Monthly Archives: March 2011

Skill Set: Finding Your Pistol (Repost)

Good, common sense advice on a topic that would seem simple

Skill Set: Finding Your Pistol
by Tiger McKee

“I like the way it looks,” he replied. “It’s the newest model,” another said. “When I went into the shop the guy told me this is what “they” carry,” he said, using hand quotations along with a wink. “You don’t see very many of them,” one man told me. “This is what my father carried,” the man said. These are some of the reasons I hear when asking students why they have a particular firearm, something that is out of the norm. None of them are good criteria for selecting a fighting weapon.

When it comes to selecting a pistol there are several areas to consider. Jeff Cooper’s three essentials for the pistol were that it fit your hand, have a good trigger, and a set of sights you can see. Your hand size determines what size pistol is ideal. You have to be able to get the correct grip on the pistol, completely surrounding it with both hands, while at the same time able to operate the trigger properly, with the trigger centered in the first pad of the first finger. It’s essential you can press the trigger smoothly, since this is critical to shooting accurately. Double action/single action pistols are more difficult to fire accurately under stress because you have to learn two presses. The first press is long and requires plenty of pressure, while subsequent shots require far less pressure. You need sights that you can see, especially under low-light conditions. As you age sights become even more important; at some point you’ll need a big dot sight, like the kind XS makes.

Reliability is mandatory. Period. If your weapon doesn’t function correctly then sell it or put it in the safe and get one that does. Just keep in mind that for it to run it has to have good ammo and quality magazines. Some pistols, especially smaller calibers, are ammo sensitive; find what works and stick with it.

Finally, you have to be able to carry the pistol, which is especially a concern for concealed carry, and you should train/practice with what you carry.

The main point here is if you carry a weapon for self-defense then it has to be the correct weapon for you. And you are an individual, so what works for your friends may not necessarily be right for you. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, as long as it does the job. It may not be a good idea to express your unique approach to life in general when picking a weapon. And when your life depends on what you carry, it won’t really matter much who else carries one just like it.

You may have to go through several pistols until you find the “one.” As I’ve often said, don’t stop until you find the idea pistol, the one that seems like it was made just for you. Finally, don’t be afraid to modify it, if it’s necessary and fills a true need. It takes time and money, but in this case the value far exceeds the actual costs.

Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama, author of The Book of Two Guns, a staff member of several firearms/tactical publications, and an adjunct instructor for the F.B.I. (256) 582-4777

Originally found here


Skill Set: My Pistol Never Malfunctions (Repost)

I found this to be a great article – train as you fight.  But you have to be prepared for malfunctions. They happen all the time – and if you aren’t ready to deal with it and react to it – you’re lost.

At an IDPA match in the last few weeks, we worked in some dummy rounds and I noticed that most people were anticipating a problem instead of correctly reacting to it.  A lot of people complained about it – but I strongly agreed that it was great training.

Skill Set: My Pistol Never Malfunctions

by Tiger McKee

When I hear the statement, “My pistol never malfunctions,” it makes me worried. The problem is your pistol may never malfunction, but the pistol itself is only a part of the whole package. What people often fail to realize is that for the semi-auto pistol to function it has to have ammunition, magazines, and be fired properly by the shooter.

Obviously ammunition is essential to the equation. Your pistol may be in working order, but when you come across a bad round that will create a malfunction, or worse a jam or breakage that can’t be cleared or corrected. I have a collection of rounds with bad primers, fired in multiple weapons to confirm the primer is defective. I have rounds that have deformed cases, a small lip at the mouth of the case that prevents it from being chambered. There is also a 9mm round which was fired in a .40 caliber pistol. Then there’s the ‘too much or too little powder in the case,’ which needs no explanation. The point is when you get a bad round of ammo, you have a malfunction.

Magazines feed to ammo to the semi-auto weapon. They have to work properly, especially if we’re talking about fighting. Things happen to magazines. The follower gets stuck in a cock-eyed position. A small rock gets inside it creating a stoppage. When you were rolling on the round trying to keep from getting kicked in the head, the mag got bent. A bad magazine will create a stoppage. This is the reason I have training/practice mags, which get abused during drills, and my operational mags, which I carry to fight with, after a thorough testing of course.

The semi-auto pistol, at least most of them, are recoil operated, which means it has to have resistance when fired to cycle properly. This is especially true for small pistols with small frames and big bullets. .40 calibers, which have sharp snappy recoil, also require plenty of resistance or you’ll have failures to eject empty cases or problems chambering a fresh round. Providing the resistance necessary for the weapon to function may not be a problem on the range, until you start doing one-hand drills. On the street you may be firing from a compromised position that prevents you from getting a good two-handed grip on the weapon. In a fight, the unusual and unexpected are constantly occurring. This is fertile ground for malfunctions to pop up.

Knowing how to clear malfunctions is essential to being prepared to fight with a weapon. Understanding that you may have a jam or a breakage as opposed to a malfunction is also important. When your weapon breaks or jams, you ain’t gonna clear it during the fight. This is a good reason to carry, and know how to use, a backup weapon. And, who knows, you may find that going to your backup is easier and more efficient than reloading an empty weapon or clearing a malfunction.

If you weapon has never malfunctions, then you’re not training and practicing enough.

Reposted from The Tactical Wire

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