Basic Defensive Pistol Skills

There’s a world of stuff out there on the defensive pistol, suitable ammunition and what works in the various shooting competitions loosely based on its use in that role. I’ve carried a gun for a living for damned near ever and honestly, I never gave it much thought. That is, until a friend posed the following question:

“What is considered acceptable shooter accuracy at self-defense distances… say 7-10 yards?”

It must be mentioned at the outset that you need a certain level of basic skill, familiarity with your pistol/holster and burned-in safety protocols before you attempt these exercises. Start slow and be comfortable with your draw stroke before attempting any live-fire exercises from the holster!

These are good, low round count drills. They won’t make you an IDPA champ but they will get you home, if the defensive use of a pistol is what is required on any given day. Let’s use any standard silhouette target, start close and move back. When I say ‘center mass’ I am referring to the 8 ring of a B27 target..

1. Three rounds center mass from four feet in 3 seconds, strong hand only/retention position; AKA Speed Rock

2. Two to four rounds center mass from inside 5 paces in 2-3 seconds, without sights.

3. Draw the pistol from your normal mode of carry and trigger 2-4 shots into the head of a B27 the instant your sights cross the target. All hits, 5-7 paces 3 seconds tops

4. Three steel plates (one on each end and the middle one) 10 yards, 4 seconds. Balloons, paper bowls etc spaced 3-4 feet apart can substitute.

5. Draw the pistol from your normal mode of carry and trigger 2-4 shots into center mass the instant your sights cross the target. All hits, 12-15 paces, 3-4 seconds tops.

5. Draw the pistol from your normal mode of carry and trigger 2 shots into center mass the instant your sights cross the target. All hits, 25-30 paces, 5 seconds tops.

Optional: Repeat 25 yard stage at 50 yards, you should get solid body hits at least. 

Things to remember-

Most anybody can shoot a pistol well enough to hit another human at 10 paces. After all, that’s what we’re talking about here. Being able to recognize a deadly threat, make the decision to shoot and then shooting another human to the ground.

Your psychological aversion the act must be over-ridden and unless you have been trained to shoot as a conditioned response, the mental and emotional strain may be substantial. That’s why committing your draw, alignment and trigger press to the subconscious is so important.

You have to be good. The other guy only has to be lucky.

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