Run through enough drills with your firearm and you’re going to run into this guy. It’s happened to me more than once. I’m going through my handgun homework and run into reference the El Prez. And then I skip it.
I’m cool with drills that require me to move and shoot. I guess it reminds me of good, old-fashioned footwork. But on a difficulty scale going from, “Even a caveman could do it.” To, “Don’t even Trrrry it!” this one has been just beyond my reach. And now that I’ve done a little bit of digging, I’m wondering what the fuss was about.
First, who was El Presidente? Whenever I think of it, I think of a guy that looks like this. A legendary Mexican gunslinger who fought on the side of peace and justice.
Truth is, there is no El Presidente. The drill was created by
Jeff Cooper in the 70’s and since then has become the acid test for shootn’ skills. Who was Jeff Cooper? A Marine, WWII bad-ass who redefined how pistols are used.
El Presidente goes like this (according to Wikipedia).
Three silhouette targets are placed 1 meter apart in a line 10 meters from the shooter.
The shooter starts with six rounds in a holstered handgun, and a spare magazine or speedloader with another six rounds.
The shooter begins facing directly away from the targets, often with hands clasped in front or over the head.
Upon the starting signal, the shooter turns and draws, fires two shots at each target, reloads, and then fires two more shots at each target.
That’s how it looks in competition. For dry firing, I imagine doing the above in a garage. On another note, I don’t like dropping my mags on the ground. I just don’t. But I’ll work it out.
I have been dry firing for months. In that time I’ve been to the range around four times. I’ve gotten good instruction. My grip has been changed, I’ve learned how to use the sights and I’ve practiced.
I have owned a gun since 1998. And I’ve learned more since I started this blog than I had in the previous 14 years.
But I had this flinch.
At seven yards, I was shooting groups that were roughly the size of my hand and the shape of California, if Cali sloped down and to the left. Still not bad. If I shot like this in a crisis situation, each bullet would hit center mass. On the other hand, if I was shooting like this when I was slowly and deliberately aiming, the chances of me shooting this well during a crisis situation are pretty slim.
I’ve been training with Samuel Hayes, pretty regularly. He told me in one of our first meetings that he expected for me to be able to reach a decent level of accuracy before we would expand into draw and fire. And my bullshit ass, California shaped groups were wasting my time and his.
You can’t get rid of a flinch without getting in range time. You just can’t. You have to train until your body doesn’t anticipate the noise and recoil. So, all of the dry firing in my hot ass garage wasn’t going to make me much more accurate.
Anyway, I made a wrong turn out of the Walmart on Rockbridge in Stone Mountain, as I was waiting for them to develop pictures from out trip to the Botanical Gardens as part of a Back to School project for my son when I stumbled upon The Master Gunman.
The shop portion of the Master Gunman was pretty small. There were a handful of Taurus’. (Tauri? Tauruses? What’s the plural of Taurus?) and a S&W Shield in the case. If memory serves me, there were a couple of AK variants on the wall.
The real news was the shooting range. The whole thing cost about $35 dollars. Twenty of that was from that one box of 9mm bullets. I also bought three targets and rented ear and eye protection. Not bad, considering it about five minute’s drive from my house. Next time I’ll bring my own bullets.
The range… Let’s just call it rustic. How about high mileage. Tried and true? The targets hung from wire. You cranked them out and back again. Anybody who has ever had wind up windows in their car knows what I’m talking about. They’ve been around since the 80’s. Let’s call it retro.
I had shot thirty rounds before I realized that I didn’t have a plan. By then, I had cranked the target as far out as possible. I went out and bought two more targets, and borrowed a pen.
Below is a picture of the second target following a haphazard warmup. The target was at about seven yards. Notice the WTF’s. They were always the first shots in the group. I overthink the first shots.
I’ve already said that I need to buy bullets. I also need to bring my own eye and ear protection. I found myself trying to see through a thick band of blurry distortion where the rent-a-glasses curved. As for the ear muffs, they were great. I hate the little squishy things that some ranges offer. Muffs are awesome. I just need my own. I’m sure they are diligent about cleaning theirs, but still. Cooties.
I like the place. I like it so much that I will try to make it there every week or two. Still, it isn’t the kind of place I would choose for a double shooting date. Quick Shot is better for that. Their waiting area is nice and big, and, last time I went, they had cookies. Stoddards would do in a pinch. But, if they are trendy clubs, then The Master Gunman is your corner bar. Not fly, but just as necessary.
I know Taurus is flamebait on Facebook, second only to Hi Point. But, they had a selection that was priced so nice that I was looking for an excuse to buy one.
This is what progress looks like. I shot these earlier this week at the Norcross Gun Range.
My last session focused on a Black dot. It was my nemesis. I had to shoot it five times in a row before we would move on to draw and fire drills. I spent so much time shooting raggedy groups that instead of worrying about draw and fire, it was decided that I would worry about accuracy. Accuracy before speed became the mantra.
It wasn’t a total loss. I learned an important lesson about maintaining muscular tension in my chest, arms and hands, in order to control recoil. As an internal martial arts guy, that was an eye opener. I went home and worked on maintaining tension and developing a smooth trigger pull. That was over a month ago.
This was one of my first groups after my return to the range. I had been bragging about how I would be able to shoot the black dot. Bragging about shooting a bottle cap size hole in a piece of paper at a range of about five yards? Yeah, well you have to start somewhere.
Sam said, “Slow down. You’re rushing it. Each trigger pull is a separate thing.”
This resonated. It sounded almost zen to me.
This was my second group. I was repeating a mantra as I shot. “Focus on the target…focus on the target…focus on the target…”
It yielded a tight group, especially if you ignore the outlier hole. Thing is, that was the first hole. It was also supposed to be my point of aim. It seems as if I have a flinch. I unconsciously push the muzzle down as I pull the trigger in order to compensate for the recoil.
He pulled out a 22 cal Glock 17. “Do it again.” I shot to the left to get used to the diminished recoil, and then I took aim. I whispered my mantra, and I pulled the trigger…One… Two… Three… Four… Five… That was it.
We repeated it a couple more times with my S&W 9mm. He had to make sure that the groups weren’t flukes. The results weren’t flawless, but they were workable.
Monday I’ll post part two. It will be all about the draw and fire drill.
In the meantime…
Shooting the Glock was an eye opener. I haven’t shot a Glock for years. Once I got my M&P 9mm, I just didn’t like the old Glock 17 that I bought back in the 90’s. In fact, I traded it to Sam for the lessons.
As a result, I never got much of a chance to compare the trigger pulls of the Glock to the M&P. After all, the trigger pull is the biggest criticism of the M&P.
Shooting them back to back I had my palm-to-head movement. That’s what they were talking about! On the M&P you don’t know when the trigger has been reset. I could feel it on the Glock.
Do I want the first Gen back? Nope. If you can’t tell, I really dig these lessons. I also like the steel magazine and the thumb safety on my M&P. But I get it now.
Also, Sam had to correct me on my trigger discipline. “Take your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.”
That’s not a big deal except for the fact that I didn’t realize that my finger was on the trigger. I tend to be very careful, almost overly so. After all, I have a thumb safety on my gun… But trigger discipline trumps almost everything else.
Do better Chad.
I’ve seen M&P 22’s going for about $350, if my memory serves me. Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention. After all, what do I want with a 22? How about more practice time for less money.
It won’t be my next purchase, but it is on my radar.
My homework? More dry firing, (I’ll be going into the specifics of it in the coming weeks) and range time. The only way to handle a flinch is to shoot until you’re used to shooting.
Last Saturday was the second meeting of the National African American Gun Association.
There were about 20 people all together. It took place in room at Stoddards Gun Range in Midtown Atlanta, that looked a lot like a Starbucks, with the exception of a target set up on a tripod at the front of the room. Close to half of the attendees were women, including the founder, Philip Smith’s 15 year-old (close to 16) daughter, Tiana. More on her later.
While the first meeting focused on safety, this one featured Samuel Hayes of Caliber Training Group, who talked about gun laws in Georgia.
On discussing the differences between the NAAGA and the NRA, Sam said this. “We begin in the same place, and we occupy the same space, but that’s it. They aren’t going to acknowledge the ugly past of gun control… It was done so that we couldn’t protect ourselves.”
As proof he cited early headlines which ran throughout the South which spread rumors of race riots by local Black residents. Those stories were often run with almost no basis in truth, but became the inspiration for mob attacks against the Black communities, and the legislation to disarm them.
“[Before now], there was no organization out there for us.” Said one attendee. “We have a unique perspective and we need to galvanize around it.”
Sam then went on to discuss statute 16-3-21, which covers lawful use and carry of a weapon in the State of Georgia. Disparity in size, age and multiple attackers are all things that must be considered when considering lethal force.Like any other all, there is gray area.
Disparity of force, for example, will vary according to the defender. So, 15-year-old Tiana, might be justified to use deadly force against a grown man attacking with his bare hands, while Sam, who is about 6ft, 280, might be expected to employ different tactics. Maybe.
As for defense of a third-party, which is also legal, Sam cautioned that unless they are a loved one or someone who you would trust with your life, you might be better off making yourself the best witness possible, than pulling out your gun.
“You have to be absolutely clear about who you are putting your life on the line for. It could be someone who is being arrested by undercover officers. It’s happened before. You have to know who you are dealing with.”
Back to Tiana, pictured here with her mother and father. She has shot a gun before. Her uncle, (I believe) allowed her to fire off some rounds at a family gathering in Oklahoma. Seeing her there inspired me to bring my daughter, who is 15 and entering the 10th grade.
Law is going to be a regular theme. Sam has promised to either do a longer seminar or spend some time at each meeting going over the particulars of Georgia gun laws.
There are currently 200 members nationwide, with 66 in Metro Atlanta and interest from people in Michigan and Chicago.
The goal is 1000 by next year. That seems doable to me.
The next meeting will be Friday June 5 at Stoddards.
Daddys-Gun.com is a labor of love. My goal is to highlight the strength and resilience of my forefathers while showing a vibrant and pragmatic tradition of arms.
Help me spread the word by liking and sharing each post. I don’ t have an ad budget and a team of marketers, but I do have a community of like minds who believe, just like me, that we are powerful. We were, are and will always be warriors.
Most gun owners are average. Average means they buy a gun, go shooting once a year and it spends the rest of its sad life in the bottom of a dresser drawer.
The average shooter thinks that a benevolent god steadies the hand of the good guy. How else do you explain why the good guy always lands a head shot while the bad guys shoot worse in inverse proportion to their numbers?
Maximus Averagus gently guides his desciples’ bullets as they fly from improperly gripped guns. Maximus Averagus also grants them unlimited ammunition, and steadies their hands.
Don’t bow down to Maximus Averagus. He is a fickle God, more beholden to movie scripts than real life. He won’t cloud the bad guys’ vision, and he won’t change your magazine when you run out of cheap, average bullets.
Learn, then practice. In that order.
It took 15 minutes for me to find out how to effectively grip a handgun, acquire the sight picture and then shoot without flinching. Another 15 minutes later, I learned not to look around the side of the gun at the target after each shot.
I practice almost every night, and I still have to remind myself to grip my gun properly. I analyze my trigger pull by dry firing a couple of inches from the wall of my garage. I’m still working on it. I think I’ll be working on it for a long time before it become reflexive.
That’s the goal. I’m not a target shooter. I’m practicing for combat. And if it isn’t reflexive, then it’s just not going to happen under stress.
Learn, then practice. Take a class. Regard it is part of the cost of the gun, just like the holster and bullets. Learn the laws. Or keep praying to Maximus Averagus while your gun collects dust in the bottom of your sock drawer.
The average shooter hopes that he can protect his family. You want to be the guy who knows that he can.
Samuel Hayes of Caliber Training Group is offering a class this weekend in the fundamentals of pistol craft. He’s teaching everything that I wish I had learned back when I bought my first gun. The skills that, once mastered, will raise you above the average.
This is a closed course, but you should check it out. Go to his site, then call and see if you can sneak in.
This week on #Queensshoottoo we are going to be going to the other side of the threshold. Dasia trains five days a week and is building her own rifle. Akua has been making bullets with her step-dad since she was 14. They aren’t common.
For every Dasia or Akua, there are hundreds of women like Kelli. She grew up in an anti gun family but decided to find out on her own. Now she is taking control of her education and discovery, visiting ranges and renting firearms.
She’s the first to admit that she isn’t an expert, but she’s on the right path.
Anyone that wants to own a firearm should go through training and not just training to shoot the gun but how to deal with situations that rise. If everyone had to take classes before owning a gun I feel like less people would be dead and more people would feel safer.
What are your earliest memories of firearms?
My earliest memory of a firearm had to be in a movie because I honestly did not see a real gun until high school.
Were there guns in your home as you grew up?
My mom has never had a gun and chances are she won’t ever.
What were your parent’s attitudes towards guns?
My mom doesn’t like guns, she doesn’t like violence.
What was your perspective as a child, and how has it changed?
As a child I was afraid of guns. I’m still somewhat afraid of them because of the power behind them. I use to get so nervous when I would see a gun, my stomach would knot up. Once I used a gun my fear calmed down. I’m still not 100% cool with them because I don’t know about a lot of guns.
Describe your first time shooting a gun.
My first experience shooting a firearm, it was right after my 20th birthday and it was a revolver. I don’t know what model it was. It was my first time having a gun up and personal, I was very scared. I did not know how to hold it or anything. The guy that worked there showed me everything I needed to know. I thought when I shot it it was gonna kick back hard but it really didn’t kick back much. I was very shocked of how much easier it was. It was kind of addicting when I started shooting, thoughts of how I could protect myself where going through my head. It was such an amazing experience. When I ran out of ammo, I was very sad.
Do you currently own a gun?
I don’t currently own one because I want to do it the legal way with a license so I can carry it on me if needed but I will in the future.
How often do you go to the range? What is your attitude towards training?
I go to the range every once in a while, it’s not cheap and I love training. Practice makes perfect and a better chance of me defending myself if needed.
What advice would you give to someone who was interested in owning a gun?
For anyone that’s interested in guns, educate yourself on them and always handle them legally.
What skills do you think that every gun owner should know?
Anyone that wants to own a firearm should go through training and not just training to shoot the gun but how to deal with situations that rise. If everyone had to take classes before owning a gun I feel like less people would be dead and more people would feel safer. A lot of people don’t like guns but if they get educated maybe they won’t be so scared.
I don’t know if my problem is with the NRA or its leadership.
They are the undisputed big dogs when it comes to insuring that we continue to have the right to keep and bear arms, and they are vicious. They are so rabid about our rights to keep and bear arms that they have begun t0 push for rights that I am not entirely sure are necessary.
But the leadership… Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and newly elected President Jim Porter come off as paranoid people and they say crazy things. Witness this post with Think Progress entitled the Nine Most Insane Quotes from the NRA’s New Apocalyptic Op-ed. Reading it gave me the impression that we are about three weeks away from a living like Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead.
Not to mention race. LaPierre painted a picture where there were threats around every corner ready to kidnap, rape or loot. And most of them, be they the looters of South Brooklyn, Mexican drug gangs, Al Queda or the President, were people of color. No mention of white power groups or pumpkin rioters. Go figure.
Notice, I didn’t say that they were crazy. You don’t maintain one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the country by being crazy. The NRA pushes self reliance and security. Not easy, when according to the FBI, crime is at an all time low?
What some people call nutty is probably shrewd, calculated organizing. Some lobbies boast a sensible membership. The NRA cultivates passion. Few people are driven to write letters to their congressmen in fits of sensibility. Passion = power, and the NRA is powerful.
Their formula works perfectly. I just don’t know if I’m comfortable with it.
THE GOAL OF THE NATIONAL AFRICAN AMERICAN GUN ASSOCIATION IS TO HAVE EVERY AFRICAN AMERICAN INTRODUCED TO FIREARM USE FOR HOME PROTECTION, COMPETITIVE SHOOTING, AND OUTDOOR RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES. WE ARE A CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZATION FOCUSED ON SELF PRESERVATION OF OUR COMMUNITY THROUGH ARMED PROTECTION AND COMMUNITY BUILDING.
Makes sense to me.
This weekend I will be going to a meet and greet at a local gun range. I’ll keep you posted.
My father owned guns my entire life. In that time I remember him going to the range a handful of times. By range I mean an expanse of red clay and briars behind a friend’s house in South Carolina and the back yard of our family’s home in Virginia.
We called it plinking, and we didn’t accomplish a whole lot. I learned to load and shoot all of the guns. I learned a healthy respect by seeing what they were capable of. I got over my fear, and I learned some important lessons about safety. I guess, loading the magazines for his Mini-14 prepared me to load the Glock 17 that I eventually bought, but I’m pretty sure I would have figured it out.
Most gun owners will never go through the process of becoming an effective gun-fighter. People don’t think that you have to. TV and movies show us that if you are a good guy, God will bless you with infinite bullets and guide them to the skulls of your enemies.
We didn’t do accuracy. We did our best but my father didn’t know about acquiring a sight picture or proper grip. We never discussed draw and fire. To my knowledge he doesn’t own a holster.
My dad wasn’t alone. Most gun owners will never go through the process of becoming an effective gun fighter. People don’t think that you have to. TV and movies show us that if you are a good guy, God will bless you with infinite bullets and guide them to the skulls of your enemies.
On the Walking Dead, Michonne tea-cups her Beretta? and lands head shot after head shot. All of the good guys do, until the directors decide that a miss would advance the plot. Everybody thinks they are the good guy. And a whole lot of gun owners think that righteousness is a guarantee of safety and accuracy.
I thought I was an okay shot. Good enough to put a bad guy on his back. My first visit to the range with Samuel Hayes of Caliber Training Group not only showed me how good I wasn’t, but it also made me better. Not great, but better.
I learned to hold the gun by emulating the guys in the gun magazines. The devil is in the details. It’s easy to make your grip look like their grip, but there is a lot going on beneath the surface. If your learning strategy is trial and error, you will spend years trying to figure out something that a professional could correct in about five minutes. And there are some things that you will never figure out.
Speaking of grip, below is Bob Vogel. According to his website, he’s a World Champion Shooter. I don’t follow the IDPA, but I’ll take his word for it. The video covers a lot of the ground that Sam discussed with me at our first meeting. I don’t know if I’ll be extending my support index finger around the trigger guard though.
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once. I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
Sam Hayes (Caliber Training Group) showed me the wall drill weeks ago. It is one of those things that is greater than the sum of its parts. You practice dry firing with your barrel extended to within an inch of a plain wall. It ain’t calculus.
What does it do? When your front sight is an inch away from a wall, you can’t kid yourself. It puts your trigger pull under a microscope. If it’s smooth, the sights will stay centered. If it’s like mine, you will see every flinch, shake and drift.
There are a million variations. I sometimes practice it as the last action of my four step draw. If you remember, the last time I went to the range with Sam, I was humbled by my inability to shoot the black dot. Well, this is my medicine.
Why a wall? This is how, Master Sargent George Harris, Director of training for Sigarms Academy and United States Army Reserve shooting team coach answered that question.
“Your eye wants to transition towards the target during the stroke of the trigger. The wall makes sure that doesn’t happen. [The wall] keeps your eye focused on the front sight, keeps your eye open, and makes sure your trigger control is clean and pure.”
Always practice safely. It has been said that most accidental discharges occur during dry fire practice. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I don’t want to find out what happens when you shoot a cinder block wall with a 9 mm at point-blank range.
Keep your live rounds out of your practice area. I practice in my garage. My hot magazine stays on the kitchen table. I check the chamber after I switch in my practice magazine, and again immediately before I start practicing. Also, I wait for the kids to go to bed and then practice using a wall that doesn’t have anything behind it but the empty Georgia woods.
What you do is up to you, but you need to take it seriously.
Yesterday I wrote about Shaneen Allen. I focused on the overzealous prosecutor, mandatory minimums and pretrial hypocracy. Then a friend who knows much more about guns and the law pointed something out to me. It could have all easily been avoided.
There will always be routine traffic stops and asshole prosecutors. But if you get a gun and a license to carry, you have an obligation to learn the laws, not just of your home state but wherever you happen to be. The moral here is Know your Rights.
Soon my wife and I will drive from Atlanta to Philly. Our trip will take us through seven states, each with its own set of laws. South Carolina doesn’t respect the Georgia CCW, but North Carolina does. Virginia is cool with open carry. It appears to be legal in Delaware, but not as common. Don’t even try it in Maryland.
That’s just carrying. What about transport? Virginia lets you carry a loaded gun in your unlocked glove box. In North Carolina, this crosses the line into concealed carry, which is a no no unless you have a concealed carry permit. (Open carry is legal. So what about driving with it sitting on your passenger seat?)
You get the point? The laws don’t always make sense, but it’s still our responsibility to make sense of them. And Allen should have known better.
Yesterday I wrote that telling the officer about your license was a courtesy. That isn’t exactly true. In some states like South Carolina, it’s a law. If you are pulled over, you have to tell the officer about your weapon and show him your license, whether or not you are asked. That isn’t the case in Jersey. Allen had no obligation to volunteer the fact that she had a Bersa 380 in her purse and he had no probable cause to look for one.
The relationship between Philly and Jersey is special. When I lived in Philly, we crossed the bridge whenever we got bored. We would go to the Mall in Cherry Hill, hit up the Olive Garden down the road and then end the night at the movies. Throw in occasional trips to Atlantic City and then jaunts to New York, I must have put in 10 thousand miles on the Turnpike. And I wasn’t alone.
I still don’t think she deserved to spend 40 days in jail. I don’t think her son should have had to watch his mom get taken away and I can’t imagine what it must be like fighting a possible five year sentence. But Shaneen should have known better. That information is just a Google search away.
I’ll make it easy for you. Here’s a link to Handgunlaw.us. They have a clickable map which will tell you everything you need to know.