Tag Archives: Handgun

Fox News 10 – Civil Rights Activist Experiences Shoot or Don’t Shoot Scenarios

I was forwarded this via email from the local 3 Gun match director Mark Meek. I think a good many people don’t realize how quickly a situation can escalate, and how hard it can be it identify the good guys from the bad guys. Many anti-gun people believe that their mantle of innocence is a shield from violence. That belief leads to impotent inaction which can cost them, or their loved ones their lives.


Article by Mark Hatfield.

I was the first to shoot a hostage.

Not that I shot at the wrong person, it was that I hit the hostage while attempting to hit only the hostage taker behind him/her. It was probably a survivable wound but would have been crippling. Thankfully these were only cardboard targets.

A few other things happened during these sessions. I had emptied my handgun and reloaded with a fresh magazine. As I removed my support hand I saw the new magazine fall out of the gun. I simply grabbed another spare mag and loaded the gun, that was much better than getting on the ground to get the fallen mag. The fallen mag might have been irretrievable for a number of reasons, falling into water, an unreachable space, be unseen, or even come apart upon impact. Much better to have more than one spare mag.

On another drill we shot one handed until the handgun was empty, reloaded, transferred the gun to the other hand and again fired until empty, reloaded again then moved to the next station. After emptying the gun the second time, I transferred it back to my dominant hand, or rather I attempted to, I dropped it. When I realized the gun was going, I, for only a fragment of a second, thought of going to the ground after it but instead my other hand drew my other identical gun and had it pointed downrange, possibly by the time the other gun hit the ground. It would not be correct to say that I was glad I had the second gun and more so that I had trained with it, I really didn’t have any such feeling. It was rather that there had been a problem and I had successfully resolved it.

Some people, even rather experienced shooters, when under pressure often forgot to operate the safety before they attempted to fire their rifles. Some, though experienced, had never fired their rifles from the ‘wrong’ shoulder, many had never before fired their rifles using only one arm. Often there were multiple targets, the defender had to move between different locations of cover, to find the right angle or height for which to engage any one or two targets then change to do the others. Defenders would forget that there were multiple targets which were threatening them from different angles. When trying to find the best position from which to shoot one particular target while staying behind cover from that attacker, the defenders forgot about keeping cover between themselves and the other attackers.

Physical fitness matters. Too many people want to ignore that. This was not a physical course, not physically demanding, especially compared to some. But, for best ‘results’, one needs to be able to move short distances quickly, to be able to get up and down, change positions, and adapt as needed. Never forget that a fight, any fight, will not be compatible with whatever skills you practice, what you train for, or what you predict might likely happen. The fight will be what ever it is and you don’t get to choose how it will start or under what conditions. Even a modest amount of physical fitness training can make a huge difference over doing no training at all.

One man, a Federal ‘First Responder’, wore not just his complete gear and equipment but body armor, this significant amount of kit was what he wore daily on his job. Despite the heat and activity he trained in and with the equipment he would most likely be wearing if he needed to do what he was hired to do. This is a sign of a wise man.

Doing anything under stress, even just a little pressure, and your performance can change, it can be very different from just casual practice. The stressors of such drills or even competition is much less than that of an actual event of deadly force. However, after learning a skill, practicing it under stress helps to ‘inoculate’ one to better perform when the stress is not artificial. This includes decision making under pressure, an attribute which is even more important than just skills.

Even a little practice of something, a little preparation makes a huge improvement on how a person can handle stressors and problems of many types. ‘Make your mistakes here’, Do something here now for the first time rather than trying to figure it out for the first time when life depends on it, was the theme of this course. This anti-terrorism aspect of this offering by John Farnam was not about shooting. One could not just shoot fast and accurately, one had to think, decide, adapt, and act, and do it quickly.

John Farnam is known and teaches internationally, his Defense Training International webpage can be easily found. I recommend you sign up to receive his random ‘quips’.




Article by Mark Hatfield.

Recently I was asked to ‘baby sit’ (my words) a fellow who was teaching a handgun class at a range where I serve as a Range Safety Officer. I was to give an impromptu safety talk and then observe the class for a while to determine if they could be left on their own or needed watching. They needed watching. Boy Oh Boy, Did they need watching.

Before they started I asked questions to get a feel for their experience and training. I was told that ‘most’ of the four students had trained under this instructor before. The instructor did have a large emblem on the back of his jacket showing his certification as an instructor, issued from a large well known organization, no less. This instructor informed me that these students were all at the ‘intermediate’ level, he then added that this was because they had all attended a concealed weapon class. The class, I believe, he had taught.

Among them one had a medium frame revolver, another a small Glock, another a small oddball copy of the Colt ‘1911’, I don’t recall what semi-auto the other fellow had. Two of the semi-auto shooters didn’t remember how to load their guns, even how to insert the magazine. I observed that the ‘1911’ shooter fired right handed but always used his left hand to put the safety on or off. Later I showed him how to operate the safety using the thumb of his right hand and the alternate method if he was shooting with his left hand. I cautioned one shooter to not put his thumb behind the slide of his semi-auto. I had to remind one or two to put on their eye protection. There was one or two other things I advised. The instructor had never said anything nor did he assist the students with any of these problems. Nor did he assist or correct any other problems.

They were firing at ledger size sheets of paper, that is 11 by 17 inches and doing so from seven yards. The warm-up was to take their time and fire six shots. One guy hit with only five shots, another with only four, the Glock shooter missed with all six. Throughout my observation I kept reminding myself ‘He calls these INTERMEDIATE level students’.

The first four or five drills the shooters were to start from a ‘low ready’ position and fire six shots, returning to the low ready after each shot. Glock shooter never did, every drill he would raise his gun and fire all six. The instructor never said anything. He never knew about it.

I held back from much I could have said or done. I did not want to undermine the instructor or seem like I was ‘taking over’ the class however it was almost difficult not to. I did jump in when the instructor stood in of his students (who were all on the firing line) and as he spoke of something, two of them drew their guns from the holsters and pointed them down range though somewhat to the side. The instructor had not thought of that as a problem until I interrupted and pointed it out. He didn’t even seem to notice.

While the instructor took a potty break I inquired how much they were paying him. One hundred dollars each for a partial day.

Part of the problem was very clear. He, the instructor, never watched his students. Yup, He would tell them to do something then never watch them as they attempted to do it.

His written material, some memorized, some read aloud from his notes, was ok, not bad, certainly not wrong but was often incomplete in areas. The drills he had them do were so-so at best but did not seem to be leading to any particular goal. His great error was that he never paid attention to what the students were doing. He could not assist his students, correct their problems, improve their technique, or anything because he never saw them in action. Whenever they shot he would stand in the middle of the line and shoot along with them at the same time. They could have been shooting at each other and as long as they missed he might never have never know it.

After about an hour and a half I was notified that I would be needed elsewhere, could these guys be left alone? I said ‘no’, but that it might be easily correctable (I hoped). At the next reasonable opportunity I announced that I had to leave and asked to speak with the instructor on the side. I had seen that the guys all did reholster safely, that was good. I explained that there was a serious problem which he had not realized. He apologized for letting the students draw their guns while he was in front of them, I explained that there was much more than that. I mentioned that the guys could be (without being aware of it) pointing guns at their own feet, at their hands, at each other and he would never know because he NEVER watched them. I tried to really drive this home. I suggested that he use this method:

Explain what he wants them to do.
Then WATCH them.
Give them corrections as they may need.

I could have said a lot more, that he was wasting their time and money as well as reinforcing bad habits, letting them think that what they did was OK, but I didn’t.

I didn’t think this ‘instructor’ was an idiot. However that day, he was not an instructor, he really was not instructing. He thought he was. I thought he could become an OK instructor but the large well known organization which gave him his teaching credentials clearly never taught him how to teach.

A few months earlier I was a volunteer at an orientation to firearms for women only. All the ‘coaches’ were certified Range Safety Officers. The shooting portion was done with one-on coaching. During this, a handgun was pointed at my student and I, twice. My student saw this also. The person who pointed it at us was one of the coaches.

I spent seven years in the Navy and Marine Corps, during that time I did work for some senior people who were ‘problems’. I felt fortunate that for my first several assignments I had leaders who were quite good both in their field and at leadership, that experience allowed me to better exist when under those who were not. Those ‘intermediate’ students I observed did not know enough to know what they were getting and what they were not. I felt sorry for them.

BTW That instructor shot only very slightly better than the best of his students. AND Talking with these students before the class started, some of them actually thought that they were at an intermediate level of skill.

Shotgun vs. Pistol for home defense

Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch posted up a video comparing the overall length of a shouldered shotgun to a pistol held at arms length.

I like Clint Smith’s teachings and while this is a valid point, I still prefer the pistol. Why?
The pistol can be fired from compressed shooting positions, something not so much possible with a shotgun.
I can better employ a pistol one handed then I could a shotgun. Try calling the police while holding a shotgun, opening doors, or carrying an infant.

Longarms have many advantages over handguns but they have their own downsides. You really need to pick the one that best fit your needs.

Defective Defensive Ammo, Malfunction Drills, and Two Is Better Than One.

Article submitted by a friend of ours:




Defective Defensive Ammo, Malfunction Drills, and Two Is Better Than One.


A few hours ago I was standing near my bed preparing to go out and doing a check of an every day carry gun.  A bullet fell on the bed immediately followed by a primed case.  I believe there was powder also but it was difficult to find as it blended in with the bed cover.


At first I thought that the round in the chamber had come apart but that round was still there, it was the top round from the magazine.  It is possible that repeated movement of the slide to verify the presence of a chambered round could have loosened the bullet but I always remove the magazine before doing that.  Had I been in a fight, fired a round then this one came apart while chambering that would have been quite a problem.  Had the loose bullet seated deeper into the case before firing that can cause the pressure of the already high pressure round to increase so dramatically that the gun becomes a hand grenade.


I’ve had a goodly number of instructors for the art of the gun, all of them always carry at least two weapons, some of them two or even three guns in addition to other weapons.  The number of guns and other weapons carried seems to increase with the severity of their experiences during their careers.  In my circumstances it is difficult enough to carry concealed one gun but after much trial and experimentation I have found a way to carry two, neither is small and both are convenient.  This makes me more glad that I did.


Guns break, even brand new parts from major manufacturers break at unexpected times.  That has happened to me more than once and I have seen it happen to other people.  Ammo can be defective also.  This ammo has a reputation for its good performance when used, it was premium stuff from a major U.S. manufacturer.  They will be hearing from me.


Never think that it can’t happen to you.

Eyes, Hands, and Handguns.

Article submitted by Mark Hatfield.

Eyes, Hands, and Handguns.

This could be about shooters with poor uncorrected eyesight, it’s not.  It could be about shooters who are cross-eye dominant, it’s not, though it will touch on both of those concerns.  If you shoot only for sport, competition, hunting, or fun, then you don’t need to read this either.  But if you train for serious social purposes…

Fifty years or so ago a fellow named John created a cut in my right eyebrow.  He used three rapid jabs with the sharp edged ring on his hand, a Boy Scout ring no less.  Being not much of a fighter then, and hopefully somewhat better now, the fight ended then.  He may have actually been trying to destroy my eye but that didn’t occur to me at the time.  Anyway, later back at my home, standing at the bathroom sink looking at myself in the mirror, one half of my face was completely covered with blood.  I started cleaning from the bottom up, I kept looking for the wound, a grievous one of course it had to be.  I was surprised when I found it in the eyebrow.

Cuts to the face may bleed a lot, some ‘knife fighters’ even advocate a slash to the forehead to create bleeding to blind the opponent.  While the wisdom or not of this move is not discussed here it is true that our eyesight is easily affected.  My eyesight has many times been affected by my own sweat or chemicals in the air which made me tear, often burning tears.  Smoke from smoke grenades sometimes was worse than tear gas.  Common household cleaners used in a small room can be affect the eyes as well as the lungs.  In years past, for reasons I never discovered, some heating systems could cause me to have serious tearing and burning of the eyes.

Never forget, there is also the old trick of throwing sand, bleach, lye, and other nasty things into eyes.  Even soda or lemonade be a problem.  Remember, the person who answers the door or approaches you ‘innocently’ holding a coffee cup or soft drink cup may not be so innocent as they appear.  Think of how much even an eyelash on your eye is so disturbing.

While constantly wearing some form of eyeglasses, prescription or protective, does help a lot, that is not the point, the point here is…can you shoot with the other eye?

Most people who train shooting for defensive purposes, hopefully, will train to be able to use either hand.  While one might prefer to shoot using both hands at the same time, the serious shooter needs to be able to use only one, either one, and should work seriously at this.  BUT (And a big BUT this is) though you may practice to be able to use either hand, can you use either eye?

The hands and arms are very likely to be injured if you take incoming fire, after all, they are out there in front of your face and body but the eyes are also easily disturbed.  You may train to be able to shoot with either hand equally or near equally well but do you always use the same eye?  Aligning the gun to the eye and even just to the face can be very different than what you are so accustom to.   You may get a big shock the first time you try it.  Your performance will not be the same, you may find it difficult to align the gun with the target for ‘non-sighted’ fire let alone trying to align the sights.  This might be an ‘eye opener’ that your skills are really less than you thought.

Try these drills, some slow fire and some acquiring the target and getting off a shot quickly.

Right hand, right eye.

Right hand, left eye.

Left hand, right eye.

Left hand, left eye.

Most shooters will quickly notice that the drills where the hand and eye do not ‘match’ are the most difficult.  The good news is that improvement comes quickly.  While such drills need not be done at every practice session, they should be done more than just ‘once in a while’.

For those of us who always wear prescription eyeglasses or contacts, sometimes TAKE THEM OFF, put on clear protective glasses and shoot with no correction for bad eyesight.  Even sometimes do it in connection with the ‘hand/eye’ drills.  (If you are at a public range or other people are shooting, face AWAY from other shooters and not down range while changing glasses)

At close contact, when being hit or grabbed, often one of the first things which happens is that the wearer of eyeglasses loses them,  Can you shoot without yours?  I should ask instead  ‘Can you hit without yours?

Even doing a little bit of these drills can can cause significant improvement, even more important is learning exactly what your limitations are.  Don’t wait for a gun fight to find out.  Consider if you have to explain to a judge and jury why you shot at someone when you couldn’t see very well.  It’s better to not just have the skills, but to be able to accurately explain that you knew just what you could and could not do.