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FBI,  NSSF  ARs and other semi-automatic rifles are not the fully-automatic, military-grade firearms they are often claimed to be by gun control supporters and the media. Ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds are standard equipment for many handguns and rifles that Americans keep for self-defense.
In both countries, the ownership of firearms, including semi-automatics, is severely restricted. That is in both live fire and dry practice. That is why I included some of those dry practice sections, like that half-circle drill. Place this sheet of paper on a safe wall with the half-circle at nose height on the safe backstop. Extend the pistol and place yourself so that the muzzle is approximately an inch or two from the half circle.
Align the sights on the bottom of the inner white half circle. You will be able to concentrate on the front sight and the inner half circle at the same time. Press the trigger smoothly and follow through. Because there is no bullet impact, you should not be tempted to lift your head to see where the bullet went. This ingrains your understanding of proper follow through.
If the front sight drops out of the outer gray half circle when you press the trigger, concentrate on pressing the trigger more smoothly. We need to have a program, view what our results are and have immediate feedback. Bill Rogers is one of my inspirations. When you have something like the half circle drill and you see yourself jerking the trigger—assuming you keep your eyes open—then you know that you have to stop doing that. In terms of unsafe aspects, I suggest video.
How many people now do not have smart phones? Not that many! I have a tripod and selfie stick with a receptacle for the tripod on it that I use to video myself both for practice and to make educational videos for my YouTube and Instagram followers.
Part of that is just feedback for me. Now, people need to have the right idea ahead of time, so that goes back to the education aspect and having a correct foundation of the proper way. I really give people credit for being smart assuming they have the right basis to work on. They can figure things out on their own. I have got my finger on the trigger where I am not supposed to. Well, that is unsafe. I had better stop doing that. Imagine a self-learner in a remote location or someone for whom getting to classes is next to impossible. With video, that person can watch, for example, the correct sequence of drawing and firing.
Werner: Yes! Identifying our own mistakes was my biggest worry about self-guided practice before we began talking. Werner: Now, the downside of You Tube videos is that there are so many of them that are so bad! Our community needs to talk about how to evaluate instructors. That is a topic that has popped up periodically over the years.
Another question is how should we evaluate social media? This just came up again with a newly released video in which the target is not shown. One of my beefs is that very few You Tube and gun TV videos will show you the target. Their videos show them shooting and then in all one continuous shot, show the target.
The video viewer might be a beginner, mimicking only the action steps shown without knowing the outcome. How can our practice include a reasonable speed element to a skill focused on defending against violent attack? Werner: The timer and the target—oh, the tales they weave! I have moved away from the idea that we must use shot timers other than in a par time mode. I think the timer is a seductress, just like in real life, the seductress can make you do things that you really do not want to do! When I was at Rogers Shooting School , we had a lunch time dry practice period during which the targets were running.
That course was meant to be run from what we called extended ready or low ready and what I now call the mid-point of the draw stroke. The targets were pretty fast: they ran between half a second and three quarters of a second. I had about a three quarters of a second draw. My draw runs about a second and a half now. The timer is useful, but only up to a point. We have to understand and we have to put the timer in its place.
That said, as I mentioned in the book, there are now apps that you can put on smart phones that provide a pretty good par timer and the one I use was free. It seemed to me that drills in your book presumed that your reader has been trained sufficiently in shooting fundamentals to pick up where the drills and exercises start. Can the average gun owner get a good start at their local indoor range? Werner: It varies a great deal. At the same time, the worst and most dangerous class I ever participated in was at an indoor range.
At one facility at which I taught, not one instructor there had ever read a book about shooting beyond the NRA manuals. When they told me that, I bet I looked like a fish, because my mouth was falling open and closed and nothing was coming out. Werner: Cooper was once asked, when will I know that I am proficient enough? His answer was when your attacker is in more danger from you than you are from him. I believe that level can be attained by a normal person through self-directed training. In fact, I am sure of it because it happens every day.
The downside is bad things also happen pretty regularly from non-training, non-practice, non-education. I do not think that we in the firearms industry teach people enough about how to avoid negative outcomes. We focus on the positive. What do we want to achieve? Good groups, that smooth, efficient draw. Some were quite complex! It made me curious, because we have the basic edict to keep our eyes on the sights and yet to identify the right target.
Are the two at odds?
What I can do is get people into the idea of not being entirely focused on the gun itself. The way I envision this, Gila, is that we have to be able to rapidly shift back and forth between the gun and the target. In the shooting community, we have two opposing camps. We have got target focus and we have got front sight focus.
The fact is that the answer lies in an overlap of the two. Did I make the right number of hits? I have to learn to do that quickly, going back and forth. I think the decisional drills are embryonic.
I am sure somebody will come up with better ways of doing that. I wanted to at least start the ball rolling and give people the idea that this can be done. That is a problem! That is a big problem! Decisions—even those made in split seconds—are by nature conscious thoughts. Decisions are not reflexive.
If we are not teaching people to be able to engage their conscious mind as part of the process, then that is a problem. Years ago, Skip Gochenour and I had a conversation in which Skip said, when we do multi-day training, it should be one day of live fire, then the second day take the guns away and give them blue guns non-firing replicas and have them work on the decisions, and then the next day go back to live fire and then the next day go back to the blue guns.
The police and military have wonderful simulators.
10 Pro-Gun Myths, Shot Down
The average person, living out in the middle of nowhere, has no access to a simulator. What can we do to help them learn to do this skill? I think it is important to learn the skill of getting off of the front sight, look at the target, figure out what is going on there, and then get back on the front sight if necessary. This is a necessary skill! That requires a mastery of both and calls for dedicated practice to mix them effectively. Can we do this on our own? You are very dedicated to your training.
10 Pro-Gun Myths, Shot Down – Mother Jones
If you were king of the world, would you require mandatory minimum training for having a gun for home defense? For carrying a gun for personal defense in public? Werner: No! For one thing, I think it is anti-American.