It’s my observation that most people (not all) will never put in the time to get to a basic level of defensive handgun proficiency.
As a pilot, I often see people get excited about flying. They start lessons and then fade away and stop because it’s a lot of damn work to get the license.
It’s the same with shooting.
Yes, I can have a complete beginner in the x-ring straight away (I did this recently with a friend who was 40 and never shot a gun before), but the person will not be able to defend themselves with a handgun.
I’d argue that most police aren’t trained proficiently to do this, and it’s not a fault of their own. Usually, it’s a lack of training budget. The whole “Let’s defund the police” madness doesn’t help either.
Let me also go on the record by saying that the police serve a vital role in preserving law and order, which is and ought to be their primary duty.
For the sake of this conversation, I’ll define a defensive shooter as someone who owns a firearm and plans on using it for self-defense.
I’m going to give you some tips below on what you can do to actually become a proficient defensive shooter.
- Once you’ve learned the basics of shooting with your dominant eye, start practicing with both eyes open (for situational awareness).
- Take a combat pistol course from a former Special Operations instructor. Yes, it’s more expensive than most, but you don’t buy parachutes at Bob’s Discount Chutes the same way you should not expect to get great training at the firearms version of Rex Kwan Do, as seen in the classic movie Napoleon Dynamite. “Grab my wrist. No, the other wrist!”
- Visualize your top 3 likely scenarios (home intruder, carjacking, etc.) and practice them in your head over and over. When I say imagine it, I mean think of the stress involved and really place yourself in that terribly stressful scenario.
- Then practice drawing your weapon and dry firing these scenarios (with a clear and safe weapon). Visualize and dry fire 10x a day for 60 days to build a foundation of muscle memory.
- As in business, there’s always ongoing education. I’d take at least 3-4 courses a year to keep building on your foundation for at least 4 years.
Doing the above and investing 4 years of training and practice will give you a great foundation to build from and maintain. Don’t put the time in, and you’ll be just a hobby shooter and very ill-prepared to actually use a gun in a fight. There’s also nothing wrong with being a hobby shooter but handguns are the supreme tool of personal self-defense, master this tool and its employment and you may live through an encounter someday where you don’t have time to think, but only the time to act on what you have trained yourself to do.
The best setup for home defense is an autoload shotgun with a 1000 lumen tactical light, and the best handgun is a 9mm semi-auto with a 1000 lumen tactical light. See the theme here? No fancy bullshit, just iron sights, and your tac light are better than any laser or red dot because it’s simple. It blinds the hell out of any assailant and serves as your front sight focus. In just about every case, you will be less than 15ft from your assailant, iron sights will do just fine.
For the shotgun at close range, birdshot might be more effective than OO buckshot. It will hold its mass and penetrate soft tissue just fine, but is less likely to punch through the drywall and hit one of your kids sleeping in the next room. There is also less recoil from birdshot which gives you a faster second shot on target as well. Finally, the sound of a shotgun racking a round into the chamber on the other side of a closed door cannot be mistaken for any other sound in Nature. The bad guy’s nerves may melt like ice cream just knowing that he is facing a 12 gauge, can’t miss blast in a confined space.
When it comes to the pistol, point the beam of light at the target and pull the trigger as many times as you need to in order to eliminate the threat to your life.
Hope you enjoyed this, I’ll go deep into each category tip above at some point, but this should be enough to get you started.
“The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday…”
With Winning in Mind (will help with your mental game).
The Killing School (will help with keeping you humble when you realize how much goes into making a great shooter).