Sunday, June 28, 2020

Home Defense Shotgun Qualification

Since I use a shotgun as a home defense weapon, I periodically fire qualifications with my shotguns. It is a good idea to demonstrate and document for record your competence with any firearm you might use for self-defense.

The claim of self-defense as a justification is for an intentional act, not for an accident or negligence. Demonstrating competence with your firearm can short-circuit the  prosecutor’s
potential tactic of arguing that you discharging the firearm was an accident or negligent act rather than intentional self-defense. 

What course should you use? There are several approaches you can take in choosing which course of fire to use to demonstrate competency. For the shotgun, I recommend the Department of Energy (these are the guys that guard nuclear weapons and facilities) Shotgun Qualification course or your state or local police qualification course. The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) Shotgun Instructor Qualification I discuss below is what police firearms instructors must pass to receive TCOLE firearms instructor certification in Texas.

The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) Shotgun Instructor Qualification course of fire is actually fairly straight forward and requires ten rounds of buckshot or five slugs and five buckshot. Given the scarcity of premium buckshot at this time, I used the cheaper Fiocchi 9 pellet buckshot.

The TCOLE qualification is fired on the standard TQ19 target with all pellets counted as one point. The shooter must score 90% to pass at the instructor level. 

The Stages:

25 yards: on command chamber and fire 3 rounds

25 yards: on command chamber and fire 2 rounds

15 yards: on command chamber and fire 3 rounds

10 yards: on command chamber and fire 2 rounds

Click on the picture below for a video of the qualification:

TCOLE Shotgun Qualification
Texas TCOLE Shotgun Qualification

I fired the qualification twice, once using a target much smaller than the TQ-19 and once using a B27 target that is closer in size to the TQ19.

My Beretta 1301 is not a 25-yard gun with the Fiocchi buckshot and will have flyers as shown on the cardboard target. Although the wads likely took out evidence of a few hits, I could only account for 78 pellets which was not a passing score. The B27 target contained all 90 pellets which was a 90 or perfect score.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Java Gold—A Short Range Match Stage

In April 2010 security cameras recorded a violent attack at the Java Gold jewelry store in Houston. Three men robbed and beat the store owner and an employee. Police eventually caught all three attackers.

Mehmood Ghaznavi the store owner armed himself after this robbery and unfortunately was killed in a gunfight with Anthony Parks during an attempted robbery in a separate incident a year later on 6 July 2011. Police found Parks at the scene and transported him to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the right side of his forehead. A jury later convicted Parks of Ghaznavi’s murder and sentenced him to 40 years in prison.

This is a video of me shooting Java Gold—a Short Range Match stage that replicated the April 2010 robbery. The scenario: String #1: Starting seated at P1with hand on holstered pistol (or retention ready), draw and engage all targets with at least two rounds. You may stand or move as you deem necessary. String #2: Starting seated at P1 remove pistol from the box and engage all targets with at least two rounds. You may stand or move as you deem necessary.

The Short Range Match stage design encourages people to use proper tactics and cover. The match replicates incidents such as the Java Gold robbery on a square range. The Short Range courses of fire seek to replicate real life scenarios where you are more likely to use carry-suitable handguns. The match's guiding principle is to improve concealed carry skills and shooters ideally will use a pistol they carry to shoot the match. All pistols may be loaded to magazine capacity; however, the match may have some reloads on the clock or some malfunction drills. Although this was a static stage, we typically practice a lot of moving to cover during the Short Range Match.

Over the years I have become convinced that the typical IDPA match encourages training scars. Training scars are bad habits, inappropriate, or counterproductive actions that don’t have a basis in proper tactics. Prior to the rule change several years ago, IDPA stages often required shooters to engage targets while moving. This resulted in shooter taking baby steps as they engaged targets. Obviously if someone is shooting at you, chicken walking in the open is probably not a good idea.

Under the current rules, competitors can also engage targets while standing in the open much like USPSA stages. If cover is available you should get to it as fast as possible. Several years ago, Active Response Training published the results of an informal experiment testing the benefits of static engagement, moving and shooting, and using cover. Although certainly not a controlled scientific experiment, the results are interesting. Defenders who remained stationary were hit 85% of the time with 51% hit in the torso. Defenders who moved were hit 47% of the time with an 11% hit rate in the torso. Defenders who rapidly moved to cover were only hit 26% of the time with a 6% hit rate to the torso—a significant improvement in survival potential. The full article is worth the read. Click here.

I’m not bashing IDPA or USPSA; however, if you are interested in improving self-defense skills training with scenarios like those we use in the Short Range Match help. IDPA, USPSA, the Short Range Match and similar contests do train us to shoot under stress and improve our speed and accuracy. The skills we practice most often are the skills we will use if called upon to defend ourselves so occasionally shooting a match using correct tactics is a good idea. You probably won’t win the match, but it will improve your odds if you are forced to draw your pistol to defend your life.

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Thursday, May 21, 2020

Accurate Shooting at Speed

Accurate shooting at speed does not just happen on its own. Learning to shoot fast is harder than simply learning to shoot accurately because by definition you are learning to go faster than you ever have before. As IDPA Distinguished Master Gregg Kratochvil once told me: "If you want to learn to shoot fast — you have to shoot fast." You must teach yourself faster trigger manipulation, to align the sights faster, and control recoil better.

Shooting fast while hitting the target requires a balance between speed and accuracy. Push one to the limits of your skill and you'll necessarily see the other suffer. If you shoot fast, you will miss sometimes, but that is OK because accuracy does catch up with continued practice. Learning to shoot faster means pushing yourself and getting a little (but safely) out of control as you find the limit of your skills — and then pushing beyond those limits just a little.

Steel stages in general, but stages like the Ultimate Five in particular can help improve your trigger preparation, trigger control, and transitions at speed. I have often heard the phrase "slow is smooth and smooth is fast." That never made sense to me and I noticed the typical person uttering the phrase was almost always shooting slowly. Most of the time, shooters saying this really do not understanding the underlying principles required to balance speed and accuracy. If you only practice slow, deliberate marksmanship, then the only skill you are developing is — slow, deliberate marksmanship.

In a video from a recent practice session I am shooting the Ultimate Five steel stage with a shotgun. Two runs with birdshot and two runs with buckshot. This is a stage we occasionally shoot during the Alamo Sport Shooting Club steel match and it requires pistol shooters to draw on the buzzer and shoot each target in any order. The stop plate is the last target hit. A typical steel run requires five to six shots assuming no misses.

The fastest I have seen this stage run was with a pistol caliber carbine at 1.95 seconds. The fastest with a pistol was with an Open Class race gun and the shooter fired it in 2.67 seconds from a draw—twice in a row. Likely there are pros who could shoot it faster.

Come out and shoot steel with us on the 1st Sunday of every month at Cedar Ridge Range in San Antonio. 

For more information go to the Alamo Sport Shooting Club website

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Still Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

Caley Mason attacking Jason Luczkow
Texas: Brian Marksberry witnessed a domestic altercation and attempted to intervene. The suspect began running from the scene of the dispute and Marksberry began chasing him in an effort to aid the police. When Marksberry caught up with the suspect, the man shot and killed him.

Oregon: Jason Luczkow witnessed a woman berating the staff at a Taco Bell and he told her to “zip it.” The woman identified as Caley Mason left the restaurant but returned moments later with a knife and attacked Luczkow causing an 8-inch gash across his face and throat that required 100 stitches.*

We can only guess what Brian Marksberry thought about his actions as he lay dying. When we consider the situations described above (and dozens of others like these) questions arise: Should you get involved in someone else’s problem? As you charge forward do you really know what you’re getting yourself into?

I have written about the saying “Not my circus. Not my monkeys” and how it often fits into our day to day circumstances.** Unless someone is using or attempting to use unlawful force or deadly force directly against you or someone under your direct, personal protection is it worth the potential cost to intervene?

You must answer this question quickly and accurately if you are considering getting involved in someone else’s problem. Your financial future, freedom, and literally your life may depend on this answer.

A license to carry a firearm does not confer a public duty that would require a licensee to get involved in stopping a crime. However, we can all imagine witnessing an attack so monstrous that we just could not stand by and let it continue. A situation involving an active mass killer comes to mind.

If the situation is such that you believe you must intervene before police arrive, think of your own safety first. Can you confront the individual from a position of cover? Are there obstacles between you and the individual that will inhibit him from getting close to you? What if the assailant simply ignores your commands and continues the assault? Are you prepared to deal with these possibilities and the aftermath?

Your decision to get involved and try to stop a crime in progress is entirely up to you. The time to think about these potential scenarios is before you find yourself witnessing an incident unfolding in front of you. You will live the rest of your life (as short as it may be) with the consequences of these decisions. 

If you do get involved and the situation appears ended, do not drop your guard.  The criminal may not believe the situation is over and may return as in the Luczkow/Mason incident.  Maintain situational awareness and make the best decisions that you can based on your training and experience.

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* Investigators said the knife wound was millimeters from potentially severing an artery and possibly killing Luczkow.

** This apparently is a Polish saying (Nie mój cyrk, nie moje malpy) that literally translates to “Not my circus. Not my monkeys.”

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Do you know your pistol's zero?

I periodically check the zero on my SIG P320 carry pistol with my carry ammunition, the Hornady Critical Duty 9mm 135 grain FlexLock standard pressure round. I always zero the optic for the Critical Duty round and then confirm the iron sights.

I have had good results from the Critical Duty standard pressure round in every pistol in which I have tried it. In my pistols, the standard pressure round is typically a little more accurate than the +P version. The fact that the FBI and the Texas Department of Public Safety (state police) also use a similar round is a happy coincidence. For several reasons, you should carry the round a national law enforcement agency or your state or local police carry, if possible.

Although many Internet commandos will debate this, I believe you should always carry factory ammunition for personal defense. When you purchase this ammunition, try to buy several boxes from the same lot. After you load your magazines for carry save at least five rounds in the box. If you ever find yourself in a short range defensive situation, the forensics examiner can use the ammunition sample from the lot that you have saved to verify distances with powder testing. Large ammunition makers keep samples for each lot for exemplar testing for 10 years as well. The forensic examiner cannot verify distances with handloads because there is no un-biased sample to measure it against.

Carry ammo is expensive. Reloading your ammunition can provide a more economical practice round for matches and training. The opportunity to develop a load that matches the point of impact for your carry ammunition is an added plus.

Several years ago, I developed a reload that effectively shot to the same point of impact as the Hornady Critical Duty standard pressure in my SIG P320 every day carry pistol. Always zero your sights for the carry round and then work the reload to match the carry round.

The pictures below show the results of this zero session. The dots in each picture measure 3/4 inch. I fired the shots in the picture with the black dot from a makeshift rest at 15 yards. The day was sunny with the wind gusting unpredictably. The shots with the red circles represent the Hornady Critical Duty shots with a group that measures approximately 1 inch. The ammo likely would have done better without me struggling a bit with with the wind.

I fired the shots in the picture with the orange dot from a standing position at 10 yards once the wind calmed down. The shots with the red circle represent the Hornady Critical Duty rounds with a group well under one inch.

The other shots in each picture are from my reloads. I was satisfied with the reloaded ammunition’s point of impact in comparison with the Hornady Critical Duty.

Being able to match your reloads to your carry ammunition is one of several advantages reloading offers. Reloading can be very satisfying and can save you money as well. Of course, safety protocols are always important to consider and follow. If you are completely new to reloading, there are a variety of books and online information that can help you get started. Click here for an article that discusses some reloading tips and tricks I've learned over the years through my own experience and that of others.

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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Early Release? COVID Scare Putting Criminals on the Streets

The Utah State Prison system released Joshua J. Haskell to a halfway house and then released him from the halfway house on March 17, 2020 due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19. Two days later police arrested Haskell and charged him with breaking into a random home, tying up a woman at knife-point, and threatening to kill her.

The victim told police that she was sleeping when she woke up to the sound of creaking stairs and discovered a man she had never seen before standing in her room holding a knife.

The woman told police that she began screaming and yelling, at which point Haskell told her to be quiet or he was going to cut her head off. He then tied the woman wrists and ankles with shoelaces. Haskell told the victim he was taking her bank cards and her PIN numbers, cash, her car, and that if she gave him the wrong numbers he would return and kill her.

The victim’s son who was also in the home heard his mother screaming and called 911. Police officers arrived at the house and found Haskell still in the bedroom with the woman--they arrested him at gunpoint.

Haskell, who police say has a lengthy criminal history, had drugs and drug paraphernalia on him at the time of the incident. Haskell has previously been convicted of multiple felony charges, including possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, assault, and burglary.

On 23 March 2020, prosecutors charged Haskell with five felonies including aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, possession of a weapon by a restricted person, and illegal drug possession.

Police reportedly found no signs of forced entry and the victim apparently didn’t hear anything until the creaking of her stairs. Although it is unclear just how Haskell entered the home, the victim told police that her back door could be wiggled and pushed open, even when latched.

So how do you prevent someone from entering your home, or failing that, at least force the intruder to make enough noise that you do not find them standing over your bed with a large knife?

LOCK YOUR DOORS! Get into the habit of checking every exterior door (including the one to the garage) every evening before you go to bed. I do this every night and occasionally discover a door that someone in my household left unlocked.

If you don’t have an alarm, get one. Wireless alarms are relatively inexpensive and require little technical expertise to install. If you have an alarm, set the alarm--it only works if it's on.

If your doors do not lock, get them repaired. A key step in home security is to make it as difficult as possible for someone to enter your home. Most pre-hung doors are not very sturdy and therefore it is relatively easy for a burglar to kick them open as shown in this video: Home Burglary

One solution to ensure that no one can simply kick in your exterior doors is to install heavy metal doors and frames. These are very decorative and somewhat costly; however, no human can kick them in.

For exterior wooden doors (make sure they are solid wood at least 1-3/4 to 2 inches thick), you can install the Strikemaster II Pro or similar products such as the Door Armor Max (formerly EZ Armor), or Door Security Pro to reinforce the door jams and hinges. I did this as the house was being built so it was relatively painless; however, they are not that difficult to install.

You should also be able to lock your bedroom door. A wood bedroom door made from at least 1-1/2 solid wood, with a deadbolt, and reinforced frame and hinges will make it impossible to enter the bedroom without power tools to breach the door.

If you cannot afford to make these modifications or do not own the property, consider purchasing a door security bar. These come in various configurations with the best being the heavy duty variety. Once in place, they are easily removed from the inside yet can withstand a considerable amount of force when someone tries to open the door. At the least, someone forcing the door should make enough noise to alert the room’s occupants.

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Sunday, March 22, 2020

The FBI 50-round Qualification

Shooting the current FBI 50-round qualification using the target. I first encountered this target in Tom Givens Shotgun Instructor Course and have been using it in recent Short Range matches.

The FBI uses the Q-19 target with a scoring area that measures 20-inches long, the body is 12-inches wide, and the head is 6-inches wide. The FBI scores each shot inside as 2 points and shots outside the target as zero points. 

The target's center "B" zone is a 5-inch circle. I used the "B" zone only and dropped two shots outside of it. Using that scoring I fired a 96 out of a total possible 100. 

FBI Agents must shoot 80 points or above on the Q19 target to qualify. FBI Instructors must shoot 90 points or above to qualify. 

The FBI qualification is as follows: 

3 yards 

    - Draw and fire 3 rounds strong hand only, switch hands and fire 3 rounds support hand only, all in 6 seconds 

5 yards 

    - Draw and fire 3 rounds in 3 seconds 

    - From the Ready, fire 3 rounds in 2 seconds 

    - From the Ready, fire 6 rounds in 4 seconds 

7 yards 

    - Draw and fire 5 rounds in 5 seconds 

    - From the Ready, fire 4 rounds, conduct an empty gun reload, and fire 4 more rounds, all in 8 seconds 

    - From the Ready, fire 5 rounds in 4 seconds 

15 yards 

    - Draw and fire 3 rounds in 6 seconds 

    - From the Ready, fire 3 rounds in 5 seconds 

25 yards

    - Draw and fire 4 rounds from Standing, drop to a Kneeling Position and fire 4 more rounds from Kneeling, all in 20 seconds

To see the video click here.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

I Almost Just Shot Myself!

Picture Courtesy of Daniel Bales
The Serpa and similar auto-lock trigger finger manipulation holsters have been commercially available in some form since 2006 with at least four variations currently on the market. As a retention holster, this design protects and retains the pistol and automatically "locks" the pistol in the holster when it is inserted without the need to manipulate any additional devices.

The retention release mechanism is located on the outboard side in the pistol's trigger/trigger guard area. To properly operate the release, the shooter establishes a strong-hand grip, extending and straightening the trigger finger exactly like a draw from any style of holster. The shooter then applies finger-pad pressure with the straight trigger finger to the "release button" that deactivates the retention and allows the shooter to draw the pistol.

There is a problem however. Unless the shooter deactivates the retention before beginning upward pressure on the pistol as part of the draw, the retention will continue to hold the pistol in place. Often, the inexperienced shooter then begins tugging on the pistol and tends to bend their trigger finger and transition from finger-pad to finger-tip pressure.

When the novice shooter finally manages to deactivate the retention and draws the pistol, this bend in the trigger finger positions the finger near or on the trigger, and the finger tends to stay in motion. As the trigger guard clears the holster, the finger enters the trigger guard and contacts the trigger — occasionally with unpleasant results. 

Tex Grebner of YouTube fame recorded a video of  accidentally shooting himself using a auto-lock trigger finger manipulation holster. The backstory behind his incident is interesting. He was practicing with several pistol and holster designs that day which resulted the perfect storm of ill-timed events.

Over the years I have become a firm believer in the "family of pistols" concept. I routinely see shooters trying to practice with pistols of radically different designs and they end up unable to shoot any of them well. Pick a pistol and holster design and stick to it.

Many instructors and academies simply ban these holsters from their classes. That is one solution. I have been present when two people shot themselves while improperly drawing an auto-lock trigger finger holster.  The pictures enclosed below courtesy of Daniel Bales in Reno, Nevada show a recent incident. In this case however, the shooter was standing in such a manner or tilted the holster during the draw in such a manner that the bullet did not cause any injury.

Pictures Courtesy of Daniel Bales

The holster is not the problem, it works exactly as designed. However, this design does seem to be extremely attractive to untrained shooters who often do not practice enough to use it correctly. If you are going to use an auto-lock trigger finger manipulation holster, you absolutely must train with the holster until a safe draw is second nature.

For instructors and range safety officers: If you have a shooter using a holster of this design, the key tell-tale sign that the shooter is drawing incorrectly is the belt will rise as they are drawing.  If you see the belt rise during the draw stroke, stop the shooter immediately and discuss the proper draw with this holster. 

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Saturday, March 7, 2020

Street Encounters: The Slide Lock That Saved a Life

Carjacking Suspects

A friend of mine provided his first person account of this incident. I use the name Jim to protect his privacy.

On the evening of 29 January 2020 at approximately 7:00 PM, I decided to take a quick trip to the local convenience store with my daughter and her boyfriend. As a pulled into the store’s parking lot, I noticed three cars in the corner of the parking lot with a small group of people standing around one car which had its hood open. I thought this was rather odd since they didn’t seem to be working on the car. I finished in the store around 7:30 pm and departed to return home.

The sun had long since set and it was a rather dark evening as I turned into the main entrance to my housing area. The entrance consists of separate, single entrance and exit lanes with a wooded “green belt” bordering both sides and a median separating the two. Once you enter the narrow lanes, coming in or going out – you are committed with no means to easily bypass something or turn around. Other cars entered behind me.

After I had traveled a short distance, a man suddenly ran from the wooded area into the middle of the road, blocking it. The man was in his late teens, early twenties with jeans, a gray “hoodie” sweatshirt, and holding a pistol in his left hand. The man was yelling that he had just shot someone and to call 911. My daughter noticed the man’s pistol as well and said “dad draw your gun.”

As I stopped my vehicle, I quickly drew my pistol, positioned it in my lap in my dominant hand, and oriented it toward the driver’s door. As I did this, the man ran to the driver’s side of my vehicle, repeatedly yelling “call 911.”

As the man approached my vehicle, I was hyper focused on the pistol and noticed that the small two-tone semi-auto had the slide locked to the rear. As the man started banging on my driver side window with the gun in his left hand, I also noticed that it did not have a magazine inserted. Further, he was grasping it around the slide and did not have the pistol in a firing grip.

The fact that he did not have it in a firing grip and that the slide was locked to the rear caused me not to shoot him. My window was cracked open so I yelled in a commanding voice, “What is in your hand?” The response was one that confirmed what I already knew – the man yelled, “A gun!” I repeated the question and added, “Hey Asshole -- get away from my car -– I will call 911.”

As the man backed away from the car, I drove forward to an area that widened to multiple lanes and reversed to a position in the exit lane on the grass where I could observe where I had been as well as the exit lane. The encounter may have lasted a total of 10-15 seconds from the moment when the man jumped into the street until I drove forward.

From the new vantage point, I called 911 and told them what had just transpired. The 911 operator said “Oh you must be calling about the shots fired.” I told the operator that I had heard no shots but that there was a man with a pistol running around in the neighborhood. While I was on the phone to the dispatcher, I observed someone run from the wood line and get into a parked car in the exit lane and drive off at high speed. I told the dispatcher this and the ended the phone call.

Incident Area

I then reversed direction and went home. As my daughter and I discussed the incident, she told me that the man’s shirt had been covered in blood. I have no memory of seeing any blood. When my wife entered the housing entrance a short time later, there were police cars at the location and an ambulance. The attendants were placing an individual into the ambulance.

And now with a tip of the hat to the late, great Paul Harvey, the rest of the story.

Later that evening, after a follow up with police and a visit from the crime scene technicians to lift hand-prints from my driver’s side window, I began to comb the internet for an explanation of what had happened. There was no reporting on the incident nor posts to social media pages, etc. However, around noon the following day an EMT who lives in the area posted a description of the event.

The man that I encountered in the road was the victim of a carjacking. He had met supposed car buyers at the convenience store to show his vehicle. One of them climbed into the vehicle to take a test drive with the owner. When the two men entered my housing area to turn around, the criminal drew a pistol and ordered the owner out of the vehicle. The owner was also armed and a “gunfight” erupted in the front seat of the car. The owner, according to reports struck the robber twice and one of the robber’s shots grazed the owner’s shoulder.

At that point the owner exited the vehicle and the carjacker must have exited as well. Although at the time I believed it was the man I had encountered, in fact the person I saw run to the car and drive off was the carjacker. The car’s owner remained at the scene.

Since I don’t have access to the police report or official statements, I cannot tell you how many rounds were fired between the two individuals nor if the owner purposely unloaded his pistol and locked the slide back or if he ran out of ammunition, causing the slide to lock open. All I can say with certainty is that this event could have gone horribly wrong if the slide of his firearm had not been locked back and I had not had the presence of mind to focus on what I was seeing unfold before me.

What lessons can we learn from this incident?

From the carjacking victim’s perspective, one obvious lesson is do not meet unknown people at a convenience store to try and sell your vehicle. Beyond this however, the question of his behavior with his pistol during the incident provides a lesson.

The carjacking victim likely emptied his pistol during the gunfight in the car and had no additional ammunition. Keeping the pistol in his hand as he approached the SUV was a very bad decision that could have cost him his life had he not had it in a non-firing grip with the slide locked back. Lesson: Holster your pistol as soon as it is safe to do so after a shooting incident. Running around with a pistol in your hand is an invitation for disaster.

From Jim’s perspective, he was carrying a 2” J-Frame in his pocket and he was wearing his seat belt. Just by coincidence, he was wearing a pair of pants with lower pocket openings that allowed him to draw the pistol while seat belted; however, he admitted he does not often wear such pants. If you carry a pocket pistol can you draw it when sitting with your seat belt fastened? Try it—you probably cannot do it quickly. Jim has rethought his pocket carry in the vehicle and now places the pistol hidden in the console where he can quickly grab it.

Jim said he experienced tunnel vision and was completely focused on the pistol with no thought to what might have been occurring to his left or right. Although his daughter noticed the carjacking victim had blood on his shirt, Jim had no memory of it. This is normal in these circumstances; however, it can be disconcerting if you don’t know what to expect. Remember, it is important to break the tunnel vision as soon as possible through looking to your left and right. Tunnel vision can also be problematic if you give a statement to the police in the immediate aftermath of an incident and do not recall seeing something that would be obvious to a 3rd party observer.

Practice giving commands to unknown contacts. Jim (like many people) has difficulty practicing commands during range sessions and matches. I am uncertain why this is the case; however, I have noticed this reluctance in quite a few students and match participants. If you do not practice giving commands in training, you probably will not give coherent and logical commands during a stressful incident.

Give a command that fits the circumstances. Yelling “What’s in you hand?” was not particularly useful in this instance. If you watch videos of officer involved shooting you routinely hear police giving commands that don’t fit the circumstances. The only way you will be able to do this under stress is to practice giving commands for a variety of scenarios.

If you have a first-person account of an incident that you wish to share (in other words it happened to you), please contact me.

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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Active Killer Drill

This is a drill we've been doing that replicates an incident in a Texas Church in late 2019. During the incident, an active Killer shoots two people and then a private citizen shoots and stops killer at a distance of approximately 20 yards.

Drill must be shot cold--no warm up using your carry ammunition. Pistol must be drawn from concealment and a single shot taken within 4.84 seconds at a distance of 25 yards.

Target is head shaped 12” x 7” with a 5” wide neck.

The video show three runs with the following results:

    -- 2 Jan 20 run: 4.02 seconds
    -- 7 Jan 20 run: 3.74 seconds
    -- 23 Feb 20 run: 4.06 seconds

All runs within the 4.84 second time limit (the actual time in the incident). This drill is designed to force you to concentrate on yours sights and trigger pull. Although designed to add stress, it clearly does not replicate the laser-like focus of the private citizen who stopped the Active Killer and the stress he must have suppressed to make the shot.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2020

MAG-IC: The MAG 20 Live Fire Instructor Course

I just returned from the MAG-IC or the MAG 20 Live Fire Instructor Course for the Massad Ayoob Group that David Maglio conducted in Slidell, Louisiana. We had 10 new instructors taking the course for the first time and five current MAG 20 staff instructors taking it as a refresher. David’s stated purpose with the instructors taking it as a refresher was to ensure that everyone is teaching the course the same way throughout the United States. From my perspective, this will just require a minor change to the sequencing of some of the MAG material.

In MAG-IC instructor candidates must fire the Standard Speed Qualification, a Mirror Image Standard Speed Qualification, a Revolver and Back Up Gun Standard Speed Qualification, and a Quadruple Speed Qualification.

The Standard Speed Qualification course of fire is as follows:

From the four yard line:

   -- Starting with the pistol aimed at the bottom of the target: Six rounds with your support hand in 8 seconds

   -- Starting with the pistol holstered, hand on pistol: Six rounds with your primary hand in 8 seconds

From the seven yard line:
   -- Starting with the pistol holstered, hands at sides, using your preferred stance: Six rounds, reload, six rounds in 25 seconds

From the ten yard line:

   -- Starting with the pistol aimed at the bottom of the target: Six rounds using the cover crouch, reload, six rounds from high kneeling, reload, six rounds from low kneeling in 75 seconds.

From the fifteen yard line:

   -- Starting with the pistol holstered, hands at sides: Six rounds using the Weaver Stance, reload, six rounds using the Chapman Modified Stance, reload, six rounds using the Isosceles Stance in 90 seconds.

Massad Ayoob Group Staff Instructor candidates must achieve a passing score of 90% or 270 points out of a possible 300 points for all Standard Speed Qualifications. The passing score for the Mirror Image Qualification, Revolver, Back Up Gun, and the Quadruple Speed Qualifications 75% or 225 points out of a possible 300 points.

The picture above shows all qualifications each instructor candidate or current instructor retaking the course fired for record. During the course, the class fired 15 qualifications for record although only one candidate fired all of the Standard Speed qualifications (those not fired were recorded as no score). I personally fired 12 of the 15 qualifications and my scores are on line #5, under Eric L.

All of the instructor candidates and current instructors retaking the course as a refresher shot very well. Of the 187 scores recorded, there were 46 perfect scores of 300, one 300 for the Revolver Qualification, three 300s on the Mirror Image Qualification, five back up gun scores of 300, and the class average for the quad speed qualification was 277 points. Great shooting by everyone.

This will be my 8th year as a Massad Ayoob Group Staff Instructor. The MAG 20 Live Fire program continues to provide outstanding instruction in the use of the handgun under stress. The MAG 20 classroom provides the absolute best instruction on the armed citizen’s rules of engagement that you can find anywhere in the United States. 

Together as the MAG 40, the student will have the tools to effectively use their pistol to defend themselves, to interact with suspects, witnesses, and responding police officers, develop a solid mindset, recognize threats, and manage the social, psychological, and legal aftermath after having been forced to use deadly force in defense of self or other innocents.

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