American Rifleman - July 2011 - 66

self-defense pistol training
continued from p. 37

This 12-shot drill is somewhat unrealistic, but it does
provide the opportunity to evaluate a variety of handgun
skills and is a good benchmark to use as an evaluation tool.
Place a silhouette target at 3 yds., one at 5 yds., and one
at 7 yds. Space them 5 ft. apart laterally. Start by standing
in front of the right or left target, and at the signal engage
each target with two shots working from the closest to the
farthest. Then, move laterally about 10 feet to cover, reload
and repeat the drill from behind cover.
Completing this drill in less than 10 seconds with all
kill zone hits demonstrates a high level of proficiency.
Times between 12 and 18 seconds with no misses will be
average. Run this drill twice at the end of each practice
session. Use it as a standard evaluation exercise and over
time you'll see improvement in each skill the drill targets.
Take your total time and add five seconds for every miss.
Add the times from both runs together and divide by two
to get your score.

5 FEET

Target Array
ETARGET ARRAY )
l Prez (Modified
EL PRES (MODIFIED)

5 FEET

C
B
A
7 YARDS

5 YARDS

3 YARDS

COVER

START
MOVE TO COVER (10 FEET)

EL PREZ Modified.indd 1

Other Training Tips

T

he basis for all marksmanship training is sight alignment
and trigger control. Both must be mastered before realistic self-defense training can begin. One of the best drills
for learning and sustaining these skills is dry-fire. Some shooters look at dry-fire as pointless. It's not. The best shooters in
the world do it regularly. It's a very good way to develop hand/
eye coordination and kinesthetics or proprioception-the
unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation
arising from stimuli within the body itself.
Any time you dry-fire, remove all the ammunition from
where you are practicing, double and triple check that your
handgun is unloaded and be sure that you are working-
pointing your handgun-on a safe direction. Using a snap cap
is a good idea, regardless of whether your handgun maker
recommends one.
Basic dry-fire is nothing more than pointing the unloaded
handgun at a target and squeezing the trigger while you
keep the sights aligned on the target. You want to execute
the trigger pull without disturbing the sights. Handgunmounted lasers can help tremendously and there are even
training lasers designed just for this purpose. If you flinch or
snatch the trigger it will show up as a wiggle or jerk of the
red dot on the target.
You can also dryfire all of the drills
explained here. However, unlike revolvers
that let you experience a real trigger pull
over and over, you will
have to cycle the slide
or cock the hammer of
some semi-automatics
A laser-emitting device like this
when dry-firing. This
one from LaserLyte aids dryfire practice with a carry gun.
is not an issue for

64 J

uly

2011

www.americanrifleman.org

individual shots, but it is not compatible with multi-shot drills.
Don't worry; just go through the motions of the failure drill,
the 45 and the modified El Prez. You may not experience a
true trigger pull for each shot, but you will still be establishing
a foundation that commits to memory the presentation and
manipulation of the handgun, movement, and sight alignment.
Becoming proficient with a defensive handgun is no different than becoming a good golfer or typist; proper practice
is the key. Iain Harrison told me that he believes a .22 Long
Rifle pistol is a great training tool, and he often takes a brick of
ammunition to the range. This makes perfect sense; .22 Long
Rifle ammunition is very affordable when compared to centerfire defensive handgun ammunition. The handguns also have
minimal recoil and muzzle blast, both of which are detrimental
to establishing the basics of marksmanship.
I believe one of the best training tools you can acquire is a
.22 Long Rifle conversion kit for a semi-automatic handgun or
a .22 Long Rifle revolver that is an understudy to the revolver
you carry for personal protection. This lets you train at a
fraction of the cost, but with a handgun that emulates the one
you carry. I've run thousands of rounds through a Kimber .22
Long Rifle conversion kit for an M1911 and routinely used it
as a practice tool and as a trainer for new shooters. As you
progress through your training you need to incorporate shooting with one hand-both left and right. Start this process with
the rimfire handgun or conversion kit.
How often should you practice? I've said before that, financially, we are all somewhere between a single box of ammo
and a bodyguard. Not only are our pocketbooks a constraint,
but we also have to operate within time limitations. The correct answer with regard to how much you should practice is
simple: as much as possible. Some need more practice than
others to develop skills and sustain them. You'll have to find
a balance based on how proficient you want to become and
what your pocket book and your watch will allow.

5/16/11 8:50 AM


http://www.americanrifleman.org

American Rifleman - July 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - July 2011

American Rifleman - July 2011 - 1
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 2
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 3
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 4
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 5
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 6
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 7
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 8
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 9
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 10
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 11
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American Rifleman - July 2011 - 14
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 15
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 16
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 17
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 18
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 19
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 20
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 21
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American Rifleman - July 2011 - 28
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 29
American Rifleman - July 2011 - 30
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American Rifleman - July 2011 - 33
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