After years of acquaintance on Twitter, I finally met and got to train with Kyle Southerland at the Proactive Defense gun range. We did lots of good pistol work and rifle drills. It was a blast and I look forward to the next time. Gig ’em!
Today I spent time at the practical range doing something different than my usual.
At the practical range, I’m typically pushing boundaries and exploring my limits with regard to practical and situational defensive drills. This means that I’m riding the edge of my abilities for accuracy and timing, going as fast as I safely can go. The result is that I run at best somewhere around 50% accuracy for the specific hit zone I’m gunning for. I learn much in these training sessions, but what is absent is knowledge of what I’m 100% capable of doing with regard to timing and accuracy (and the HABIT of doing so—important!).
Today’s effort was concerned exclusively with confirming my 100%-accuracy & timing capability for a headshot—4″ x 7″ eye-width face zone measuring from the top of the eyes to the Adam’s apple—while moving off the X and drawing from concealment with my EDC setup (which is the only way I ever train). I worked from 5, 7, 10, 15, 20, and 25 yards, measuring the time for 10 consecutive good hits in the 4″ x 7″ zone. In every case I only counted the slowest time of the 10 consecutive scoring hits. The result is the time, per distance, that I’m confident I can make a human-stopping headshot with 100% accuracy.
- Yes, the target zone I’m going for here is taller (twice as tall) than merely the oculonasal area one typically associates with a “turn-out-the-lights” facial headshot. I’m using this larger area for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I’m not yet good enough to hit the 4″ x 3.5″ oculonasal area at 20 or 25 yards consistently, but secondly, supersonic hits to the extended area will still traumatize either the spinal cord or the vital arteries of the lateral neck areas. So this extended area is still a lights-out hit.
- Yes, this is a very simple drill: one shot from concealment while moving off of the X, and while under no physical or emotional distress. The point is I need to establish baselines before I can effectively measure more complicated scenarios.
My times for 10 consecutive in-target hits:
- At 5 Yards: 1.7 seconds
- At 7 Yards: 1.75 seconds
- At 10 Yards: 1.8 seconds
- At 15 Yards: 2.1 seconds
- At 20 Yards: 2.1 seconds
- At 25 Yards: 2.3 seconds
I have training scars! Timing was not too much of an issue until I got out to 15 yards, at which point my pushing-boundaries habits had me consistently going too fast and missing often. I had to deliberately slow down the time from presentation-to-shot in order to find 100% accuracy. This tells me that I need to spend not nearly so much time racing the clock and far more time insisting on quality hits in my training.
My suspicion is that my 20 and 25-yard times are a bit off, because by the time I got to those ranges I had put quite a few rounds downrange and my technique was well practiced (for this session) and my presentation was near flawless. This happens in any training session, where you’re better after a 100 rounds or so than you were for the first 10. I expect that, when cold, I’d be .1 to .3 seconds slower than what I achieved today.
*Upon reflection:* Next time I’ll start at 25 yards and work inward. I want to know my cold 25-yard 100%-accuracy times!
All told, I found today’s training session to be valuable and instructive. I’ll make this a regular part of my training. You might consider doing so yourself!
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Below: Here’s a look at what I was doing. This video is from months ago and on a plate twice as wide as my target area today. Just contextual reference.
While it’s not an obviously useful skill, shooting rapidly and accurately while moving is a good offensive skill. In today’s wartime environment, it could prove useful one day. Sadly.
Here I’m just trying to move obliquely toward the 10″ square target (on the right) while hitting it with 3 rounds as quickly as I can and still be accurate. These are just some of the more successful passes I made in 50 or 60 reps.
Here are four reps of a drill I do every week at the indoor range, in my narrow lane. It’s a fundamental gun-handling drill that others are built upon. Here I’m shooting at a silhouette at 7 yards. The image (below) shows the results of a few passes at 7 yards and you might just be able to make out the silhouette I’ve drawn on the target.
The drill is:
- Move off the X while loading a 1-round magazine and rack the slide,
- Fire 1 round to chest, gun locks back empty,
- Reload from concealed 2-round magazine while moving off of the X,
- Fire 1 round to chest, 1 round to face.
Yes, that one shot in the middle-left is off target. In the real world, that’s called “a lawsuit” (we are responsible for every round that leaves our muzzle).
Every 1000-3000 rounds you will want to completely disassemble your frame and slide for a comprehensive cleaning. Don’t skip this vital component of maintenance.
This is my friend John. He’s at the range almost every week working on practical manipulations, technical fundamentals, and marksmanship. Last week, though it was warm, he brought a variety of jackets, coats, and a sweatshirt to practice deploying his carry pistol from under different types and layers of winter clothing. Unlike most, John is a responsible man. God bless John and those few like him.
With this morning’s drill I’m drawing from almost three decades of martial arts practice to augment my armed defensive technique with my EDC pistol.
In a hands-on situation it will likely be very hard to draw and bring a concealed pistol into the fight, but there are ways to buy time and gain position. This drill is just one way for a very specific situation. DO NOT TAKE THIS AS INSTRUCTION AND DO NOT TRY THIS DRILL WITHOUT PROFESSIONAL INSTRUCTION FROM A QUALIFIED INSTRUCTOR, as it is very easy to shoot yourself in the arm or hand!
Note also that this technique puts you in a fairly dangerous position, with your underarms, ribs, and several other vital attack points greatly exposed. The mitigation for this exposure is a quick reversal of position, taking away those targets before the assailant can attack them. It ALSO exposes the firearm, placing it in close proximity to the assailant. It is therefore vital that the distraction (elbow strikes) be executed with viciousness and ferocity so that the assailant doesn’t notice the brief exposure.
This is a drill to work one-handed manipulation after drawing from concealment and “getting shot” in the primary arm. Pistol is dropped and secondary arm takes over and finishes the fight.
Target is 6″ steel plate at 12 yards. Did lots of reps of this one today.
My everyday carry complement stays pretty consistent, but I do change out components and sometimes add or remove an item. Here is my current EDC kit, with notes to follow:
My EDC complement includes the following:
- Glock 19 with an Inforce APLc light in an Incog Shadow Eclipse holster
- 2 spare magazines riding in a Gunfighters, Inc. “Ronin” mag pouch
- phone in a Tactical Oatmeal belt pouch
- Smith & Bradley “Springfield” watch
- scan-proof RFID-shielded wallet
- Gerber mini multi-tool
- R.A.T.S. tourniquet
- Kershaw “Flourish” assisted-opening pocket knife
- K-BAR TDI knife in an NSR Tactical belt holster
- Surefire EB1 “Backup” flashlight
…and it all rides on or near a Core Essentials Trakline rigid-core EDC belt.
Yes, this means I’ve got 3 full magazines of 9mm on me at all times. We are at war and in wartime one never knows whether a life-and-death situation means a lone mugger or a team of trained terrorists in a public place. Might take a few rounds to get out (or get my family out) safety.
If you’re a responsible citizen, I hope you have a similar EDC complement, with at least a good pistol, backup mag, light, tourniquet, and at at least one knife. Hang as much of it as possible on your belt to keep your pockets free. Stay safe, stay trained, and be vigilant.
Today’s training involved a lot of wounded-wing, one-handed manipulations. This means that I dropped my gun on the ground 60 or 70 times, getting it pretty dirty.
Partly I drop my pistol so that I can practice picking it up and reloading one-handed (because my other arm got shot and is useless now). So I draw out, put a round on target, “get shot in one arm” and drop the pistol, pick it up and then perform a 1-handed reload and put 2 more rounds on target with that one hand.
The other reason I drop my pistol here is to do a bit of a shakedown vetting of both the new Gen 5 pistol and the new Inforce APLc light. I want to see if anything can’t take normal, everyday punishment. I’m happy to report that everything held up just fine. Though I notice that dropping my gun tends to turn on the light most times. Not unusual, since the activation paddle gets pressed on the drop.
This is a staple drill in my routine, but it can be hard on equipment. I always do it with my EDC rig, but I let backup guns (same setup) take most of the punishment most of the time.