Thursday, May 26, 2016

Better Shooting

There really is no "secret" to accurate, rapid shooting.

While there are a few prodigies like Jerry Miculek who can shoot a wheelgun full auto, most of us will never equal this level:

Yet, even non-prodigies can improve and become competent, fast, and accurate shooters through regular, focused, and deliberate practice.

Shooting well (placing bullets exactly where you intend each to go) is a great feeling.

The Basics

The shooting basics are: Grip, Sight Picture, Trigger Manipulation, and Recoil Control.

That's it.

You have to practice each and every component of a successful firing sequence to actually improve the overall outcome.

So -- how do we do that?

First, break the sequence down to the smallest parts:

  1. Draw: The entirety of the motion of seizing the firearm and moving it from carried position to fire position as efficiently as possible, with the least possible chance of unintentional discharge, snag, delay, or fumble.
  2. Grip: A repeatable, firm  and controlled grasp of the firearm so that the muzzle points towards the target, controls recoil, permits an aggressive yet nimble posture, while enabling manipulation of the trigger, safety, and any other mechanisms (lasers, lights).
  3. Position: A body posture that enables a firm grip and sight picture while permitting nimble and rapid movement forward, back, to either side, or down.
  4. Sight picture: The clear alignment of the bore axis with the front sight such that a round will strike the intended target.
  5. Trigger press: The controlled movement of the trigger such that the sight picture is undisturbed throughout the firing cycle (press -- bang -- recoil -- return).
  6. Recovery: The control of the firearm immediately after a shot is fired to enable a second shot on the same target in the shortest time possible.
  7. Rest: A body posture that maintains positive control of the firearm and muzzle alignment while enabling recovery from a firing sequence.

Second, practice each one of those steps.

You do not need to practice each in sequence. For example, you can practice draw one day, focusing on placing your hand on the grip, pulling the firearm form the holster, and moving into firing position.

Don't worry about sight picture, trigger press, recoil -- just practice the draw.

Practice doesn't need to be on the range. in fact it's better if you don't.

The "Secret": Dry Fire

Chris Sajnog, a former US Navy SEAL, considers dry-fire the foundation of better shooting. I heartily recommend his book, How to Shoot Like a Navy SEAL.

Dry fire is an excellent way to practice the basics in a safe, inexpensive, yet ultimately productive way.


Set up targets in the basement or garage.

Make that area a NO AMMO zone.

Clear when you enter, clear BEFORE you pull the trigger.

Work on draw -- SLOWLY -- then position -- SLOWLY.

Hold the position. Work on sight picture. Work the trigger (squeeze, pull, press -- whatever the word du jour is...)

Go back to rest position.

Reset if you're using a striker. DA/SA work on DA pull only this first week.

Recover, then repeat.

STOP when you lose interest or cannot concentrate.

Command yourself to do that 15 minutes every day for at LEAST a week before going back to the range.

Range Time

While it defies every shooter's impulse, limit yourself to a box of ammo (50 rounds) for a few range session.

(If you just blast away you will re-institute bad habits. Do you want to get better or just blast ammo? There is a huge difference in approach!)

Leave the range without judgement. You're not there to hit bullseyes -- you're there to associate your perfect dry fire practice with the full experience (sight, press, bang, move, return to sight).

Then another week of dry fire.

I guarantee improvement (IF you do it).

It worked for me.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

How Should the Church Handle Threats?

I haven't posted as frequently as I've been working on a few long-form posts. One that has absorbed most of my time is an analysis of threats to the church and what churches can -- and should do in response.
A Church

There has been a significant shift in public perception of Christianity, Christian ministry, and churches. Various scandals have tarnished the reputation of an institution once hailed as the bulwark of American civilization.

To an ever-increasing portion of the North American and European populace, church is a club some less-than-enlightened people belong to, with a questionable or even sordid past (few make any distinctions between the crusades, child abuse, religious wars, ethnic cleansing...)

Is this a "hate crime"?
While they may concede some benefits, they just don't get it, and wonder why some people would constrain the rights of others, or insist on certain behaviors, or expect more than tacit assent to deeply troubling assertions ("There's only one way to God?")

Add to this mix an ever-virulent strain of aggressive anti-theism: the New Atheists, satanists, Flying Spaghetti Monster snarks, and technological superiors advocating The Singularity.

Floating inside this Sargasso Sea of muddled thought are a few real whack jobs looking for a cause:

Consider this from Christianity Today:
Amid national debate over gun control reform, new data from church violence researcher Carl Chinn shows that 75 deaths from attacks at faith-based organizations occurred in 2012–a 36 percent increase over the previous year.
Chinn's tally of 135 "deadly force incidents" (DFIs) in 2012 brings the total number of DFIs to 638 since Chinn first began recording them in 1999. Guns were used in 389 (58%) of incidents. According to Chinn's website, the data "includes abductions, attacks, suspicious deaths, suicides and deadly force intervention/protection." Attacks prompted by domestic violence spillover, personal conflict, and robbery account for over half of all reported DFIs.
Oh really?
Did you hear the one about Mohammed, a donkey, and a goat?
Stir in the worldwide call to violent militant Islam, and it doesn't take an intelligence analyst to recognize the problem.

We may think we live in quiet places where bad stuff happens "somewhere else" but there is no such place.

Just ask the residents of King Salmon, AK, Harrisburg, PA, Little Rock, AR, Garland, TX, San Bernadino, CA, Boston, MA, Wichita, KS,  and Toledo, OH.

Uh, Okay. So....?

Such Thoughtful People...
Church members expect churches to be safe places -- an oasis of peace in an otherwise unpredictable and often violent world.

That's a bit of a false hope, as every church has internal tensions and issues due to interpersonal conflicts, resentments, or even doctrinal clashes.

Christian leaders need to acknowledge there are threats to the church that are not merely doctrinal or practical.

Wise leadership cares for the flock by continually assessing potential threats and adequately responding.

Since adequate response must be prepared beforehand, it is essential we talk about this stuff before it happens. Defensive postures are always reactive, and the initiative is held by the attacker.

We need to reduce the time between Assess and Act, and that can only be done through practiced motions that have been been prepared beforehand.

An Army of Benighted Souls... God help us!
The essay is long -- but will be worth it. Please check back!


Note on Jim Jones: By the early 1970s, Jones began deriding traditional Christianity as "fly away religion", rejecting the Bible as being a tool to oppress women and non-whites, and denouncing a "Sky God" who was no God at all. In one sermon, Jones said that, "You're gonna help yourself, or you'll get no help! There's only one hope of glory; that's within you! Nobody's gonna come out of the sky! There's no heaven up there! We'll have to make heaven down here!"

The Assertion that Firearms are designed to kill

A common "talking point" circulating in the "gun control" debate is: "Firearms are designed to kill." I have s...