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Handgun Training – Practice Drills For Defensive Shooting by Grant Cunningham

Interesting book with good suggestions.
By Smiley42 on August 22, 2016
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase

The book is sound, but I’m at a loss to find a weapons range where I can practice the techniques described in the book. If such a site was available I would certainly be using the book for practice.

Firearms Training: Shooting Drills – Figure-8 Drill by Rob Pincus

I don’t have a place where to practice these drills. My range doesn’t allow this. That’s the only thing that stops me.

Defensive Shooting Standards Drill

These videos all assume something that is usually very wrong. How many people have access to a place to safely set up and shoot like this? Most of us can only shoot at a range where there are prescribed lanes and no opportunity to do anything but shoot in a controlled manner on our own lane.

The types of things shown in these videos are only for the rich guys who own a big piece of land. Great for them, I’m happy for them. The rest of us are working stiffs.

Guess what? Ranges hosting practical, action, and Service Conditions competitions are places these sorts of things can be done. Given that competitive shooters routinely host events featuring movement and shooting around/through barricades, those people and places are open to this sort of thing.

Ranges catering only to the general gun owning public and failing to host such events are more likely to enforce babysitting measures that would prevent the conduct of defensive shooting drills, probably because such gun owners sometimes require babysitting measures.

If such a site was available I would certainly be using the book for practice” is a very telling comment. If/when such a person buys into taking a class, any skills learned will soon degrade as he lacks the facility to put them into practice.

“Students won’t “own” the physical skills at the end of a one or two day class on the range. Getting the skills to the level you need them to be takes Repetition over Time.”

– Rob Pincus

Finding a range/facility/club hosting organized shooting events, attending events, and meeting like-minded participants interested in skill testing and development is more important than whatever class or other instruction someone is trying to sell. No matter how good the instructor, class, book/video/etc. may be, it’s for naught unless the skills, concepts, and ideas can be put to hands-on practice on at least a semi-regular basis. Anything beyond simple range drills will likely require a training partner and certainly requires a range set up more involved than standing still in a booth or seated at a bench and slowly plinking at a single target on a range disallowing shooting from position, drawing from a holster, and/or shooting quickly. Having these things arranged and available to you is the best predictor of skill retention and development. However, once your credit card clears and the class is over or the book/DVD/video is delivered, you’re on your own.

Another reason to support and attend organized shooting events.

Popular Contradictions in Defensive Shooting


“Empty Chamber Carry delays your defensive response with a firearm and is not appropriate for those serious about armed self-defense.”

But you stage a concealed carry firearm when there’s an imminent threat — not an actual threat but when you are fairly sure something is wrong and you want better access to your firearm. By staging the firearm, you do not have to move your concealment garment, put your hand on your firearm, and present it.

– Rob Pincus

Fair enough. Choosing a method known to be slower for use in a time-critical task is foolish, especially when the slower approach is used under the facade of safety concerns that don’t (or shouldn’t) exist. And staging in advance when you can also helps perform a time-critical task quicker.

So… you should carry chamber loaded and stage your concealed carry firearm when possible in order to gain an advantage because it will lead to a faster response/access/draw. But staging to gain an advantage in a competition is “bad.” And worrying about gaining an advantage because it will lead to a faster response/access/draw on the clock is also “bad.”

Empty chamber carry causes a needless delay. Know what else causes a delay? General lack of skill caused by never training under time pressure. The exact sort of thing tested and rewarded in practical competitive formats. Telling people to “balance speed and accuracy” (a ripoff of IPSC’s motto Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas) but criticizing the means to actually assess it is counter productive. Other folks have jumped on this issue recently but I used this quote specifically because he’s publicly made claims that participation in competition causes “damage to defensive shooter’s habits” though there is zero proof or examples to verify this.

Pincus is doubly contradictory here for having openly criticized practical competitive shooting and for use of timed exercises, even when they’re warranted. Yes, we can fall into a trap of measuring meaningless increments but many folks fail to establish even minimal base line skills. Ask a group of military or police personnel to shoot a drill in a time frame that a USPSA B-class shooter would find challenging but reasonable, and you’ll understand why many range personnel insist on wearing body armor. In addition to use of a timer for measuring fundamental skill, the time it takes to process information and make decisions can also be measured.

Complaining against a method for being too slow in one place and then complaining against the only means to measure the reduction of slowness is foolish. Because we wouldn’t want to do something that slows us down due to the time-critical nature of the task… but then fail to measure or test elapsed time when performing the task.

This is similar to an issue cited by other low-skill shooters within the hunting community.

Tactically Inconsistent


Tiger McKee believes that practicing a malfunction/stoppage response must be done enough so that “getting the weapon running again, must be immediate.”

For example, when you press the trigger in real life – live fire practice and especially during a confrontation – and you get a click instead of a bang it means you have a malfunction. The response to this, clearing the stoppage and getting the weapon running again, must be immediate. In a fight time is a precious commodity. There is no time to stop, think or assess the problem and then correct it.

– Tiger McKee

In videos discussing his approach on “advanced skills”, Pincus states today’s guns are so reliable that skills required to clear malfunctions are among these and do not need to be emphasized or practiced regularly. He goes on to say that if one’s gun malfunctions, one should simply change the gun.

Malfunctions are not a fundamental defensive shooting skill…. Clearing a malfunction is an ‘advanced skill’.”

– Rob Pincus

Once again, two popular defensive shooting instructors (neither one with actual fight experience) have completely opposite approaches on a defensive shooting issue.

Where facts are few, experts are many.

– Donald R. Gannon

“Skill Specific” Exercise Considered Harmful

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It has become trendy among the unenlightened to invent novel ways to add resistance to certain skill-specific movements. To the uninformed, this seems like a good idea. The exercise now mimics the skill (sort of) so now we’re simultaneously exercising and improving skill. Good idea, except for the fact it doesn’t work and may be detrimental.

Just as bad, the people promoting this are often doing so out of financial motivation by offering a class or product tie-in. They can’t prove their approach is “better” but it offers the illusion of being scientific and the ad looks good. Operators are standing by! Order now!

Here is why this approach is wrong.

Using artificial resistance as some pseudo skill-specific movement is a bad idea. You’re practicing to overcome resistance that won’t normally be there and this will likely will have a negative influence on skill development. A skill-specific movement needs to be specific to the skill if it is to be trained properly. Swinging an abnormally heavy bat or club interferes with the movement pattern used with the normally weighted one and changes things. Adding tension/resistance straps requires overcoming forces in amounts and directions that aren’t normally there, embedding a motor pattern different from what you need.

Kind of odd that instructors warning against the imagined “dangers” of creating bad habits via competition are suggesting practice/training with a method that has been tested and proven to create actual bad habits.

Here’s a video demonstration of why:

Here’s a segment from Fads and Fallacies lecture from Dr. Mike Israetel in his Advanced Strength and Conditioning Theory course.

An article explaining the same problem:

Another article on this:

And another:

And another:

The better approach (arguably the only effective approach) is to conduct strength and conditioning as general preparation. Squats, presses, pulls, sprints, simple calisthenics, and the like yield general adaptations that aren’t specific to any particular skill or sport. Train and practice specific fundamental skills without making it “functional fitness.” Do the minimum that still allows measurable progress over time. This requires measuring (and having the means to measure) so that it can be determined if/when capabilities and skills are actually improving, by how much, and how quickly.

Those now-improved base capabilities and fundamental skills will yield improved performance in any environment once any particulars needed for that environment are addressed. This context-specific preparation comes on quickly once base capabilities and fundamental skills are well developed.

Jerking around with pseudo skill-specific exercise is great way to avoid developing base capabilities and fundamental skills.

Functional Fitness and Practical Shooting Skills


Observations from Jess Banda, Everyday No Days Off

Rob Pincus endorses IPSC competition

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In defending his FitShot concept, Rob Pincus favorably compares it to practical competition, such as IPSC.

FitShot Workouts are as much of a “tactics” session as an IPSC Match is… ie: None At All.

BUT: Both activities are actually kinda fun and putting them together is fun too. Putting them together for score against my peers pushes me to perform both well (in the context of the event) and make myself stronger. So: FitShot is Good.

More cops have been killed by laziness and heart attacks than bad Qual Courses.

– Rob J. Pincus

Read more on this here:

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