Saturday, June 22, 2019

Back to The Fundamentals

When I see a student struggling with defensive pistol handling and marksmanship techniques, it is most often due to not practicing the fundamentals of basic pistol handling.  Either they don't know the fundamentals, or they are rushing through each of the phases of proper pistol handling to hastily get the gun up and on the target.  But this rushed and "unpurposeful" attempt at pistol presentation is leading to wasted movements and poor marksmanship.  Too many times, the student does not have the pistol presented in a good defensive posture, and then the shots tend to be scattered and not as effective as they could be.

The Pat McNamara video below is one of the best that I have found to illustrate the basics of pistol handling.  He breaks down the fundamentals of pistol handling into its most basic components.  Each of the pistol handling "phases" can be broken down into specific components, each of which is deliberate, has a proper form, and each of which has a very specific tactical purpose.  Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and fast is deadly.  Hasty and hurried, especially in a gun-fight, will get you killed.

When watching this short video, all of the phases and techniques he describes are important, but specifically, I would like to draw attention to his comments on trigger finger placement.  Trigger finger placement has a HUGE influence on proper marksmanship.  I have tried this technique myself.  It works.  I too was a product of training where the pad of the finger (splitting the distal phalange, as Pat calls it) is the proper placement.  But after watching Pat's videos, talking to other competitive shooters, and actually practicing it myself, I have found that actually syncing the finger all the way in, usually until the finger joint is on the trigger, provides a great deal of advantage when it comes to making sure that there is no undue influence on the trigger that would cause shots to be off. 

Pistol grip, trigger finger placement, pistol presentation, and firing the shot are all indeed a matter of physics and proper tool usage.  Using physics and mechanical principles over wasted and forced movements will win for you every time.

So what can you do?  Practice, practice, practice!  And not all practice has to be done at the range.  Dry-fire practice is an excellent way to practice those movements, such as drawing from a holster, pistol presentation, trigger finger placement, and a smooth steady trigger squeeze.  Remember, slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and fast is deadly.  Performing that slow repetition, over and over again, will help you with what is referred to as "deep training" to help build muscle memory.  Then you can go to the range and put that deep training and practice into play, and then concentrate on marksmanship.  

For more on "Deep Training" techniques, by the way, read Tim Larkin's book, "When Violence is the Answer."  I have found the methods and techniques discussed in this book to be an anexceptional resource for all types of training, whether it is hand to hand, non-lethal tools employment, or basic firearms handling.

I will be posting some videos soon that will show how I have set up my own dry fire practice area, and how I get the most out of my practice time using slow and deliberate techniques to build up to that smooth and quick defensive pistol delivery.  So stay tuned!

To purchase the LASR App that I use in my own dry-fire practice, plus a lot of good dry fire training gear, visit Shooter Technology Group and use my discount code GONZO58.

To Receive a 10% discount on Live Fire Drill Cards, a shooter's training log and some great training ideas visit Burnett LFDC!