In my last post, Pistol Training for Self Defense-Phase 1, we discussed a logical step-by-step guideline to assist you in building a skill set when it comes to your defensive ability with a handgun. Common sense should dictate that is more to the story than the previously discussed skills of drawing your pistol, efficient reloads, malfunction clearances, and alternate shooting positions.
Hopefully we can also agree that solid shooting fundamentals (stance, grip, sight alignment, sight picture, breathing, trigger control, and follow through) are the building blocks of good shooting.
Moving along in a logical progression, let’s take a look at additional pistol skills that you should add to your defensive pistol tool box and incorporate into your training regimen.
Accuracy and Distance
It’s been said that under the duress of having to actually shoot at another person who is trying to kill you, the percentage of hits made will decrease, in some cases by as much as 30 or 40 percent. Old FBI statistics support this theory as truth. Even at close distances of three to five yards it is entirely possible to miss the intended target, especially under stress.
Once your basic shooting fundamentals have been well established, you should add accuracy drills to your training as close as three to five yards. You may ask how hard is it to hit the target at three yards? If the only target area available is the center of the head zone, missing is easier than you might image even at close quarters.
Practice placing five shots in one hole at close distances, and then you will be on your way to making a hyper accurate shot on a close, yet small target. Remember, trigger control is key along with front sight focus.
An excellent drill that works towards enhancing your accuracy and shooting fundaments is the Dot Torture Drill.
Once you have mastered the close distance accuracy move on to working at greater distances. Say the 15-to-25-yard line to begin with and then perhaps out to 30 or even 50-yard line and beyond.
At these distances alignment of front and rear sights along with sight picture are crucial as is a consistent trigger press. Imagine how simple it will be to make hits at the seven-, ten-, and 15-yard line when you can easily make hits at 25-to-50-yard distances.
There is an old saying, “speed is fine, but accuracy is final.” I agree, but have no misconception that your training and ability should include both speed and accuracy drills especially within the seven-yard line and closer.
Approximately 95% of all deadly force confrontations occur at seven yards or less.
This means you need to up your ability to make fast and accurate hits within those distances.
Kyle Defoor demonstrates a very good drill, known as the “Bill Drill” that will help you develop a faster pace with your defensive pistol shooting. Having personally attended a course or two from Kyle Defoor, I can assure you his methodologies and skills are solid.
One Handed Shooting
Although I did make short mention of this skill in the first Pistol Training for Self Defense article, it demands added attention. Under the immediate stress of a life-or-death encounter, it is not uncommon to instinctively shoot with your dominant or strong hand.
There are numerous examples from both lapel and dash cam video of law enforcement shootings to prove this is a fact.
In most of these instances the threat was immediate and so close that the officer responded under high duress with one-handed shooting. Moral to the story: it is a common technique practiced by most law enforcement. You should practice it enough that you become proficient and comfortable with it.
We make shooting one- handed a part of pistol skills training even at the beginner level, both right and left hand only regardless of which is dominant. Either of your hands could be injured in a life-threatening attack and you may have to revert to the use of the opposite hand.
Most folks will find one handed shooting a bit intimidating, especially with the non-dominant hand. With continued training and practice however, you will master this skill set easily.
As you work on these defense pistol skills don’t forget to incorporate those alternate shooting positions discussed in the previous post. Your training should incorporate kneeling positions, shooting around a barricade (simulated wall, tree or other cover), and adding movement.
A good way to begin movement is a simple step to the right or left while drawing your pistol to add an element of realism and tactics to your pistol training. If you are wheel chair bound, work on these skills from your wheel chair and complete the training that your body will allow.
In Pistol Training for Self Defense-Phase 3, we will identify additional skills to add to your “tool box” so to speak. This training regime is intended for you to use as a logical progression to move your skills up the scale as you continue to build solid training habits of your own.