Defensive Shooting

I like to think that I am fairly competent as a defensive shooter. At least I am when I am on a range tossing lead at a bad guy made of paper. Seriously, not once has that dude shot back at me or left that place in anything other than a black trash bag. I say that preety much prove I am one heck of a warrior.

Not convinced? Strange.

Ok, so perhaps that proves nothing. There probably isn’t a real definitive way to prove such a thing unless one has been in an actual gun fight or had some more realistic scenario based training. Air soft or some other kind of force on force set up. As of yet I have not had the opportunity to do anything like that, so I have to work with what I can do, what I do have access to. For me right now that is paper targets. So, how can I make my limited training work for me?

One thing John constantly says in training is to visualiz being anywhere but the range. See yourself in the parking lot or the dark ally or anywhere but “here”, here being the range in Culpeper. Over the past year I have tried to up that idea. I try to actually picture a place I am, what the bad guy looks like and what his body does after the first shot.

For example, if I am at the range I close my eyes for a minute and think if he aka bad guy is coming from behind me or from the side at full speed or perhaps he is casually walking by me and then quickly comes at me. Then I think of my response to that and I shoot. Most of the time with me eyes open. Just kidding. I always open my eyes, take a breath and make sure I am paying attention to where I am and what I am doing.

The thing about shooting a piece of paper is that there is no reaction from it. If I do the classic two to the heart, one to the head thing it’s always a hit. However in real life when I shoot the guy in the chest 2 times his head might flop forward or to the side and it just might not be conveniently stable in one place as I try to blow through his ocular window. When I shoot the target at the range I try in that split second or ideally much less between shots to see in my mind how the body could react to the hit and how I can best respond.

If I see his head flop to the left side, my shot goes to the left side and lower because that is where his head actual is, at least in my mind. Of course, that means the shot will hit the dreaded white part of the target and everyone at the range thinks you suck, but it has been a useful way for me to build skills or so I think. I am 100% perfect in my mind.

20 thoughts on “Defensive Shooting

  1. There is something very appealing about you. Sometimes you come across very vulnerable, but then I read a post like this and I get the feeling you are a lot stronger than you realize yet.

  2. Eric in Texas

    It is relatively easy to set up a force-on-force training scenario. Buy an airsoft pistol for you and one for your hubby, preferably copies of whatever pistols and magazines you and he carry so you can carry them in your everyday carry holsters; then add face protection, green gas or propane, plastic BBs, and realistic imagination. Will run you less than the price of a decent training class.

    After you get “shot” a couple times, you will learn the value of movement, point shooting, cover, and movement. And being able to shift the pistol to other hand. And movement.

  3. It would be easier and a lot more fun if you just moved to Virginia:)

    I don’t know why I didn’t think to just buy some airsoft guns.

    • Here, let me fix this…

      “It would be easier and a lot more fun if you just moved to TEXAS:)”

      Especially since we have a number of guy and a couple gals already practicing combatives, firearms, and FoF/airsoft with each other throughout the year. You would really fit in well.



      • I have a friend in Texas that pushes very hard for us to move there. It’s just those pesky jobs and things that keep us here. That and the gun laws:)

  4. Your training can be limited by your range. Ranges with all those little shooting booths seem terribly limiting, I assume you have alternatives – use them.

    Moving your feet FIRST is more important than anyting else. Followed quickly by a solid draw (while still moving) and quick engagement to get a combat effective hit (while still moving) All IMNSHO, of course – different instructors, different “facts”. πŸ™‚

    You can do this with your current carry weapon and a LaserLyte cartridge so you can see your sits on a target put up in your garage, bedroom, side of your house, in your yard – wherever. But for my students in my Defensive Pistol II course, MOVEMENT IS LIFE – STANDING IS DEATH.

    Also, time spent on speed reloads and tacticle reloads has value – however, if you have not put the attacker down with one magazine, you have bigger problems. πŸ™‚

    Airsoft “death matches” are interesting. Make sure you have a throat shield and good face-cheek-ear protection. Otherwise it’s up to you. Start with an old fashion western shootout – 9 feet. You’ll get the idea pretty quick why it’s a good idea to MOVE! πŸ™‚ I would also suggest to limit your loads to 3-rounds. Anything after that is just piling on – could be fun, but what’s the point.

    True defensive shooting is the next natural step after traditional “booth” or “lane” shooting, enjoy the process!

    • “I assume you have alternatives- use them”…lol You tend to beat around the bush:)

      I don’t really have alternatives. John has a range, but he is busy and can’t focus on me a 100%. ArΓͺte is even busier. I am extremely lucky to work with him, but that time is very llimited. I can do more training and I try, but it’s money and time from my family…the same as everyone else. I have it better than many, but still can’t endulge in my every wish. Trying very hard to maximize every second of the time I do train.

      But, your suggestions are mighty helpful…thank you!

    • MMMmmmm – no, not much of a “bush beater”. πŸ™‚

      I have really come to like the LaserLyte rounds. In a defensive fight, in over 80% of cases the shooter getting the first hit wins. So you can learn alot from your move/draw and first shot. Also, it forces you to do a “slap,rack,shoot” drill if you want multiple hits. You can simply not do this drill too many times.

      Also, speed in not a primary concern for these dry-fire drills in my office (being the boss does have advantages πŸ™‚ . . . . )but muscle memory training.

      The rounds are not real expensive – $90-ish or so.

      Of course, it goes without saying – family first! Always! Being “empty nesters” has provided us with a bit more time for our interests – but 10 years ago such was not the case! πŸ™‚

      Regardless, enjoy the journey Ms. A!

  5. Other than airsoft, you might also try some of the laser training systems. That isn’t force on force, but it can work with doing practice movements in the backyard.

    • Great idea. My new neighbors are gonna wonder what the heck kind of area they moved into when my hubby and I are in the backyard all cammo’d out shooting lasers at each other.

    • We do that, but honestly this was just me be silly. I mean I do shoot like and visualize sometimes, but really I thought I was a hoot…guess not:)

  6. I am fortunate to live in a place (Rochester, NY) where there is an excellent training company – Rochester Personal Defense. Over the years, I have taken Defensive Pistol I and II, and an awesome Home Invasion Defense class, as well as the usual NRA (Basic Pistol, Personal Defense Outside the Home, and PD Inside the Home). In some of these classes, there was live fire and in the Home Invasion – that one used toy guns, but we did a lot of role playing. None of us know how we will react in a real world situation, but I am forever grateful for the training I have had.

    • You are fortunate. I have taken several of the classes you have listed as well. Your right training is key. Happy that you are taking advantage of what your area has to offer.

  7. I think pre-visualization is also a very effective awareness and training tool… I tell my students and my gals that folks should pre-visualize potential defensive situations in their everyday lives… realistic ones, not the 20 mall ninja attack variety…

    Visualize laying in bed, waking up, and seeing a stranger standing over you or in the doorway.. visualize someone approaching your car while you’re at the drive-through ATM… visualize the target as a bad guy sprinting full speed straight at you (side step and shoot – moving targets are harder to hit… and you’re a target too)…

    Good stuff agirl…

    Dann in Ohio

    • Thanks Dann. We talk to our daughter, the oldest one, about those same visualizing scenarios. She is getting good at coming up with realistic things that could happen and what she can do to survive.

  8. But as for the paper targets, since you are used to being hit back (as in punched or kicked) then you already have a good idea what incoming fire is like.

    You see, one thing about bullets is you rarely see them coming while you do see the fist and feet (if lucky.) That means you are less nervous due to not seeing what can kill you.

    The hardest part to any battle is waiting. The longer you have to wait the more ‘nerves’ you get.

    • I don’t know if getting punched is the same as getting shot. I am not sure about the nervous thing either. Unless I am war or a hostage type situation, I think most attacks happen swiftly. Not sure there is time to anticipate being shot. I don’t know. Interesting theory.

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