Monday, November 05, 2007

Why We Practice

Many times in past posts I have mentioned that as firearm owners, we are responsible for the safe and efficient handling of our firearms. I may have to change that statement from now on to read "safe and effective".

Do you own a firearm for the defense of yourself and/or your family? Do you keep this firearm in your home, on your belt, in your car or under the counter at your job?

If you do, then take the next logical step and practice with your firearm. Draw it and shoot it, or pick it up off of a table and shoot it, or pull it out of your glove box and shoot it. Become proficient in the safe and effective handling of your firearm.

A firearm is not a talisman, it will not ward against evil or drive away goblins all on it's own.

A recent example from The Dallas Morning News:

By Tanya Eiserer

Victim's weapon failed

A White Rock-area convenience store clerk who was slain during an apparent robbery last Saturday night was also armed with a gun, police said Friday.

Police now believe that the slain clerk, Abate Z. Hailu, 43, saw that the two men were armed as they came into the Fina Food Mart on Garland Road shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday.

The clerk pointed the gun at them, said Lt. Craig Miller, a homicide supervisor.

"There was a malfunction with the weapon, and obviously Mr. Hailu was not able to use the weapon" because the safety was still on, Lt. Miller said.

The two robbery suspects then fired their weapons at Mr. Hailu, who died at the scene...
Show of hands, who agrees with the report that "The victims weapon failed", or that "There was a malfunction with the weapon"?

No one? Good. The firearm did not fail, the store clerk failed. The clerk did not know how to effectively use his firearm, and it cost him his life. This also leads into the choice of firearm. A double action revolver or pistol with no manual safety would have served this individual better in this instance. But that would still not make up for a lack of basic familiarity with the firearm.

If you have made the decision to provide for your own safety, good on you. Now take the next step and become proficient with your firearm.


Fits said...

Typical LE response. If the gun doesn't fire it's the guns fault.

Robb Allen said...

Hell, Fits, if the gun does fire, it's the gun's fault - at least according to the Bradys of the world.

Safeties to me are an oddity. I guess owning a revolver all my life never instilled the faith in a safety that a lot of other people have.

My carry piece is a Glock, and *for me*, not having to do anything but pull the trigger is what I like best. Not everyone agrees, and it's a personal thing, but I fear my shotgun because it has a safety and I'm always worried it will be engaged at that exact moment (hence why I practice).

To me, and this is only my opinion, I think safeties give a false sense of security and people rely on them too much. Again, this is because this is the way I operate and not based on any scientific data or anything.

JR said...

I carry a 1911, but I do not "rely" on my safety. The best safety is between your ears.

With the 1911; in the holster = safety on, out of the holster = safety off.

Now that I am participating in the defensive pistol and carbine matches, I engage the safty while moving and reloading. Strong hand thumb is always on the safety so re-engaging is a reflex. It is the dis-engaging that takes thought.

Hyunchback said...

I heartily endorse anyone who would use a pistol for personal protection or home defense to engage in gun games. IDPA or IPSC.

To engage targets from the holster is at once both instructive and humbling.

But it also builds confidence in your gun handling that plenty of square-range target on the table shooting doesn't.

austin45acp said...

Great post. I also agree that practice is very necessary.

I routinely practice (with snap-caps) a variety of drills invloving drawing my weapon, posture, and "firing".

And I also practice (with and without snap-caps) firing under stress.

I created drills I call the "100's" - pick at least 3 from the list below:
1) 100 pushups
2) 100 situps
3) 100 yard SPRINT
4) 100 second fight
5) THEN perform your weapon drill

We've all seen the Catalog Commandos with the hottest gear and ridiculously pimped M4's. Most of them are paper lions = a little violence of action and all their "safe and rested" combat drills fly out the window.

My experience has been that surest way to test someone's practice is to introduce some violence of action, THEN see how they respond.

Anyone who's been in combat or fired their weapon at another human being (who also has a weapon) knows how stress pulls much blood out of your extremeties and brings it to your body's core - that's natures way of trying to conserve blood if the extremeties are injured. That's why hands and fingers turn tingly and cumbersome under real stress.

IMHO, safe and rested practice, then IDPA or IPSC, then under-stress-practice are all building blocks that make me a safe, effective shooter.

I'm not a macho, tough-guy. I don't want to sound extreme. But when I produce a weapon, I do so being fully prepared to end a life. And to me, that is serious business that requires serious practice.