draw from IWB holsters because “in real life that will get you DQ’d”. Apparently his entire life was a USPSA course.

    • says

      Funny! The disagreement among instructors certainly makes things interesting. The other one that kills me is that half of the instructors / shooters insist on using the first joint for trigger pull as there is less “flesh” to squish and disrupt the pull while the other half insist on fleshy pad of the finger for a straighter pull!

      And don’t get me started on the whole “surprise break” thing :-) If I get a surprise break with my gun then I haven’t shot it enough! I know exactly when it’s going to break!

      I think you’ll be fine in real life as long as you make sure to get mugged by USPSA approved criminals only :-)

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