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.
A: My father put a gun in my hand when I was 10. He wanted to make sure I wasn’t afraid of weapons.
Q: Where there guns in your home when you grew up?
A: Yes. Both of my parents and step parents are licensed to carry.
Q: What was your parent’s attitudes towards guns?
A: That they’re tools to be used only when necessary to protect you and yours.
Q: What was your perspective as a child, and how has it changed?
A: I was never afraid of guns. The only fear I had was having a gun in my reach and not knowing how to use it. All the reason why I’ve trained on different pieces over the years.
Q: Briefly describe your first time shooting a gun.
A: I was 10. It was a revolver.
Q: Do you currently own a firearm? Why?
A: I own several. Like I explained earlier, they’re for protection only. I do like to train as a hobby, though.
Q: How often do you go to the range, and what is your attitude towards training?
A: I go to the range at least once a month. Training is essential to know how to use what you have. I also think training on how to disarm someone is key too.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who had expressed interest in firearms.
A: Do the research, get licensed and get trained.
Q: What aspects of the shooting lifestyle do you have questions about, if an?
Q: What skills do you think each gun owner should know.
A: How to break down your gun and clean it, and put it back together. You should know your gun inside and out, up and down.
I’m talking about holstering my gun without looking. I learned very early that it was no bueno. Sam told me during our first session that you draw quick and holster S-L-O-W.
There is zero benefit to holstering your weapon quickly. The threat is gone (why else would you holster it?). Your body is filled with adrenaline, and your fine motor control is shot to hell. So, what’s the rush? Seriously?
The thing is, I’ve been trying to hammer out my grip and my sighting. I’ve tried to make my trigger pull buttery smooth, but there are some areas where I haven’t been vigilant. My toolkit has holes in it. None of this is quite as detrimental as my habit of blindly holstering my gun.
I did it because it’s quick. I did it because it lets me move on to the next drill. Draw, sight, pull the trigger, rack the slide, holster. Wash, rinse, repeat. After I pull the trigger, I’m so focused on analyzing the shot (click) that I don’t pay attention to anything else.
I had done that for months. Then I began to see facebook posts about guys who shot themselves as they holstered their guns.
Like this poor dude.
Timothy Phonisay of Milwaukee shot himself through the femoral artery recently as he holstered a 45 caliber Springfield. He was posing with the weapon, which he had owned for three months. We will never know exactly what happened, but below is one hypothesis by Bearingarms.com.
We do not know, and are likely to never know, is if Mr. Phonisay still had his finger inside the trigger guard of his pistol and accidentally depressed the trigger with his finger, or if the firearm’s trigger snagged on an article of clothing or the holster itself causing it to fire. What is known is that something depressed the trigger while he was reholstering, causing the gun to discharge.
Bob Owens, Bearingarms.com
The article went on to suggest that Phinosay was appendix carrying, and might not have had the proper holster or learned how to holster with the trigger guard clear and without the barrel sweeping past vital organs.
I don’t appendix carry. I have the right holster. Now I have to build the habit of holstering slowly and vigilantly.
This isn’t a story about guns. It’s about what happens after you’re gun stops working, but before the enemy stops coming. It’s the story of Henry “Black Death” Johnson, a little brother from the South who joined the National Guard in Albany NY, and ended up a hero in France.
May 4,1918. Argonne France. Two Black privates in the 369th Regiment of the United States Army were on alone on sentry duty. Dressed in the uniforms of the French Fourth Army, they were considered to be throw aways by General John Pershing, fit to dig latrines or unload ships, but little else.
The fact that they were serving in French uniform was only the latest in a long line of insults that the soldiers had faced. Since the Civil War, Blacks had to fight for the right to defend their nation. A 1936, a manpower assessment produced at the Army War College described black soldiers as shiftless, dishonest and lazy.”
“Say what you will,” the report declared, “the American Negro is still a primitive human being.” (Anchorage Daily News)
We were considered to be cowards, incapable of appreciating civic duty or national pride. Even though we had displayed considerable valor during the Civil War, the country wasn’t ready to recognize our humanity.
They were comparatively raw troops and were yet subjected to the most awful ordeal…They charged upon fortifications through the crash of belching batteries. The man, White or Black, who will not flinch from that will flinch from nothing… It is no longer possible to doubt the bravery and steadiness of the colored race. It is useless to talk anymore about Negro courage. The men fought like tigers.”
Reporter’s account, as documented in Negros and the Gun by Nicholas Johnson
That night, outfitted in French military uniform, Henry “Black Death” Johnson, of either Alexandria Virginia or Winston-Salem NC, and Needham Roberts of New Jersey, began to draw German sniper fire. Johnson responded by hurling grenades at the advancing German troops. Although Roberts was injured by a German grenade blast, he continued to pass more of the grenades to Johnson.
When they ran out of grenades, Johnson armed himself with his rifle. That too failed him, as he inadvertently loaded a French round into his American rifle in the confusion of battle. By then, the two men were surrounded.
As their position was overrun, Johnson, who stood just 5’4 and weighed 130 pounds, attacked the men with his rifle, swinging it like a club and taking out anyone unlucky or dumb enough to get too close. And when the stock of the rifle splintered on a hapless German, he grabbed his bolo knife.
“Each slash meant something, believe me,” Johnson said later. “I wasn’t doing exercises, let me tell you.”
He stabbed one German soldier in the stomach, felled a lieutenant, and then buried his knife between the ribs of a soldier who had climbed on his back, taking a pistol shop in the arm in the process.
Johnson killed four Germans that night, and wounded anywhere from 10 to 20 more. More importantly, he had saved his friend’s life and held the French line.
“There wasn’t anything so fine about it,” he said later. “Just fought for my life. A rabbit would have done that.”
The French awarded both Johnson and Roberts the Croix de Guerre, which was France’s highest military honor at the time. In all, 500 members of the Harlem Hellfighters earned the Croix de Guerre during World War I.
When Johnson and his fellow Hellfighters returned to the United States in 1919, they were celebrated with a parade down Fifth Avenue. Thousands came out to cheer them; particularly the small man in the drop top Cadillac which led the procession. Johnson, who had been promoted to Sargent by then, waved a bouquet of red lilacs as the crowd hollered out, “Oh you Black Death.” (The Hellfighters marched in their own parade. The laws wouldn’t permit them to share the same celebration as the returning White troops.)
If you’re looking for a happy ending, stop reading now. Go back to Facebook with the knowledge that “Black Death” Johnson threw Harlem into hysterics.
Afterwards, the Army used his image to sell Victory War Stamps. He was used in recruiting literature and even former President Theodore Roosevelt recognized him as one of the five bravest men to fight in WWI.
Johnson went back to his job as a redcap porter in Albany, New York. The war, however, had taken his toll. He had lost his shinbone and most of the bones of his foot. He simply couldn’t keep a job.
Some sources said that the Army discharge didn’t grant him a disability pension. Others say that he received a disability pension up to his death of tuberculosis in 1929 at the age of 32. At any rate, his life was difficult. By the time of his death, he had separated from his family and descended into alcoholism.
“Black Death” Johnson finally received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2015, only 97 years after that night in Argonne France.
Let’s get one thing straight. Larry Davis was not a good guy.
If you believe the charges against him, he killed four rival drug dealers in the Bronx, and another up in Harlem. He was finally put in jail for weapons charges and murdering another dealer by shooting through a crack house door. These crimes took place before he was 20.
Like I said, he wasn’t a good dude. And, Spoiler Alert: He died like a lot of bad guys die, with a shiv in the gut in a prison cell upstate as he served a 20 to life sentence.
So why the hell would I write about him, especially in the context of self-defense? Because his case proves that even if you are a low down, dirty rotten dealer, you have the right to defend your wretched life. Even against the police.
There are different stories as to what led up to the notorious shooting in his sister’s apartment in the Bronx. The police said that they were tracking him down in connection with the killings of the four Bronx dealers. Davis said that he had been brought into a life of crime by the very police that were now tracking him down. And they were coming not to put him behind bars, but to silence him.
Although it might sound far-fetched, rumors of the police colluding with drug dealers are nothing new, and persist to this day. Also, the police had allegedly told his mother that when they found him, they would kill him.
At about 8:30 p.m. nine officers stormed the three-room apartment of Davis’s sister Regina Lewis. Davis, his girlfriend, his sister, her husband and their four children were all there. Two of her infants were sleeping in a back room.
When she was interviewed the following day, his sister said that she answered a knock, and then the police stormed the living room with guns drawn. They told the adults to get the children and go, and then they shouted to Davis, “Come out, Larry, you don’t have a chance – we’ve got you surrounded.”
Nobody was sure who fired first, but Davis began shooting a sawed off, sixteen gauge shotgun and a 45 caliber pistol from a dark bedroom.
Seven of the police were injured in the barrage, two seriously. They returned fire as they retreated, but Davis took advantage of the confusion and slipped out of his sister’s window, leaving behind a .32 revolver and a .357 magnum. Miraculously, the infants that were sleeping the back room weren’t hit.
After one of the largest man hunts in New York’s history, Davis was apprehended in a Bronx housing project. After taking a woman and her two daughters hostage (I told you he was a dirtbag) he finally surrendered to the police and was taken into custody.
The jury deliberated five days. Though he was found guilty of six counts of criminal possession of a weapon, he was acquitted of attempted murder and aggravated assault charges in the shootings of the officers. The jury foreman had this to say in a later interview. “[Davis was] a young and innocent kid who got recruited by a few corrupt policemen… they came in to wipe him out… they wanted him dead so he couldn’t squeal on them… they would have killed him.”
A year later, three of the wounded officers accused the NYPD of “negligent” and “reckless” planning and execution of the raid, and blamed the Bronx detectives for creating “chaos” by bursting into the apartment before Emergency Service Unit officers could seal off escape routes.
What’s the point? I remember a discussion about the Charleston shooting, when someone said, “If someone had been there and managed to shoot him before he shot those people, then they would have gone to jail for it.” That depends on a whole lot of things that are beyond the scope of this post.
But you absolutely have a right to defend yourself.
Samuel Hayes introduced me to Ken Park at the Norcross Gun Range.
This is Ken Park.
This is him drawing and shooting the target six times with a Glock 34. The video doesn’t exactly say how fast. How about Hella-fast? I try to stay away from “hella” as an adjective, but it seems to fit.
Ken is a former Air Marshal, and current competitive IDPA shooter. He’s also a nice guy.
When I came over he demonstrated how to draw a full size gun from cover. Cover, as you can see below, is a shirt from Armani Exchange. It was a tailor fit, snapped up the front and the gun, a Glock 17 with a light, was absolutely invisible.
What follows is advise on how to dress for concealed carry, from a guy who has gotten damned good at it.
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.