Hello to all the Survival Blog readers! My name is ‘Shooter,’ and I came across this blog one day looking for information on the novel “Patriots”. Actually, I was hoping to find a sequel, or even a second novel, by Mr. Rawles. Instead, I found a great tool to better prepare for when the oscillating air disruption machine dices the Schumer. I wrote James hoping to have my own blog linked here, and found that he had an interest in what I had to say. My contributions to this site will revolve around tactical handgun training that I have received over the past 10 months in a weekly class called Tactical Tuesday.
I was granted a Concealed Handgun License by the State of Texas last spring. Since that time, I have logged several thousand rounds through my Springfield XD-40 and Kimber Pro-Carry II 1911. Not just shooting static targets, mind you, but engaging in tactical exercises to sharpen my mind and hone my shooting abilities for the unlikely event that I may have to one day defend myself or my loving wife from harm. While these weekly training sessions are geared more for those of us with CCW permits, they also have a place in TEOTWAWKI times, too.
My personal blog is a chronicle of these weekly lessons called Tac Tuesday at the range we shoot at near downtown Houston, Texas. I do not profess to be an instructor, nor do I claim to have any military or LEO training, either. I am merely a student relaying information to others who do not want to be caught with their pants around their ankles when the proverbial ‘balloon’ goes up. These Tac Tuesday classes are made up of students from all walks of life; doctors, lawyers, bankers, ex-green berets, DSS (State Dept. Diplomatic Security Service), IDPA/USPSA Champion shooters, principal dancers for the Houston Ballet, school teachers, students, housewives etc, etc. Our instructor, whom I refer to as Instructor Greg, or IG for short, is also a certified lethal use of force instructor, a Texas CHL instructor, has hunted big game in Rhodesia, worked as a bodyguard in South Africa, was recently with Blackwater in New Orleans, and testifies as an expert witness in self-defense shooting cases. His curriculum vitae is a lot longer, but I am just glossing over some of the juicier parts. IG also owns his own company manufacturing quality Kydex holsters and accessories. He is able to pass on the knowledge he has and the knowledge of others like Paul Howe, Clint Smith, Mas Ayoob, John Farnham and others to make us each a stronger and better fighter in self defense situations.
It is my hope that the articles I provide Survival Blog readers will help you become better shooters and stronger fighters when the time calls for it. I am going to start at the beginning and move through the lessons as I have moved through them. I plan on covering everything from safe/proper gun handling, to basic carbine and shotgun drills, and a plethora of handgun skills.
Since this is my first contribution to Survival Blog, I thought I should start with the “Viking Method.” Instructor Greg has a unique way of injecting wry humor into his lessons and making them fun and enjoyable. “No Sven, it’s Pillage, Plunder, then Burn!” as IG puts it (actually, he says it another way, but I promised to keep it clean for Jim). Very simply put, the Viking Method refers to the proper and safe loading/unloading of semi-auto handguns. This is the technique as it was explained to me:
Clearing a semi-auto handgun:
STEP ONE (PILLAGE): Remove the source of ammunition! First things first, punch the mag release on your semi-auto. However you want to store that magazine is up to you. If it is full, put it in a pocket, or a mag pouch, or even stick it in your waistband. If you know it is empty, or is of no further value, let it fall to the floor. Don’t worry, mags are relatively cheap…more will be made if yours breaks (if yours breaks, you may wanna find a better magazine!).
STEP TWO (PLUNDER): Clear the chamber! First, turn into your weapon and make sure the ejection port is facing down. With your weak hand, wrap it over the back end of the slide and rack it a couple of times to clear the round out of the chamber. Don’t worry about picking up your bullets. They’re cheaper than magazines. I am quite positive they will make more bullets for you. Repeat and lock the action open for visual inspection.
STEP THREE (BURN): With your non-nosepicking finger, physically and then VISUALLY inspect the chamber to insure that the weapon is now clear.
Loading a handgun:
STEP ONE (BURN): Draw your weapon from the holster and point it downrange.
STEP TWO (PLUNDER): With your weak hand, draw a fresh magazine from your mag carrier, pocket, whatever. **NOTE: Your magazines should always be carried “bullets forward.” This way, you can insure that the magazine is facing the right direction when inserting into the pistol.** Bring the gun up and turn it so that you can easily access the mag well. Guide the mag into the gun and insert smartly.
STEP THREE (PILLAGE): Grab the base of the slide with the meaty part of your hand and rack the slide to chamber a round. You may also use the ‘pinch/pull’ method to rack the slide. Condition check the chamber and holster.
That was the very first lesson I learned. In several easy steps, I now know how to handle any handgun placed in front of me. When I walked into the first Tac Tuesday, I thought I knew it all already. What knowledge I had may have been correct in some areas, but this first lesson helped build upon that knowledge base. Another lesson learned is that we have been inundated with rules, rules and more gun rules. I no longer think of safe gun handling as a number of rules to follow, rather, I consider it to be ‘Good Gun Manners.’
The range we work at is considered a “Hot Range.” We are able to carry our weapons holstered in whatever condition we are used to carrying concealed in. This usually means holstered with one in the chamber and configured accordingly. Wherever I am legally able to carry (concealed or otherwise), I practice Good Gun Manners. That means:
-The gun remains holstered at all times unless I have been given permission to shoot. Either certain circumstances or the Range Officer will dictate when it is okay to shoot.
-My finger WILL REMAIN OFF THE TRIGGER UNLESS TWO CONDITIONS ARE MET: My sights are confirmed on target, and it is safe to shoot. You may know this as keeping your finger in register. Also, when they drag you to court for your self-defense shooting trial and play the grainy convenience store security camera footage, you want to prove to the jury that you are not some crazed Rambo wannabe, and you do have a modicum of self control.
-Don’t point the gun at anything or anybody you are not willing to destroy. It’s just plain rude!
-Be cognizant of your specified ‘safe direction.’ That usually means guns remain pointed downrange at all times. Our class operates on a 180 degree rule. If we see the muzzle of the gun move greater than 180 degrees, then that person is done shooting for the day. The real world is 360 degrees, so be aware of a safe direction. Brick walls, televisions, stacks of telephone books all make safe places to point a gun. I use my television when I dry fire practice.
You are probably muttering to yourself right now, “Geez, Shooter, this is stuff we already know. Why not give us some good nuggets of tactical, ninja-suit, cloak and dagger prowess to use?”
I decided to start at the beginning for two reasons. First, to remind myself and the rest of you of the simple basics of safe gun handling. Second, so the new people joining our ranks have something to refer to when they start their firearms training. This article is an added benefit to those leading a retreat group, or those who expect to train their neighbors and friends after the world is unavoidably “schumerized.” Think of it this way, I have given you the syllabus to your first lesson as a firearms instructor post-TEOTWAWKI.
Just remember, though, that practice is the key. As you train yourself and others, repetition and practice will build muscle memory, confidence, and control. These are but the stepping stones to the other lessons I participated in and will share with you. Next time, I will discuss draw techniques.
And before I leave you, I will bestow the final lesson in your syllabus. I did mention there are really no gun rules, just ‘gun manners.’ Well, I lied. There are actually three rules that I live by, and, no, “the gun is always loaded” isn’t one of them. Actually, my guns are ALWAYS LOADED, so that is a statement of fact.
The three gun rules I live by are:
1. Keep your finger off the trigger!
2. Keep your *&$% finger off the trigger!
3. Keep your &*%$ finger off the #$%& trigger!*
*unless sights are confirmed and it is safe to shoot!