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Author Topic: Tactical Shooting  (Read 2600 times)


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Tactical Shooting
« on: January 27, 2007, 09:34:23 PM »

Tactical Shooting
By Paul Howe

Selecting a System
If your shooting system will not consistently work in a low-stress, flat range environment, it will not work in a fast-moving street or tactical encounter. The system you select should work in duty gear, concealed carry (undercover) and in tactical gear. If it doesn’t, you’ll waste valuable time and energy changing components to fit your job description. Your ready position (with either pistol or rifle) should be safe and usable in any situation. A low-ready position with the shoulder weapon’s muzzle below your belt line will work and allow maximum visual angle for discrimination purposes.

Think about this, “do you see first or do you shoot first?” The answer is always the same, you must see before you shoot. This practice, (seeing before shooting) will set the stage for proper discrimination, which I’ll discuss in more detail later. For the handgun, I promote one ready shooting position–the high ready. The weapon is kept in tight for retention, enhancing your ability to scan. This position can be used in CQB and in tube targets, such as buses or aircraft. You may carry your weapon at the low ready while in the stack, but when you’re on point or ready to shoot, your pistol should be at high ready.

Adopting a Standard
How many people go into a gym and just throw steel around without a workout plan? Obviously, not many. The same rule applies to shooting. You should have a plan to ensure you’re getting the most from your range time. I generally start out with dry-fire. Yes, even on a flat range. It costs nothing and cultivates good habits. Next, I shoot my standards, 10 basic drills that cover the fundamentals of tactical shooting. My standards require 25 rounds of ammunition to complete. I use a shooting timer and a standard IPSC target to score hits. Anything out of the “A” box is considered a miss. I use a time standard, coupled with an accuracy standard to pass the drill.

After shooting the standards, I note which drills I failed–those are the first drills I work on during my subsequent practice. The use of time/accuracy standards will let you know your strong and weak points in short order. Besides pistol standards, I shoot 10 rifle standards, all starting from the low-ready position. Many of these drills came from John Shaw and Mid-South Institute. I analyzed and modified them to fit what I consider tactical or combat shooting. Originally, these standards were developed for the 1911-style pistol and reloads. You can modify them as you see fit to accommodate your equipment, such as magazine pouches and holsters. They begin with one shot from the ready in one second and move to one shot from the holster in 1.5 seconds. Two shots, six shots, multiple targets, reloads and several other core drills are covered.

Point Shooting or Sighted Fire? Which Works all the Time?
I usually get cornered a couple of times a year by someone asking me at what distance I use my sights. My reply: I use them from 0-300 meters or, as far away as the target is. Routinely, they relay a shooting situation that they were involved in and talk about how many rounds were “lost” during the incident. I won’t knock point shooting, but I will make a few points.

First, I don’t believe you can consistently replicate the stress you will be under in a gunfight on a flat range. Your muscles will be different from the first shot to the last, similar to the difference you feel before or after your weight training workout. All good shooting requires is being consistent and doing the same thing every time. Next, if you practice point shooting and also practice using your sights, you’re using two systems. Remember, we need to use one system that will handle all situations. I believe point shooting requires less mental discipline than using your sights. So when it comes to a high-stress situation, which system will your mind revert to–the easy way or the disciplined way? Unfortunately being human, you’ll probably revert to the easy method, which is point shooting. I don’t think your mind will say, “it’s under 10 yards, so it’s time to use my sights.” You’ll simply revert to one of two systems and generally that will be point shooting.