03 February 2014

Teaching new gun owners to shoot like their life depends on it PART I

During the Obama administration more and more people are not only purchasing firearms, but in places like Illinois, carrying them for the first time.  Most of these shooters, like the vast majority of people who currently own and carry firearms, will not pursue initial or ongoing training when it comes to gun handling.  This article is for those folks and everyone else that wonders if what they have learned up until now will prepare them to fight for their lives.  Understanding how our body works goes  a long way towards training realistically for the street.

Shoot with both eyes open-  While attending the NRA Firearms Instructors Course, I found it interesting that while shooting pistol and rifle we were taught to shoot with one eye and focus on the sights.  But when it came to shooting shotguns, we trained on skeet and were told to keep both eyes open and just lead the bird and pull the trigger.  When I asked why there was this difference from using the shotgun, they said "because the targets are moving".  Last I checked, many people and things you are trying to shoot will move.  Here is an example we can all relate to, next time you are driving down the road and an animal scurries across the road in front of you, immediately close one eye and try to track it.  By the time you think to do this, the animal will be gone.  The first part of the OODA Loop is OBSERVE.  Human beings are predators as evidenced having our eyes in the front of our heads.  Prey has them on the sides.  In addition to that, we are sight predators. This means that we primarily use sight to detect movement.  It stands to reason that the best way to feed our mind's insatiable appetite for information is with our eyes, both of them.  Under combat stress your eyes slam wide open.  For this reason, if your primary reason for shooting is to be able to shoot under stress at moving targets, it is best to train that way by shooting with both eyes open. 

Don't expect to have time to see your sights-  Notice I did not say do not use your sights.  If you have time and opportunity to do so, you should use your sights just like you should be moving towards cover.  The problem is that if you constantly train to use your sights and then in a real altercation do not see them, the difference may cause you to hesitate.  A good example of this occurred while I was shooting a simulator the other day at the Great American Outdoor Show.  The idea was to see how many balls you could shoot as they popped up and bounced all over the screen.  If you tried to track each ball with one eye open and  focus on the sights, your opportunity to shoot each ball faded fast.  You can see the the position I used to shoot the drill.  I was basically the High Extended Position from Central Axis Relock.   It naturally indexes the pistol between you and the target.  You are focusing on the ball and when it comes in front of your muzzle you pull the trigger.  One of my favorite point shooting tools are cheap blowguns with stun darts.  My kids and I shoot the crap out of each other with them.  If you needed sights to hit something, there would be no way that I would be able to hit the bottom of a soda can repeatedly at distances of over 10 yards.  The most important thing is to practice, practice, practice until you expect to hit what you are shooting at every time.  This also makes cross eye dominance a non issue.  This however can sadden some people who enjoy talking about it because it makes them feel superior to those who are unfamiliar.  At the show, they also had a three gun airsoft range where kids were shooting airsoft pistols, rifles, and shotguns at small 4X4 metal targets on top of poles at about 10 yards away.  For many of the kids it was likely the first time they had ever shot.  With the shotgun and rifle they were OK, and you could see them squinting because it was likely what they saw on TV and in the movies.  They hit some of them.  But when it came to pistol, all you heard was ting, ting, ting because they were looking at the target and pulling the trigger.

Drill of the week- with a repeating BB gun, airsoft, or even live pistol, put up a piece of typing paper at about 7 yards away.  Insert a full magazine and hold the gun down at your side.  It is up to you whether you want to shoot one or two hands.  Stare at the piece a paper for a few seconds, then bring the pistol up.  When it gets between your eyes and the targets, squeeze the trigger.  Be sure to keep both eyes open. 

This is the most basic drill I use when starting out a new shooter or one that wants to learn to shoot for self-defense and not just at targets.


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