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Getting to a Ready

Keeping aware of your surroundings will hopefully provide you advanced warning of bad things coming. This advance warning can be used in one of three ways; to quickly draw, to quickly moving or combination of these two.

The Quick and the Not Quick

A pattern you might notice is doing these actions quickly. All to often we put too much emphasis on speed in the beginning of our training journey. If speed was the most pressing condition, it might be easier to quickly move. It is unlikely you need training to perform this action, but training can certainly help. When it comes to a quick draw something we overlook is the importance of drawing quickly to a ready position. Not every event will require quickly drawing and engaging the threat with deadly force. If you pick up on the advanced warning and you feel justified in drawing your gun to a ready position it may be your best option.

Ready Positions, One Less Obstacle

This is where some folks get lost in the weeds. If you heeded the early warning you create more options. Having more options than deadly force may not happen all the time. What we do know is if you are not looking for it you won’t see it when the time comes. As you pay more attention to quickly drawing to the ready position you start to see it’s importance. Yes, there are plenty of ready positions and bastardized versions off these main ready positions. Regardless of which one you gravitate towards spend time working on delivering a quick, first round lethal strike. There is the possibility if you have the opportunity to draw to a ready, the situation may diffuse itself. It may not, and if it does not you are one step closer to delivering effective fire. The point is if you don’t practice this skill it is hard to expect it to be available.

A Sign of Shooting Competence

Of the three main ready positions; high, low and retention I encourage most folks to practice from the low ready. In addition, I encourage this practice to be from the a deeply depressed low ready. Ideally, it should be depressed below 45 degrees. Elevating the pistol from the low ready is more challenging than pressing it out from the high ready or retention. You want to ensure the front sight moves and stops at the exact strike point you wish to hit. If you are practicing from the low ready, delivering one round consistently is your first step. Then working to a three round drill is step two. When you can perform a five round drill on demand its a sign of shooting competence and time to add to your plate.

Move With A Purpose

Moving quickly was another skill I mentioned. This can be a stand alone skill to your shooting development. Can you move quickly and with purpose at the sign of trouble. When I say move with purpose I mean moving to cover, away from danger or even towards positional advantage. Danger does not have to be directed at you for this skill to be valuable. If you happen to be in a situation where bad things are happening to other people it might be advantageous to move. Moving alone is a good tactic, combine moving and drawing your gun become the next step. When you can reliably move quickly, then draw quickly to deliver first round lethal strikes you do more to increase your survival than any piece of gear you find attractive.

When you combine quickly moving with quickly drawing your gun it offers an excellent response to most danger close encounters. Don’t overlook the importance of your quick draw being drawn to a ready position in anticipation of bad things.

Author: Jeff Gonzales

On the Mark…or not

I get asked what I carry on a regular basis. I try to deflect the question or ask it back by getting to know their needs.

The Good, the Bad and the Bullet

At some point the conversation will evolve to defensive ammunition. For self defense, whether in the home or out in public you will need to consider some type of high performance round designed to fit your needs. When we define our needs, we narrow the field of options. More importantly, you identify what is important. What you should focus on, to the point it is a “go/no go”. If it doesn’t meet certain performance objectives you look for better alternatives despite all the hype or “celebrity” endorsements.

The Return of the 9mm

We have seen the ammunition world evolve big time over the last couple of years. First, when the FBI announced they were going back to the 9mm service wide. It didn’t take long for just about everyone else to follow suit. There are still hold outs here and there, but they will come around with time. Of the current selection of high performance defensive rounds; which ones best fulfill the average citizen. Most defensive ammunition is designed for law enforcement who’s mission or needs might differ. The possibility of penetrating intermediate barriers is very unlikely so do you need a round that excels in this capacity, but gives up ground on other fronts.

Possible, but not Probable

For the average citizen defending his person, loved ones or home it may be possible, but not probable they will have to shoot through an intermediate barrier such as a car door, interior wall or safety glass. One thing to remember is you will have to justify your actions for using deadly force. While you might have chosen ammunition that performs well here, was it the best choice. I am far more likely to recommend looking for a defensive round that reliably goes bang every time you pull the trigger and penetrates to a minimum depth of 12 inches. The often overlooked piece to this puzzle is our ability to hit the target with the defensive round.

Trust, but Verify

While you might have selected the most awesome defensive round currently available what if you fail to hit the target. Will it really matter how cool the box looks or a clever marketing slogan. Probably not. Yes, you will have to train and train hard to have reliable skills for deadly force encounters. This includes knowing the performance of your defensive ammunition selection. I encourage you to buy enough of your intended selection so you can test it yourself. Maybe not elaborate gelatin testing, but you can test for reliability and functionality through your chosen defensive handgun. If it doesn’t feed reliability or function in your handgun, you need to look hard at your choice.

What’s Point of Impact

Once you start shooting the defensive rounds you may notice something different. Typically they will have more felt recoil due to the rounds be loaded for higher velocities; which should equate to improved terminal performance. You may also notice less flash since most use powder with flash retardant properties. The most interesting attribute you may notice is a difference in accuracy. While most defensive rounds are built to be more accurate they are still not match grade. The biggest difference is the shift from point of aim/point of impact between your training round. It is not often you see these two sync up so the best solution is to shoot them enough you understand the difference so if you need to take a high percentage shot you know precisely where to aim.

Nothing is free, you cannot expect much from your gear if you don’t know the gear’s limits. Take the time and make the investment to learn not just about the performance, but where the performance ends.

Author: Jeff Gonzales