People look at me like I’m crazy when I say to them know your Manual of Arms. This saying comes from a prescribed drill in handling a weapon with the military. What it means to us is that you should be very familiar with your firearm. Know every feature of the gun you are carrying for personal protection. One of the things I like to do on 1911’s or semi-autos that lock the slide when the safety is engaged (not all pistols lock the slide when the safety is engaged) is to load them with dummy rounds and put the safety on. Then I ask the student to pick up the gun unload it and make it safe. A person that knows the firearm and is proficient at manual of arms knows that before he or she can rack the slide they have to disengage the safety. I have had people pull and pull on the slide not knowing why they can’t move it. It’s funny but it really isn’t. How much time do you think that person wasted pulling on that slide and having it go nowhere. Do you think it might be important if you were trying to defend yourself, and you were scared out of your mind, not to waste that precious time. How long does it take a person with a machete to travel 21 feet? I think Dennis Tueller told us it was 1.5 seconds.
A student seeking a firearms instructor will evaluate the quality of training offered. You are making an investment and your life may someday depend on this training and the ideas your new instructor may have. Modern handgun skills have not changed much in the past as far as standards of safe gun handling and the fine points of good marksmanship and shooting skills. There are leaders in the firearms industry who set the standards of exceptional training, such as Massad Ayoob and many others. Some people are fortunate to have trained with these individuals and share their knowledge throughout the country. Learn where your instructor received training and make sure that you’re getting quality and correct information. Think about the difference between the pro athlete and the coach. The pro might or might not make a good coach. The coach played that sport, maybe not at a pro level, but can bring others to that level.
Picking Firearms Instructors-
Most good instructors have trained with a variety of mentors that discuss different styles and methodologies. Keep in mind that military and law enforcement personnel may have received exceptional firearms training, but that does not mean that he or she is a firearms instructor. Further, instructors that do not have experience teaching civilians may have mindset and tactics that are very different from the training you want.
If your instructor has only recently become an instructor, or maybe even a gun owner, he or she may not be a good resource. Look for diversity of training and additional classes being offered before deciding to take a class or lesson. A person may be certified to teach a License to Carry or CCW permit course, but he or she may not be a firearms instructor that can teach safe gun handling and points of marksmanship. One teaches you how to shoot; one teaches the law for a permit or license.
Some credentials that show your instructor can shoot is always helpful. Instructors that do not encourage you to seek additional training either have large egos or they are overconfident about their curriculum or worry that you will give your training dollars to someone else.
A reputable instructor is not always the teacher, but enjoys being a student. He or she will attend continuing education sessions and training to constantly advance and/or reinforce their skills. Be sure your instructor is industry connected. The firearms industry is very competitive, but also very interconnected. Good instructors collaborate and participate in the greater firearms community. See if your instructor has ever taught at a Women on Target event with the NRA or other similar large events.
As you look at your instructor’s bio and resume, you want see some of these top instructors and others: Kathy Jackson (Cornered Cat), Karl Rehn (KR Training), Massad Ayoob and Gail Pippen, Tom and Lynn Givens (Rangemaster), Marty and Gila Hayes, Rob Pincus, Robert Vogel, Ben Stoeger, Rob Leatham, Ken Hackathorn, Larry Vickers, Paul Howe, Clint Smith (Thunder Ranch), Jerry and Kay Miculek, John and Vicki Farnam, Jim Higginbotham, and those who have trained with them.
Choosing a Defensive Firearm for a Carry Gun
By: Jeff Belanger, Instructor,Gunsmith
Choosing a Defensive Firearm
As an instructor I’m not a big fan of the snub nosed .38 special revolver as a defensive firearm for new shooters. A few people have written back asking what I do think a good choice would be. Since it’s never as simple as saying “Gun X” is the must have carry gun. I’ll explain my criteria when shopping for a new defensive firearm and hopefully something I write will help you when you’re making your next selection. The first question I ask myself is “What is the firearm’s primary purpose?”. If I’m shopping for a gun to always have with me at all times (the gun I carry when I don’t want to carry a gun), size and concealability will be more important to me than caliber. Once I know what I’m looking for, I’ll do some research and figure out who is making something which meets my criteria. Honestly, I do a lot of my weeding out right here. Just like lots of people who wouldn’t ever drive a certain make of car, there are firearms manufacturers out there whose products have always seemed substandard to me or caused me nothing but grief. As a gunsmith, if a certain gun is something I see in the shop quite a bit I guarantee you I wouldn’t bet my life on I’ll read internet reviews and see what people have to say about something, and then I’ll head off to the gun stores so I can actually hold the firearms I’m considering.
No More Than 5 Defensive Firearm Choices
Typically, my list of prospective choices is no more than 5 guns at this point. Keeping with my pocket pistol example, maybe I’ll find one that’s single action only. Since I know I’m not comfortable carrying a cocked gun in my pants pocket- I’ll take that off the list right now. Maybe the next one I look at is too small (or too large) for my needs- that’ll come off my list too. After familiarizing myself with the remaining defensive firearms and their controls, I’ll evaluate my two most important criteria next. “Does it point naturally?” and “Can I work it?” Holding the gun in my shooting grasp I’ll look at something (remember your safety rules here!) and bring the gun up as if to shoot. I then check to see if the sights have naturally aligned on the target or if I need to make an adjustment. I’II do this a few times to see if the gun is pointing where my brain thinks it should be. My goal here is not to find a gun that I can aim, but to find the gun that aims itself for the ones that do stay very high on my diminishing list of choices. “Can I work it?” is probably the most important aspect to consider- especially for women. You need to make sure you can manipulate the defensive firearm in every way possible. Ask yourself- Am I strong enough to rack the slide, lock the slide back? Can I release the magazine easily? If a revolver- am I strong enough to pull the trigger? etc. The answers will be different for each individual, and only the actual shooter can answer them. You’ll need to do all these things to load/unload your firearm, clear malfunctions, and operate it competently. If you’re lucky enough to have more than one choice left at this point, I would next consider accessories and caliber. It does you no good to have a carry pistol nobody makes a holster for or a semi-auto with magazines that are impossible to find. As to caliber, remember that smaller/lighter guns will always recoil more than a larger heavier gun in the same caliber. Generally, I always want the largest caliber I can comfortably handle when shooting, but this is never a deal breaker for me. The .380 I actually have with me when I need it will always be more effective than the .45 I left at home. Lastly, I try not to let price become a determining factor in choosing a defensive firearm.
Defensive Firearm at a Discount
If you wouldn’t buy a discount parachute at a garage sale, you shouldn’t treat your defensive firearm purchase any differently. I don’t know anyone who would consent to being maimed or killed for a couple hundred dollars, but people constantly take that risk when they stand at the gun counter and choose the discount budget brand gun which may not work when they need it most. This is something you are literally going to bet your life on if the time ever comes, treat your purchase with the seriousness it warrants. Be safe shoot straight and have fun out there!!
Assault Rifle Definition
If anyone is interested here are some standard definitions for Assault Rifles. I think some people are calling our sporting weapons Assault Rifles
and maybe there is a definition problem?
definition of assault rifle at wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assault_rifle
It must be an individual weapon with provision to fire from the shoulder(i.e. a buttstock);
It must be capable of selective fire;
It must have an intermediate-power cartridge: more power than a pistol butless than a standard rifle or battle rifle;
Its ammunition must be supplied from a detachable magazine rather than a feed-belt.
And it should at least have a firing range of 300 meters (1000 feet)
Rifles that meet most of these criteria, but not all, are technically not assault rifles despite frequently being considered as such. For example, semi-automatic-only rifles like the AR-15 (which the M16 rifle is based on) that share designs with assault rifles are not assault rifles, as they are not capable of switching to automatic fire and thus are not selective fire capable. Belt-fed weapons or rifles with fixed magazines are likewise not assault rifles because they do not have detachable box magazines.The term “assault rifle” is often more loosely used for commercial or political reasons to include other types of arms, particularly arms that fall under a strict definition of the battle rifle, or semi-automatic variant of military rifles such as AR-15s.The US Army defines assault rifles as “short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridgeintermediate in power between submachine gun and rifle cartridges.”
Another definition of assault rifle at merriam-webster
Military firearm that is chambered for ammunition of reduced size or propellant charge and has the capacity to switch between semiautomatic andfully automatic fire. Light and portable, yet able to deliver a high volume of fire with reasonable accuracy at modern combat ranges of 1,000–1,600 ft (300–500 m), assault rifles have become the standard infantry weapon of modern armies. Their ease of handling makes them ideal for mobile assault troops crowded into personnel carriers or helicopters,as well as for guerrilla fighters engaged in jungle or urban warfare. Widely used assault rifles are the U.S. M16, the Soviet Kalashnikov (the AK-47 and modernized versions), the Belgian FAL and FNC, and the German G3.
Don’t Put Off That Gun Training
You may have thought about getting some gun training this year because you feel that you need to have some education in the do’s and don’ts of concealed carry. Maybe you thought about getting some gun training about firearm safety because you feel uneasy about your gun and your ability to handle it safely. Sometimes what you need is just to take a local advanced gun training skills class and get some new gun training ideas so that you have some new ideas about how to train.
Gun Training Can Be Serious Fun
Changing the way you train with new gun training ideas is one way you keep interested in your training routine. Be creative, take someone with you so you can have a training partner. One easy routine you and your partner can do is the “colored circle target”. Any version of this target works. Load 5 rounds, start at the ready position, and have your partner call out the colors in random order. One shot at each color or letter. You can mix it up any way you want. You can also use different shapes i.e. (triangle,box,circle,numbers) and different size circles. Try running a shot timer. Remember to keep your target low enough so that you are not shooting at the ceiling ( your RANGE SAFETY OFFICER will appreciate that). You can have a lot of serious gun training fun with these ideas.
Aiming your handgun is one of the gun control skills you must acquire to be able to hit the target and of course protect yourself in a self protection encounter. Aiming your handgun is a basic part of gun control skills and its use, also a very important safety aspect of handling a firearm i.e.,muzzle direction. The sights are located on top of the barrel of your handgun. The front sight needs to be level with the top of the rear sight. Many types of sights are available on firearms today but the all serve the same purpose, to align the barrel of your firearm with your target so you can hit what you are aiming at. No matter which variety of sights your firearm has, the key skill is to keep your eyes focused on the front sight while aligned with the rear sight. The target should be slightly blurred and you should be focused on your front sight.
Gun Control Skills-Trigger Control
No one, not even the very best shots can hold a gun perfectly still. Trigger control and sight alignment go hand in hand and are the shooters best gun control skills. Most misplaced shots are due to poor trigger control. Learn to take the slack out of your trigger and then press the trigger in a smooth action to break the shot. You will have more enjoyment from your shooting time when you are hitting the target.
Gun Control Skills
Remember the FBI report that says shot placement is more important when selecting a gun than caliber size.
Gun control skills will make you a better shot and give you greater self protection.