Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Firearm Self Defense

Concerning accuracy

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CR Williams:
Burst fire.


On target.

If you can't get three to five in your area of impact (I'm not asking for bullseye accuracy here...I think two in the same hole is likely to be counterproductive in self-defense, actually), I'm talking 4 to 8 inch circle depending on a hurry, you should re-think either your ammunition choice (going from +P to standard pressure, for example), your gun (sub-compact to compact size, or a different gun, for example), or both.

Yes, a change in caliber can be part of that equation. But it's not always necessary. You can likely keep the caliber you prefer and get the hits in by changing other aspects of the handling equation. So it's not necessary to ditch the [joke]beloved .45 ACP and move to the hated 9mm[\joke] unless all other options have been exhausted and you're still not getting the hits in.

This includes training, including diagnostic training to correct fundamental shooting problems.

The necessity for the precise single shot will always be there. The necessity to learn and review the fundamentals will always be there. You ignore these aspects at your peril. Thinking based on what I can glean from actual events leads me to this basic standard of self-defensive shooting accuracy for the time being, however.

This is my current thinking on the subject.

Excellent post. The reality, though, is in a gunfight, you will be extremely lucky to hit anything. If you stand and take careful aim - against an armed BG - you are nothing more than a stationary target. So you have to move. Shooting and diving for cover guarantees misses.

Think of all of the news stories about cops shooting 60-70 times and the "BG" getting hit 2-3 times. Or the Youtube videos of shootouts in a convenience store where 2-3 magazines might get emptied and maybe there is one hit?

Michael Bane had a blog post on the subject of expectations that touched on this - his podcast went into this in more detail - just 2 days ago. Here's the link and a couple of key paragraphs:  <== podcast

"How much of a role does expectation play in a Real World shootings? For years my mentor Walt Rauch has said that a criminal's "job description" includes having guns pointed at him or her and even being shot. Plus, professional life-long criminals have either been shot themselves or had friends or associates who were shot — and they didn't explode, suddenly become vaporized, be flung through walls, etc. They recovered.

The stats show that most people who are shot recover — I've seen stats as high as 85%. I know those stats on an intellectual basis, but the criminal knows them on a guy (sic) level. I also know, and professional criminals know, that in a street gunfight, most shots miss their targets entirely.

What does that tell the criminal about being shot, the violent criminal actor equation, if you will? Here's what I think it tells the criminal...most "citizens" won't shoot, and if you get the exception to the rule, they're likely to miss anyway...and if you do get hit, it's not likely to kill you...and if you do get killed, hey, you could have gotten hit by a bus on the same day! The odds of "winning" are in the criminal's favor."

CR Williams:
Well, actually, I didn't say under what conditions, just that I'm considering that the minimum...

Progression: Standing, then under slow steady movement, then under fast movement, then under slower erratic movement, then under full-tilt-bozo evasive movement.

Crawl, walk, run, as Ayoob says.

I also left the ranges open. What short range is to me is near contact to someone with more training and experience or talent than I have. What is short range today could become very close a year from now if I progress properly.

Very few people can pick up a handgun and go from zero to sixty in a weekend. I don't always say that explicitly, but I try to keep that in mind at all times. And I run into those, personally and on forums, who have a hard time believing that they can get hits 'on the run'. It can be done. I've seen it done. Just takes a bit of work.

Very interesting topic.

I believe it is very hard to fully understand, appreciate and predict one's reaction to such a high stress situation. Instinct, reflex, involuntary physiological responses all take over and would seem to completely negate the methodical, relaxed manner of which most people spend their time training to shoot. The fight or flight response seems to conflict in the close quarters situation.  We may choose to employ an aggressive response to a threat by confronting it with a firearm, yet its often accompanied with a dramatic attempt to escape. You see mostly one-handed shooting, with bodies moving quickly, contorting. I can't imagine there are too many Wild Bill Hickok's out there who will stand their ground and take steady aim as the bullets whiz by.  Experienced criminal or not, no one wants to get shot and just about everyone will do anything to get out of the way.

Yet there are many practical things we can do that may help us maintain control in the high stress environment. We can never truly capture the feeling of the moment just make the situation a little less awkward and foreign.

Movement while shooting, physical stress/exertion shooting, one hand (both dominant and weak). Simulated close quarters situations with a blue or dummy gun. Anything you can do to train your reflexive response. Get accustomed to shooting from cover. Shoot at lower targets and from low positions (most people get low when being shot at).
       Remember, a great deal of training can be done at home (With a safe firearm and ammo nowhere accessible!). Practice drawing from concealment, target acquisition, sight picture, trigger control with snap caps, shooting with both eyes open. Staying on target while moving, Mag changes etc..

Some of the shooting sports like IDPA ,USPSA (IPSC) can be a lot of fun and really hone these sorts of skills for shooters of all levels.

CR Williams:
It helps, when considering contact or very short distance fight ranges, to understand the flinch response and how you can actually train it and take advantage of it. It's not something we can ignore or eliminate, but it can be directed. Militaries, law enforcement agencies, and martial arts schools among others do that all the time.

Repeating: the fundamentals are ignored at your peril, and it seems useless to work on full-tilt-bozo until you can make the hits stationary and then under slow and steady movement. Too much like throwing a white belt into the Octagon otherwise.

And you have to admit that the basics have gotten manymany people home after the fight over. Still, the 'art' of the gunfight has advanced just like other things over time, and conditions/circumstances we are facing in the fight have changed as well. So it behooves us to re-consider such things as baseline accuracy standards, among other things, from time to time. Thus, my previously-expressed considerations.


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