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Discussion Starter #1
To improve your abilities with your Walther, I thought I would start a short combat training course on this forum for those who are interested.Topics that will be covered:
Point shooting training
Gripping the weapon as a pointer
Front sight shooting skills
Trigger control
Shooting speeds

Point shooting--- The key to success in any combat style is mastering "point shooting". After this technique is learned I move the student into practice programs doing " front sight shooting drills" . The key to firing quickly and putting all your rounds on target---is using the front sight as a "guide". After you are good at the point shooting drills, the front sight is only needed as a guide and there is no need to sight through your sight system.

Practice drills: Get yourself a cheap laser pointer--red is fine and they only cost a few dollars. Now when ever you are watching TV or have a few moments practice "pointing" the laser at small targets in the house. Just fire the laser with a momentary blast and see where you hit. Then quickly take an "adjusting shot" until you hit the small target dead-on. The laser should be in front of you but at "YOUR WAIST". You will be surprised at how close you can get to your target on the first try.

Continue this skill until you are able to hit small targets at will.
You will know you are close to your goal when you only require ONE follow-up shot to hit the target. Your hand- eye coordination will improve greatly with this practice. Choose target distances at least 15 feet away. Choose small targets no larger than 2" diam.

In my next post, I will take this skill you have honed and move it into some " front sight shooting" skills. Once these are learned you will be able to pick up your gun and point at any target ( 5 inch circle ) and hit it at will, from 30 feet away or 10 meters. Pistol "grip" is very important in establishing a good pointing technique and I will also cover that aspect.

Pointing is a natural movement to a human......so we take this natural skill and add the weapon. It works and most are surprised at how accurate they can become in only a few short weeks.

JF
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Pointing shooting stance and grip-

First thing to establish is a good stance and grip to be successful. Address the target by standing at roughly 45 degrees angle to your target. Your weak side will be forward, with your strong side to the back. In the old days, the FBI liked this kind of stance to reduce your body’s silhouette to your adversary. I like it because it focuses and compacts your body into a tight shooting platform. Now thrust your strong hand forward pointing toward the target….bringing your hand eye level. Point at the target with your index finger of your strong hand. Notice that your arm crosses your body ( upper chest) but remains inside your original silhouette. By keeping the shooting arm and weapon in front of your body, you make it more difficult for an adversary to pick up movement. Your shooting arm should be locked out in front of you as you point at the target.
I want you to practice bringing your weak arm ( support ) to the weapon as soon as possible…..so when you reach this strong arm lock out position , the support arm is already in place. You will notice that standing at this angle, the support arm will wind up slightly bent…..this is proper. Do not try to lock out your support arm, as this will make you too stiff. Practice over and over addressing the target in this manner……I want you to pay particular attention to bringing the pointing index finger of your shooting hand up to eye level, while using the support arm to “cup” the shooting hand. Pistol grip will be covered a little later. But you will notice, that your hands and finger are going to be in the same position as if holding a semi-auto handgun in the “safe” position ( with finger outside the trigger guard ) and laying along side the gun’s slide.
This pointing position will become your shooting platform and ALL adjustments of sight alignment to the target will be done by pivoting at the shoulders. At no time will you bend your elbow or wrist to make sight adjustments to the target. This is extremely important in order to maintain the proper pointing alignment we will establish with the proper grip-- described later.
There has been a lot of discussed theories on whether it is faster to bring the weapon up to eye level or to bring your eyes ( by crouching ) down to the gun. For the purpose of learning the basics……we will keep it simple and remain standing….and will bring the weapon from its holstered position up to eye level. I believe that presentation is important…. So the more aggressive you look engaging the target…..the better. So I like to see shooters thrusting their weapons forward aggressively into the locked out pointing position. It might feel or look a little “Hollywood” but trust me it is impressive to watch when combined with that person hitting target after target with blinding speed.

Grip: Most shooters know what to do with their strong hand, but their support hand becomes the problem. Your grip is all important to your accuracy and a consistent grip is paramount. Take your support hand and place all fingers (except the thumb) on top of the 3 fingers of your shooting hand now gripping the weapon. Don’t be tempted to cup the bottom of the weapon with your support hand. Now take your thumb of the support hand and lock it on top of the thumb of the shooting hand. The thumb on this support hand is most important in adjusting the tightness of your grip on the weapon. By pressing downward with this support hand thumb you will notice your grip on the weapon will get firmer. This tighter grip will not come at the cost of squeezing harder with the shooting hand that may cause muscle fatigue and tremors that will effect the trigger finger. If you have a laser attached to your gun, try this method and you will see that you can increase the grip on your weapon without causing an increase in movement of the laser down range.
Next post I will cover establishing the proper sight alignment using the grip and pointing position we just covered. After that, it will just be a matter of placing the front sight on your target and pulling the trigger. With a little practice…….from now on all your shots at 10 meters will be head shots….and you will have no problems hitting those targets

JF
 

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Well said.

I would like to add that I've been taught to bring my support hand over and touch my belly, as my strong hand is going for the gun. Then as the gun is brought up by the strong hand, the support hand follows and starts to grip before your stong arm is out and locked.

By doing so, this does a couple of things. 1) It keeps your support hand out of the way of your handguns muzzle and in a safe place. 2) If you are point shooting, again it keeps your support hand in a safe place and gives you some support. 3) When the gun is brought up by the strong hand, your support hand will follow from behind and under the muzzle of the gun, thus again, keeping it safe from and accident.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Excellent Points ! described by P-88

And I would encourage anyone that see gaps in my posts to jump in and help fill them up.

These ( lessons) by default, must be brief.....so there is plenty that will be left out. It is meant to be a guide and not a detailed shooting lesson, but the more people contribute, the more detail that will be covered.


This is just one of many Techniques that can be learned and one that I have found to be the easiest to pick up quickly.

Next post the all important--"back to front" sight alignement of the weapon in the pointing stance. With this nailed down, you can close your eyes and hit a man sized target at 10 meters. But if your front to back sight alignment is off a tiny 1/8 inch, you may miss the target completely!

JF
 

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Just to add for trigger control practice, take and get a penciel with eraser, and stick it down the barrel. Hold it just a little way from a piece of paper taped to the wall. Now pull the trigger and see the marks you have on the paper. Should help on trigger control.

(Not to not scratch the chambe throw something around the metal part of the eraser untill the penceil fits in but not snuggly.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Front to Back Sight alignment: OK, we have practiced some hand eye coordination with the cheap laser pointer and have established a good pointing stance. We are now using a consistent grip on our weapon. I have been asked why I don’t allow for using your support hand to cup the bottom of the handgun. Well what I have found is that students will eventually allow this point to become a “pivot” point with the weapon….and that is not good for point shooting. Remember, I said, “all target sight adjustments must be done by pivoting at the shoulders”. Allowing students to cup their weapons…….they place more and more weight of the gun on top of their weak hand and during recoil…..they loose the original grip.
Now for some practical exercises: Make SURE your weapons are unloaded when practicing. “ ALWAYS CHECK TWICE” remember & practice this phrase and it will be unlikely that you will have an accidental discharge. Go to where you have your silhouette taped to the wall in your home. What , you say ?? Yes, all of us guys have to convince the wife that we NEED one wall in the house we can mount our Silhouette Target. If your wife is real tidy……just tape the target on the inside of a closet door……….then open that door to gain access to the Bad Guy (BG) when you need him. Install the BG so that the top of its head is 5’ 8” tall from the floor. Now back up about 25 feet away. Take your stance that you have been practicing (hopefully) and “address the target” Notice I didn’t say you had to draw the weapon from a holster. Just thrust the weapon up to eye level and lock out your strong arm…pointing at the BG’s center chest. Let the image of your front sight be your guide to shot placement. Your eyes should be on the target at this point with the front sight slightly blurred. This is "different" from target shooting where the sights are held into sharp focus with the target slightly blurred in the background. You eyes can only focus on objects at a single distance ( roughly speaking) Both eyes are open ( very important—no squinting) Now check the sights carefully. Move the weapon and adjust your grip so that your sight alignment is close to being right on. Now the hard part---practice—practice—practice! You must “install” these mechanics into your brain so that they become a habit. It will be your consistent grip and stance that will allow for a consistent, accurate sight alignment. The image of your front sight will tell your body how and where it has to adjust (pivoting from the shoulders) the shooting platform and it will be your grip and stance that will supply you with the proper sight alignment of the weapon (front to back ).
Those of us that have a laser sight installed on their gun have it easy. I just draw down on my target and squeeze the laser “on” button and I have an immediate feedback on where I would have hit. But you don’t need the laser………..after “locking out” with your eyes on the target and the front sight in your view but slightly blurred………..let your eyes drift back to the rear sights to see if you are in alignment. I do this exercise “everyday”…….but only for a few minutes.
Now its time for the Range. Buy a man sized silhouette target. Take a magic marker with you. Set it up down range 25 feet away but turn the target FACING AWAY FROM YOU. YEP………..all I want to see is the plain white paper facing you. Draw a solid black 2” circle in what would be the center of the BG’s chest. Now all shots will be visible to you instantly , so you can take that all important follow-up shot. That should tell you that you will be shooting 2 shots at a time. Each time you will start with the weapon at your side pointing in a safe direction. You will be amazed at how accurate that second shot will be, once your brain has some visual feedback on the location of the first. Plain masking tape can be used to patch bullet holes and restore the target.
Fire NO faster than one round a second, speed is not important at this point. We will cover “shooting speed” and trigger control next time. After you get comfortable with this exercise , you will fire a 2-1 sequence. This will be two shots to the chest and then adjust upward ( shoulder pivot) to fire one shot to the head. Because your brain has your hand eye location in space from the first two shots…..hits to the head will be surprisingly easy. Check it out and let us know?? This of course assumes good trigger control, coupled with the proper firing speed. This we will cover next. Good luck to all of you trying this method. Share you success or failures with us. JF
 

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I just joined an IDPA chapter but don't know the basics of handgun control and practice so dry fire practice is very important for me now. Good timing! Which books are recommended for more extensive instruction and tips? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Stunks,

Thanks for the encouragement.........it helps to know someone is getting some benefit.



Onebigcubano,
There are of course many good books out there.......but I am embarrassed to admit I can't think of any right now. Most, if not all, that I have learned about firearms handling have come from extensive training with the United States Secret Service where I was certified as a firearms instructor and spending 10 years working on a Tactical and SWAT team with a local law enforcement. So there is quite a bit of "street" knowledge. I also ran a Sniper's School for a year teaching local, federal, and Military agencies the art of Urban Warfare with a sniper's rifle.
The key is not to get hung up on one technique or one book........read as many as you can and choose the shooting style that best suits your needs and likes.

Go slow ---avoid bad habits in the beginning......dirty Harry was not invented in a Day ( smile).

Most importantly---have fun

If interest continues, I will add more shooting tips after covering trigger control. I am limited to what I can share , because on an open forum I have no idea who might be picking up the tips.


JF.
 

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sniper... no books come to mind, you say? Hmmm... good experience, etc... a willingness to pass on information... Sounds to me like a book could be forming. Ever think about it?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Cminohio,
Thanks for the thoughts !......... Actually I am writing a book-- but not on firearms training....it is a book containing short stories of many of my more desperate SWAT operations.

I never felt firearems training was something that could be taught or learned from a book to the high level or techanical degree that I would require of a student. Much of the training "should" be done under high stress levels that are typically introduced by the instructor ( live and in person) and hard to get from reading a book. After all, this is the same environment you will find yourself should you need to protect your family or save your life. We already know under extreme stress...the human will react out of habits-- either learned or instinctual. So you want the firearms training to be as close as possible to the "real life" high stress situations. This is the difference between punching holes in paper at the Range and in a gun battle to save your life.

Many tricks of the trade are used to accomplish this, such as the Secret Service would require us to run 1/2 mile to the Simulated "City street" practice range and then immediately begin the course. Your heart would be pounding and your breathing----well, you get the picture. I will often use voice commands to place added stress on a student and it is helpful to have people watching ( students don't want to fail while being watched by others).

To better explain what I am talking about, I can give you a real life situation that happened to me. I had purchased this new tacical flashlight and had been using it for about 3 months -NO problems. The operating switch was kind of different than the ordinary flashlight( it had a lock out mode). One night, there was an extemely high stress situation that arose in my neighborhood and for the life of me I COULD NOT operate that flashlight. It was worthless to me as I fiddled with it for several minutes in the dark. Of course, after the emergency had passed, I could easily figure out how to turn the light on.
This proved to me that no one is immune to the effects of stress.

If you are serious about self defense with handguns.......(I don't care how good you are with your weapon punching paper) join a group ( competition shooting) or take some classes where others can place some real stress on you as you shoot----you won't regret the experience.

JF
 

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There are so many books/internet forums/magazines/classes available, with so many proclaimed experts, it is difficult as a new shooter to determine what is reliable information that can be trusted.

This is a lower traffic forum (vs. glocktalk for example) but keep it coming! Teaching is the core of any discipline.
 

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sniper, I agree... I've already signed up for some tactical stuff locally. It just seemed like you had good info to start with... maybe mix it in with your anecdotal stories.

Fine motor skills go out the door quickly under stress, like using the switch on a flashlight!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Trigger Control:  A very important part of being accurate with any handgun is controlling the trigger and grip. Your grip should remain consistent from shot to shot. I have already described how I wanted you to control grip tightness, by using the support hand thumb. Now the reason why…… allowing your support hand to control the firmness of your grip allows the strong hand and trigger finger to concentrate on one task and one task only…..discharging the weapon in a controlled manner. The method I have described allows for a firm grip without imparting a lot of muscle fatigue into your hand controlling the trigger finger.

Trigger finger placement:The trigger finger should remain along side the slide until you are ready to fire the weapon, especially guns set in the SA mode.  Unlike target shooting where I was taught to use the first finger pad ( nearest the finger tip) to “pull” the trigger rearward------combat shooting requires a more “determined” grip and placement. I like to place as much trigger finger around the trigger as is comfortable. I find that using this method allows for the trigger to be actually “squeezed” until discharge…..instead of being pulled rearward like with target shooting. I think this helps prevent “jerking of the trigger” in the stressful use of the weapon because you are in effect squeezing the weapon tighter with your strong hand to make it go bang, instead of pulling back on something. If you are being shot at , your first reaction will be to squeeze whatever you are holding tighter. I call this my death grip on my weapon. So why not have this “natural” reaction work for you and help make the gun go bang. This works best on semi-auto’s in the SA mode. Shooters with the QA model may have to allow for some more play in the trigger finger placement in order to achieve the necessary trigger stroke. This method does NOT allow for blazing fast trigger pulls…..but I never thought that was very necessary in winning a gun fight. Putting rounds on the target first……….has better results-------than putting a lot of rounds down range with a few hitting your target. I would rather see you hit your target 4 straight times during a controlled firing speed………than firing 8 rds fast with some missing and some hitting.
                     When deadly force is authorized:
While we are talking about hitting the target, don’t be mislead about some of the silhouette ( man sized ) targets you can buy. Find the area to the bottom of the human Sternum…….and cut off anything below that area. Hits to the stomach and below are worthless and will get you dead. Liver, lungs, and heart are what you need to concentrate your fire on……..and “any hit” to the face and head will provide you with a tremendous advantage. I cut about 4 inches off the bottom of the standard  Thompson Target Center Fire Defender #645 CF . Get in the habit of aiming high---the upper torso pays off better dividends that any hits low ( generally speaking).

During practice I would like to have you fire at the rate of saying One “and” two “and” three etc.  while having the weapon discharge on the numbers. Actually repeat this cadence to yourself while firing. Accuracy and smoothness- are what we are after during this part of training…….later you can speed things up as the training becomes habitual.  

In an actual gunfight, you won’t remember trigger pulls, so it is important that you get it right at this point and make that action a desired learned habit. The whole process of point shooting or front sight shooting should be a natural extension TO your arms and body. You will be focused on the threat, with the front sight as your guide…….and when it comes time to stop the threat to your life……you will need only think “ stop him now” and your body and training will do all the rest.

If there is interest or questions…….. I will be glad to add more tips to the thread we have established. I want to thank those that have added some input to what has been written.
Practice as often as you can…….. I tell people if they can’t shoot at least once a month(50 rounds) with their home defense weapon…then don’t buy one. I feel that is the minimum amount of time you should spend learning to defend your family or yourself.

PS: I have a  130lb “Fire-safe”  ( Brinks -Digital entry) in the corner of my bedroom. I can gain access to my loaded Walther in 7 seconds in the dark ( lighted keypad). Burglars are not likely to carry off the safe( and my weapon ) during a break-in and I have access to the weapon when I need it. A must have around kids. Purchased for $149 at BJ’s wholesale club. Will protect paper contents for ONE hour at 1700 degrees F. Owning a weapon should make your home safer—not more dangerous.

JF
 

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Sniper350
I have really enjoyed reading your stuff. Look forward to more in the future. I do have a question that you maybe able to answer due to your background. Can you tell me what is " Israeli Tactical Shooting?" I found only one video on this subject but it did not cover as much as what I would have liked. A local range here in town is offering a weekend class on this style of shooting offered by a retired US Army CID officer. Is there anything that you might tell me about this style or where I might find some info?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Jake,


Well, actually………..what I know about  Israeli  Tactical Shooting….is that it is a form of what I was trying to teach in my posts to this forum…..namely POINT SHOOTING.

Like the martial arts……. Methods or “types” of shooting methods are many…….but the basics usually remain the same. Each instructor may tailor his approach to self defense shooting to fit the situation he thinks his students will most likely encounter. He may then give his technique a name in order to “sell” his/her ideas. There is nothing at all wrong with this……..

Point shooting is a method that I find works well for the professional shooter as well as the novice. It relies on natural movements of the human body and tries to make shooting a natural extension of your body. By following a few simple techniques and adding a large does of practice….you can become quite deadly at close combat ranges.
I would not expect my students to take shots out pass 30 feet or so……..so this is an up close and personal form of shooting. These distances would IMHO fall well within what you may find in a home defense situation.

Other techniques that can be learned are better suited for longer engagements, where accuracy is more of an issue than firing “fast and first”!

I would encourage you to join classes with other students………..the competition and higher stress levels are good for your shooting education. Some classes may become “more of the same” but you can always walk away learning one small thing you didn’t know before……..and I think that makes it all worth the effort as well as the added practice. There is no substitution to getting out there and making the gun go “bang”

As far as more info.---- search for info. on point shooting. Maybe I could add some more detail to what I have wriiten in this thread, but there didn't seem to be much interest?

I hope this helps……….. If I can be of further help ..let me know?

JF
 

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This is outstanding information. Please keep up the tutorial sessions. I'm about to take my wife out to the range and introduce her to the P99 40 cal. and these techniques are excellent.
 

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sniper350,

I love this thread. I haven't started doing everything that you have written yet, but I have adopted your grip and your stance. So, here is a question: How should I modify your grip to accomodate pistols where their is not room for the pinky on the grip? Specifically I have taken to carrying my Kahr PM-9 most days.
 

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Hello sniper350,

Would you mind if I copy and paste your lessons on other forums?
Btw, I've been a member of the "Just grab the darn thing and shoot" club for awhile now.
I love controlled common sense.
 
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