Saturday, February 07, 2009

Was thinking about training,

and it reminded me of some past work. Like, when I was early-mid teens.

I’ve mentioned Dad was LE. Back then, semi-auto pistols were fairly rare in LE, it was mostly revolvers. When I started learning handguns, he decided I needed to learn defensive use the same way he had. That meant, among other things, point-shooting up close and reloading.

No quick-loaders, either, those were pretty new and I’d not even seen one. The pistol was a S&W Model 13 .357 Magnum. The standard Sam Browne belt had a sleeve on the side opposite the holster; on the sleeve were twelve loops for cartridges. The idea was that after you were empty you popped the cylinder open- pistol cradled in left hand, right thumb pushed the latch, two middle fingers of left pushed the cylinder open- and as your left hand tipped the revolver butt-down and the thumb was pushing the ejector rod, the right hand went to the loops and grabbed two cartridges by the bases and pulled them out; tip the pistol muzzle-down and your right pushed the first two cartridges in, then grabbed two more and loaded them, then two more. Then your left thumb pushed the cylinder closed as your right hand took the grip and you were ready to fire again.

I got pretty good at it. Dad had loaded some dummy cartridges to work with, and he’d work me at it when we had the chance to mess with it.* One of the parts of their qualification was to start at either five or ten yards(can’t remember which), and at the whistle start walking toward the target; at the second whistle you’d draw, fire six, reload and fire six more. Maximum time allowed was 15 seconds, and you never knew when the whistle would blow; you might take two steps(pistol all the way up and use the sights), or you might be within two steps(point-shoot) of the target. What made this really fun was for practice we used wadcutters, so you had to align the cartridges very closely to the chambers to get them in; much easier with hollowpoints or roundnose, but the mold Dad had to make bullets with was for 148-grain wadcutters and money for another mold just wasn’t there(neither was money for boxes of jacketed bullets). Of course, that meant I got real good at lining the two rounds up.

I think the best time I ever got with live-fire, from whistle to 12th round, was right at eleven seconds, range about eight feet and all shots in a fist-size group on a standard silhouette target.

One of the reasons I think point-shooting is a skill that should be developed, at least enough to become familiar with it, is the same reason it was taught by many LE agencies and self-defense trainers in the past: because it works. Up close and/or in bad light especially. When time-space allows, use the sights, no question; but being able to point-shoot is a very handy skill to have.

I didn’t fire a semi-auto pistol until I was in my 20’s, and then only on a couple of occasions until I got my 1911 compact. I’ve fired them a lot since then, in a variety of models and cartridges; I still can’t point-shoot a semi-auto as well as I can a S&W, though that’s improved. And the Laser Grips make a BIG difference there, they make it possible to point-shoot very quickly and accurately, though you need to practice without the light as well; bright light or gloves could make the laser hard to see or unusable.

1 comment:

catfish said...

You have at least a couple of great training facilities in your neck of the woods.

Marshall Luton at the Tulsa Defensive Shooting Academy is a great guy and you'd learn a lot.