November 15th, 2017

Pistol Fundamentals Explained — Infographic and Video

pistol fundamentals NRA marksmanship sight alignment
Photo courtesy St. Bernard Indoor Shooting Center.

Do you enjoy shooting pistols for sport, or perhaps you carry a handgun for self-defense? If you’re like most of us, you might benefit from a “refresher course” on the fundamentals of handgun shooting. The NRA has created a useful Infographic that covers important basics of handgun marksmanship — key things such as Sight Alignment and Trigger Control. Here are the first two (2) lessons. Click the link below to see all SIX (6) training topics: Sight Alignment, Sight Focus, Trigger Control, Breath Control, Hold Control, and Follow-Through.

CLICK HERE for FULL INFOGRAPHIC with SIX LESSONS

pistol fundamentals NRA marksmanship sight alignment

VIEW ALL Six Handgun Fundamentals

Video Shows Sight Alignment, Grip, Stance, Trigger Control and More
In this USAMU video, SGT Shane Coley talks about the basics of sight alignment and trigger control. But then SGT Coley talks about other important control factors such as grip, arm position, and body stance. For rapid-fire shooting, you need to have a good arm and body positioning to control recoil and get back on target quickly. This video is a valuable complement to the NRA Infographic because it demonstrates all the important pistol fundamentals during live fire, at the range.

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October 17th, 2017

Walther Creed — Quality 9mm Handgun under $300.00

Five Budget 9mm sale bargain full-size 9x19mm pistol Walther Creed CT9

Last week a close friend called and said he was looking for a good, affordable pistol for personal defense — not for daily carry, but for something to keep in the car and sometimes carry on wilderness trips. He said a local gun shop was steering him to a Glock 19 for around $570.00. I told him: “How’d you like to get a better handgun for less than half that?” I explained that, compared to a Glock, the Walther Creed has better ergonomics, better controls, better trigger pull, and better standard sights. Plus it is safer to field strip, and also has a much better warranty. And right now you can get this gun for under $300. In fact, CDNN Sports has it on sale for $269.99. That’s a steal.

Five Budget 9mm sale bargain full-size 9x19mm pistol Canik RP9 Kahr S&W M&P Walther Creed CT9

The Walther Creed offers excellent ergonomics, good accuracy, and well-designed controls at a killer price — $269.99 at CDNN Sports. This gun, designed to be a value-leader, emulates Walther’s more expensive PPQ model (MSRP $649.00) at a much lower price. The Creed’s frame size and shape is the same as the PPQ, but the Creed lacks interchangeable backstraps. Slide and trigger are very similar. The Creed features a snag-free bobbed hammer. Trigger pull is 6.5 pounds. That’s a little heavier than we’d prefer, but not bad for a defense gun. Testers have praised the new Creed, saying that, despite the bargain price, it “sacrifices little to nothing in… ergonomics, accuracy, and reliability.”

Testers Praise the Walther Creed
Cheaper Than Dirt (CTD), a major online vendor, recently conducted an extensive field test of the Walther Creed, shooting a variety of 9x19mm ammo. CTD’s tester came away very impressed:

“After testing, it is now my perspective that this might be the best value in a home defense/full-sized handgun [for] a first-time buyer… if price is a primary consideration. The Creed delivers top-quality customer expect from Walther. For under $400 the Creed is arguably one of the best gun values on the market. It delivers superb quality and features well above many standard firearms lines with proven Walther reliability and accuracy. The Creed was a significant makeover from the legacy PPX improving look and ergonomics while preserving all the great aspects of the original design.”

Five Budget 9mm sale bargain full-size 9x19mm pistol Walther Creed CT9

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October 16th, 2017

Pistol-Packing Pumpkin Carving with Taran Butler

Halloween pumpkinHalloween pumpkinIn just two weeks, October 31st, we celebrate Halloween (which was originally called All Hallows’ Evening). That means the neighborhood kids will be ringing doorbells as soon as it gets dark. No doubt some of you proscrastinators will wait ’til the last minute to set out your Halloween decorations and Jack-O-Lanterns. Don’t worry, in the video below, our friend, 3-Gun ace Taran Butler, shows how to carve a pumpkin in just about 5.5 seconds, give or take a tenth. Taran performed this feat of speed-carving with his trusty Infinity handgun, chambered in 9mm Major.

What Are the Origins of Halloween?
Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of “All Hallows’ Evening”), also known as All Hallows’ Eve, is a yearly celebration observed on October 31, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows (or All Saints). According to many scholars, it was originally influenced by western European harvest festivals and festivals of the dead with possible pagan roots, particularly the Celtic Samhain. Others maintain that it originated independently of Samhain and has Christian roots.

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October 3rd, 2017

How to Hold a 1911 Correctly — Tips from Todd Jarrett

Todd Jarrett

Todd Jarrett is one of the world’s best handgun shooters. A multi-time World Champion, Todd knows a thing or two about semi-auto pistols, particularly 1911s and 1911-based raceguns. Jarrett holds four World titles, nine National titles and has won more than 50 Area championships, as well as many other action shooting events. Jarrett is the only USPSA Triple Crown Winner and he holds four USPSA National titles: Open, Limited, Production, and Limited-10. Jarrett revealed in an interview that between 1988 and 2001 he shot about 1.7 million rounds during practice: “I had a gun in my hand for two hours every day for 10 years to develop my skill level”.

In the video below, Todd explains how to get the proper grip on your handgun, and how to employ a proper stance. We’ve watched many videos on pistol shooting. This is one of the best instructional videos we’ve seen. Todd explains, in easy-to-understand terms, the key elements of grip and stance. One very important point he demonstrates is how to align the grip in your hand so that the gun points naturally — something very important when rapid aiming is required. If you watch this video, you’ll learn valuable lessons — whether you shoot competitively or just want to have better control and accuracy when using your handgun defensively.

Related Article: Thumbs-Forward Shooting Grip for 1911s
“Shooting semiautomatic pistols using the thumbs-forward method really becomes useful … where speed and accuracy are both needed. By positioning the thumbs-forward along the slide (or slightly off of the slide) you are in essence creating a second sighting device: wherever your shooting thumb is pointing is where the pistol is pointing. This makes it incredibly fast to draw the pistol, get your proper grip, and press forward to the target without needing to hunt around for the front sight.” — Cheaper Than Dirt Blog, 9/13/2010.

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September 19th, 2017

New $4 Million Texas Shooting Range Offers Virtual Reality

Killeen Texas Shooting Range Virtual Reality
Story based on report by Ammoland.com, under Creative Commons License: Attribution.

While California politicians are doing everything possible to strip citizens of their gun rights, things are different in Texas. Very different. Shooting is big business in Texas. Witness the latest shooting facility being built in the Lone Star Star: “The Gun Range”. Under construction now in Killeen, Texas, this 15,000-square foot facility will have 16 indoor shooting lanes. It will even have a “Virtual Reality” room where you can shoot bad guys. The total cost for this state-of-the art shooting range? A cool four million dollars ($4,000,000).

Construction is already underway on “The Gun Range”, set to open in the Spring of 2018. The new facility will feature four 50-yard general purpose lanes plus twelve 25-yard pistol lanes, all equipped with advanced Target Retrievers. A new high-tech feature at the range will be a virtual reality projector that uses a real gun to shoot the “bad guys”, but without shooting real projectiles.

Killeen Texas Shooting Range Virtual Reality

Other features include a full snack bar, and TV Lounge. The Gun Range will offer online reservations for gun safety courses, range sessions, and appointments for large parties.

“This… will also be a great place for date nights too,” said The Gun Range owner Paul Doyle.

COMMENT: Only in Texas would they think of going shooting on “Date Night”. We love it.

The new $4 million Killeen Gun Range will be located at 2401 South Fort Hood in Killeen, home of the Fort Hood Army base. Fort Hood is the most populous army base in the world — roughly 88,000 active duty personnel live in the immediate area. When complete, “The Gun Range” will be the most modern shooting range to serve army personnel and the local population. Killeen currently has another 10-lane, 15,000 sq.ft. facility, the Mountain Creek Range, on the south side of town.

Texans Love Their Shooting Sports

There were some interesting comments on Ammoland.com about this project and the shooting sports in Texas:

“Funny how California is doing everything it can to deprive people of their Constitutional civil rights. But in Texas everyone I know has at least one shooting range on their place, every municipality has a shooting range, and commercial shooting ranges are making money hand over fist.” — Wild Bill

“In Texas, if you have 10 acres or more, the county is not allowed to prohibit your shooting on your land by state law. Ft. Hood used to have a sportsman’s range on Ft. Hood, but anti-gun commanders added onerous regulations that drove many people away, then finally closed the range. That was a real disservice to soldiers.” — D. Baker

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September 10th, 2017

Precision Reloading for Handguns — Smart Tips from the USAMU

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) fields pistol teams as well as rifle and shotgun competition squads. Consequently the USAMU’s Reloading Shop loads tens of thousands of pistol rounds every year. In this article, the USAMU’s handgun experts talk about reloading for handguns — with smart tips on how to achieve superior accuracy with 100% reliability. If you load for pistols, take the time to read this article, which offers important insights on COAL, primers, crimps and more.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

Optimize the Taper Crimp
One often-overlooked aspect of handloading highly-accurate pistol ammunition is the amount of crimp and its effect on accuracy. Different amounts of taper crimp are used with various handloads to obtain best accuracy. The amount is based on bullet weight, powder burn rate and charge, plus other factors. It is not unusual for our Shop to vary a load’s crimp in degrees of 0.001″ and re-test for finest accuracy.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice ReloadingUse Consistent Brass
Brass is also important to pistol accuracy. While accurate ammunition can be loaded using brass of mixed parentage, that is not conducive to finest results, particularly at 50 yards. It is important for the serious competitor/handloader to use brass of the same headstamp and ideally one lot number, to maximize uniformity. Given the volumes of ammunition consumed by active pistol competitors, using inexpensive, mixed surplus brass for practice, particularly at the “short line” (25 yards), is understandable. However, for the “long line” (50 yards), purchasing and segregating a lot of high-quality brass to be used strictly for slow-fire is a wise idea.

Importance of Uniform COAL
Uniformity of the Case Overall Length (COAL) as it comes from the factory is also important to achieving utmost accuracy. More uniform case lengths (best measured after sizing) contribute to greater consistency of crimp, neck tension, ignition/burn of powder charge, and so on. Cartridge case-length consistency varies from lot to lot, as well as by maker. Some manufacturers are more consistent in this dimension than others. [Editor’s note: It is easy to trim pistol brass to uniform length. Doing this will make your taper crimps much more consistent.]

Primers and Powders — Comparison Test for Accuracy
Pay attention to primer brands, powder types and charges. Evaluating accuracy with a Ransom or other machine rest at 50 yards can quickly reveal the effect of changes made to handload recipes.

Bullet Selection — FMJ vs. JHP
Bullets are another vital issue. First, there is the question of FMJ vs. JHP. A friend of this writer spent decades making and accuracy-testing rifle and pistol bullets during QC for a major bullet manufacturer. In his experience, making highly-accurate FMJ bullets is much more difficult than making highly-accurate JHPs, in large part due to the way the jackets are formed. Small die changes could affect accuracy of FMJ lots dramatically.

The CMP now allows “safe, jacketed ammunition” in Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) Service Pistol matches, although wadcutter ammunition is prohibited. Thus, the option to use very accurate JHP designs simplifies the life of CMP Service Pistol shooters in pursuit of the prestigious Distinguished Pistol Shot badge.

Hopefully, these tips will be helpful to any pistol shooters interested in accurate handloads, not just “Bullseye” shooters. Small tweaks to one’s normal routine can pay big dividends in improved accuracy and make practice and competition more rewarding.

Stay safe, and good shooting!

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August 22nd, 2017

Handguns 101: Shoot with Both Eyes Open

Doug Koenig Pistol shooting training video
Photo courtesy DougKoenig.com and Leupold.

One eye or two? That’s the question that confounds some pistol shooters, particularly during slow fire. When shooting one-handed, some bullseye pistol shooters use a piece of tape or paper on one lens of their shooting glasses to obscure their non-dominant eye. That way they can get a more precise sight picture. However, when shooting two-handed, it’s almost always better to shoot with both eyes open. And if you are doing a “move and shoot” session/match, you’ll surely want to have both eyes open.

Champion pistol shooter Doug Koenig says he always shoots handguns with both eyes open: “To me it’s very simple — I wouldn’t drive my car with one eye closed. I wouldn’t walk around the house with one eye closed. To me, it’s all about your vision, your depth perception.” Doug adds that you definitely need both eyes open to transition quickly from target to target.

With both eyes open you’ll have better depth perception and peripheral vision. You will also be able to transition from target to target more quickly. In a timed, multi-target stage, you’ll want to move your head/eyes to the next target right after you break a shot. You’ll find that you will then reflexively move the handgun on to the new target when you swing your vision on to it. Don’t linger on the target you just shot — move to the next.

Doug Koenig Pistol shooting training video

Here are two other helpful videos from Doug Koenig and the NSSF:

Sight Alignment and Sight Picture

Trigger Press and Trigger Control

Doug Koenig’s List of Championships:
10-time World Champion
18-time Bianchi Cup winner
2016 NRA World Shooting Champion
More than 70 National Championships
6-time World Action Pistol Championship Winner
3-time World Speed Shooting Champion/Steel Challenge

Watch Doug Koenig’s Championship Season TV show on the Pursuit Channel: Wednesday 5:30 pm (Eastern); Friday 9:00 pm (Eastern); Saturday 1:30 am (Eastern) West Coast prime-time.

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August 2nd, 2017

Find the Right Holster for Your Handgun in Seconds

Midwayusa holster finder database 125,000 holsters

Here’s a helpful, time-saving tool for handgun owners. MidwayUSA’s new online Holster Finder lets you quickly find the right holsters for popular makes and models of pistols and revolvers. The wide variety of carry styles, materials, and features can make finding the right holster difficult or confusing. Drawing on a database of over 125,000 gun/holster combinations, the MidwayUSA Holster Finder turns that complex task into an easy three-step process.

The selection process is simple: 1. Choose Pistol or Revolver; 2. Select Make and Model of Handgun (and barrel type/length); 3. Click to view results. Just choose your gun type, select your make, model and barrel, then view the results. All major holster types are included: Ankle, Belly Band, Belt (outside waistband), Chest, Competition, Drop Leg, Inside Waistband (IWB), Paddle, Pocket, and Shoulder. Test the MidwayUSA Holster Finder by visiting www.MidwayUSA.com/holster-finder.

Midwayusa holster finder database 125,000 holsters

Jeff Larkin, Vice President of Marketing. “Our team built the Holster Finder so our Customers could find all holsters we offer for their specific firearm without sorting through thousands of search results. Finding the perfect holster is now easier than ever — just a few clicks, and we’ll show you everything that fits!”

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July 13th, 2017

National Pistol Championships and Handgun Marksmanship Tips

NRA Pistol National Championships Camp Perry
Camp Perry photos courtesy NRA Blog.

This has been pistol week at Camp Perry, site of the NRA National Trophy Pistol Championships. The handgun events started with the NRA Revolver matches and Prelim Pistol Agg on Monday, July 10. This was followed with .22 LR individual and team matches on Tuesday, and the CF Championship and Team Match on Wednesday. The pistol competitions conclude today, July 13th, with the NRA individual .45 Championship, .45 Team Match, and Pistol Awards Ceremony.

NRA Pistol National Championships Camp Perry

NRA Pistol National Championships Camp Perry

NRA National Bullesye pistol championship camp perry ohio OH

Precision (Bullseye) Pistol Championship (Camp Perry, OH — July 9-13, 2017)
Webpage: CLICK HERE for National Pistol Championships INFO
Program: 2017 NRA Pistol Championship Program (PDF)

national pistol trophy match 2016 Brian Zins CMP Camp Perry

Pistol Marksmanship with Brian “Gunny” Zins

The nation’s top bullseye pistol shooters were at Camp Perry this week. If you’ve every wondered what it takes to win a pistol match using the classic, one-handed hold, here are some tips from one of the best ever, Brian “Gunny” Zins, 12-Time NRA National Pistol Champion.

Brian has authored an excellent guide to bullseye pistol shooting. Brian’s Clinic on the Fundamentals recently appeared in The Official Journal of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association. The CMP scanned the story so you can read it online. CLICK HERE to read full article.

national pistol trophy match 2016 Brian Zins CMP Camp Perry

Top Tips from Brian Zins:

Trigger Movement: If trigger control is ever interrupted in slow fire the shot needs to be aborted and the shot started over.

Relationship between Sight Alignment and Trigger Control: Often when the fundamentals are explained these two are explained as two different acts. Well, truth be told it’s really kind of hard to accomplish one without the other. They have a symbiotic relationship. In order to truly settle the movement in the dot or sights you need a smooth, steady trigger squeeze.

Trigger Finger Placement: Where should the trigger make contact on the finger? The trigger should be centered in the first crease of the trigger finger. Remember this is an article on Bullseye shooting. If this were an article on free pistol or air pistol it would be different.

Proper Grip: A proper grip is a grip that will NATURALLY align the gun’s sights to the eye of the shooter without having to tilt your head or move your or move your wrists around to do that. Also a proper grip, and most importantly, is a grip that allows the gun to return to the same position [with sights aligned] after each and every shot. The best and easiest way to get the proper grip, at least a good starting position… is with a holster. Put your 1911 in a holster on the side of your body[.] Allow your shooting hand to come down naturally to the gun.

It took decades of competition to acquire all those patches — that’s dedication to the sport.
Camp Perry 2017 Pistol Championship NRA

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June 7th, 2017

Five Red Dot Reflex Sights for Handguns

Vortex Sig Sauer Burris Bushnell Trijicon red dot reflex site heads up display Venom

Red Dot (aka “Reflex”) sights help pistol shooters hit their targets quickly. With these sights you simply place the dot on the target. Head alignment is not critical. These sights offer an open field of view, virtually no parallax, and eye relief is basically unlimited. You don’t have to worry about aligning front and rear sights — as long as you can see the red dot you’re good to go. The only real negative is that the red dot can be hard to see in very bright sunlight, and users with strong astigmatism may see a blurry or fuzzy image instead of a sharp dot.

As quoted in Outdoor Life, pistol champion Doug Koenig explains: “Red-dot sights are fast, superior in low light, and allow the shooter to simply focus on the target.” For those reasons competitive action pistol shooters can shoot faster with red dot sights. They definitely offer a “competitive advantage”, and that’s why iron sights guns run in a different class in most pistol matches.

The NRA Blog recently reviewed five (5) red dot sight systems for handguns. Red dots give let shooters focus on the target rather worry about sight alignment. In addition, red dots aid older shooters who often have trouble with close focusing. TIP: If you need reading glasses — a red dot can help.

READ FULL RED DOT Sight Review in NRABlog.com »

Sig Sauer Romeo 1 First Strike red dot reflex site heads up display Vortex Burris Fastfire III

SIG SAUER Romeo 1
SIG SAUER’s Romeo 1 open reflex sight is built with SIG’s twin adjustment springs that provide a “lock-less” zeroing system while maintaining zero. The sight body is CNC-machined from solid billet magnesium to be lightweight and strong, and its molded aspherical lens is bright and distortion-free. The Motion Activated Illumination (MOTAC) system recalls the last brightness setting used, so you don’t have to remember those adjustments on your own.

Vortex red dot reflex site heads up display Venom

Vortex Venom
Vortex’s Venom reflex sight can be mounted on pistols with Picatinny rails, as well as tactical rifles and shotguns. The 3 MOA dot is easy to see in nearly any lighting conditions and allows users to shooting accurately at long ranges. Ultra-clear multi-coated lenses provide a wide field of view with sharp image quality, and brightness controls are easy to find and use, located on the left side of the unit. The Venom features 14-hour auto-shutdown to extend battery life, and the unit is built shockproof and waterproof to withstand harsh operational demands.

Vortex red dot reflex site heads up display Burris Fastfire III

Burris Fastfire III
Burris’ Fastfire III is one of the most versatile red dots on the market. In addition to the unlimited eye relief awarded by red dots, the Fastfire III features windage and elevation adjustments that don’t require the use of a proprietary or special tool – just a small flathead screwdriver is needed to make adjustments, and comes bundled. Battery access on the top of the sight makes it easier to change batteries, and the Fastfire III includes a battery warning indicator and eight-hour auto-shutoff to prolong battery service life.

Bushnell First Strike red dot reflex site heads up display Vortex Burris Fastfire III

Bushnell First Strike
Known for quality sights at great prices, Bushnell delivers again with the First Strike, one of the most affordable red dot sights available. Despite its affordability, the First Strike is well made, and an ideal candidate for use with smaller-caliber firearms, such as rimfire pistols. Like many other reflex sights, the First Strike mounts using the Picatinny rail system, so you’ll need to ensure your pistol either has a rail included or can facilitate a small mounting rail section. The First Strike is waterproof, shock-proof and fog-proof, and coated lenses ensure excellent light transmission, allowing easy target acquisition up to 100 yards — well beyond normal pistol range.

Trijicon First Strike red dot reflex site heads up display Vortex Burris Fastfire III

Trijicon RMR
Trijicon’s RMR (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex) sight is one of the most durable mini red dots available today. Produced from 7075-T6 aluminum to military specifications, the RMR is lightweight but strong, using a patented shape that absorbs impact and diverts stress away from the lens. The RMR is available in dual-illuminated, LED, and adjustable LED models with dot sizes from 1 to 13 MOA. The RMR is waterproof to 20 meters (66 feet), and boasts easy adjustment for windage and elevation.

Permalink Gear Review, Handguns, Optics 1 Comment »
May 12th, 2017

Handgun 101: Diagnosing Accuracy Problems with Pistols

NSSF Chris Cheng Pistol Accuracy Handgun Shooting Skills

When shooting pistols do your shots normally land smack dab in the middle of the target? If not, you may have some technique problems that are causing your shots to move off center. Top Shot Champion Chris Cheng has produced a good video for the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) that helps handgunners diagnose accuracy issues. By shooting 3-shot groups and looking at the pattern and location of the shots, you can see what you’re doing wrong (or right). Here are some examples. Note, this process works best for shooters whose shots fall typically in one target zone. If your shots are all over the target, your form is inconsistent and problems will be harder to diagnose.

1. Low Left — Jerking Trigger: Here we see three (3) shots at the 7 O’clock position. This shows that the shooter is jerking the trigger, meaning that the shooter is pulling the trigger too quickly and therefore forcing the barrel to drop when breaking the shot. This is a very common problem, particularly with novices who are reacting to the noise/recoil of the pistol.

NSSF Chris Cheng Pistol Accuracy Handgun Shooting Skills

2. 9 O’Clock — Too Little Trigger Finger: If we see three (3) shots at the 9 O’clock position, what this can be indicative of too little trigger finger on the trigger. And therefore with every shot, the shots are getting pushed to the left. Try moving your trigger finger on to the pad of your index finger. Also try dry firing drills.

NSSF Chris Cheng Pistol Accuracy Handgun Shooting Skills

3. High Left — Anticipating Recoil: In this next example, we see three shots around the 11 O’clock position. What could be happening here is that the shooter is anticipating the recoil, and is actually lifting the gun up when he shoots. We recommend slowing down, working on your breathing, and, again, do dry-firing drills.

NSSF Chris Cheng Pistol Accuracy Handgun Shooting Skills

4. 3 O’Clock — Too Much Trigger Finger: Finally, if you see three (3) shots at the 3 O’clock position, this can indicate that there is too much trigger finger on the trigger. Therefore when the shot breaks the shooter is pulling each shot to the right. Note: Each of these descriptions is for a RIGHT-handed shooter. If you are a left-handed shooter you’ll want to reverse those descriptions.

NSSF Chris Cheng Pistol Accuracy Handgun Shooting Skills

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May 10th, 2017

Multi-Gun Mastery — Report from 3-Gun Fantasy Camp

3-Gun Fantasy Camp Duncan Johnson

On Ammoland.com, there’s an interesting article about the NSSF’s recent 3-Gun Fantasy Camp in Las Vegas. Author Duncan Johnson attended the Camp last month and wrote an “after action report”. He said the Camp was a great experience, and his shooting improved greatly with the expert tutoring from top pros: “If you have ever wanted to try a 3-Gun competition, just go do it, you will quickly find out why this is the fastest-growing shooting sport today. If you are new to shooting and or just getting started in 3-Gun, I 100% recommend you attend the NSSF Fantasy Camp.”

Here are Four Tips/Observations Duncan learned during the 3-Gun Fantasy Camp:

1. Use a Zoom Rifle Optic – “The LWRC 3-Gun ready rifle [provided for the Camp] was topped with a Leupold Mark 6 1-6x20mm riflescope, which made distance shooting much easier than the AimPoint optic [on my own AR]. 3-Gun competitions have rifle stages that can involve distance shooting out to ranges of 500 yards or more. For that reason, most shooters in the 3-Gun TacOps and Practical divisions use magnified riflescopes like the Leupold Mark 6 or the Vortex Strike Eagle.”

3-Gun Fantasy Camp Duncan Johnson

2. Use Your Quads and Core Muscles — “There are also a lot of little things that the pros teach you… For instance, some shooters instinctively bend their knees to enter their stance, but once they start firing they tend to follow the recoil with their shoulders and end up leaning back. In order to avoid that, use your quad muscles in your legs to get a solid stance that will absorb more recoil. Also use your core muscles to maintain a strong stance, especially in shotgun stages. The combination of strong quad and core muscles will contribute to controlling muzzle flip and moving onto your next target more easily.”



Read Full “Shooting Like a Pro” Story Here »

3. Vision-Based Target Transitions — “Another pro tip from Randi Rodgers on transitioning from target to target with a pistol was using your eyes rather than your sights to switch targets. So imagine it as pull the trigger, the slide starts to come back, using your eyes find the next target, then point with the front sight, find the sight picture, fire, and repeat.”

Editor’s Note: A few seasons back, I attended an action shooting seminar taught by Randi, and she explained the “move your eyes” technique. For multi-target stages, this really works. Move your eyes from target to target, and you’ll find your arms automatically “pull” the handgun into position. You still need to get the sights on target, but this method yields create smoother, faster stage runs.

4. Trigger Control and Use of Support Hand — If you don’t have good trigger control and pull straight back, you can move your sights during the shot. This is a common problem with novice pistol shooters. The solution is lots of dry fire training. Duncan found out he needed work: “In my case, the biggest area where I need improvement was shooting my pistol. There were two different things I was doing that will guarantee a missed shot every time with a handgun. When I pull/squeeze/depress my trigger I have a tendency to also pull the gun off target, resulting in a miss to the low left of a target. I [also] over-apply pressure with my shooting hand. According to the pros, pistol grip should be 40% shooting hand, and 60% supporting hand.”

3-Gun Fantasy Camp Duncan Johnson

This article originally appears on Ammoland.com, reprinted here under Creative Commons License.
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March 22nd, 2017

Precision Handloading for Pistols — Tips from the USAMU

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

Each Wednesday the USAMU offers tips for handloaders on the USAMU Facebook page. This article from the “Handloading Hump-Day” archives should interest pistol competitors, an any shooter who enjoys getting the best possible accuracy from their fine pistols. In this article, the USAMU’s experts share key tips that can help optimize your pistol ammo. Follow this tips to produce more consistent ammo, that can shoot higher scores.

Optimize the Taper Crimp
One often-overlooked aspect of handloading highly-accurate pistol ammunition is the amount of crimp and its effect on accuracy. Different amounts of taper crimp are used with various handloads to obtain best accuracy. The amount is based on bullet weight, powder burn rate and charge, plus other factors. It is not unusual for our Shop to vary a load’s crimp in degrees of 0.001″ and re-test for finest accuracy.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice ReloadingUse Consistent Brass
Brass is also important to pistol accuracy. While accurate ammunition can be loaded using brass of mixed parentage, that is not conducive to finest results, particularly at 50 yards. It is important for the serious competitor/handloader to use brass of the same headstamp and ideally one lot number, to maximize uniformity. Given the volumes of ammunition consumed by active pistol competitors, using inexpensive, mixed surplus brass for practice, particularly at the “short line” (25 yards), is understandable. However, for the “long line” (50 yards), purchasing and segregating a lot of high-quality brass to be used strictly for slow-fire is a wise idea.

Importance of Uniform COAL
Uniformity of the Case Overall Length (COAL) as it comes from the factory is also important to achieving utmost accuracy. More uniform case lengths (best measured after sizing) contribute to greater consistency of crimp, neck tension, ignition/burn of powder charge, and so on. Cartridge case-length consistency varies from lot to lot, as well as by maker. Some manufacturers are more consistent in this dimension than others. [Editor’s note: It is easy to trim pistol brass to uniform length. Doing this will make your taper crimps much more consistent.]

Primers and Powders — Comparison Test for Accuracy
Pay attention to primer brands, powder types and charges. Evaluating accuracy with a Ransom or other machine rest at 50 yards can quickly reveal the effect of changes made to handload recipes.

USAMU Service Pistol Handgun Tip Advice Reloading

Bullet Selection — FMJ vs. JHP
Bullets are another vital issue. First, there is the question of FMJ vs. JHP. A friend of this writer spent decades making and accuracy-testing rifle and pistol bullets during QC for a major bullet manufacturer. In his experience, making highly-accurate FMJ bullets is much more difficult than making highly-accurate JHPs, in large part due to the way the jackets are formed. Small die changes could affect accuracy of FMJ lots dramatically.

The CMP now allows “safe, jacketed ammunition” in Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) Service Pistol matches, although wadcutter ammunition is prohibited. Thus, the option to use very accurate JHP designs simplifies the life of CMP Service Pistol shooters in pursuit of the prestigious Distinguished Pistol Shot badge.

Hopefully, these tips will be helpful to any pistol shooters interested in accurate handloads, not just “Bullseye” shooters. Small tweaks to one’s normal routine can pay big dividends in improved accuracy and make practice and competition more rewarding.

Stay safe, and good shooting!

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
February 17th, 2017

Amazing Benchrest Pistol — Ten Shots in 0.289 MOA

XP100 target pistol 6x45 6x45mm benchrest

TEN Shots in 0.303″ (0.289 MOA) at 100 Yards
How does Dan’s XP-100 pistol shoot? Look at that target showing TEN shots at 100 yards, with eight (8) shots in the main cluster at the top. The ten-shot group measures .303″ (0.289 MOA), as calculated with OnTarget Software. Not bad for a handgun! What do you think, can your best-shooting rifle match the 10-shot accuracy of this XP-100 pistol?

XP100 target pistol 6x45 6x45mm benchrest

Report by Boyd Allen
This pistol belongs to Dan Lutke, a Bay Area benchrest shooter who publishes the results for the Visalia matches to the competitors and the NBRSA. He has been an enthusiastic competitor for an number of years, at various ranges, notably Visalia and Sacramento. The action is a Remington XP-100, to which a Kelbly 2 oz. trigger has been fitted. On top is an old Japanese-made Tasco 36X scope (these were actually pretty darn good). The Hart barrel (a cast-off from Dan’s Unlimited rail gun) was shortened and re-chambered for the 6x45mm, a wildcat made by necking-up the .223 Remington parent case. The custom stock/chassis was CNC-machined by Joe Updike from 6061 Billet Aluminum to fit the XP-100 action and mount a target-style AR grip with bottom hand rest. The gun was bedded and assembled by Mel Iwatsubu. In his XP-100 pistol, Dan shoots 65gr custom boat-tails with Benchmark powder.

XP100 target pistol 6x45 6x45mm benchrest

This diagram shows the most common 6x45mm wildcat, which is a necked-up version of the .223 Remington parent cartridge. NOTE: The dimensions for Dan Lutke’s benchrest version of this cartridge may be slightly different.

XP100 target pistol 6x45 6x45mm benchrest
ACAD drawing by Peter Gnanapragasam CC by SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Title Added.

Story tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gunsmithing, Handguns No Comments »
February 10th, 2017

For the .45 ACP — Try Vihtavuori N320 Pistol Powder

VV N320 for .45 ACP

VV N320 for .45 ACPMan does not live by long-guns alone. We know that many of our readers own .45 ACP handguns and load for this extremely accurate “classic” cartridge. When selecting a powder for the .45 ACP, there are many good options. All the major powder manufacturers make propellants with appropriate density and burn rate characteristics for the .45 ACP. Popular powder choices include: AA #5 (Accurate Powder); Bullseye (Alliant); Clays, HP-38, and Titegroup (Hodgdon); VV N310, N320, N340 (Vihtavuori); and WW 231 and WST (Winchester). We’ve tried these powders in a variety of .45 ACP handguns. When we consider the factors that make for a good pistol powder, we think N320 is one of the best available propellants for the .45 ACP. Vihtavuori N320 is very accurate, it meters well, and it burns clean, with minimal smoke and flash. If you haven’t tried VV N320 yet, you should.

Pros/Cons of Different Powders for .45 ACP
This Editor has personally tried out eight or more different powders for the .45 ACP. Bullseye works but it is very dirty (both smoke out the barrel and sooty powder fouling on case). Though it otherwise burns clean, Titegroup leaves a singular (and nasty) high-temp flame streak on your brass that is hard to remove. AA #5 is a good choice for progressive press newbies as you use more powder so a double charge will (usually) be obvious. I like AA #5 but N320 was more accurate. Clays burns clean but some powder measures struggle with flake powders like this. WW 231 offered excellent accuracy and metered well, but it kicked out sparks with little pieces of debris that would hit me in the face. Who wants that?

I personally tried all the powders listed above with lead, plated, and jacketed bullets. After testing for accuracy, consistency, and ease of metering, I selected VV N320 as the best overall performer.

Vihtavuori N320

  • No powder tested was more accurate (WW 231 was equally accurate).
  • Meters very well in all kinds of powder measures.
  • Produces very little smoke from muzzle.
  • Does not put nasty burn streak on brass like Tite-Group does.
  • Low Flash — you don’t get particles and sparks flying out like WW 231.
  • Cases come out from gun very clean — so you can tumble less often.

Forum member and gunsmith Michael Ezell agrees that N320 is a good choice for the .45 ACP. Mike has also found that WW 231, while accurate, produces sparks and a large flash. Mike writes: “I first started using N320 after my first night shoot, while shooting IDPA/IPSC matches. It was astonishing how much of a fireball the WW 231 created. I was literally blinded by the flash while trying to shoot a match. As you can imagine, that didn’t work out very well. I went from WW 231 to N320 and never looked back…and the flash from it was a fraction of what a kid’s sparkler would give off. I have nothing but good things to say about [N320] after using both. Night shoots are a real eye-opener! When it comes to a personal protection… there is, statistically, a very high chance that if you ever have to use a gun to protect yourself or your family, it’ll be in the darkness[.] Being blinded by muzzle flash (and deafened by the noise) are things that should be considered, IMO.”

This Editor owns a full-size, all-stainless S&W 1911. After trying numerous powders, I found VV N320 delivered the best combination of accuracy, easy metering, consistency, clean burning qualities, and low muzzle flash. My gun has proven exceptionally accurate using N320 with bullets from 180 grains to 230 grains — it will shoot as accurately as some expensive customs I’ve tried. At right is 5-round group I shot offhand at 10 yards with my 5″ S&W 1911. The bullet hole edges are sharp because I was using semi-wad-cutters. Rounds were loaded with Vihtavuori N320 and 200-grain SWCs from Precision Bullets in Texas.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Handguns 2 Comments »
February 8th, 2017

Excellent Video Covers Handgun Fundamentals

Pistol Fundamentals USAMU

If you shoot a pistol, you should watch this video. It covers the key fundamentals of handgun shooting: stance, arm position, grip, sight alignment, and trigger control. This excellent video features USAMU shooter SGT Shane Coley.

Arm/Elbow Position: You should not lock your elbows says SGT Coley: “Because my elbows are slightly bent, it allows the recoil to transfer into my shoulders, down my core, into my legs and to the ground, allowing me to maintain a flat-shooting gun … on multiple targets.”

Grip (Hand Position): SGT Coley explains how to divide the support between both hands: “In terms of grip pressure, I’m applying about 60% to my support hand, and 40% to my strong hand. This is because I need to maintain dexterity with my strong hand to operate the trigger at high rates of speed.”

Trigger Control: The placement of your finger on the trigger blade itself is very important notes Coley: “Putting too much (or not enough) of your finger on the trigger can cause you to pull or push your shots. When you squeeze the trigger, make sure to squeeze it all the way to the rear, in one smooth motion. A quick dry-fire drill to help you with this is to take an empty piece of brass and place it on the front of your slide. Aim at the target, and with the proper trigger control, you should be able to break the shot without the piece of brass falling.”

Pistol Pointers
On the web, you’ll find hundreds of pistol shooting videos — some good, some not helpful at all. In some of those “not helpful” videos the featured shooter has bad habits, or more often than not, he exhibits poor accuracy on target. You won’t find those kinds of shortcomings in this USAMU-sponsored video. SGT Coley doesn’t make foolish mistakes, nor does he exhibit bad habits when shooting. And his accuracy is outstanding. When you look for a pistol trainer — stick to someone like SGT Coley, who has solid fundamentals, the complete skill set, and superior accuracy. A trainer can’t teach a skill that he doesn’t understand himself.

Permalink - Videos, Handguns 1 Comment »
February 7th, 2017

Quick History of Silhouette Shooting

The NRA Blog ran an feature on Silhouette shooting by NRA Silhouette Program Coordinator Jonathan Leighton. Here are selections from Leighton’s story:

NRA Silhouette Shooting
The loud crack from the bullet exiting the muzzle followed by an even louder ‘clang’ as you watch your target fly off the railing is really a true addiction for most Silhouette shooters. There is nothing better than shooting a game where you actually get to see your target react to the bullet. In my opinion, this is truly what makes this game so much fun.

Metallic Silhouette — A Mexican Import
Silhouette shooting came to this country from Mexico in the 1960s. It is speculated that sport had its origins in shooting contests between Pancho Villa’s men around 1914. After the Mexican Revolution the sport spread quickly throughout Mexico. ‘Siluetas Metalicas’ uses steel silhouettes shaped like game animals. Chickens up front followed by rows of pigs, turkeys, and furthest away, rams. Being that ‘Siluetas Metalicas’ was originally a Mexican sport, it is common to hear the targets referred to by their Spanish names Gallina (chicken), Javelina (pig), Guajalote (turkey) and Borrego (ram). Depending on the discipline one is shooting, these animals are set at different distances from the firing line, but always in the same order.

Before Steel There Was… Barbeque
In the very beginnings of the sport, live farm animals were used as targets, and afterwards, the shooters would have a barbeque with all the livestock and/or game that was shot during the match. The first Silhouette match that used steel targets instead of livestock was conducted in 1948 in Mexico City, Mexico by Don Gonzalo Aguilar. [Some matches hosted by wealthy Mexicans included high-ranking politicians and military leaders]. As the sport spread and gained popularity during the 1950s, shooters from the Southwestern USA started crossing the Mexican border to compete. Silhouette shooting came into the US in 1968 at the Tucson Rifle Club in Arizona. The rules have stayed pretty much the same since the sport has been shot in the US. NRA officially recognized Silhouette as a shooting discipline in 1972, and conducted its first NRA Silhouette Nationals in November of 1972.

Now There Are Multiple Disciplines
The actual sport of Silhouette is broken into several different disciplines. High Power Rifle, Smallbore Rifle, Cowboy Lever Action Rifle, Black Powder Cartridge Rifle, Air Rifle, Air Pistol, and Hunter’s Pistol are the basic disciplines. Cowboy Lever Action is broken into three sub-categories to include Smallbore Cowboy Rifle, Pistol Cartridge Cowboy Lever Action, and regular Cowboy Lever Action. Black Powder Cartridge Rifle also has a ‘Scope’ class, and Hunter’s Pistol is broken into four sub-categories. Some clubs also offer Military Rifle Silhouette comps.

Where to Shoot Silhouette
NRA-Sanctioned matches are found at gun clubs nation-wide. There are also many State, Regional, and National matches across the country as well. You can find match listings on the Shooting Sports USA website or contact the NRA Silhouette Department at (703) 267-1465. For more info, visit SteelChickens.com, the #1 website dedicated to Silhouette shooting sports.

Permalink News 11 Comments »
January 26th, 2017

New 2017 CMP Competition Rules — Some Big Changes

2017 CMP Rules Competition Pistol High Power new

By Gary Anderson, DCM Emeritus
The 2017 CMP competition rules are now approved and posted on the CMP website. The 2017 CMP Highpower Rifle and Pistol Competition Rules and the 2017 CMP Games Rifle and Pistol Competition Rules can be downloaded on the CMP Competition Rules Page.

CLICK HERE for 2017 Highpower Rifle and Pistol Competition Rules

CLICK HERE for 2017 CMP Games Rifle and Pistol Competition Rules

2017 CMP Rules Competition Pistol High Power new

2017 marks the third consecutive year with major CMP competition rule changes. The 2015 Rules opened Service Pistol shooting to a wider variety of pistols and introduced the popular 22 Rimfire Pistol Distinguished Badge. The 2016 rules authorized limited power optical sights for service and modern military rifles and opened Service Rifle shooting to a wider variety of M16/AR-type rifles.

AR Alternative Rifles Allowed in Highpower Service Rifle Competitions
The 2017 rules authorize residents in states where AR ownership is prohibited to use an Alternative Rifle that is legal in that state. The introduction of an Alternative Rifle rule exemplifies the CMP’s determination to take whatever steps are legally possible to ensure that all competitors in the USA can continue to compete in CMP Highpower Service Rifle competitions.

The new Highpower Alternative Rifle will allow competitors in states where the ownership or possession of M16/AR-type rifles is prohibited to use a rifle that has the same capabilities as an M16/AR-type rifle. Alternative Rifles may be either semi-auto or manually operated and must be chambered for the 5.56 x 45mm NATO cartridge (.223). Optical sights with a manufactured maximum of 4.5X are permitted. These rifles must have a 4.5-pound trigger pull, a maximum barrel length of 20 inches and a fixed sling swivel on their fore-ends. Alternative Rifles may have stocks with the same adjustment capabilities as Service Rifles, that is butt-stock length may be adjustable, but the cheek-piece and butt-plate must be fixed. Stock design and magazine configuration is flexible according to what is permitted in the competitor’s state.

Match Rifles Will Be Allowed in Highpower Matches
The 2017 CMP Rules will also open the door for Match Rifle competitors to shoot in CMP-sanctioned highpower events. Due to the advantages these rifles have (more cartridge options, no trigger limitation, infinite stock adjustments and unlimited optical sight power), competitors with Match Rifles will usually compete in a separate or Open Individual Category, but they will now be welcomed in CMP Highpower Matches. Traditional EIC and National Trophy Match events will still be restricted to Service and Alternative Rifles, but match sponsors can now invite Match Rifle competitors to shoot in CMP-sanctioned events. Except for EIC and National Trophy Matches, which will continue to be no-sighter matches, the 2017 Rules will permit sighters in other matches.

Tubb 2000 Match rifle

Most Match Rifle competitors have already competed in CMP Matches with Service Rifles and are familiar with CMP requirements that shooters must start rapid-fire series from standing. The CMP regards this requirement to quickly go from standing to sitting or prone and place the natural point of aim on the target as a vital skill that highpower rifle shooters should be able to perform. However, some Match Rifle competitors who have never competed in CMP Matches will find this to be a new … challenge.

New Competition Classification System
The CMP will develop and introduce a new competitor classification system in 2017. The system will be similar to traditional classification systems where competitors are divided into five classes according to current match score averages. CMP classifications will initially be available for use by Highpower and Service Rifle match sponsors. The CMP system will provide for instant, electronic updates of match score data. Match sponsors will be able to confirm competitor classifications through online look-ups.

For those competitors who are over 70 or who have physical impairments, the CMP has lots of experience in making it possible for those competitors to start rapid-fire series in position. Everyone who is able is expected to start rapid-fire from standing, but those who cannot are allowed to start in position. These competitors can win special and class awards as well as CMP Achievement Awards; they just cannot win the match.

Use of Electronic Devices (Airplane Mode OK)
The new rules clarify that the use of “electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets or other hand-held communication devices only to keep time, record shots, or compute sight adjustments” is permitted. However, those devices must not be capable of communicating with other electronic devices (must be placed in airplane mode).

Below are summaries of other rule changes in the 2017 CMP Competition Rules.

(more…)

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
January 19th, 2017

SHOT Show Pistol Parade — Bling Is the Thing

SHOT show pistol Desert Eagle 2017
Bring the Bling, Baby! This Desert Eagle Mark XIX features a highly polished Gold-Tone Titanium Tiger Stripe finish. Conspicuous Consumption, SHOT Show Style.

There were literally thousands of handguns on display at SHOT Show, most of which you could hold, cycle, and test the trigger pull. Among the hordes of handguns, we found some very eye-catching examples, such as the Gold-tone Titanium plated “Tiger Stripe” Desert Eagle above. Just what a Rap Star or Tin-Pot Dictator needs. Below are some other interesting handguns we saw at SHOT Show 2017

Ed Brown Signature Edition Engraved 1911
This Ed Brown Signature Edition Model 1911 boasts elaborate engraving over the entire slide and frame. The blueing is rich and deep (the photo does not do it justice). This is not an “entry-level” handgun, that’s for sure — the wholesale “dealer price” is a whopping $6,156.00. Expect to pay well over $7000.00 at retail. Beauty ain’t cheap.

Ed Brown 1911 Engraved Signature Edition

Smith & Wesson Performance Center 9mm Revolver with Hogue Mods
This handsome S&W Performance Center 9mm revolver features a beautiful Cocobolo and Walnut grip along with a special speed lever for the cylinder release. That speed lever assists rapid reloading of the pistol with moon clips. This kind of revolver is used in action shooting matches, such as the Bianchi Cup.

9mm Revolver S&W Hogue

Best of the Old West — A Slew of Schofields
At the Taylor & Company booth, there were hundreds of single action revolvers on display. Here is a brace of top-break Schofields. This design features a hinge at the front of the frame which allows rapid unloading. Based on the original S&W Model 3, the “Schofield” model was named after Major George W. Schofield, who modified the original Model 3 to better serve the needs of Cavalrymen. Smith & Wesson incorporated the Major’s mods into an 1875 design that now bears Major Schofield’s name. S&W Model 3 Schofield revolvers saw service in the Indian Wars, and they were popular with legendary lawmen and outlaws in the American West (including Jesse James).

S&W Model 3 Schofield Revolver Wild West

9mm 1911 — Havoc Dan Wesson Elite with Angled Reflex Sight
We like 1911s, and we like the 9mm Luger cartridge for its affordability and low recoil. Put the two together and you have a very accurate, shootable package, with a superb trigger. This bad-ass 9mm 1911 is a Dan Wesson Elite Series Havoc. It caught our eye because it boasts a C-MORE SlideRide red dot Reflex Sight mounted at an angle on the left side of the slide. Clever design — that gives you the advantage of the Red Dot Sight, with a lower profile. The Havoc, which sells for $4,299.00, is also offered in .38 Super.

Dan Wesson Havoc Elite 9mm Luger 1911 pistol

dan wesson 9mm elite havoc pistol

Taurus Spectrum — A Pastel Pistol Fashion Statement
Apparently small carry guns have become fashion items. Tauras displayed its new .380 ACP Spectrum pistol in a rainbow of frame/grip color combinations. Along with white frame and blue grip, there were gray/tan, gray/green, gray/red, and gray/blue versions. Taurus really does deliver a spectrum of colors…

taurus spectrum colored pistol .380 acp carry gun

Double Trouble — Two Super-Sized Revolvers
At the Smith & Wesson booth, one visitor showed off two mega-sized S&W Performance Center hunting revolvers. These jumbo S&W500™ wheelguns, chambered for the mighty 500 S&W Magnum cartridge, feature massive 10.5″ barrels plus muzzle brakes. Overall length is 18″. Size counts right?

S&W 500 hunting revolver pistol shot show

smith wesson 500 revolver shot show

Permalink Handguns, New Product No Comments »
January 11th, 2017

Shotgun vs. Pistol for Home Defense

Home defense shotgun NSSF Clint Thunder Ranch
Shotgun Photo from Superior Security Concepts.

Shotgun vs. Handgun — which is better for home defense? That’s a question that inspires strong opinions on both sides. We think the best answer may be “both”. There are some situations where a pistol is most handy, while there are other situations where the power (and lethality) of the shotgun clearly wins out. Some would argue that the shotgun offers an “intimidation” factor that may better resolve a threat without a shot being fired.

The NSSF, in cooperation with Thunder Ranch Training Center, has created an interesting video that examines the Shotgun vs. Handgun debate. As the Cheaper Than Dirt Blog notes: “The primary argument against the shotgun is a longer length leading to less maneuverability. On the other hand, the pistol offers better maneuverability, but lacks the stopping power of a shotgun”. Moreover, the pistol may be less accurate, according to some critics. This NSSF video looks at the question from a logical standpoint — making some surprising points.

As you can see in this still frame from the video, the shooting stance of the pistol shooter (Clint) is NOT much more compact than that of the two shotgunners (compare actual muzzle positions). So a shotgun may actually be more handy inside a home than some people realize. Clint concludes that the gun selection debate “is all very easily solved by only one question: ‘If someone was going to run across a bedroom at you and they had a big knife, would you rather shoot him one time with a pistol or one time with a shotgun?’ When you answer the question you figure out why this [shotgun length] doesn’t really bother us. We simply take these [shotguns] and use them in a slightly different manner…”

Home defense shotgun NSSF Clint Thunder Ranch

In this video, Thunder Ranch Director Clint Smith explains why the overall length of a shotgun, as held in firing position against the shoulder, is not really that much greater than the “shooting stance length” of a handgun held in a proper firing position (with arms extended). Accordingly gun length/size should not be the deciding factor when choosing a firearm for home defense.

Whatever Weapon You Choose — Train with It
Fundamentally, you should use the firearm that is 100% reliable, and with which you have trained regularly. Mastery of a defensive firearm — whether shotgun or handgun — needs to be second-nature. You should be able to operate all the controls (safety, pump, decocker, slide, bolt handle etc.) by “instinct” based on hours of training. Likewise you should know how to operate the light/laser if your defensive firearm is so equipped. Importantly, you should be able to reload in darkness, and clear malfunctions without panicking.

Permalink Handguns, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »