Friday, June 10, 2011

Proficiency

I was at an earlier edition from Wedgehead’s blog and it was pointed out to me that we need to insure our proficiency with the weapons we carry.  This isn’t anything new.  The temptation to shoot exclusively the new gun, or the current favorite can be overwhelming.  Couple this with mental complacency and we will drift out of real proficiency.  One of the weapons I carry on a regular basis is a S&W 442 J-frame.  It’s a hard gun to shoot with big hands, or with smaller and less strong hands.
I didn't notice it too much until I was done shooting that string.

I don’t practice it enough so I took it out to the range with a bucket of put-back ammo.
‘Put-back’ ammo?  That’s the odd-ball collection of ammo left over from reloading that didn’t fit in the boxes, or the few commercial rounds that didn’t get fired at the range.  There was everything from bull’s-eye rounds to Hydra-Shoks.  That’s one of the best things about a revolver.  If you can get the cylinder closed, the gun will go bang.  Revolvers are almost completely ammo insensitive.
I set up an IDPA target at 24 feet and fired two-handed standing without support.  The trigger was longer than I remember, but each one was a surprise break.  I kept them all in the inner circle or the head.  I’m happy about that.

Two hand free style


One out of three positions --- Check!
Then I transferred to strong hand only.  That also wasn’t too bad.  The gun seemed to kick a bit more, and I had a little less control.  But I managed to keep the rounds on the target, even though the group opened up a little.  FBI reports seem to indicate that 50% of all self-defense shootings occur one-handed.
Strong Hand Only

Still not too bad.  I seem to be centered in the target, but practice, especially for rescue head shots, is indicated.
Two out of three positions --- Check!
That left weak hand only.  It was smooth sailing until I hit that reef.  My camera seems to have refused to take a picture of the results.  Still on paper, still roughly centered, but call me Dr. Kildare.  ‘Cause I’m stitching the target from stem to stern.  Clearly, no rescue head shots with left hand only for me.
Box score at this point: two out of three good, one passable.  Not too good for self-defense and clearly I need to practice.
Still, that’s 24 feet with a sub two-inch barrel.  Let’s move back to 45 feet and see what we can do.
At that distance I found myself slowing down and controlling the trigger more.  I needed a surprise break and good sight alignment with the micro sights on the 442.  Most of the hits were in the center ring, so that’s acceptable shooting.
Two hand free style at 45 feet

All of this, I should explain, was shot behind a barrel I was using for my table.  No movement.  One fantasy from self-defense cloudland is the western-style shoot out.  You plant your feet, quick draw and shoot it out.  That’s not real.
Every good trainer will tell you to move off line, use cover and concealment if available and incoming bullets have the right of way.  That’s next in my practice regimen.  But it will have to wait a week or two.  I’m at the Blade Show in Atlanta, Georgia.  Stay tuned for that later.

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