Dave Buchannon – Developing Muscle Memory.

You are walking down a busy city sidewalk when the world falls apart about 50 yards in front of you.  A sound like dozens of firecrackers going off causes dozens of pedestrians in front of you to part like the Red Sea.  A man with a large pistol in his hand is running down the sidewalk directly toward you.  You are armed.  As the bad guy approaches, he raises his pistol toward you.  What do you do?

buckyYou’re armed.  So what?  Can you put your hand on your gun safely? Quickly?  Do you know how to do it without looking or fumbling with your clothing, pocketbook, backpack, or wherever you’ve chosen to carry?  If you’re carrying a pistol, are you certain about how it’s loaded… is there ‘one in the pipe’ or do you need to ‘rack the slide?’  Where’s your extra ammo?

That’s a lot of questions, but if you require more than a split-second to answer them, you need to put the gun back in the safe.  I don’t mean to be rude, but you shouldn’t be carrying a tool capable of killing someone until you are solidly proficient in the most basic techniques, first and foremost is how to draw and present your weapon… safely.

Police officers learn to put their hands on their weapons, draw them safely, and move into any number of “ready” positions without taking their eyes off the threat or direction of movement.  Cops can’t hesitate or fumble around because even a half-second delay could result in serious injury or worse, mishandling might cause an accidental discharge.  They learn the same way you or I do, by practicing their “draw” over and over again.

Once upon a time I golfed every week, and even took a lesson or two to improve my barely mediocre game.  The lessons didn’t make me a better golfer, but they taught me that the average person needs 1,000 repetitions of a new movement to develop effective muscle memory.  So it’s reasonable to expect you’d need to practice your draw at least a thousand times before you no longer have to think about it.  Keep that in mind.

Begin with the unloaded gun you intend on carrying and the holster that’s most comfortable (most of us have more than one).  Did I say the gun must be unloaded?  You really only want to do this with a gun that is unloaded.  Have another person check to make sure the gun is unloaded.  Get the point?  Are you sure?  Good. If you live in an apartment, please find someplace else to practice this drill.

There are three rules:  the gun must always be unloaded, even though the gun is unloaded your finger must never touch the trigger, and there must never be anything between you and the ‘target’ or anywhere behind it.

First: place the unloaded gun in the holster and put it on.  Find a ‘target’ with no living things behind it – mine is a light switch that I particularly hate that’s on a wall with an acre or two of woods behind it.  Second: move any garments aside and put your hand on the gun, establishing a good, firm grip.  Third: draw the gun out of the holster and point it at the target (remember, no finger on the trigger).  Fourth: put the gun back in the holster and remove your hand.  Fifth: repeat for at least five minutes.

As you build repetitions with this drill you will quickly get to the point where you no longer need to look at the gun to draw it from the holster.  In short order you’ll get to the point where you won’t need to look it back into the holster.  In fact, try keeping your eye on the target – that’s what police officers are taught.

Keep going, and keep count.  By the time you get to 1,000 repetitions you’ll feel comfortable enough to begin safely carrying your gun outside the home if you so desire.

 

 

 

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Dave Buchannon – Guns And The Media.

I hate to be the one to break the news to you… but everything you see about guns on television, in movies, and video games is a lie.  EVERYTHING!

gun moviesTelevision and movie stories are born in the writer’s mind and are designed to spin a tale that compels you to buy a ticket or stay-tuned to see the commercials.  Actors portray the story on the screen.  Rarely do the writers or actors have any experience with guns, the military, or police work – other than getting a ticket or being arrested.  So, how DO they get it wrong?

Empty Holster Syndrome

Pick any police show on TV in the last ten years.  Every time the good cop shoots the bad guy, the cop gets back in the car and goes right back to work chasing other bad guys while someone else cleans up the mess.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The real-life cop is met by the first responding supervisor who takes the cop’s gun away and leaving him standing there, all alone, with an empty holster.  The location of the incident is now a crime scene and the officer is the suspect in an investigation that may take several months to conclude.  Every police department, large or small, has written procedures for dealing with use of deadly force and none of them involve putting the officer involved back on the street the same day.  The State Police, District Attorney’s office, maybe even the U.S. Attorney and private consulting firms will take at least a month to review every aspect of a decision the cop made in a split second, all while the cop on administrative leave.  Oh, and the scripts conveniently leave out the part about the cop having to hire a lawyer to protect his house, savings, and retirement from the wrongful death lawsuit that is guaranteed to be brought by the deceased’s family.

I’ve never met a cop that went to work hoping to shoot someone – they are weeded out in the psych exams.  Most are men and women wanting to do a job they consider valuable, and who hope to just go home safely at the end of their shift.

Rules of Engagement

TV and movie “soldiers” fast rope from helicopters into impossibly dangerous situations where they always shoot the enemy before the bad guy gets off a shot.  Then the heroes silently enter a building to kill all the other bad guys without hurting the hostages.  Every mission is a success and the stars come home secret heroes because, of course, their missions are top secret.

Reality is quite different.  Soldiers follow ”Rules of Engagement” defining when force may be used.  They must be defending themselves or innocents before firing on the enemy and in some cases “lawyers” make the call while watching a mission unfold on a drone feed.  Many veterans who’ve engaged in close quarters battle are deeply affected and will carry those emotional scars for life.

 So, if you are thinking about carrying a gun for personal protection don’t use TV or movie examples as your model.  You also need to need to wrap your head around what happens if, God forbid, you are ever forced to use it.  I’ve known six police officers who had to use deadly force to save their own or other’s lives.  All were very deeply affected, they became Police Academy instructors so others could learn from their experience and learn how to effectively deal with the aftermath.

In a deadly force incident everyone loses, and you’ll never see THAT on TV or in a movie.