Hey there, and welcome back to my little corner of cyberspace. It's been a while I must admit. October was a rather hectic month for me, what with 3 gun and knife shows, my daughter's birthday, and changes at my "day job"; but at the same time I've noticed a continuation of some things that concern me rather deeply. Specifically I'm talking about the choice of rhetoric being used by those who are supposedly on our side in the gun control debate.
Okay, I know, I've been guilty of it myself from time to time; especially when I do such things as refer to Mom's For Gun Sense as Mom's With No Sense. I also realize that I may be alienating some of my customer base with what I'm about to say. None the less, I honestly believe it's something that could come backhand bite us in the ass, if you'll excuse my French. Why? Well let's consider a survey I recently received from a group that claims to be fighting to protect the Second Amendment.
This survey started off innocently enough, but in the second paragraph they started referring to "Freedom hating Liberals", "Gun Grabbers", and "Communistic Socialistic haters of America"; just to name a few of the terms used. They also stated that all liberals hate guns and would never even think of owning one, yet later on in the same survey implied that Liberals were starting to stock pile guns for the express purpose of shooting all gun owners as well as starting a violent revolution against the Federal government! Excuse me? They wouldn't own a gun even you paid them but they're buying up all the guns they can get their hands on at the same time? Dude, the logic behind that completely escapes me. You cannot have it both ways!
Still, that little bit of convoluted logic is not what bothered me about the whole thing. Look. America is getting so polarized right now that some families are even going through divorces simply because of political differences, and language like that used in this particular survey is NOT helping matters. It certainly doesn't help convince people who may be on the fence about gun control to see things our way!
Imagine for a minute that you heard a gun control advocacy group referring to us as "Neo-Fascist", "Anarchy Lovers", or even "Anti-Law". Most people would assume that they're as radical as it gets! Yet if you stop and really think about it, those terms are not any different than what some gun rights advocacy groups are using; and many people would are on the fence about gun control have come to the conclusion that we are as radical as it gets as a result. The fact is that the effective gun control groups are currently sounding much more rational than we are right now, and it's going to come back and bite us in the ass if we're not careful!
Let's take my father as an example. Dad was not a hunter, or any type of outdoorsman. He was a good shot, and he owned one rifle he bought to get rid of "varmints". If he was still alive today, he would have concluded that no rational human being would ever believe the "crap" that gun right activists are spouting. He would then have listened to the various gun control groups who avoid such language (at least in public any way), and he would have found himself believing that they really didn't want to get rid of all guns, just the dangerous ones. What would never have occurred to him until someone like myself had pointed it out was that since his bolt action rifle was once a military rifle back around the time of WWI, it was one of those "dangerous rifles" that needed to be taken off the street. But if the person who told him that used "radical" language like that used in the survey that sparked this little ramble, then dad would have been convinced that they were exaggerating things. In fact he'd have remained convinced of that right up to the point that they came for his rifle!
Yes, it's true that gun control advocates have not given up the fight. And yes, we must remain vigilant to keep our Second Amendment rights. But we need to be careful in the language we use.. The fact is that there are a lot of people out there who are like my father was. There are also a lot of people like my sister, who considers herself a Liberal but still owns a few guns; and these are the very people we need to convince to side with us. We need to reach out to them and show them why supporting the Second Amendment is so important. But if we keep using arguments that refer to "Freedom Hating Liberals" and other emotionally charged terms, we will be written off as irrational and radicals by the very people we need on our side.
What's worse is that the words we use do affect the way we think. If we continue to use such terms, we run the very real risk of becoming as polarized, and as radical, as we sound! I mentioned people getting divorced over politics? Well one couple I know is doing exactly that! They got married during Reagon's terms in office, and lasted through Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama. But cracks began to form during Obama's second term, and thing are so bad now in their conflicting views on Trump that they have filed for a divorce! My parents generation would never have allowed difference in politics to ruin their marriage, nor would my grandparents generation; but now it's actually becoming all too common!
The simple fact is that we need people like my father and my sister to be on our side. But if we allow ourselves to think of them a "Freedom Hating", it won't be long until we start seeing them as threats instead of potential allies! Once that happens, we've lost. Let's be honest with ourselves. It may be true that more guns are owned here in America than at any time in the past, but it used to be that most gun owners only owned one or two guns. Avid hunters would own a rifle and maybe a shotgun. People like my father would own one rifle to get rid of varmints. Some people might own a hand gun, but most would only have one or two. Today however most gun owners are more like myself. We own 2 or 3 different rifles for different purposes (a 30-06 or 308 for hunting and maybe a Ruger 10/22 just for fun) and 2 or 3 different handguns. One for concealed carry if we have a permit, one for home defense possibly, and another just for fun. As a result, while more guns are owned by Americans than ever before, a smaller percentage of the population own those guns. So if we start alienating those who don't own guns, or those who own a gun or two but think themselves as moderates or liberals, it's just a matter of time before the gun control advocates will win.
I hope I've given you reason to think about this, and I really hope you understand my fears. But in the meantime I've once again ran way over what I meant to write, so I suppose it's time to putty soap box away for now. I look forward to seeing you back here again soon, and, as always, remember. If you're going to do something, no matter how minor, if it's worth doing, it's worth doing with attitude!
Hey! Welcome back, I'm glad you made it. I've been doing a lot of interviewing this past week, and I noticed something about my sports jacket that kind of disturbed me. Now when I bought it I made sure I worked with the people at the men's store to be sure it would conceal my holster well while still looking good. Surprising? It really shouldn't be. With the number of people who have cancelled carry permits on the rise, many of the better stores are more than willing to work with you though they may ask you to unload your weapon as a safety precaution.
What concerns me though is that the sleeves have become rather tight around my biceps lately. Not sure if I've started to put some fat on my upper arms or if my efforts to get back in shape after all the health problems I've had over the past year is adding muscle to my arms. It sure hasn't done anything to shrink my stomach yet! But the point is that I was concerned that the jacket might bind my arms at the wrong time; so I went down to my favorite range for a little tactical practice and sure enough, and sure enough I couldn't draw with my holster in it's normal position and still put the first round on target smoothly!
Now admittedly I don't wear suits very often so this might not seem to be that big a deal to some of you. Especially since I can change guns and holsters to overcome the problem, but if I hadn't stopped by the range I would never have known just how bad it really was! If I had needed to defend myself I would have been in some serious trouble and would never have known it until it was too late. Which brings us to the whole point of this ramble.
If you are going to carry a gun for self defense, you absolutely must practice your shooting skills regularly. I don't care what someone else may tell you, shooting a gun is NOT like riding a bike! If you don't practice then you'll fumble things badly when the adrenaline kicks in, and one of the things you need to practice is drawing and registering your gun. In fact as my little story shows, you need to practice while wearing any style of dress you might find yourself wearing. So you can draw rattle snake quick when wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Fine. I'm proud of you. What happens when winter comes and you're wearing a heavy coat? If you're wearing a suit? Or even worse, a trench coat over that nice suit? Believe me, Murphy will bite you hard if you don't practice in every combination of clothes you may find yourself in; and he bites harder than a pissed off pit bull!
"But my range won't let me do that!" some of you are saying. Yeah, that can be a bit of a problem, but it doesn't mean you can't practice drawing from the holster. Contrary to popular belief, it's actually perfectly safe to dry fire most modern center fire hand guns; and even if that isn't true for yours, they make a product called "Snap Caps" which are basically rounds with no powder or primers. So find a safe place in your house where you're not going to break something, unload your gun, and get to it. In fact many experts (including the man who trained me) recommend doing this at least 10 times a day in addition to live fire practice at the range. In a surprisingly short period of time this daily practice will have you moving as smooth as, well, Wyatt Earp. Which brings up another point to keep in mind.
According to legend, Wyatt Earp, one the most respected as well as feared gun men in the old west reportedly once said that it's not who shoots first that wins but the one who shoots accurately first. You can be faster than Jerry Miculek, but if your first shot tends to hit the 7 ring on the range then sorry to say you probably won't be able to hit the broad side of a barn from the inside when the chips are down. So take your time and practice doing it right. When your first shot from the holster is consistently hitting the x-ring, then you can start trying to up your speed. Until then just concentrate on the basics.
In the meantime though, it seems I've done it again with the chapter length rambles. So until we meet again in this little corner of cyberspace I call my own you take care of yourself and your family. And as always, remember. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing with attitude!
Gather round friends and listen to a story of a home invasion that could have gone very, very wrong. A week or so ago one of my friends who happens to be a a fourth degree Black Belt had some idiot try to force his way his house. The would be home invader kicked in the storm door but failed to get through the front door, possibly because my friend's no fool and had replaced the screws in the strike plate and dead bolt with longer screws. Now admittedly most home invasions happen in poorer neighborhoods, but my friend lives in a very nice area making this attempt kind of unusual. Add in that my friend probably could have tied the would be crook in knots, and the fact that the guy took off when he failed in his first attempt to force the door was a wise decision.
So how could things have gone wrong? Easy. Being no dummy, and not having any troubles with the thought of him or me, the first thing my friend did was grab his gun and make sure his wife and child were out of harms way. But then he made a very bad decision. He went out the door after the idiot who had tried to commit home invasion. Now admittedly my friend is a great martial artist. Indeed in all honesty he's better than I will ever be; but no matter how good you are, no form of karate will make you bullet proof! If the intruder had been armed then my friend would be pushing up daisies instead of running a very successful school. So what should my friend have done?
For starters, in addition to making sure his family was in a safe place, he should have instructed his wife to call 911. Now in all fairness, I can't imagine him not doing exactly that; but he didn't mention it when he was telling me the story so I have no way to know one way or another. But once that was done and he had his gun in hand, he should have immediately found some form of cover! In my friend's house he could have ducked down behind a couch or darted into the kitchen. Either way he'd have had plenty of cover and a clear shot at anyone coming through that front door. In my house I'd have had a lot more choices, including two stairwells, the kitchen, and, if I had time, the front room where I'd be behind them as they entered. I could also have ducked into the powder room right off the entry way, but then I would be trapped if anything went wrong, and it never pays to discount Murphy's law. It'll bite you in the ass every time!
So what should you do? Well for starters you need to look at your own home right now. How might an intruder try to force his way into your house or apartment? Admittedly most home invaders go for the front door. After all their whole strategy is to smash their way in, grab whatever they can, and get back out again as fast as possible; and hang the damage to property or people. But not every crook is going to go for the front door, so look at every possibility and try to figure out where you can get good defensive cover and still have a clear shot at any intruder coming in that way. At the same time try to figure out your line of retreat if things start to go south. Next you need to find a safe place for your family to retreat to where they won't find themselves in the line of fire, yet at the same time there needs to be a line of escape; so an upstairs bathroom with only a tiny little window that no one could possibly get through probably wouldn't be an ideal choice. At the same time your family really needs a reliable way to call the police. After all, you're likely to be too busy to do it yourself, so get them used to having their cell phones with them at all times. And finally, try your damnedest to figure out a way to get the hell out of dodge before the bullets start flying. It may be a cliche, but the best fight really is a fight avoided! Things can be replaced, your life cannot; and no matter how good you may be, there's always someone out there who's better or luckier. So get a good insurance plan with a replacement value rider and let the bad guy have your things if you can safely get out of there.
Now comes the hard part. My friend had done all of that. He even practiced it a few times, yet he still went out the door after the intruder instead of following his plan. Why? Because when things get real, we as human being will instinctively do one of two things. We'll either attack, or run away and hide; it's simply the way we're wired! That's why police departments, fire departments, ambulance crews, and hospitals have so many disaster drills. That's why the military trains their recruits to tears. The only way to keep from falling back on that instinct is to practice our plan time and time again. Indeed, you need to practice it till your family starts muttering about white jackets with extra long sleeves since it's obvious you've become paranoid. Admittedly it's as boring as hell, but it's much better than being another statistic in some police report.
Of course there are all sorts of things you can do to make your home a much less inviting target, many of which I covered in an earlier ramble. And who knows, I may revisit that ramble again; but I think it's time to bring this one to an end. As always I hope I gave you something to think about, so until we meet again in this little corner of cyberspace I call my own I wish you well. May the sun be always at your back and may the road rise up to meet you. And as always, remember, if it's worth doing then it's worth doing with attitude!
Hey there, and welcome back. I hope you've had a great week. Oh, the title? A bit late to be talking about vacations you say? Not really. When I was living and working down in Charleston, August was second only to Spring Break for the number of tourists we got; and why not? In June you're still trying to get the spring plantings and spring cleaning done, not to mention all the little things your boss wants done before everyone leaves for vacation; and July is family time what with the 4th of July and all. But in August we suddenly realize that the kids are about to go back to school and if we're going to get that family vacation in we'd better do it now before Labor Day rolls around and we miss our chance. But still, it's Friday so some of you are probably wondering just what Vacation has to do with self defense. Well it's like this. When we're at home, we instinctively know when something's not right and we might be in danger, but when we're on vacation we can suddenly find ourselves with unexpected danger on two different fronts.
The first danger is the danger of unknown surroundings. After all, unless you have a cabin you visit every year, or vacation is taking the kids to see gramma and grandpa, you're going to find yourself in a place that you just don't know. At home you know without even thinking about it which streets are safe and which ones to avoid. You know when someone is out of place, like a kid dressed gang banger style where no one else would dress that way or a man dressed too well when everyone else would be dress rather casual. But when you're on vacation odds are you don't know the normal patterns, so you really won't know what to look for. So what do you do? Well first, you need to do a little homework.
For starters, if you're a regular reader of my rambles then you probably have a concealed weapons permit or license, that or you're considering getting one. But can you take your favorite gun with you? Maybe, maybe not. Let's not forget Ms. Shaneen Allen after all. If you remember, this lady was a health care professional, a phlebotomist, who was arrested in New Jersey for possession of a hand gun inspite of the fact that she had a concealed weapon permit from her home state of Pennsylvania. If Governor Christie had not bowed to public pressure and pardoned her, this mother of two could have found herself in prison for 3 years. So for God's sake, check the gun laws of the state you plan to visit! My personal favorite for doing this is an app I have on my phone called Concealed Carry App, or CCA for short. This app keeps up to date with all the laws covering reciprocity of your cwp so you'll know a head of time whether the state you're planning on visiting will honor your permit or not.
Another great resource is the NRA. Naturally the organization best known for defending people's right to own guns of any type tries their best to keep track of every law dealing with guns no matter where you might be going.
Another thing I’d recommend is to do a web search for the place you’re going to. Look up crime rates, and reviews by other people. Check the local police department’s web site, often they’ll have tips that you might find useful. And once you get there, check with the people where you’ll be staying. Especially check with the concierge if they’ve got one, and it’s not too uncommon for even smaller hotels and cabin sites to have them now-a-days. The staff where you’re staying want you to have the best time possible so that you’ll come back, or at least recommend them to your friends; so they’ll be more than happy to give you any tips you might need to know to keep you and your family safe.
If you’re going to an area known for tourism, consider buying yourself a money belt instead of keeping all your money in your wallet or purse. Most people when they hear the word money belt automatically think of bad fiction or the old west, so you’ve got a reasonable chance that a thief will never even think of the possibility of you having one; and I’ve seen some really nice ones out there so it’s not going to clash with your outfit. You might also consider carrying your wallet in your front pocket instead of your back pocket. I know it’s not very comfortable, and it won’t stop a really, really good pick pocket; but it will slow them down and possibly make them pass you up for an easier mark. After all, most thieves aren’t going to work any harder than they have to, and if your wallet is in a place that’s harder to them to get to then there’s more of a chance they’ll give themselves away which is the last thing a pick pocket will want to do.
Set meeting places anywhere you go where the family can meet up at in case you get separated. I know you don’t intend to let that happen, but believe me, it can happen to even the best of us. So set up that meeting place, and set a time that everyone should meet there just in case. Also make sure everyone has recent pictures of everybody as well, that way if little Johnny get separated from you he can not only tell that nice lady at the reception desk that he’s lost his mommy and daddy by also show her what you look like. And let’s be honest, it helps the police to no end should worst come to worst and you have to involve them in trying to find him.
And finally, keep aware of your surroundings at all times! I know you’ve never been there before, and, as I admitted earlier in this ramble, wouldn’t know what’s normal and what’s not; but your instincts will pick up on more than you might think, as long as you pay attention! The number of people I saw every year in Charleston who got so wrapped up in the sights that they’d step off the sidewalk in front of moving cars is down right frightening, but thieves know this happens all the time and they look for people who aren’t paying attention to what’s going on around them. After all, it’s so much easier to rob someone who doesn’t even notice the mugger until they’re starring down the muzzle of a gun.
Still, these things are not all you need to worry about. You need to take steps to protect your home while you’re away as well. I know, I know; you’ve heard these things a thousand times before. They’re still worth repeating though; and who knows, maybe I’ll give you some ideas you never thought of before.
Nothing screams no one is home more than no lights on in a house for several days at a time, but the same set of lights burning 24 hours a day is just as bad so buy your self a timer. I know almost everyone has some experience with these, I mean even in ancient times when I was just a wee lad my father had timers on 3 or 4 lights for when we went away on vacation; but todays timers make those old same time every time timers look pathetic. After all, no one turns their lights on and off at the same time every single day unless they have OCD or are wedded to a schedule like glue as some people on the autistic spectrum can be. Spend a little more than you would on just a basic on and off timer and you can get digital timers that can be set to vary their timing by up to an hour either way.
And why stop there? Admittedly, I’m one of those paranoid people who leave their outside lights on 24/7; but very few people do. So why not add a timer to your outside lights as well? Or maybe a photosensor that will turn them on when it gets dark and turns them back off when it gets light. Get a good one, and it will serve you well even when you are at home making turning your outside lights on and off something you never have to think about.
Or maybe you have a neighbor or relative you trust implicitly that can stop by and manage your lights for you. This has the advantage that then people will be seen to be entering your house and leaving on a regular basis. If a thief has no other reason to suspect anything, it will look like someone’s home even more than just the lights turning on and off will. Hell, offer them a small bribe in the form of a cake or cookies and the use of your DVD collection while you’re away and I’ll bet they’ll jump at the chance.
One thing I’ve heard recommended several times is to make sure your blinds are closed before you go so that bad guys can’t see in. Sorry folks, but in my opinion that’s one of the stupidest suggestions out there. I mean think about it. When you’re home, is every blind in the place closed all the time? Maybe if you work third shift or are extremely sensitive to light, but otherwise I really doubt it. And if I’m not likely to believe it, what in God’s name makes you think the bad guys are going to buy it? No, leave the blinds just the way you normally would or get that friendly neighbor to randomly open and close the blinds for you while you’re away. Aye, you will want to move that laptop or expensive TV and jewelry somewhere where it’s not obvious to someone trying to peek in your windows, but that’s about as far as you should go.
Of course nothing shouts no one’s home quite like having your newspapers and mail piling up while you’re away, so call the newspaper and have them hold your paper while you’re away and use the postal services web site to put a hold on your mail as well; but what about those people who leave cards hanging from your door knob or mailbox advertising pressure washing or tree removal? You can’t exactly call them and tell them not to leave their ads at your house while you’re away, if for no other reason that you don’t have a clue who they are or when they’re going to leave them. So once again here’s a job for that neighbor you bribed, or the pet sitter coming in to take care of the four legged members of your family for you.
One thing my father never thought to do when I was growing up that I heartily recommend is calling your local police to let them know when you’re leaving and when you’re coming back. Okay, it might not do any good if you live in a huge city or have an asshole for a police chief, but then again it might. Most police departments now-a-days have programs just for this sort of thing, and it might result in them checking on your house every other day or so. If you have a really responsive police department, they might even check on it every day, or at least drive by it to make sure everything looks okay.
Next thing to be aware of is be careful who you tell that you’re going to be out of town for a while. What ever you do, don’t announce it on Facebook or your blog. Don’t even announce it in chat rooms. Yeah, you may have your privacy settings set for friends only; but that still doesn’t guarantee that the wrong people won’t see it. And even if they don’t see your original post, who’s to say that somebody who’s not thinking won’t say something along the lines of “That lucky so and so John Doe, he’s heading for Disney next month! Wish I had the money to go.” Yet at the same time you will want to let at least some people know that you plan to be out of town, especially a few of your neighbors. I remember we had a string of thefts one year down in Charleston that were real doozies. The thieves pulled up in front of their victims homes in moving vans in broad daylight and emptied the house they hit just as if the people who lived their where moving away, and the neighbors by and large just thought to themselves “Gee, I didn’t know they were moving. I wonder why they didn’t tell us?” In not a single instance did anyone call the police or even get suspicious until the victims came home and found their house completely empty! In two cases I think the thieves even put up a fake For Sale sign. If these people had just let one or two of their neighbors know they were going away on vacation, there’s a good chance the thieves could have been caught. Instead they hit 7 or 8 houses in the course of a month and a half then skipped town.
One more thing you might want to consider, especially here in the South, is whether your car is normally in the drive way or in the garage. Many, many people here in the South don’t bother parking their cars in the garage and instead use their garages for all sorts of other things. But that can be a dead give away that no one’s home if your second car is left sitting in the driveway and never moves the entire time you’re gone. So in addition to the pet sitter, if you don’t know anyone you’d trust to occasionally drive your car just so it doesn’t look completely unused, ask around and see if you can find someone. I doubt you’ll want someone driving your car every day and putting who knows how many miles on it, but maybe you can get that friendly neighbor you’ve already bribed to take it to the grocery store and back once or twice while you’re gone. It can’t hurt, and it might help more than you’d think.
So there you have it. My quick and dirty lowdown how how to keep safe during vacation both where you’re vacationing and on the home front. Could I have gone into more details on some of it, or even come up with more ideas? You betcha, but as this thing I call a ramble is a blog post and not a magazine article I think I’ll call it good for now. In the meantime, have a great weekend and I hope the weather cooperates with you. Until we meet again in this little corner of cyberspace; may the road rise up to meet you and may the wind be always at your back. And remember, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing with attitude.
One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the number of people who buy a gun "for defense" and then toss their new gun in a drawer and forget all about it. Ask them even the simplest thing about it a couple of months later, and the answers are so predictable you have to wonder how much leaming is in their DNA make up. How many rounds does your magazine hold? I dunno. Does it have an external safety? I dunno. How's it shoot? I dunno, never shot it. Really? Then how do you know if it even will shoot? Leave it that drawer long enough and I can almost guarantee that it won't, and at that point the only thing it will be good for is throwing it at an intruder and hope it hits him! Could have saved yourself a few hundred bucks and just pick a drawer full of rocks from the garden. At least they'll throw well which a gun probably wouldn't! If you're going to have a gun for any reason you need to take to the range on a regular basis and practice with it.
Still just plain target practice is only going to take you so far. Oh sure, it'll do you plenty of good if all you plan on doing is having fun or competing in Bulls eye competitions, but if you plan to carry for self defense then you really need to do something a bit more. Something to help prepare yourself to be something other than a target, which is exactly what you'll be if you just stand there in fight like you were just having another day at the range and your gun is sitting on a bench waiting for you to pick it up. On the other hand, there are some ranges where that's the only thing they'll allow you to do, in which case it's better than not practicing at all.
The first thing you really need to practice is drawing and then reholstering your weapon, especially if it has a retaining system of some type. Believe me, you do not want to be fumbling with it when you need your gun right now! But if you don't commit it to muscle memory then that's exactly what you'll find your self doing. In fact you don't even need to be at the range to practice this, just make sure your weapon is unloaded first. I know this sounds ridiculous, but when you first try it you'll find it really isn't as easy as it sounds. For example, if you count on a jacket to conceal your weapon then you'll need to find a quick, easy, and natural movement that will let you flip you jacket back out of the way of your draw and quickly release the restraining system your holster uses all before you can even start your draw, and then when you go to reholster your weapon you need to be sure that your coat tail doesn't end up inside the holster along with your weapon. I can almost guarantee that if you don't make this an automatic reaction then sooner or later your coat tail (or shirt tail) will end up tangled around the trigger and you'll end up shooting yourself in the leg or foot! Don't believe me? Then check out this video. That's exactly what happened to the police chief shown in it.
Once you're comfortable with drawing and reholstering your weapon, you'll want to try and find a range that will let you practice firing from the holster. Some will while some won't, and most of the ones that will let you will want you to either take a class first or insist you do so under the supervision of a range master (at least for the first time any way). Once you have, if you've no or little experience drawing from your holster and shooting, just spend a few sessions just drawing and shooting one or two rounds. Don't worry about accuracy at this point, just practice drawing, shooting, and then reholstering until it feel completely natural to you. Speed and accuracy will come with time.
Once firing from the holster and reholstering feels as natural and smooth as walking, now it's time to start working on accuracy. There's several ways to do this. The simplest way is to just use the common silhouette targets just the same as if you're doing normal range shooting. Or you can up the ante and cut a hole in your target. The idea here is that when you shoot, you want all your rounds to go through the hole you cut. If a fair number are making their own holes then you need more work. If the majority are going through the hole you cut, then next time cut the hole a little smaller. The trick is that when you're shooting for self defense, you really don't care if all your bullets are making a nice 1 inch group; you just want them to hit something vital that will stop your attacker from hurting you or your loved ones.
Another drill you can try will let you work on both speed and accuracy at the same time. With this drill you'll need either a shot timer or a buddy with a stop watch (or at least a second hand on his watch). The idea for this drill is that you take a preselected amount of time on each of your shots so that you can work on muscle memory and technique. So when the shot timer (or your buddy) says go, you draw your weapon to the count of say five, then aim to the count of five, then fire using the best trigger control you possibly can to the count of five, then reholster again to the count of five. All in all, this should take you about a minute. After you've practiced at this rather slow speed a number of times, then you speed things up doing the same thing but at a count of four. Then three, then two, then one. Since technique is the best way to guarantee accuracy, this drills that technique into your muscle memory better than any other drill I know; and when the chips are down, muscle memory is what will keep you on track and hitting what you're aiming at.
"But wait!" I hear some of you saying, "I thought you said not to stand still! Yet these drills are doing just that, aren't they?" And you're right of course. So far everything I've rambled on about does involve shooting from a static position. The trick is that if you can't hit what you're shooting at is you're standing still, you probably won't be able to hit the broad side of a barn from the inside when you're trying to move and the adrenaline is pumping through your system like water from a fire hydrant. So work these drills first to get that all important muscle memory going since that is what will allow you to hit your target under pressure. Get to the point where you can do it right every time without thinking about it. Then, and only then, you can change it up just a little bit. When these drills are instinctive, start taking a step to either the right or the left as you draw. That's all. Just a simple step to one side or the other. It sounds absurdly simple, but it's actually much harder than you might think. I can almost guarantee that the first time you try it you'll find your aim is so far off that you'll be wondering what went wrong. Nothing did actually. It's just that unless you have a background in some form of the martial arts or are just naturally gifted, you aren't used to working your upper body and your lower body at the same time that way and it's going to take some practice to get used to it. That's part of why I want you to get to the point where the motions of your upper body as you draw, aim, and fire your weapon are programed into muscle memory; because once it is you'll be able to concentrate more effectively on making your legs do what they're supposed to do. It won't take long, but it is something that needs to be learned, not just done. Then, once you can move to either side easily, start stepping on the diagonal. Forwards and to the right at the same time, or backwards and to the left. Mix it up. Try doing it at home using a squirt gun or even a stick in your hand instead of your handgun. I know, I know. It sounds dumb, and you'll feel even dumber doing it; but it really is worth it in the long run. Hell, every martial arts instructor I've ever had would spend the occasional class just having us do front cross overs and rear cross over forwards and back. Yes, even the advanced belts would be out there with us; and I'm talking the truly advanced belts. Second and Third degree Black Belts would be out there right along with White and Yellow belts looking as stupid as hell, but it works. It teaches you how to move and keep your balance. Even more, it teaches you how to move and keep your concentration on the other guy, the one trying to fill you with holes. And before very long at all, you'll be able to draw, aim, fire, and move towards cover all at the same time without even thinking about what you're doing; and at that point you'll truly be ready to defend yourself.
Now don't get me wrong. All of this is hard work, and it sounds as boring as all get out; but it doesn't have to be. Get your friends together and make a game of it. See who can hit the smallest hole. Or maybe see who can work their way to the shortest time on the shot timer with everyone starting with a five count on each step and working your way down almost like a twist on the game of horse. Or maybe you can find a range or club in your area that has IDPA tournaments! There can be a real rush to competing in an IDPA match, and to win you'll have to use everything these drills are designed to teach you. Plus, you'll probably meet some people who can teach you even more drills you can use to train yourself with without getting bored with the same old same old every time. Hell, maybe we'll even meet and you'll have a drill I don't know that you can teach me. I'm always looking for new drills and new tricks. After all, the day I stop learning is the day some one should push me over and burry me where I fall 'cause I failed to notice I'm dead.
But for now, as always, I've reached the point where I'm starting to write a chapter in a book instead of just rambling on for a blog. So go out and have some fun this weekend. Fire off a couple of boxes of ammo, and maybe, just maybe, try one of these drills. Either way I hope to see again soon in this little corner of cyberspace I call my own. And as always, remember. If you're going to do something, do it with attitude!