Cold weather is arriving. This means extra clothes and for some, gloves. The good news is that it’s easier to conceal your handgun. The bad news is that it can be more difficult to get to if you need it. Practice accessing, drawing, and shooting your handgun in your winter clothes and gloves. You will find it is much different than drawing and firing in your warm-weather clothing. Just remember the basic safety rules while you are doing this…dry firing first will help to help work out any issues you might have safely. It can be awkward until you figure out how to make it work for you.
Get some realistic defensive shooting training! Then practice the skills you learn! Taking an occasional class isn’t enough. These skills are perishable…you must practice to maintain them.
When was the last time you shot the handgun you carry?
A lot of folks, if they shoot at all, tend to shoot something other than the gun they carry.
You need to practice with the gun you carry! You should be very familiar with your carry gun, know the trigger, be comfortable with the sights, and be able to clear a malfunction quickly. Shoot your carry pistol!
First, and very important, make sure your firearm is unloaded BEFORE practicing with dry firing. Unload it in one room and then go to another to do your dry firing, leaving any ammunition in the first room. Then check again to make sure your firearm is unloaded.
Dry firing is an excellent way to maintain and even improve your shooting skills, but remember, make sure your firearm is unloaded when you do this! (I know this is a repeat from my Interesting Thought, but it is something you should really consider doing).
You’d be surprised what 5 or 10 minutes of dry firing a day will do for your shooting skills.
AFTER you’ve checked, double-checked and triple-checked to ensure your firearm is NOT loaded…
Find a safe place to point your firearm and then pick out a point (a nail head, a small screw, a small hole, etc…something small) and use that as an aiming point. Assume your firing position, line your sights up and press (squeeze or pull for you old-timers) your trigger. If your sights move when the hammer falls or the firing pin goes forward, you need to repeat the process until the sights don’t move (or move as little as possible).
Once you master dry firing from one position, start working on another. You can stand, kneel, sit, go prone, use walls and furniture as obstacles, etc. You can practice your presentation(draw) to get it smoother. You can practice lining your sights up and pulling the trigger after your presentation. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
Clean your carry gun! And lubricate it! You’d be surprised how many people show up for their Refresher or Renewal classes with their handgun so dirty or dry that they malfunction. If you carry it every day it’s going to pick up ‘stuff’ from the environment, or your pocket/purse or from your clothing. Clean it on a regular basis even if you haven’t shot it.
A lot of folks, when we do their 2-year Refresher class, tell me they haven’t shot since they saw me 2 years ago. And it’s pretty obvious watching them shoot. That being said, most of us have Revolver on our concealed carry license, but how many of us actually spend much time shooting a revolver?
If a firearm is on your concealed carry license shouldn’t you be proficient with it?
If you are going to carry a concealed weapon (or one openly) you have an obligation to practice with it. Think about that!
Take the 6-second church test. Can you make a headshot in 6 seconds at 12 yards? This is based on what happened at the church in Texas recently where a member of the church security team stopped an active shooter in his church. The test is 1 headshot at 12 yards in 6 seconds, from concealment. It is best done cold…in other words no ‘warm-up’ or ‘practice’ shots. You’ll probably find that the time is easy to make. The difficult part is hitting a target as small as the head. Try it. And practice it.
Looking back at this month’s Interesting Thought, whatever handguns and calibers you have on your license, you should be proficient with. In addition, you should certainly be proficient with the handgun you carry daily, or even if you only carry it occasionally.
You’d be surprised how many people tell me they either don’t shoot much or haven’t shot since they say me in their last class 2 years ago.
Remember, if you ever fire your concealed handgun in a self-defense situation, you are responsible for each and every round that you fire. I’d be happy to go out shooting with you sometime…just give me a call.
We all enjoy a nice day with good weather at the range, but what are we really learning? Practice in the rain sometimes, when it’s windy, in the snow, when it’s very hot, and when it’s cold.
I just finished the Pecos Run and Gun event (a 5.5-mile loop with 8 shooting stops) and it rained on me the first mile. When I got to the first stage I was soaked, my rifle and gear was wet and it was raining so hard I couldn’t see all the targets. Great fun. We had prepared for the heat and what we got was rain and mud.
You never know what the weather (and circumstances) will be until you get there. And remember, the defensive use of your handgun will happen in seconds and the weather won’t care if you like it or not.
Be careful about how you present yourself. This article, from A Girl With a Gun, has some food for thought about how you present yourself as a gun owner and a concealed carrier. She points out that if you are involved in a self-defense situation and are forced to shoot, everything you have ever done, including what you post on social media as well as any stickers on your vehicle, may come under legal scrutiny. Will that be to your benefit or detriment? Take a few minutes to read this article and give it some thought.
Your character is on the line and your defense won’t like your negative public image, especially if your actions were reasonable and justified.