Outdoors Column: Defensive Shooting

I have used and shot pistols and revolvers for most of my life. I was always under the assumption that the average handgun is about as accurate as throwing rocks. I am not very accurate at throwing rocks, so my thoughts were a handgun’s use was very limited. Though I have had a concealed weapons permit for many years, I usually do not carry a weapon on my person. The only handgun I knew was accurate enough to be useful was my .45 Colt Contender. It is quite large, equating it to a concealed weapon as putting a cantaloupe under a person’s jacket and calling it a concealed vegetable. It might be covered but still fairly obvious. I have other pistols that I rarely carried because I did not feel comfortable in their use and accuracy.

This all changed last week. On vacation to visit my son in Houston, he suggested I take a defensive shooting class. He has been taking classes for several months and found them to be both educational and enjoyable. He thought I might pick up a few tips from one afternoon of shooting that would improve my skills. I could not believe the change it made.

In shooting a .45 or 9 mm, my first shot was almost always low and to the left. I thought this must be the fault of the guns since I always hit in the same place. I found out I was beginning to lower my pistol as soon as I shot to see where I hit. This was dropping my bullet down and to the left. At twenty-five feet, I could hit a target the size of a dinner plate with the first shot but the second shot in rapid fire was always someplace else. Gripping the pistol correctly brought the control needed for accuracy. I can now rapid fire two shots each at two different targets and cover the holes with silver dollars. I was shocked at how rapidly my accuracy improved in one rather intense lesson by doing a few simple things the way they should be done rather than the way I had been doing them for years.

My son, who has been taking this course for several months, can place shots on top of each other in multiple targets while moving. A handgun can be an accurate and useful tool when a person is trained properly.

Over the last few years, many people have become first time gun owners. I would recommend anyone that is not proficient at shooting to take a defensive shooting course. It is easier to learn to shoot correctly than to unlearn things a person has done incorrectly for years. Shooting correctly will save a person a lot of money in buying ammunition for practice when the practice is done with the right technique. Using a handgun correctly can also save a life.

When traveling back from our visit, my wife and I were waiting in the Houston airport. Thousands of people from all over the world passed by. We were feeling very vulnerable, not being accustomed to being totally unarmed. I did not even have a pocket knife. A few days later, what we had been concerned about, happened in Florida. One lunatic can take out a lot of people when nobody else in armed. I feel much more comfortable with a few armed and skilled individuals around that are willing to protect themselves and others rather than only the bad guys having guns.