Who or What is El Presidente

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.

Eli Wallach, AKA Tuko from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. In my mind, this man IS El Presidente
Eli Wallach, AKA Tuko from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. In my mind, this man IS El Presidente

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.

Dry Firing 001: The Shot Timer

Remember the Magnificent Seven? How the gunmen rode into town and trained the villagers how to fight the bad guys? Well, I'm a villager. This is my training sequence.
Remember the Magnificent Seven? How the gunmen rode into town and trained the villagers how to fight the bad guys? Well, I’m a villager. This is my training sequence.

I’ve talked a lot about dry firing. In the earlier days of Daddys-Gun.com I even wrote a few posts about it. They were bone simple, and if you are baffled about how to fit practice into your daily routine, it is possible. I did it.

I’ve been exposed to a handful of drills since I wrote about the Wall Drill. If you are more of a beginner than me, then you can use this as a blueprint. I’ll be including links to experts so that you can see how it’s done right. If you are experienced, think of this as one of those long training sequences, where the chubby, middle aged underdog manages to defy the odds and become a better shooter. People love training sequences.

Most of the drills  will require a shot timer to be done effectively. Shot timers prompt you when to draw, often with a beep or a robotic sounding command. Then they time how long it takes before your gun goes bang (or click, in this case.)

They often have a par function, which lets you program in an expectation. Ie, “I should be able to pull the trigger in two seconds.” Setting the par gives you a methodical way to raise the bar. Also, they should have a memory function. Or, you could just keep your pars and times written down in a notebook.

So far I haven’t seen a timer for less than $100. Thankfully, there is an app for it. Actually, there are lots of them.

 

The Free Shot Timer is available on for the iPhone 6 and other apple devices. You'll need a mic to make it work for dry firing.
The Free Shot Timer is available on for the iPhone 6 and other apple devices. You’ll need a mic to make it work for dry firing.

I downloaded the Free Shot Timer App last night, and deleted it after about five minutes. Then I realized that I need to buy a cheap microphone, so that the app could pick up the click. I’ll be picking one up in a day or two. We’ll see how it goes. If it sucks, remember. it’s free.

These are the drills that I will be practicing.

  • The Draw. I kind of touched on this in my last post. Now I’ll be looking at its dryfire counterpart.
  • The Turn and Draw. Like the draw, but you start with your back to the target.
  • The Strong Hand Draw. Here you are shooting with one hand. It is the foundation for the ever popular, dual wielding as seen on TV and in the movies. (Psyche!)
This is the free shot timer control panel. You can see it allows you adjust the par time.
This is the free shot timer control panel. You can see it allows you adjust the par time.
  • Support Hand from a 45 Degree Angle. Instead of drawing from a holster, you’re holding the gun in front of you at a 45… you know the rest.
  • Support Hand from Draw: Here you’ll draw your weapon with the strong hand and then switch to your non dominate hand.

Sam introduced me to them and they are part of a program geared towards IDPA competition. IDPA stands for the International Defensive Pistol Association. They were established way back in 96 as a way to let average shooters test their combat skills in simulated, real world situations. If you’re lucky, this is as close as you will ever get to a gun fight.

 

The Draw and Shoot Drill Part II: Going Beyond Accuracy

 

 

I’ve been working on accuracy for months. Dry firing in a small corner of my garage, after doing the dishes and walking the dog at night. I rarely hear about handguns being equated with meditation, but I’ve found that the acts of dry firing and draw and fire is as close as I’ve come to meditation in a martial art.

Photo courtesy of They Die By Dawn.
Photo courtesy of They Die By Dawn.

Last time I wrote about the results of all of that practice. Three disappointing attempts to shoot the hole left from the first shot, followed by a revelation, some trigger time with a Glock 17 that shot 22 cal bullets, and then victory.

That was the prelude.

The goal was to draw and shoot a target suspended five yards away. Again, we used a sheet of copy paper. Copy is roughly the size of both a man’s head and the chest cavity. If you can consistently hit it, you might be on your way to developing combat accuracy.

One note on combat accuracy. I had been so tuned into shooting that little dot, that much of my dray fire practice had been weighted more towards hitting the dot, and less towards the actual draw. The goal wasn’t to draw and shoot a dot the size of a bottle cap in less than three seconds. The goal was to draw and shoot a sheet of paper. Big difference.

The drill: Draw and fire on the target. This time we would go in stages. First, draw and fire one round in three seconds. Then two rounds, then three, and finally four rounds. As you can see, the whole drill took about a minute. As you can see, I was slow. I did, however, land every shot on the sheet of paper.

 

 

Dry Firing 101: The Wall Drill

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once. I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

Bruce Lee

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.

 

Day One of the The Holster Hunt: Vegan Holsters

A 1911 in an IWB (Inside of the Waistband Holster)
A 1911 in an IWB (Inside of the Waistband Holster)

We don’t have what you want. Do you want us to order this other thing that you don’t want?

Today was the day I went looking at holsters for my M&P. It would have been either kydex or injection molded plastic if I had bought it.

I was given a short list of brands and told to find an Inside the Waistband holster that was 100 percent vegan. No leather or leather/kydex hybrids.

It has nothing to do with PETA. Leather sweats and loses its shape. It becomes worn down and frayed. Plastic and kydex don’t care about sweat. They won’t bend or yield and they will be around long after I’m dead and gone.

If I could do it again, I might have gotten a smaller gun. Something I could slip into the pocket of my winter coat.

The full size M&P is on the top, the compact on the bottom. It might not seem like a big difference. It is. Photo courtesy of J's Sport Supply
The full size M&P is on the top, the compact on the bottom. It might not seem like a big difference. It is.
Photo courtesy of J’s Sport Supply

My carry gun is  a full-sized 9mm S&W M&P with the optional thumb safety. I bought it, when I was commuting by bike from West Philadelphia to Center City. I was a valet. We were getting almost weekly phone calls about armed robberies at other locations. Just as importantly, on a good day I might end up pedaling home with a few hundred dollars. In uniform. Easy target.

It didn’t matter that I was depositing my money as quickly as possible in a well lit ATM machine. It wouldn’t have mattered if I changed my uniform before I left. There is no way to avoid the feeling of vulnerability when you’re riding your bike at home, at night, in the city. So I went to a local gun shop looking for something that would fit into a large pocket in the center of my messenger bag.

They didn’t make the M&P Shield back then, but they made the M&Pc. It fit. I could even have gotten it with my beloved thumb safety – long and thin and 1911-ish; not the little pill shaped nub on the Shield. But I didn’t like how my pinkie finger dangled the bottom of the gun.

I held the Springfield Armory XD 9mm compact. It was a little ugly brick.

I drooled over a couple of cheap 1911’s, but I was worried about reliability. So I bought the M&P. And now I’m trying to find a way to carry the damned thing.

I took my shopping list to two nearby shops. One was closed. The other carried a wide selection of holsters, as long as they were Blackpoint. Behind the counter were a couple of leather wing holsters, one for the M&P compact, the other for the Glock. Neither of which I have. But it wouldn’t have mattered if he did because I’m a vegan shooter. No leather on my holsters.

“Do you want me to order you one?”

“No thanks…” I mean, shouldn’t I try it on or something? Are there dressing rooms in gun shops? I had even brought the gun with me, in its plastic (vegan) tool box.

To be continued. Tomorrow I’m going to call around. If I have to I will drive across Atlanta to a store that I kind of hate. The Walmart of guns.

I’m on a mission. For PETA