Chuck Pressburg

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SGM(R) Chuck Pressburg of Presscheck Consulting discusses training.

The subject of bullseye-style shooting vs. combat shooting (not the sport, the actual disciplines) are on another instructor’s FB page and since I took the time to address the shooter’s question on a response to a sub-thread that wouldn’t be seen by many, I thought I should repost my thoughts here.

If you can’t execute near-perfect under perfect conditions, everything starts to deteriorate rapidly from there…

Combat shooting is a complex math game where you are stacking tolerances of maximum spreads of human, weapon, and ammo in real time against the acceptable impact zone, what’s in front and beyond it and usually while both you and the impact zone as well as potential itermediate barriers are all in movement.

An acceptable “firing solution” occurs when you believe that you can place the bullet close enough to where you want it to land and make the decision to ignite the primer.

Fundamentals don’t change, How much emphasis we put on any single fundamental changes rapidly as we attempt to get a proper firing solution.

For shooting students exhibiting significant inability to exercise any fundamentals, an isolation of flaws and focus on improving them individually should take place. In the DOD we used the “crawl, walk, run” method of teaching and training.

Basic trigger press drills and sight diagnostics are FOUNDATIONAL in nature, but are crawl-level events. The only time they should be brought up with a “grown” professional is when their shooting foundation was built out of sand and they shoot like dog crap.

So shooting is hitting what you want and “bullseye-style” shooting (shooting bulls at distance) is the perfect execution of these fundamentals.

Combat shooting is like being a Doolittle Raider on the deck of the USS Hornet and someone is ordering you to strip critical items off your plane to be light enough to take off.

“What you do mean I have to dump my tail guns” (perfect sight picture)?! I NEED THOSE”!

“Look son, you’re gonna dump that weight (accept flash sight pictures at closer distances) if you want to make it off this flight deck”! (Shoot fast)

So combat shooting isn’t a different technique as much as it is the process of sacrifing perfection in real time in order to achieve an acceptable outcome sooner. Here’s the secret that nobody will tell you: 99.9% of people choose poorly and sacrifice too many of those fundamentals when fear of death is upon them.

Gripping the ever-living crap out of your blaster and hammering your trigger as fast as you humanly can, WILL work (I do it all the time), HOWEVER it will only work for certain firing solutions, and if you don’t read the cues that you need to ratchet things back and apply more of your fundamentals, then you are spraying. That cue will NORMALLY come from your dot or front sight post. It is nearly impossible for your dot to stay on target and your bullet to miss…that angry bee moved within (or completely out of) the glass before the gun went bang. Did you see it? Did you try to fix it, or did you run with it?

In my handgun classes I call my shots even if they land INSIDE the black from 25 yards in front of my students and its not magic, its EASY. I just ask myself a simple question, where was my sight/dot when the gun went bang?

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Top 5 Best Guns For Women

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by Sarah Jacobs

Whether it is for competition or for self-defense, women can also own a licensed gun like any other man could. Women can also be expected to target and shoot like any man could. However, there are many considerations before anyone should settle with a gun of choice. This goes for both men and women gun enthusiasts.

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Can You Shoot Better Than A Cop?

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From Tamara Keel

Can You Shoot Better Than A Cop?

He cites a published study that “…broke down the shooters into three classifications: expert, intermediate, and novice. Experts had either finished the academy shooting course or had been trained in the military while intermediates had no formal academy training but had shot before in either recreational settings or had military rifle training. Finally, the novices were just that. Many of them had never even held a gun in their lives.”

You can see the problem already, right? Military handgun training, outside of a handful of job descriptions, is laughable. The handgun training from a typical LE academy is better than that, but still unlikely to turn out any pistol wizards, either.

Then comes the part that doesn’t automatically follow, which is that us non-po-po shoot better than that. Well, we probably do… assuming we’re an active competitive shooter and/or have had some formal training ourselves.

But as far as the general run of the mill shooting public? I go to the public shooting range. A lot. I see how the general shooting public shoots. It’s not very well. The average shooter at a public range finds the 7 ring of a B-27 at seven yards to be a less than clout shot.

I am not a very good shooter. I’m the special ed student at gun school. When I walk the prize table at a match, I find myself wondering if the tablecloth is not the most valuable thing left on the table, since I already have a Bore Snake and a three ounce bottle of CLP. But when I go to the public range of a weekend? I’m almost always a veritable ninja compared to the shooters on my right and left.

The average shooter is never presented with an opportunity to find out how bad they are, because things like scores and timers are foreign to their experience. It is possible to go to the range monthly for years and years and never see any meaningful improvement because it’s hard to improve that which you do not measure. There’s a lot of Dunning-Kruger in the shooting world.

It’s worth noting that Dr. Dunning’s solution to the cognitive bias experienced by novices that bears his name is to do exactly what Tamara Keel recommends here.

M1 Garand History

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The M1 is a legendary American rifle. John Garand, a Canadian born weapon designer, created the M1 Garand. Soon, it became a staple of the American military.  It was one of the most widely used rifles, outside of a properly equipped AR-15.

The M1 Garand became a favorite of the troops that wielded it. At the time, it was the premier battle rifle in World War II, and far better than the rifles the Axis powers carried. The M1 allowed the United States to adopt a maneuver-based warfare system utilizing fire and maneuvers to conquer the German and Japanese forces.

The M1 Garand is still used by many firearms enthusiasts today, and you can still find working versions being used by hunters and recreational shooters across the United States.

GunBacker has a nicely-written history on this historic rifle:
https://www.gunbacker.com/m1-garand/

Think, Don’t Plink

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https://www.tacticalperformancecenter.com/blogs/the-dump-pouch/110306694-designing-a-practice

One of our mottos here at the Tactical Performance Center is “think don’t plink.” More than just a catchy phrase, there is deep wisdom in this statement: each round you fire should have a purpose.

I have lived by this motto and every shot I have fired, of my own ammo, in the last eight years has had one of three purposes:

Does the gun work?
Did my outcome match my intent?
Did I follow the process I wanted to follow to release this shot?

Unfortunately, this approach is rarely seen at the range. Too often I see shooters simply turning money into noise without gaining performance improvement. Occasionally I’ll even have a shooter tell me something like “Yeah, great practice. 1,000 rounds down range.” They grow quiet though when I respond with “Great! Did you get 200 bucks of improvement?”

As shooting becomes more expensive and the reasons we shoot–whether it be training to defend our life, protect the public, or win a match–have become more pressing, we owe it to ourselves, and those we protect, to be as good as we can be.

The good news is that improving our performance doesn’t mean that we need to spend more money on ammo or even more time at the range. We just need to build better practices!

At our TPC boot camps, we do just this. While we focus on principles and fundamentals for world class shooting, these concepts are new to most and unlikely to stick after just three days of instruction. For that reason, we also teach our students how to design practices that lock in those fundamentals and improve the speed and consistency with which they can deliver shots.

Here is how we work with our students to develop a practice:

START WITH THE FUNDAMENTALS

Start and end with the fundamentals of grip, stance, isolating the trigger, letting recoil happen, calling shots, and active follow through. If these are not holding, stop and work on just them. If you have 200 rounds, use a large percent of them here.

ONLY DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO WITH LIVE FIRE

You can perfect a reload with very little live fire but a lot of dry practice. We can hone technique dry and then measure or experiment live.

THINK SMALL, LOOK SMALL

I recently had a fellow instructor who was visually leaving targets early in a rush to get to the next target. This was causing misses and hurting his competition performance. Together we designed an *exercise using dots focused on follow thru. He did this exercise with 100 rounds a day, over two days. At his next performance at a large competition he found that his problem was solved.

*Note that we designed an “exercise”, not a drill. We want to improve a fundamental skill that we can reuse elsewhere, purposefully, not just as a series of sequences where we can fool ourselves with improvement by memorizing a sequence of actions.

END WITH THE FUNDAMENTALS

We used this process to design a 200-round practice with a group of students at a recent boot camp. Our “look small” goal was to improve our ability to isolate the trigger, including under speed stress. The class had wisely deduced that a lot of low hanging fruit in improving their performance could be found in the trigger pull.

Here is what our practice looked like:

  • 75 dots, dry, focusing on a different element of the shooting cycle on each row
  • 75 dots, live, focusing on isolating the trigger on each dot (3 shots per dot)
  • 40 alpha exercise (from the Army Marksmanship Unit Action Shooting team)
  • ½ USPSA metric target, at 15 yards (this simulates a 30 yard shot)
  • 40 shots, in 5 shot strings, as fast as the sights present what you need to see
  • Strong focus on isolating the trigger
  • 75 dots, live, focusing on isolating the trigger on each dot (3 shots per dot)
  • 75 dots, dry, focusing on isolating the trigger on each dot and active follow through

This practice took 190 rounds and an hour and a half to complete. Every person on the line got 20+ Alphas, with some in the high 30’s. When I asked them “was that worth 1.5 hours and 20 bucks in ammo?” the universal answer was that it was the best experience shooting, in terms of improvement, they’d ever had.

Now imagine doing that twice a week. How good would you get with $40 a week in ammo and three hours of your time?

I encourage you to bring PURPOSE and PLANNING to your practices. You will improve at a dramatic rate and the gains will be more permanent.

Think, don’t plink!

Competitive Shooting: Not Just a Game

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Field Notes Ep. 13, Competitive Shooting with Robert Vogel, Not Just a Game.

It’s worth noting that Mr. Vogel won his first national championship using the same firearm he carried on duty as a law enforcement officer.

More from Robert Vogel:
https://firearmusernetwork.com/tag/robert-vogel/

Cover Use vs Real Life

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From John P Correia

I was watching a video of someone shooting IDPA yesterday, and it struck me that they demand use of cover. And my first thought was that I almost NEVER see shooters using cover in real gunfights.

And then I went back and looked through a couple of months of videos. And the reality is, I do occasionally see the use of cover/concealment in defensive gunfights. Not OFTEN, but not almost never. A majority of gunfights just don’t provide any options for cover, and most people move a step or three and then go to work with their roscoe.

I ain’t nobody in any competitive shooting organization, but if I were, I would consider whether all shooting MUST be done behind cover. If there was one thing I would change, it’s the amount of time I see people have to lean into weird stances as they shoot to keep their feet in bounds and get their hits. THAT, I have never seen in a gunfight. Some squatting, some minor leaning, but not anything like what I see time and again in competition videos.

If an organization really wanted to mimic real-life gunfighting, they would all but eliminate reloads as parts of their CoF. (I know they won’t because it adds a skill metric and a differentiating factor among competitors, but still) Maybe throw an intentionally staged malf in there once in awhile instead. Or allow dropping of partial mags and recognize that movement from one place to another actually stands in for “first gunfight is over, now staging for second scenario as soon as you get more bees in the blaster.”

Just some random thoughts.

I am only an occasional competitive shooter who does it for fun and for grins & giggles with friends, so please don’t take what I am saying as a call out of any shooting org or yelling at gamers to get off my lawn or any of that silliness. Their game, their rules!

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