I just sat through a gun range safety class that was required to shoot at a local range. One of the instructors introduced himself and then began to blow my mind with some of his thoughts on shooting.
It wasn’t all bad, but a few things have been largely debunked as myths at this point.
This stuff must be discussed because these myths change the way people look at self-defense and training to come out on top.
Don’t train the way you fight
The biggest surprise came when he said that you shouldn’t train the way you fight because you can’t always simulate all aspects of it. My problem is how else should you treat your range time if you want to be ready for a defensive encounter?
I’ve written extensively on this topic both here and in other places like when I was managing editor for the Concealed Carry website. Whenever I’m not testing a new gun or piece of gear, I try to treat each range session as if it were my last time before I’d need to defend myself.
Doing target practice and expecting that to be enough to defend your life, is unrealistic.
If you’re just there for target practice or to get some trigger time with a new gun then it isn’t as important. But if you are being serious about your outcome during defensive gun use, then you should train the way you intend to fight to the best of your ability most of the time.
Of course, you won’t be able to simulate all aspects of it, but you should do as much as possible. This includes all aspects of the drawstroke, presenting to the target, doing drills under the stress of time, proper grip, proper trigger manipulation, and the rest of it.
Again, it won’t be perfect because you won’t be able to train for every scenario anyway. But, you should try. Anything less is irresponsible.
Trigger placement is key
We’ve all seen the diagram making rounds on social media. You know the one, it shows that if you put too much finger on the trigger it’ll cause your shots to go one way and if you put too little finger on your trigger it’ll cause your shots to land the other way.
All dependant upon your dominant hand, of course.
Well, I’m here to tell you that this is also largely a myth for all but the newest of defenders. Where you put your trigger finger is a lot less important than the way you pull it.
Why? Because trigger finger placement is a lot less important than the way you pull (or press) your trigger.
Instead of forcing your trigger finger into a certain spot, you should let it fall naturally in the spot where your grip puts it.
The way your grip your gun is far more important than where you place your finger on the trigger.
If was the other way around then I’d never be able to hit my target because my hands are gorilla mitts and I carry subcompact pistols for self-defense. I almost always have too much trigger finger on the trigger.
If you are able to pull your trigger straight to the back of the gun without moving the muzzle then you should be okay no matter where you put your finger.
A good example of this takes place each time Hickock 45 pulls out a small gun. That dude’s hands are massive and he has to put a lot of finger on the trigger or he’d sacrifice his grip.
The folks who put too much emphasis on trigger placement would rather you sacrifice your grip to get that “proper” trigger finger placement. The issue with this is that your grip is 10X more important than your trigger finger is.
You should NEVER sacrifice your grip for your finger.
Your grip can overcome your finger moving awkwardly, but your finger cannot overcome a poor grip.
Least important is that your stance matters. Of course, you should always try to get a proper stance if and when you can. But, if we are training the way we fight, which we should be, then you won’t have the time to make sure your feet are shoulder width apart, squared up on target, elbows slightly bent, whatever.
You should have a proper, tight grip and make sure you’re pointed in the right direction.
I took a combat pistol class once where the instructor confirmed that shooting stance is mostly B/S and proceeded to have us run drills with our feet together or standing on one leg, as opposed to shoulder width apart.
If you take a serious class, you’ll be shooting around corners, through small holes, moving and then shooting, from the ground, etc. Your stance doesn’t matter as much as people make it seem.
It’s imperative that if you’re going to take your training seriously, you should get quality instruction. It’s apparent that they give the title of “instructor” to just about anyone these days, and most of the time people don’t deserve the title.