Why You Can’t Hit $h&% With Your Handgun
By Richard Bogath
It seems that I am developing a little reputation amongst readers of the law enforcement persuasion who are sick of my endless prattling on about how awful cops are at shooting their guns. While I have stated time and again that I am 100% pro-cop, it seems that my hangup on this issue supersedes my affirmations and has caused some to ignore that fact and offer me sustained Bronx cheers.
To those I say… sorry, but prove me wrong.
Importance of Proper Firearm Training
If we cannot have the expectation that our law enforcement officers will receive proper firearm training and practice with their firearms, imagine, if you will, he attitude of the common handgun owner. As an instructor and one who instructs from a classroom setting at the back of a gun shop, I have seen the entire process from the arrival of John Q. Citizen, to the perusal of the gun counter, to the selection process (“THAT one looks cool!”), to the purchase (“Yeah, gimme fifty rounds with that…nah, I don’t need no cleaning kit. Wha kinda bullets does this take?”) to my intervention, where I state that I can help teach this new gun owner to safely and efficiently handle this firearm. The usual reply? “Nah, I just spent $450 on this gun. I cant afford no class now.” Scary. Truly terrifying.
So do we then have the nerve to be surprised in any way, shape or form, that most handgun owners cannot hit a damn thing when it comes to firing that gun? If our own police departments are woefully and ineptly undertrained to the point where their qualification targets are actually moved closer to the shooter so that more of them could qualify, rather than train the officers to shoot better, is frankly nauseating.
I see shooters out there at the range—blasting away at paper and cardboard—shots zipping this way and that, some miraculously striking the target, others haphazardly cleaving their way downrange and thumping into the berm, missing the target completely. The faces of the shooters are usually mixtures of delight and embarrassment. Sometimes the embarrassment becomes frustration, at which time the shooter then packs it all in and goes home rather than face the facts and really start to learn what he or she is doing wrong.
Take A Class
The most frustrating fact is that all their mistakes are usually so easily fixed with training and overcome with practice. Classic signs of jerkng the trigger, limp wristing, misaligned sights, etc, etc, etc… Everything I teach how and why NOT to do during a one day class. But sadly, so many pass by, confident in their ability to point and shoot and blindly accepting that there’s nothing more to it than that.
I can confidently place multiple bullets into an eight inch ring at fifty yards while shooting with one hand (you read that correctly, I am a bullseye shooter). The ONLY reason I can do that is because I train and practice all the time—easily 4-5 times a week either with real ammo or with just dry-firing. I did not achieve this level of skill by reading gun magazines or watching Sportsmen channel. When I heed the advice of others, I take that advice and develop it into a technique that will work for me—not for them.
You become a better shooter by shooting, training, practicing. Find a class here.
What’s the difference?
Firearm training is the act of learning. It’s the quest for knowledge and ability that comes from firing drills that are designed to build technique. These developing techniques allow you to refine the skills that you have or develop new ones. Firearm training is done with live ammo in a range setting.
Practicing with your handgun can be on or off the range, either with live ammo or dry firing only. You are practicing the techniques in a controlled setting, not looking to develop new skills, but only to embroil the existing ones into your unconscious mind so that performing the skill will come naturally and as part of your muscle memory when picking up the gun. This is not a fast or easy set of skills (no matter what) to master and will take time—lots of it.
Let’s just call “shooting”; “having fun at the range”. You’re not settling back on old bad habits but at the same time you’re not punishing yourself if you’re making little mistakes here and there. Fun helps build accuracy through play. You want to be a little more serious than plinking with the kids, but still keep it enjoyable and lift some of the frustrations that can come with this kind of skill building.
There’s no reason or excuse for being an awful shot with your handgun so long as you are looking to put in the work, the time and the patience necessary to improve. Get real firearm training and not just a bunch of videos online or tv shows. Keep yourself and others safer by shooting accurately and hit $h&% with your handgun.