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5 Bad Shooting Range Habits That Might Get You Killed

By:

Tom McHale +
Posted: 9/10/15
Self-defense training? No. A fun way to improve gun-handling skills? Yes.

Is competitive shooting self-defense training? No. Is it a fun way to improve gun-handling skills? Yes.

One of the scariest traits you can develop from a self-defense perspective is a false sense of security.

You know what I’m talking about. We’re human, so we’re superior not only because we have opposable thumbs, but because we can think, strategize, reason, and hope. The hope part, while awesome and critical to our long-term survival, can also get us into big trouble on occasion.

When most people buy a gun for self-defense, they immediately feel better, and sometimes even invincible. “Now, I’m prepared!” That’s the downside of hope.

Buying a gun no more prepares one for self-defense than the acquisition of an accordion prepares one to join the French Foreign Legion.

But don’t take my word for it. Consider the tragic case of Franklinton, North Carolina woman Tracy Williams. Her abusive ex-boyfriend, previously arrested 89 times, was reason enough for her to buy a gun and obtain her concealed carry license. When attacked yet again by the man, she fired once and hit him in the leg, at which point her gun jammed. She was unable to clear the jam or bring a second gun that she had available into the fight. She ran and was murdered. Her ex-boyfriend was able to not only load his gun but use it during the attack.

It’s not entirely fair to second-guess the result of a dynamic situation like this, but practice and training certainly would not have hurt. Knowing “non-range” skills like malfunction drills and how to transition to the backup gun she had on her person might have made all the difference. The knowledge that a state-mandated concealed carry class is not preparation for self-defense might also have saved her life. Concealed carry classes generally teach laws, not survival tactics.

So that some good might come from tragic cases like this one, it’s always a good idea to reflect on how we can learn and do better. With that thought in mind, here are some shooting range habits that just might get you killed.

1. Focusing on your target

You’ve probably seen people at the range who fire one or more shots and then pause and deliberately look side to side. They’re not tacti-cool derpa warriors. They’re just developing a good defensive shooting habit.

The act of firing a handgun tends to encourage tunnel vision. You know, because of that whole focus-on-the-front-sight thing. And then there’s the desire to see where you hit the target. After that, you’re focused on aiming the next shot. That’s great for deliberate and leisurely target shooting, but might get you killed in a self-defense situation.

Don’t take my word for it. Consider the case of Joseph Wilcox. After murdering two police officers at a CiCi’s Pizza restaurant, a married couple entered a nearby Walmart store. Firing into the air, they ordered customers to leave. Wilcox, a concealed carry holder, decided to intervene and challenged the husband of the perpetrator duo, unknowingly walking right past the wife, not suspecting her involvement. The wife then shot and killed Wilcox. Sadly, Wilcox focused on the man waving the gun and did not observe the other threat.

2. Firing one shot

In a self-defense shooting, you don’t get to decide how many shots are required to stop the proceedings—the assailant is in charge of that.

At the range, we tend to fire a shot, then stop to evaluate our results. That’s fine to establish bragging rights with your range buddies, but not so fine in a fast-moving self-defense encounter. Sometimes an attacker wisely chooses to stop attacking after one shot is fired. Sometimes the first shot misses. Sometimes, as in the case of one law enforcement gunfight, the attacker might absorb 33 gunshots before quitting.

If you’re practicing at the range, consider working different scenarios into your practice, so you don’t hard wire a habit of firing once, then lowering your gun and relaxing. Fire two times. Fire five times. Fire at multiple targets. Most important, before lowering your gun, evaluate the situation. Train your brain to consider your surroundings before ending a shooting string.

3. Not practicing with a holster

From personal experience, I can assure you that the first time you try to draw and fire from a holster under a bit of stress it’s going to go badly. Drawing a handgun seems so easy and natural until you’re trying to do it quickly. Add the complexity of concealed carry using covering garments and things can get interesting. Fumbling, tangling, and dropping aren’t words you want used to describe your tactical gun draws.

You might consider joining a local IDPA competition group. That discipline has competitors drawing from concealment, moving, and engaging multiple targets, all the while under time pressure. Of course, the “pressure” is minuscule compared to a life-or-death struggle, but it’s enough to show you where you need practice with your gun handling skills. Just to be clear, competitions like IDPA won’t teach tactics, but they will give you practice with manipulating your gun, drawing, reloading, malfunction clearance, and hitting multiple targets quickly.

IDPA won't make you a Special Forces Operator, but it will get you thinking about basic self-defense skills like finding cover and moving while shooting.IDPA won’t make you a Special Forces Operator, but it will get you thinking about basic self-defense skills like finding cover and moving while shooting.

4. Not moving

With the exception of those nifty little clocks, range shooting is like chess. The whole battlefield remains perfectly still while the players take all the time they want to plot their next move.

Virtually any self-defense encounter will involve movement, and lots of it, by all parties involved. That’s mainly because we have legs, unlike those chess pieces with felt bases. Shooting a pistol with accuracy under time and pressure is challenging. Hitting a moving target under those conditions is even harder. Hitting a moving target while you’re also moving is a whole new ball game.

Unfortunately, most ranges don’t offer moving targets, so that’s a tough scenario to practice with regularity. However, you can start to develop the habit of at least starting to move while drawing your gun to address a threat. No, your range probably won’t take kindly to you running across a half-dozen shooting lanes while unloading your 15-round magazine, but that doesn’t rule out smaller and safer practice moves. How about conditioning yourself to take a step to the side just before you draw or raise your gun to shoot? Getting into the habit of moving your whole self while deciding whether you need to draw and fire is a good defensive move. Movement not only makes you a more difficult target, but it creates action, which causes your assailant to evaluate what you are doing. That buys you time—perhaps just enough to save your life.

5. Practicing failure

One of the reasons I’m such an advocate for getting involved in local competition and live training is that you learn how to handle your gun. You program into your brain instinctive actions like focusing on your sight, transitioning to a new target, reloading, and, perhaps most importantly, dealing with malfunctions.

A competition involves a little bit of stress. The clock is running and people are watching you. Is that analogous to the stress of a self-defense encounter? Of course not. But it can be enough to expose your gun-handling weaknesses. In a competition, when your gun goes click instead of bang, you have to deal with it while the clock is running and peers are watching. That’s great! You’ll quickly learn the malfunction routines for your particular gun. More importantly, you’ll program those into your mind so the responses become automatic.

Think about this. I suggest that you are more likely to have a malfunction in a self-defense encounter than any time on the range. Why? By definition, you’re shooting from unnatural positions, and, especially if you use a semiautomatic, the odds of improper cycling are increased. Look at the first case in this article. Tracy William’s gun malfunctioned after the first shot. It can and does happen.

Whether you elect to get involved in some competitions or not, figure out your own ways to practice malfunction drills until they become automatic. You should never have to stop and ponder how to operate, load, or clear your gun. It needs to be automatic, like (hopefully) using the turn signal in your car.

I’ve highlighted just a couple of examples of range habits that are fine, and even fun while shooting recreationally, but that might develop bad self-defense habits. What say you?

Tom McHale is the author of the Insanely Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon.

Images courtesy Tom McHale

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  We are starting to see more progress in the pursuit of common sense laws…… Yea! 

Wednesday was a great day for Missouri gun rights!

SJR 36 was finally agreed to and passed.  It will now be on the November ballot for voters to decide whether to add it to the state Constitution.

Please send Senate Sponsor, Kurt Schaefer, and House handler, John Diehl, a short thank you email.

kurt.schaefer@mail.senate.mo.gov

John.Diehl@house.mo.gov

 

Here’s the actual amendment language (bold is new language and the strike through is to be deleted from the existing constitutional clause):

Article I Section 23. That the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories typical to the normal function of such arms, in defense of his home, person, family and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned[; but this shall not justify the wearing of concealed weapons]. The rights guaranteed by this section shall be unalienable. Any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny and the state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the general assembly from enacting general laws which limit the rights of convicted violent felons or those adjudicated by a court to be a danger to self or others as result of a mental disorder or mental infirmity.”;

 

This is the Summary Statement voters will see on the ballot:

“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to include a declaration that the right to keep and bear arms is a unalienable right and that the state government is obligated to uphold that right?”

 

Use the new LibertyTools vote tracking system to see how the votes went.

House Vote: http://www.libertytools.org/BillTracking/bills.php?bill_id=21&Bill_Action_id=53

Senate Vote: http://www.libertytools.org/BillTracking/bills.php?bill_id=21&Bill_Action_id=54

 

On another front, HB 1439, the Second Amendment Preservation Act, is struggling. There are efforts to weaken it out of fear that it will be hard to override a veto if the bill has teeth.  We are holding the position that the General Assembly should put a strong bill on the Governor’s desk and let the People convince their Reps and Senators to vote for a veto override between now and September.

If you agree, please send your Rep and email telling him or her to pass HB 1439 just as it came back from the Senate, with no amendments.

Here’s a great episode from the SHOOTERS MINDSET Live webcast Show with special guest Patrick Kelley giving some great tips and advice for the competition shooters out there!

* * * *

Be sure to check out :

 

The SHOOTERS MINDSET 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ha1ohZY02b0

weekly video / LIVE SHOW

on  Facebook   and  Youtube

and

 

 Making Master Class 

http://www.youtube.com/user/MakingMasterClass

 

and for the girls whom we cant live without!…..

    

Nowadays, most people have small ranges set up in their own backyards or they know someone that has acreage so they don’t have to find a range to shoot.  For the rest of you, these links below will help you find places to shoot in your area:

  • Where to Shoot.org offers a range locating feature that will find all disciplines.
  • National Association of Shooting Ranges – sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, this site not only shows you where to go to shoot, but how to set up a successful range if there are none in your area.

 

^ ^ ^ ^

Great NEWS   !!!!

 LAKE OF THE OZARKS   Range  is Up and going !

Thanks to everyone that has made very generous donations ,

PLEASE HELP if you can !

Sport Shooters

If you’re truly interested in keeping informed on the development and opening of the public range in Camden County, read on.

Q & A
Where is the range and how do I get there?
Driving directions to the range from the Camdenton Court House:
NE on Hwy 54, approximately 3.8 miles to State Road A;
Right on State Road A approximately 7.5 miles to JWP Range Road (on left);
[Driving tip: At 6.0 miles on State Road A, you will pass the Missouri Trapshooters Association (MTA) facility. JWP Range Road is approximately 1.5 miles past the MTA facility and 0.4 miles past Freedom Ridge Road. If you reach Swinging Bridges Road, you've gone too far.)

What is the "Range Fund"?
By court order, the "Range Fund" is a dedicated Camden County account set up specifically for funding the operation and maintenance of the public use portion of the shooting range. No tax resources are associated with this account, so all monies placed in this account will be derived from donations and usage fees.
Donation Procedure:
The preferred method of making a donation is via check.

  • On the "pay to" line, enter: Camden County Fund 012 Firing Range.
  • On the memo line, enter: Acct # 12-21-4641.
  • Mail the check to: County Treasurer
  • 1 Court Circle, Suite 3
  • Camdenton, MO 65020

 

The Project (Abbreviated Version)

During the early months of 2012, after being either ignored, rejected, or turned down by state agencies (MDC, DNR), a small group of community leaders approached Camden County officials with the idea of developing a public shooting range. These officials have been supportive and proactive in opening an existing law enforcement training facility to the general public. They only asked a few things in return:

  1. that we assist in defining a set of safety and operating rules;
  1. that all shooters complete a brief safety/orientation class prior to using the range; and
  1. that we cover any additional costs incurred due to civilian usage of the facility. In other words, the public use portion of the range has to be self-supporting.

I think you'll agree, these are all reasonable requirements.

Item 1 has been completed and you have all received copies of the safety and operational rules via email.

Item 2 is being managed by Detective John Stephens. As stated in previous emails, you are each responsible to contact Detective Stephens at the Sheriff's Department (346-2243) to schedule your safety class.

That takes us to item 3. Within the realm of non-discretionary additional costs, we defined four major areas: liability insurance, ongoing maintenance, range personnel, and start-up. Let's address each one independently.

With regard to liability insurance, the Sheriff has negotiated coverage, with the county's existing carrier, at no additional cost to us. Oooyah! One down.

With regard to ongoing maintenance, we believe that, if range rules are observed, the usage fees will adequately cover maintenance of the public use areas. Two down.

With regard to range personnel, we believe that, at least initially, and perhaps continuing for some unspecified period, the Range Master will be an employee of the Sheriff's Department. Compensation for the time that the Range Master incurs at the range must be covered by resources outside of the Sheriff's budget. We believe that, through a combination of donations and user fees, the wages would be covered. We could be mistaken. Read on.

With regard to start-up costs, let's briefly refer back to one of the original requirements to opening the range. Item 3 requires that we cover any additional costs incurred due to civilian usage of the facility. This would, obviously, include the costs of opening the range to civilian use. What that means, in a nutshell, is that, when opened, the range and its facilities must not only be safe for public use, but also ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliant. The estimated cost of making the range ADA compliant is <$2000.00. This estimate assumes discounted materials, heavy equipment provided gratis and volunteer labor. Not bad, I thought, if we share the load.

Now here's the part you've all been waiting for. Nearly 800 signatures were collected on our original survey, thereby indicating a strong interest in a shooting range in Camden County. Of the 800, approximately 150 individuals indicated an even greater interest by providing an email address, in order to stay involved in this community project. From this base of 150, a loosely defined group has been formed, held together by the common bond of shooting sports. If you're receiving this email, you are considered a participating member of the Public Range Citizen's Group.

In the last email newsletter, you were asked, as a participating member, to make a statement. You were asked to state that you supported the opening of the range enough to volunteer some time and to make a donation. Some of you have made that statement loud and clear. To those few of you that responded, the local shooting community thanks you big time.

THE BEST WORDED PRO-GUN ARGUMENT I HAVE EVER READ
"The Gun Is Civilization"by Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret)Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another:
reason and force.
If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either
convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of
force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories,
without exception.Reason or force, that's it.
In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through
persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force.The gun is the only personal weapon that puts--
a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger,
a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger,
and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunken guys with baseball bats.The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we'd be more civilized if all guns were removed from society,
because a firearm makes it easier for a [armed] mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger’s
potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative
fiat–it has no validity when most of a mugger’s potential marks are armed.People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the
young, the strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a
civilized society.
A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful
living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.Then there’s the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that
otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in
several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the
physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser.People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don’t constitute lethal
force, watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst.
The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works
solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker.
If both are armed, the field is level.The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter. It simply wouldn’t work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn’t both lethal and easily employable.When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but
because I’m looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded.
I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit the actions of those who
would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force.
It removes force from the equation… and that’s why
carrying a gun is a civilized act.By Maj. L. Caudill USMC (Ret.)So, the greatest civilization is one where all citizens are equally armed
and can only be persuaded, never forced.

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Check out these links to websites that can help you find out info. on Shooting Clubs, Ranges and Gun Training Classes for Conceal Carry Permits……….

IDPA   ….  International Defensive Pistol Association ,    www.idpa.com

The NRA   ….   www.nra.com

 

 

Congrats to Dustin for taking 4th place in the IDPA Missouri State Championships

5-11-13  at the   Arnold Rifle & Gun Club

 

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Dustin Take 2nd place in the Tri-State IDPA in Memphis TN , 9-9-12

Missouri State IDPA Championships  2012


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Illinois State IDPA Championships 2012


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Important Victories for Gun Owners

Posted on May 21, 2012

The Missouri General Assembly passed several pro-gun measures, sending them to Governor Jay Nixon before adjournment of the 2012 legislative session.

Senate Bill 489 contains important Right-to-Carry reforms by honoring all live-fire training exercises as part of the concealed carry course prior to changes made in the training requirements last year.  SB 489 would also legalize the ownership of auto-opening, switchblade knives throughout Missouri.

House Bill 1647, would lower the Right-to-Carry age requirement from 21 to 18 years old for active duty military who are residents of or stationed in Missouri.  It would also remove penalties for an accidental exposure of a firearm by a concealed carry endorsement holder and establishes a process for restoration of firearm rights for those currently prohibited.

Senate Bill 480 is a transportation omnibus bill that includes a provision establishing a National Rifle Association license plate.  Purchase of Missouri NRA license plates will help fund important pro-Second Amendment activities in the Show-Me State.

All bills, if enacted, without an emergency clause will go into effect on August 28.

Thank you to Missouri NRA members for making your voices heard in the final days and hours of the 2012 session.  Contacting your state elected officials was key in resurrecting a number of important NRA-backed firearm freedom legislation.

Your NRA-ILA will continue to keep you updated on these bills as they are signed by Governor Nixon. 

 

New  T-shirts Available in sizes up to 3x

        GREY                  PINK                BLACK

T-shirts Only $19.95  ea. ( S-M-L- X-Lrg.)

                              2x  &  3X  sizes  ….  $ 23.95

      WHITE (3 button)                     JERSEY

  Henley Collar  (long sleeve)     &         JERSEY Style   {3/4 sleeve} 

$ 24.95 ea.

 

Please Check Back for more to come !

 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 Everybody had a great time at the  2012 Monster J.U.G.G.S. Match at the  Bench Rest Rifle Club,Wright City, MO   on Saturday, March 24, 2012

  

  

They Raised some good money for the cause and Gave out some cool prizes!

 Missouri Monster Match

 Monster JUGGS Match

JUGGS = Just Us Girls Getting Serious (about Breast Cancer) – “The Juggettes” is the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walking team hosting this eventCheck out the 3-Day walking team’s page for additional information on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day or to donate directly to a walker:
http://www.the3day.org/site/TR/2012/General?team_id=201986&pg=team&fr_id=1762 

 We still have some of the cool Special Edition  T-shirts available, so shoot us the Order Form (from above) or CALL to get yours. 

   

We’ll send it right away.

Contact Us :       shooterreadyusa@gmail.com

 

  Portions of each sale from ShooterReadyUSA.com goes for shipping a ‘Goody Box‘ worth about $100+  to a Service Man or Woman somewhere in the world to show our support and THANKS for their sacrifice.   Please visit Operation Gratitudes web site below to help in any way you can.

    

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