About Me

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Aproved instuctor for N.J. & Pa. for the Retired LEO Programs. Approved instructor for both Florida & Delaware. Former full time contract Firearm and Defensive Tactics Instructor/Trainer. Working at the FAMS Training Service Ctr. Atlantic City NJ. Retired Deputy Conservation Officer, N. J. Division of Fish & Wildlife, Bureau of Law Enforcement. Certified Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor; Handgun, Shotgun, Patrol Rifle, & Certified Tactical Shooting Instructor, with over 20 years of experience. Certified by N.J.Police Training Commission (D.C.J.), NRA Law Enforcement Division,& NRA Civilian Instructor Division. Glock Certified Armorer, Affiliate Instructor for THE ARMED CITIZEN, LEGAL DEFENSE NETWORK, Certified Expandable Baton and Defensive Tactics Instructor.OC Training Instructor, For information regarding Training Courses, Contact me @ 215 416 0750 or e-mail me @ rotac2@gmail.com AUTHORIZED REPRESENATIVE FOR THE FOLLOWING PRODUCT; ZERO TOLERANCE TACTICAL KNIVES

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Training date set!

As everyone is aware the spring season is here, and with that a new shooting season will start.  I have scheduled a range at the USANA MTC Shooting Range in Elmer, NJ for Saturday April 29th for a 4.5 hour class from 0900 to 1330.   This is not a basic class and you will need to have some skills in order to keep up with the class.  The purpose of this class is designed to evaluate your skills and fine tune them so that you will be able, if necessary, to fight with your hand gun.  The drills that are incorporated in the class will revolve around CQB  necessities.  This class will accommodate 10 shooters.  You will need to bring;
1. Your hand gun
2. 250 rounds of ammo
3. Strong side holster, either belt or inside the waist band.  NO CROSS DRAW, SHOULDER, OR     APENDIX!
4. A least 3 magazines and a magazine pouch
5. Eye & Ear protection, and a baseball style cap, and some type of cover germent

The price of the class is $75.00 a person and that includes all targets and range fees.  If time allows we will be utilizing a shoot house for some live fire drills.  If you are are serious about taking this class then you need to send a check or money order made out to Domenick Rocco. payment needs to be received by 4/15/17 to reserve a place in the class.  Send the check to;

Domenick J. Rocco Sr.512 Cecelia Drive
Blackwood, New Jersey

This will be a very informative and heart pounding, adrenaline flowing class.  

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Training review....Larry Vicker's 3 day class

Hi everyone, just finished up with a 3 day intense training program that was provided by Mr. Larry Vicker's (Aztec Training Services) and his assistant Mr. Raymond Pescatore, (Sub MOA).  The purpose of this post is to give you a little insight regarding the benefits that are obtained from excellent trainers! With the exception of an hour break each day for lunch, these were three days full of action packed, petal to the metal non-stop drills.  If you think that you are a good shooter, this training will definitely make you realize that you might not be as good as you think you are!  The fact that the only day that was what one might consider to be perfect for outdoor training was the first day, the second and third day because of the weather made it a lot more challenging and demanding. In plain English IT SUCKED!  Especially day two which was one of the most nasty days we have had this winter.  

The three day class was comprised of the following:
1 day handgun
1 day rifle
1 day CQB, utilizing a shoot house

I have taken a lot of training classes from a lot of the top trainers that are in the field of training law enforcement personnel.  The training that Larry and Ray provided will greatly enhance your skill ability whether you are are in law enforcement, military, or a civilian.  Larry's background, experience and knowledge enables him to provide a top shelf training program.  He is straight forward and does not pull punches.  That meaning, he tells it like it is!  If you are thin skinned than this might not be the class for you.  

I won't  talk too much about the various drills and venues of the class, but I will tell that most of the handgun drills were shot using an NRA B-8 target which has a 5.5" bulls eye.  Yes, you guessed it, that's what your going for from 2 to 20 yards and that includes strong hand and weak hand only drills.
The drills were shot slow deliberate and times.

Also, there were some handgun drills using a steel silhouette from 25 to 60 yards and that also incorporated the use of strong and weak hand shooting.   

The rifle course was shot from the 50 yard line and in to about the 5 yard line.  
Both the handgun and rifle drills were shot using precise and rapid fire timed drills.  The time drills will really get your heart rate pumping and your adrenaline flowing!

The CQB drills were shot with either your handgun or rifle.  Your choice.

To say that we shot a lot of rounds would be an understatement, and was evident by the amount of brass that had to be cleaned up the last day.

This class was a blast and more importantly, a beneficial learning experience. To rate it on a scale from 1 to 10, I give it a 10+.  If Larry has a class scheduled somewhere near you I would suggest that you try your best to attend it.

Thank you Larry and Ray for a great class and good time!  

Host range was USANA MTC, in Elmer, NJ.  Thanks to Skip Myers the owner.





From left to right, Ray, Larry, & Dom

  

Friday, March 3, 2017

Words of Wisdom




On Deliberation...


Deliberation
 [dih-lib-uh-rey-shuh n] noun
1. Careful consideration before decision.
2. Formal consultation or discussion.
3. Deliberate quality; leisureliness of movement or action; slowness.

Like most shooters in their youth, every action I undertook on the training range was about speed…fast on the draw, fast trigger action, fast reloads, fast manipulations…sound familiar? Yes, it probably does, as most of us could not help ourselves when we are/were young we want to go FAST…it seems to be the natural order of things, but is it wise?  After all, is not the goal of shooting to hit?  Not
 hope we hit?

Bat Masterson was once quoted as saying the three priorities of gunfighting were (in this order) 1. Deliberation 2. Accuracy 3. Speed.  His good friend and fellow Dodge City Deputy Marshal Wyatt Earp was quoted as saying “the secret to winning a gun fight is taking your time in a hurry” and “the most important lesson I learned from those proficient gunfighters was the winner of gun play usually was the man who took his time.” Could not “taking your time” be viewed as a deliberate act? Something one has to make happen? Earp went on to clarify his statement, saying “Perhaps I can best describe such taking time as going into action with the greatest speed of which a man’s muscles are capable, but mentally unflustered by an urge to hurry or the need for complicated nervous muscular actions which trick-shooting involves. Mentally deliberate, but muscularly faster tan thought is what I mean”.

Is speed important? Sure! But we should not let the electronic timer become our “master”, something I have seen continually over the decades. The history…over several centuries…has shown combative pistolcraft occurs close and fast, a few seconds in most cases, but at the same time it is accurate fire that ends the fight! (Unless, of course, the attacker just gives up which does happen…if only we could create a methodology to ensure this!) What is accurate? In my mind, after many years of research, its multiple hits in a short time frame to vital areas of the body, areas defined as the high chest (approximately a 6” x 10” rectangle just below the neck to include the heart, aorta, major blood vessels and spinal column), neck and head. I discussed the pelvic girdle in a previous blog which resulted in some “lively” debate, so I will let that dog lie…you may certainly believe what you wish on this topic. Fast AND combat accurate shots are necessary to end a close pistol fight, something that is often times difficult to achieve. After all, its easy to be either accurate or fast but not both at the same time and we have known for a long time the key to successful combative pistolcraft is the balance…blending actually…of speed and accuracy.  Which brings us to deliberation…

As you can from the above definition, deliberation can mean different things; consideration, consultation, leisureliness of action, even slowness…slowness?! We’ve already stated that speed is important when fighting for your life so how can we possibly be slow? Remember what Wyatt Earp said? “The secret to winning a gunfight is taking your time in a hurry!”  WTF??!!

Speed and accuracy…blending and balance…which and when…”slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” Smooth is fast, slow is just slow…

Deliberation occurs long before the fight is undertaken in that we must all decide what is worth fighting and dying for? What is our “line in the sand”? Oftentimes we do not get time to ponder as situations are thrust upon us with little opportunity to “observe, orient, decide and act”, we must “see and do” or we perish. In such cases, deliberation comes in the form of a combative mindset. In my old, worn out version of the Webster’s Dictionary, mindset is defined as “a previous decision to act based on reason and intellect” while combative is defined as “ready and willing to fight”. Thus, a combative mindset could reasonably be defined as “a previous decision to be ready and willing to fight”. Not eager to fight mind you, as we always run the risk of loosing, but willing to do so with great enthusiasm, if required. Doesn’t this sound like the first definition listed above… “careful consideration before decision”? A deliberate act to be sure…

Ok, the fight has begun…isn’t speed critical? Only if it does not lead to panic, via fear, which is oftentimes the result of an unexpected attack. Hell, any attack but certainly one we are not ready for. We have all seen or heard of examples of “panic fire”, where a large volley of rounds is fired in the direction of a threat with little affect. As Dennis Tueller (the Tueller Drill creator) once stated, “If you don’t think you have time to aim you certainly don’t have time to miss!” Only accurate and effective fire will stop a determined attack, which requires self-control when on the verge of panic…a deliberate act…or as Wyatt Earp described, “taking you time in a hurry”. After all, speed is not herky, jerky, spastic muscle manipulation, it is lack of unnecessary motion (smooth is fast!), something that must be trained in through a deliberate training activity and repeated, meaningful practice. It takes time, effort, energy, ammo and commitment to incorporate such self-control into our being and most will not know if they have it until they are in the fight. That said it is still worth the effort required to try and build in (anchor) such a response. Prepared will always be better than not prepared. Yes, luck is a factor but the harder I have worked, the luckier I seem to be and having faced such tests in my life, I know deliberate training and preparation works.

Fear is the single biggest factor in why people fail in armed conflict, yet we have known since the days of The Spartans that the single biggest factor in overcoming fear is confidence in our skills. Controlling fear through training, education and preparation is a deliberate act…


Formal consultation or discussion should also come before any attack occurs. Consultation through solid, effective training and quality information that has little to do with the flash and panache seen on You Tube or other so called “training” videos. Those who are serious, knowledgeable trainers already know what will work, is effective and what can be “trained in” or anchored. Rebranding, non-sensical, scientific sounding terminology or fancy titles does not change effectiveness…there are only so many ways to shoot a gun and they have all been invented. It all comes down to the application of the proven techniques and we know that simplicity and lack of unnecessary motion/action works best. When choosing a training course, choose wisely. After all, such a selection is a deliberate act. Discussion? Do so with family members, partners and those who may be involved in conflict with you before it happens so there are no surprises or complications in the fight. These things seldom “go to script” so try to eliminate as many unknowns as possible through discussion.

Yep, Bat Masterson had it right; deliberation, accuracy and speed…but is one more important than the others? It sounds to me that deliberation occurs throughout the combative process…before, during and after… and being deliberately accurate and fast in a gunfight is not the same as bulls eye shooting or just throwing rounds quickly.  Deliberation is a process…a lifestyle commitment, really…as it occurs constantly and must be continually nurtured. Something to consider…

Thanks for checking in…



Posted by Dave Spaulding at 6:44 AM 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Gun Modifications, Yes or No!

Skill Set: Ayoob MAG 20
A couple weeks ago Shootrite hosted Mas Ayoob for his MAG 20 class, and as always it was great. We often get so caught up in our skills and gear that we tend to forget the legal aspects concerning the use of lethal force. Training and practicing, developing your skills and learning how to operate your gear is important. Equally important – if not more so - is understanding the legal aspects of using force, for example when you can use lethal force, and what happens after the confrontation.

This was my third time attending the MAG 20 – Armed Citizen's Rules Of Engagement class. It's twenty hours in the classroom, listening and taking notes. There were several people taking the class for the second time. All of the repeat students, including me, commented on how it's important to take this class more than once in order to get a real understanding of the material being presented.

Each time you take a class it's being filtered in your mind. As you learn and experience new or different things the filters in the brain change and shift. You're maturing; as time passes your knowledge increases. This new knowledge changes the way you process future information, even if it's the same material being presented. This is why it's important to re-read books, or attend the same class multiple times. With each repetition you'll get a better, deeper understanding of the material.

One of the topics I really appreciate in MAG 20 is Ayoob's advice on modifying your firearms. His thoughts and examples on modifying triggers are incredibly important. For example, the majority of our students have firearms with "modified" triggers, meaning the trigger has be lightened up so it takes less pressure to fire the shot. For target shooting or competition this may be fine. Using this type trigger in a defensive shooting can get you into trouble, quickly.

The key is the manufacturer's specifications and what's know as "common custom and practice." This means the people who design and build the firearm say the trigger should be "A," and no lighter. The NRA is an example of "custom and practice." For a specific competition their rules say the trigger can be no lighter than "B" pounds. Once you cross the line – manufacturer specifications or custom and practice – you're saying you know better than the company that designed and built the firearm and the "standards" set through years of use. Legally you're in trouble. In one case Ayoob discussed it cost the good guy $250,000 to justify his weapon modifications, and this was before the case ever went to court.

Having a trigger that's too light can also lead to negligent discharges. Under stress you lose dexterity in your fingers; they start to feel like clown hands. A three-pound trigger is going to feel like three ounces. If you have to shot a threat in order to stop an attack you're likely looking at a lot of legal proceedings to prove what you did was justified. A negligent shot that injures or kills is going to lead to big legal troubles, and it's going to be hard to prove that it wasn't your fault.

When you modify your weapon it's up to you to prove that these changes made it easier to shoot more accurately under stress, reducing your chances of making a "wild" or dangerous shot. This won't play with a trigger that's too light. The same thing applies to removing any safety devices – in the "old" days it was common to pin the grip safety on the 1911 so you didn't have to worry about it if you didn't have a perfect grip.

After class was over several of the repeat students, who have all attended classes at Shootrite, came over to discuss the "trigger" issue. We discuss trigger modifications in every class. They had heard this same information before from Ayoob. Now, after hearing it several times from multiple sources, the importance was starting to sink it. "I guess it's time to change triggers," they said. "Yes it is," I replied.

Sometimes we have to hear or experienced something more than once for it to sink it. If it starts getting old you're probably not approaching it with the proper attitude. With the right mindset every time we hear or do again there will be different things that "stick." Re-read those books; attend the same class again. You'll be amazed at how much you'll learn the second or third time.

Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of "The Book of Two Guns" 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Interesting article by Dave Spaulding



Wednesday, June 8, 2016
The Three S Test and preparing for the fight!

For many years the words “survive” and “survival” have played a major role in how we think about inter-personal conflict. Phrases like “Street Survival,” the “Will to Survive” and “Survival Mindset” is quite common. According to the Webster’s Dictionary, the definition of survive is “to remain in existence,” which is insufficient to en- capsulate what survive really means. I want to go home the same way I left... unharmed, unscathed and psychologically fit. No wheelchairs, medical aids, crutches or coffins for me, thus survival is not what I want to instill in my mind. I want to win, to prevail!

According to Webster, prevail means “to be victorious,” which sounds awfully good to me. What does it take to prevail in a confrontation, especially ne involving firearms? The truth is no one really knows since each confrontation is different and it’s impossible to train for every potential life-threatening event, especially since most situations are outside our control. One thing I can say with confidence is that the individual will have to take foundational knowledge and skill, and adapt it to the situation they face. There is no such thing as too much training or preparation.

I have seen a trend on the Internet where “experts” (i.e. tactical knuckleheads who have never faced anything more dangerous than a paper cut) discussing how common sense and sound judgment are the critical skills to have when facing a threat. While these are certainly good attributes to have, what these so-called experts seem to miss is that under the affects of fear, the reasoning brain goes to mush and that sound judgment and reasoning are fleeting.

My believe many expound such things on-line, as it offers an excuse to possess mediocre skills; thus the effort needed to purchase proper gear, practice ammo and spend time in the gym or at the range (we won’t even talk about the time and expense to seek proper training) to build skill is less important. Anyone who has ever had to face an armed assailant, whether it be on the battlefield, in an arrest situation or on the street while trying to mind your own business, will tell you that having confidence in one’s combative skills offers a peace of mind that cannot be taken for granted. Possessing the ability to fight and shoot is an important component of having the proper mindset and don’t let anyone tell you differently no matter how knowledgeable they may seem as they type on the Internet. Internet popularity does not necessarily translate to being skilled. In the end, having confidence in one’s ability, backed by a solid, easy to use skill set is the single biggest deterrent to the onset of mind- numbing fear.

History has shown us that it’s not necessarily the person with the fastest draw or the ability to shoot tight groups that will win a gunfight. The person that will prevail is the one that is more ruthless, has no reservation to take a shot, will go “toe-to-toe” with an opponent, will not hesitate when the fight starts to seriously injure or kill their opponent. The fact is this is not most people. The majority of us are raised to be good and kind, which are certainly qualities we want to give to our children, but what about those who are not raised this way?
During my 30 years as a cop, I came in contact with many children who knew who the local crack dealer was by age five, knew their mother was a prostitute at an age when they should have been watching Saturday morning cartoons and saw gun violence before there were two digits in their age. Do you think these people, as they grow into adult life, will think about the world the same way you or I do?

After serving seven years (at different times) in the county jail, I got to know how criminals think and the biggest mistake anyone can make is to apply their thoughts, morals or feelings to a street criminal. A police officer in my area confronted an armed suspect and tried to defuse the situation by putting her gun on the ground and dropping to her knees, thus showing a less threatening posture. The suspect responded by shooting her through the neck. Never base a decision on how to deal with an armed opponent by applying your logic.

Noted combative skills trainer Kelly McCann sums up how we need to think, as “Combat is 10 percent skill and 90 percent attitude” but don’t think the possession and mastery of skill is not important to this attitude... it is! If not, McCann would offer courses in Yoga or Zen in his Kembativz’ training courses instead of hard-core, down and dirty hand-to-hand combat. Physical skill affects mental performance. It’s as simple as that. But you do need to be mentally prepared to use the skill—you can’t have one without the other.

Back to Webster’s Dictionary, the word combat means “to counter or actively oppose; to fight back,” while combative means, “ready and willing to fight.” Mindset is defined as “a course of action based on a previous decision, a set path based on reason and intellect.” Thus, it would be fair to say that the combative mindset could be defined as, “a previous decision based on reason and intellect to be ready and willing to fight back.” What’s wrong with that? It doesn’t say a thing about attacking others or behaving like a schoolyard bully. It means if attacked, you will be ready and willing to fight back, prepared via reason and intellect. Where does reason and intellect come from? From life experience, formal education and training. Teaching citizens to have a combative mind is not the “wild west” waiting to happen, it’s a wise investment in our ability to live unmolested. That said, it is easier said than done and most people who “type a good fight on the Internet” have no idea what this process really entails…they merely recycle information that got somewhere else and make it sound as if they have aid something profound. Tactical Assholery…

How does one develop a combative mind? The words “previous decision” are the most important. Deciding this is the path you want to take and actively pursuing it via quality training is crucial. The more skill one possesses, the more likely they’re able to fight back in a life-threatening event. Cops, soldiers and armed citizens must be confident in their ability if they wish to overcome the fear they will experience in a conflict. Make no mistake, you WILL feel fear but fear is your friend! Anyone who says they are never afraid is a liar or a fool, period! In addition, a person who does not have confidence in a particular technique will not try to use it in a fight, which makes them more vulnerable.
Combative skills range from verbalization through defensive tactics, chemical sprays, electronic devices, impact weapons and finally deadly force via firearms. Being as skilled as possible in all levels is a worthy goal but one that is tough to achieve due to time and monetary constraints. After all, we have lives to live with all of the wonderful things that entails. What do you do? You do the best you can with the assets you have, but don’t dismiss it by saying; “I will be more alert and aware so I can avoid a situation.” You might as well put your head in the sand and fart upward.
 

I dismiss the individual/instructor that unnecessarily bashes others in order to raise their profile and in this day and age there are too many of them. I blame the Internet for this, as it is way too easy and hide and throw bombs. Spirited but cordial debate is always welcome but trashing others is unprofessional and should be dismissed by anyone looking for life-saving training. No one teaches something because they think it is stupid, thus it is up to the reader or student to separate the solid information from the garbage. Since solid information is important to mental preparation and skill building, how do we do this? For a number of years, I’ve used the “Three S Test” to evaluate techniques I’ve been exposed to in various training programs, whether firearms, hand to hand or offensive driving. I think it’s a valid measuring device anyone can use.

What are the three S’s? The first is simple. Is the technique being taught simple to execute or perform? If not, what’s the likelihood the technique will be easy to utilize in a fight? What’s the likelihood that the average officer or armed citizen will practice the technique once training is over? Simplicity will make this more likely. Oftentimes less is more.

Second, does it make sense? You’re a person with a great deal of life experience and possibly some combat-grade training. Some have extensive training or even military experience. If it doesn’t make sense to you, talk to the instructor and express concern. After all, you (or your agency) are paying to be there. If the instructor can’t address your concern, you’re wise to dismiss the technique and move on to something else.

Is it street proven? Has the technique been used in actual combat of the type you may face? Be cautious. While Airsoft or Simunitions training is excellent, it is not a real fight so I don’t rate things seen in such training the same as actual combat. Also, luck should not become doctrine…a single success should not be viewed as something to train and anchor. Ask the instructor if the technique has been proven in combat; if not, do you want to be the guinea pig for this new technique?

This is not a foolproof way to evaluate a given technique, but it is a good place to begin. A solid evaluation will help anyone be more confident in his or her abilities. History has shown that anyone who faces an armed threat will respond in one of four ways: fight, flight, freeze or posture. Fighting back or fleeing is a sound, even wise, course of action. Don’t underestimate the advantages of withdrawal.

As Dirty Harry Callahan so aptly said, “A man’s got to know his limitations,” but freezing and posturing are unacceptable, likely suicidal. The dangers of freezing while in danger are obvious, but many feel they can bluff their way out of a confrontation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Consider that right now someone is training so that when they meet you, they beat you. I suggest that you, too, train hard and stay on guard.
Posted by Dave Spaulding 


Thursday, February 16, 2017

PRESSSSSSS THE TRIGGER!

Skill Set: "Press"
The more I practice, train and teach the use of firearms the more I realize just how important the trigger press is to shooting accurately. Regardless of what you're shooting you always have to apply the fundamentals. But of all of the fundamentals – in my opinion – the trigger press is the most important.

This is mandatory in the beginning, learning how to smoothly press the trigger without tensing up muscles in anticipation of the recoil before, during and after the shot. The sights are always going to be moving; all the other components will never be perfect. As long as you press the trigger smoothly, letting the firearm "release" the shot, you'll get good hits.

In the beginning it's also important to take time to obtain the proper placement of the finger on the trigger. Position the finger so the trigger is centered in the pad of the first segment or "distal phalanges." This allows you to "feel" the trigger as you press and reset it, and helps ensure you're pressing straight to the rear without pushing or pulling the trigger and moving the muzzle. With consistent practice this placement becomes habit.

As you progress you learn what speed you can press the trigger in order to get good hits. With a close, large target you can press fairly quickly and get the hits. As the distance increases and/or the size of the target decreases you learn that a slower press is required to make the shot. Regardless of the speed of the press it always has to be a smooth press.

There are other trigger techniques used, and one can produce acceptable results with them, but these are more for specific applications. For example skeet and bird shooters will "slap" the trigger to release the shot. Some competitive shooters will "tap" the trigger. But to shoot as accurately as possible you're going to want to press that trigger.

I don't know how many thousands of rounds I've fired in my life so far. But still when I'm trying to shoot accurately – regardless of the type firearm, caliber or distance - I will say "pressssssssss" out loud, hissing like a snake while pressing the trigger. Verbally saying it out loud, extending out the last part of the "pressssssss" always produces good hits.

Also, keep in mind that as things get more complicated, such as when moving and shooting, the trigger press becomes even more important. For example when moving there's a greater tendency to go "now" on the trigger in an attempt to fire the shot as the sights move across the target. This leads to the dreaded anticipation, and is going to negatively affect your accuracy.

For defensive use it's important that you get accurate hits. Good hits stop the threat quicker. Accuracy ensures the safety of those in the environment; remember you're responsible for where each and every bullet ends up. The only way to produce this type accuracy under stress is to drill it on the range, under a variety of conditions. Then, when facing a violent attack and lives depend on you, "pressssssss" that trigger, and repeat as necessary.

Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of "The Book of Two Guns" - 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

ACCURACY, GOOD INFORMATION

Keys to a Successful Shot
I had some email traffic with the author of our Guest Feature from March 26, 2013 regarding the point of aim/point of impact of the new Trijicon HD-XR sights. He reminded me that we'd been over this before -- in this very feature, submitted to us then by Action Target. As a reminder for me -- and for those who've come aboard since, I run his well-written feature again.


By George Harris

Photo courtesy of Action Target
Much has been written about precision shooting in the world of combat skill development and pistol shooting in general. Perspectives and definitions of how and why we hit the intended target vary so greatly that two people involved in a heated discussion regarding precision shooting may be very parallel in their thinking, but they don't recognize it. In this article, I will talk about how and why our views concerning this subject work. Ultimately, the goal is to bring us all a little closer in defining this controversial subject and understanding what we need to see in order to deliver a successful shot.

All of my training methods stem from simplicity in firearms training. I like to cut through all of the fluff, and present concepts that make sense and are easily reproducible by the average shooter. Most of us subscribe to the age old premise that most likely originated with the invention of firearms in that the objective of shooting is hitting your target.

Let's start by discussing the two absolutes of hitting a target. They are muzzle management and trigger finger discipline. Since the bullet exits the muzzle on the way to the target, it seems likely that from zero to fifty yards (plus or minus), if the muzzle is pointed at the target when the bullet exits, then we will have ourselves a hit where we want it. Trigger finger discipline refers to how we release the bullet toward the target. If you stabilize the muzzle of the pistol on the target and operate the trigger without disturbing that stability, you will experience success. Make sense? My students think so!

Precision shooting is a total mystery to some simply because they are confused about what they must see to consistently hit the target. Sight alignment and sight picture are two regularly used terms in the precision shooting world, but they aren't always fully understood. Sight alignment is nothing more than the front and rear sight as viewed by the eye. Perfect sight alignment is the front sight vertically and horizontally centered in the rear sight notch. Sight picture is the target, front sight and rear sight as viewed by the eye. Perfect sight picture is the front sight centered vertically and horizontally in the rear sight notch superimposed on the desired point of impact of the target.

In studying human vision, we find that the eye can clearly focus on a single plane, plus or minus an inch or two. Everything else ranges from a little to a lot out of focus. Relate this to a camera lens. The camera has clarity at its primary point of interest and everything closer or further away is less than perfectly clear. A little known fact is that the eye can pick the center of any object, regardless of its shape. It can do this without having total visual clarity of the object and can be accurate down to one minute of angle (a half inch circle at fifty yards).

Photo courtesy Action Target.
Now, let's take a closer look at how and why precision shooting works. The muzzle of the pistol must be square with the target to hit the target. Think perpendicular with a very slight upward angle to account for the effects of gravity on the bullet, and horizontally centered. We use our sights as a guide to position the muzzle on the target. The more precisely we align our sights, the closer the muzzle is to square with the face of the target, and the more likely we will hit our desired point of impact, assuming that the pistol is already zeroed. The clear focus on the front sight as viewed through the slightly out of focus rear sight allows us the best chance to position the muzzle square to the target. The target should be out of focus, but its shape should be apparent. As stated above, the eye will automatically find the center of any object.

What this boils down to is that precision sight alignment will square the muzzle (where the bullet exits the gun) on the center of the target, which our eye automatically finds, for a hit in the desired location.

Bull's-eye shooters that shoot the blank side of their target and shoot better groups than when they are shooting the target side prove the concept that the eye will naturally find the center of an object consistently. By keeping the eye focus on the sights through the release of the shot, the muzzle remains square with the target, and a consistent impact point is hit again and again.

A simple and extremely effective sight picture that we developed for the aged-eye shooters (those in bi-focals and tri-focals) has become the standard sight picture for all of our students who aren't happy with their present method of hitting the target where they want to. We recommend a dot on the front sight and the widest notch available for the type of rear sight to be used. This allows us to use the eye's natural ability to center round objects in square openings with incredible precision. We zero the pistol for the strike of the round to hit whatever we put the front sight dot on, just as we would a red dot sight system. The regimen is to center the dot in the rear sight notch and float the dot on the target. With a smooth trigger press to release the shot, the thrill of a center hit is felt again and again.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Action Target as a company.

About George Harris

George Harris has spent his entire adult life working in the world of firearms. For over 30 years he has been a successful and motivational educator and trainer in all aspects of small arms. His simplistic approach to firearms training has an unarguable track record in extracting performance from his students of marksmanship, tactics, and maintenance.

As a business developer in the firearms field, George co-founded the world renowned SIG Sauer Academy and led it to become a profit center before retiring after twenty-one years of service.

George has the enviable record of leading industry test programs for multiple government and military agencies achieving successful results and contracts for firearms 100% of the time.

Many of his innovations and ideas in firearms design features have evolved to production firearms improving function, ergonomics, and aesthetics.

George has served as the subject matter expert involving firearms and related matters on television, radio, and in legal proceedings.

Among his personal accomplishments, George earned the coveted U.S. Army Distinguished badges for both Service Pistol and Service Rifle. He also Coached and was a firing team member of the World Champion U.S. Army Reserve International Combat Team before retiring with 40 years of continuous Military Service.