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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
"Firepower", like "tactical" is one of the most overused terms we run into in this field. To be sure there is a place for massed fire, intelocking fire and suppressive fire in the miliatary field (though that is changing for a great many of our modern deployments).

But in the world of the civilian (cops are civilians too), "firepower" must take on the meaning of a number of effective hits on target. Not laying down a "wall of lead".

Sad to say, most folks never learn of where they speak. They listen to folks who seem to know what they are talking about. They sometimes go to the range and spend a leisurly afternoon informally shooting and come away with the feeling that they "like" this gun or that. That they shoot this gun or that one better is usually based on some slow fire or even bench rest groups. Or on doing a few drills at what they think of as "speed".

This is the stuff disasters are made of. If you want to find the gun that fits your needs then you need to test them under real world conditions and not go about it casually.

A hobby of mine, instigated by the great Jeff Cooper, is to come up with some relevant tests of marksmanship that people can use to find out just what they do best with (whether it is guns or techniques or loads). I find that I have trouble inspiring folks to do this as it takes effort. So I have gotten increasingly simpler as the years pass.

This one is simple. It may be a little too simple in that it almost ignores the slight - but important - degrees of difference in effectiveness inherent in the various cartridges (it is more a class thing)....you could of course add your own "power factoring".

While I first tired one with the weapon holstered (a good idea), I wanted it even simpler for folks who might go the the range and rent guns to compare so this then is the "B" version. and without further boring explanation here it is:


The Firepower IndexB
 

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Aargh! My head's aching! :)

Too complicated for me. I do speed drills from 10 yards, but I mainly just shoot at 6" target dots I've xeroxed. If any get off the dot, I get upset with myself, and I really don't like having any that aren't clustered in a jagged hole in the middle, either.

This is one of the reasons I went back to carrying a 9mm, actually. I found I was able to shoot a lot faster with a 9 than with even a (relatively quick-shooting) .45. (Plus, the ammo's cheaper!) I've worked doing criminal appeals for over a decade now, and I've had a hand in over 100 handgun killing cases - in those I note that most required more than one shot to get the job done. Accordingly, fast and accurate follow-up shots seem important to me.

You know, I've changed my mind about it being too complicated. Now that I've had it in my head for a few minutes, your game seems like a pretty great idea, Jim. It really will give a basis for comparison from range visit to range visit. I'll print out your post and bring it along the next time I head out to the range. Typing paper is cheap, and this looks fun!
 

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Jim,
great idea. I like your different score system for different calibers. I'm always looking for new ideas for our local shooting group.
thanks,
og
 

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Hello all,

There's a tactic I use that diverges from the norm.

It works on varmints. I do not know how well it would work on the two legged variety and don't want to find out.

What this consists of is aiming low. I fire, ride the recoil to where the pistol wants to point next, then fire again. I like a straight, buttonhole look up the target. Please remember that my carry weapon is a Taurus 92 and heavy for its caliber by today's standards. I don't expect this with, say, a Glock 19.

I do however still do the COM speed drills, both aimed and unaimed.

One of my favorite drills is done with an old shirt on a hanger. I take one out, preferable on a windy day, and hang it on a dead tree right in front of the earthen berm that is my backstop. I try to get COM and most times succeed, but if the wind is strong and I'm also moving, things can get interesting, read "revealing." Though I don't use a scoring system for this drill, it gives me a rough idea of where I'm at.

When it comes to the "wall of lead," man, I want it if I'm limited to a handgun. I'm talking, of course, on target. I want firepower and will sacrifice a bit of comfort and a larger bullet to get it in a package which is almost as comfortable and almost as powerful as a .357 or .45. I don't believe there's enough real life difference in a civilian setting between the best rounds anyway.

Jim, I've been using ISPC targets that I've drawn. I will try your method- it looks a bit easier and cheaper. I'm always looking for new drills.

One question on your scoring: Would you count 124gr Black Hills or 125gr Cor
 

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Jim,

Speaking of "Tactics" and "Firepower," I'm takin' this on down to the Tactics Forum. Good "tactical" drills ;) Sir.

Josh <><
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Josh;
The technique you are describing has been given a name by John Farnuhm as "the Zipper".

While I don't agree with it, any time I disagree with John it is with a great deal of respect and a lot of re-thinking.

My reasons are multiple.

1st - I have seen a multitude of hits in the abdomen (one in Memphis was 9 hits with a .40 S&W) which had no effect at all in the space of time that we are interested in. Those shots are largely wasted time unless you happen to hit the spine which just lowers the threat to the ground.

2nd - it is just as easy to practice stacking the pullets right in the same spot as it is to try to gauge just how far apart they will be when trying to fire with the recoil. For example, a bullet that hits 3" higher at 3 yards would strike 9" higher at 9 yards (and may actually miss since recoil seldom comes straight up). Many people who "ride the recoil" simply put the second bullet over the head at even 5 yards.

3rd. - If you practice the right stuff the muzzle does not really rise anyway....at least not in time frame it takes to press the trigger again with normal defense cartridges up to the .45 ACP. Admittedly this is a highly advanced technique and few folks conciously master it but a lot of people learn it through practice by accident....it is called "Post Ignition Push". The only way I know how to achieve it is to go out and practice drills such as this one. All I can give you for encouragement is that doing this for years I can shoot my .45 1911 as fast as I can shoot my .22 Woodsman (but that seems to be the limit as I have to slow down with a 10mm). The resultant groups are not significantly different until you get out past 15 yards. 15 yards is fairly rare for gunfights and they take more time on the sights for good hits anyway.

BTW, one reason I post this is that most folks are surprized when they start doing it regularly. It wont show up at first becauswe you need to try it to build confidence but when our deputies do it you cannot tell the difference in caliber...the .45 shooters are just as fast as the 9mm shooters.

There is a huge difference in DA guns vs SA guns though...the DA guys either waste the first shot (costing themselves 10 points) or they take extra time to get that one off.

In the end it is the man not the gun (though one can certainly make life harder on himself by getting arecane).

Just ramblin'
Happy New Year to all!
Jim
 

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Jim H,

Sir, after being with my current handgun for so long, the DA trigger is nice and smooth. I hit with it.

After it goes into SA mode I view it as a shorter reset. It has caused no practical problems. All critters I've shot with it were hit by all rounds fired. This excludes a dog attack which I hadn't thought to train for. I know I was cutting fur but they were coming in too low and fast to get any sort of bead. I've since modified my training.


When shooting at 25yds and starting off with a double action shot, this is what I personally can achieve, rapid fire. I lost .25" to the DA shot. The "play shots" were point shooting. I switched to a coffee can for that as I didn't want to put any into my group.

Though the traditional DA pistol takes more time to master, it can be done. I've beat people who shoot 1911s by a large margin. I did use the DA first shot.

That said, if I expect immediate use of my pistol (I'm hunting etc), it goes into cocked'n'locked mode.

I do want to thank you for your explaination of the "Zipper Technique." I wasn't sure whether I was the first to come up with it, but neither did I know it had been published and given a name. I will be sure to give due credit to the gentleman in the future.

Thank you again,

Josh <><
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Josh;

You make a point that needs to be added. DA guns are not impossible to master...I personally know quite a few folks who can shoot them really well, Ernie Langdon comes to mind.

I don't pay a lot of attention to competiton but I think I came in like 8th Master, Stock Service Pistol, in the 1998 IDPA National Championship using an unmodified Springfield P-9 and that with the "mother of all malfunctions (a swelled case that took over 30 seconds to clear - completely my fault, I let someone else load my mags for that stage).

It is indeed, as you mention, that they just take more work. The trouble is that most folks will not take enough time to actually "master" any pistol (being able to shoot up to the pistol at speed).

The key to mastering is measuring. Unfortunately modern competion has way too many things going on to use as a "yard stick" so we are left to our own devices. I don't particularly like the IDPA Classifier (way too much unnecessary stuff going on) but note that to make Master takes from 8 to 11% better shooting with the SA guns (depending on whether they are big bores or medium bores) to make the grade. I think that reflects the greater difficulty of DA guns in general.

Odd that this idea - measuring - has been around for over a century and probably was at its best with Ed McGivern.

Very best regards,
Jim
 
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I've tried another way of comparing pistols. This is more of a flash sight/point shoot drill.

I focus on a target at, say, 10 yards. Then close eyes, raise pistol, open eyes, immediately (w/o correcting aim) fire off seven rounds.

Last time I tried this with a 1911, CZ p01 and G17. IIRC I was 10 percent more accurate with the 1911.
 

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Mr Higginbotham-
Thanks for posting that. I've seen you post similar drills elsewhere, but still haven't tried them. I don't have a timer, but I can still "get an idea".

Erich-
Copy it, or write it down, and toss it in your shooting bag. It will be there when you start to shoot next time and serve as a reminder to do it, and provide the instructions to remind you how.

I started a notebook, writing down all the drills that I see here and there, and keep it in my range stuff. I have 40 or 50 pages full. Plenty to choose from.

And I think it's important to do just that.

Practicing the same drill over and over helps do that drill better, but might start to hurt you elsewhere.
If I practice El Presidente's all the time (3 targets, 2 shots each, reload, 2 more shots each), then have to shoot just two targets sometime, it may be a mess.

I'll practice various drills from my notebook, often modifying them to work on areas that I need more practice in. BUT, I have two or three drills that I DON'T practice, but run through now and then to use as a "guage" to see how I'm doing.

Of course, this is all just my opinion, but I can see a difference with me.
 

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If you want to develop better defense skills...IPSC is an interesting sport. Been shooting in it for years. Nothing like getting ready and that timer going buzz in your ear. Don't particularily like IDPA, too many BS restrictions for my taste.
 
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