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As I move towards my CHL and prepare to start carrying a handgun on a regular basis, the need for intensive, proper training, has arisen.

We have a few threads at the top of this forum started by our friend Anthony, who points out the basics of marksmanship and safety. Obviously, these are well established as THE focal points of begining your handgun training.

Fortunately, I have those down. So, I need to move to more advanced training. Let me elaborate on the state of training I do have. I can draw a weapon, aim, and fire on a stationary target. That's about it, I've practiced some with airsoft over the years to have some experience in moving and shooting, etc. but not enough to be truly effective.

So, keeping in mind we're discussing novice defensive handgunner, where does one start with their training? What types of classes are most effective and, the big caveat, affordable? Many new to defensive handgunning, simply can NOT afford expensive training, like found at the esteemed academies. What training do we feel, besides safety, markmanship, and CHL classes, are necessary?

In essence, I would like to hear what foundations should be setup and what skills should be advanced.

-Rob
 

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Hi Rob,

I wanted to respond to your thread not because I have attended any of the "shooting schools" or clinics, but because the next evolution in your shooting skills will most likely come from match competition.

Not knowing where you live and what resources are available, I might suggest that you consider joining a shooting range or facility that offers some sort of match competition so that you can further learn to shoot while moving, drawing and speed sight alignment, shooting from behind cover, practice reloading at speed and ect. Bowling pin and steel plate matches are especially both great practice and a lot of fun because they have targets that "react" to being shot at!

This is just a suggestion, but it was one of the ways I recieved "more and less" reality based shooting skill development.

Some folks may disagree, but it is much more exciting than shooting at a "static" target.

Chris
 
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Yep while professional instruction is great it is hard to have live fire practice for most people constrained to public ranges, Seak out some IDPA, or IPSC type matches, it'll build a lot of skills, just dont get caught up in the tactics, take it for what it is but you will gain experience and confidence as well as discover bugs in your equipment. Then save your nickles for a realy high rated school.
 

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Someone back from Iraq said stopping a hostile with the issued Beretta 9mms was a myth, even when shooting the whole 15rd magazine. When they could get a 1911 45 that's what they wanted for carry.
But then he said their training was "2 to the chest and 1 to the head" and anyone that couldn't hit a bowling pin at 7 yds had to go back for more practice.
Sounds like bowling pins might be excellent for defensive practice. Like Chris said they are fun too!
FWIW,
og
 

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Hi OG,

We keep a couple of pins hanging from the fence on the family farm to plink at.

Saves walking....

Chris
 

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bowling pins can certainly be instructive - and embarrasing at times. They can also illustrate that "power" in handguns is an illusison - considering that they weigh about 1/50th what the typical thug might weigh.

However, don't put all your training eggs in one basket. Bowling pins can (like other reactives) can cause you to start shifting your focus immediately to the target...something you don't have to do with a human predator since they are big enough to see when you are not focused on them and if they are still there you need to be shooting. Only rarely would you be able to spot the exact location of your hit(s).

Also take care what you do on the range. Do not inadvertently practice getting killed by administratively loading/unloading/reloading. Do not practice the draw while standing still (except when learning the rudiments which you seem to have already acomplished).

learn to trust your flash sight picture, trigger control, recovery and follow through by firing rapid fire strings on paper (or painted steel) at realistic ranges at realistic speeds and learn that "center mass" is certainly NOT good enough to save your live. Keep them in a hand sized group in the center of the sternum.

I now call a reasonable marksmanship standard the "rule of 5s":

5 yards, 5 inch group, 5 shots in 5/5ths of a second (OK that's 1 second but it worked out for the "fives" that way
). (no the draw and reaction time is not included).

Dont get discouraged if you cant do the 1 second thing. 2 seconds is acceptable (but needs improvment) and 1.5 is not bad. We will not quibble after reaching 1.25.

Jim
 

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IMO training is not an expense but an investment. Practicing poor technique gets you nowhere. If you are serious about carrying, find a way to get as much training, and the best training, that you can. If you aren't serious, perhaps you should rethink the whole business. Skimp on the hardware if you must economize. A good man with a stock pistol is better than a hack with the best piece money can buy. A couple of years ago I took the basic pistol course at Gunsite. It was the best instruction in any subject I have ever experienced -- and I know a bit about teaching. I learned more in that week than I could have learned in five years on my own. It was the whole nine yards, from attitude to technique, with lots of range time, including two indoor 'fun house' sessions and one outdoor problem. Expensive? Less than many of the better pistols on the market. Value? As they say in the Mastercard ad, priceless. Unfortunately, when you finally realize that you really needed the training, it may be too late.
 

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Hangfire;
Well said! I agree with everything you said except one thing: Practicing poor technique does not get you "nowhere" it makes you less likely to survive.

Or put another way; If you practice getting killed you can get really proficient at getting killed - but it usually only happens once :-/

Jim H.
 

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Hello,
Weighing into this thread rather late. I'm Navy (23 years) and have had fairly standard military smallarms training. Earned expert in both pistol and rifle; however, that was at the range punching paper targets. I never until lately had a sense of whether I could perform tactically. Fortunately, even after a recent tour in Iraq, I haven't had to find out the hard way.
After getting a CCW recently, I decided to get some practical training. Took the basic one-day pistol course at Blackwater, which turned out to be pretty damn down and dirty - not a lot of classroom and an awful lot of range. I brought a Hi-power and, fortunately, one of the instructors who was a 1911 single action guy, adopted me for some personal training (everyone else there had Glocks). He taught me to "ride" the strong side safety with my thumb, something I never would have thought of, even though that frequently meant I "rode" the slide stop which meant the slide wouldn't lock after the last round). Started out okay (just as I do the at the paper punching range) but after burning through nearly a thousand rounds, I was jerking the trigger so bad (rounds dropping left and low), I couldn't hit a plate at 10 yards. I left pretty pissed off (training overload), but took to heart the basic lessons they taught and applied them throughout the next year. The primary mantra was "front sight focus and...squeeze".
And, after a year, I've been hitting plates at 25 yards consistently and effortlessly at my outdoor range. I'm not pimping necessarily for Blackwater, but I'm sure that $200 basic pistol course resulted in an order of magnitude improvement in my practical shooting skills. I still believe I "suck" compared to those I believe truly proficient (e.g. LEO and SEALs), but am much more confident to deal with what I can reasonably expect to encounter day to day.
That being said, I'm taking a shotgun "practical" course at Blackwater next. That's my primary firearm at home, and I want to see how bad I suck (which I presume I do) under relatively realistic circumstances. I wonder if a shotgun gives shooters false confidence, and I want to find out if I have that particular problem....
 

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Chiming in: I spent lots of time waiting for military weapons training to kick in both Army and Marine (which was better). I went to the state LE academy as well. Pretty much all of this was aimed at QUALIFICATION and not at anything else. You really need to get good instruction. After my complete term of military service, I went to Thunder Ranch. Cost me about two fine firearms worth including tuition, ammo, living expenses, transportation and booty ($3000). Worth every penny! I would love to have gone to Gunsite when the Colonel was there but it would have added lots of time and bucks to the cost (I don't think he was there at the time). Clint and his staff (Jack especially) cured me of many of my bad habits ingrained over thirty years of military/LE and competition experience.

There are lots of them now and some are better than others. Spend the money Man! By the way Sailor, I would also like to take the shotgun course in Moyock!
 

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+1 to Hangfire, Higginbotham, and oberstlt (or is that +3?). Go get some decent training from a known source. I picked John Farnam (actually did my basic pistol training with his wife, Vickie), and it was outstanding -- and not so expensive compared to what I saw elsewhere. $400 plus $20 range fee in Victoria Texas. I wrote up my experience almost exactly a year ago this past weekend, and guess what-- I went back again this past weekend for the advanced pistol course, along with some rifle and shotgun work. As soon as I finish this post, I'll put in the link to last year's write up, and as soon as I do one for this past weekend, I'll add that link here also.

It is very difficult to learn a new skill by yourself, you just can't see everything that you are doing with objective eyes. Having a coach who has a coherent understanding of the subject and the teaching skills to go with it will advance you faster than anything else. Then go do some competition shooting for practice.

Best wishes.

elb

p.s.

Here's a link to my description of Farnam's basic handgun defensive course I took last year:

http://handgunsandammo.proboards36.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=tactics&thread=1141714697&page=1

elb
 

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A sure as I start listing good traininers, I would leave somebody out who was just as good so I avoid making lists.

That said, John Farnam is certianly one of the best out there!

Jim H.
 
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