This tag is associated with 8 posts

Press Check, Much?

(from TFB, in part)

Rebuttal: “The Folly of the‘Press Check’”

Browsing through the interwebs as we writers do, I came across an interesting proposition from one Mr. Jeff Gonzales that the “press check” is not appropriate for …”when you strap a firearm onto your body (unless the instructor specifically asks you to use an unloaded pistol or rifle).”

I disagree. I’m no Navy SEAL like Mr. Gonzales, but this assertion fails my logical tests.

Unlike rifles where it is easy in an administrative situation to see the double-stack magazine change sides, most handguns are single-feed weapons and as such, it is near impossible to tell that the weapon is loaded without one of two things – a loaded chamber indicator (this is why I like them) or a press check. Press checks are ideal for administrative times – exactly when you are strapping a firearm to one’s body. In fact, administrative handling is the one time you should be handling a firearm unless drawing to fire or de-gun.

Should one press check in the middle of combat? I would assert the situation dictates it – but it’s likely a hard no in almost all circumstances. But, in an admin function why would one not want to verify their readiness? More on this below.

Mr. Gonzales continues:

 “Why do students want to perform a weapons check? Because we as instructors have failed. We’ve failed to encourage and empower students to understand the importance of readiness.”

Now, I will say that Mr. Gonzales is quite right on his points on willingness, attitude, and readiness, but readiness includes having the weapon ready to perform and if one does not have a loaded chamber indicator – the only way to do that is to press check the gun.

We want to perform a weapons check because we are learned and empowered to actually understand that malfunctions happen. I am checking to make sure that the most critical shot – my first one – has the highest chances of success.

I instruct my students on the importance of handling themselves responsibly with loaded firearms as soon as they can handle their gun safely.

There is nothing worse than drawing your firearm, aiming it at your attacker and hearing a click. To reduce the odds of that happening, start as you mean to finish.

There is absolutely no logical argument here. How is a press check not handling oneself responsibly so long as the firearms safety rules are followed? Then, to imply that BECAUSE one did the press check that they are going to draw a dead trigger is nuts. Do it right – ensure your weapon is in battery and in fact one of the key points of the earlier argument of readiness.

If you feel the need to press check your firearm, you need to ask yourself why. And do whatever it takes to be confident in yourself and your gun’s condition. So that you’re as ready as you can be to fight. And win.

This is a flat-out oxymoron. How can one assert that one should do “whatever it takes to be confident” yet throw out one of the processes that makes one confident?

I press check my guns to ensure that I am ready to win – either combat or competition. Press checking is simple and follows an old maxim: “trust, but verify.”

I choose to verify.

Personally, I have only press-checked at the range, prior to dry practice, or prior to starting a string in competition.  Those few times where the possibility of actual combat have occurred (as with entering a previously locked building as a security guard, or my own home on a couple of occasions after finding the door ajar (yes, I know, I teach retreat to a safe location and call the PD, too!) I was too focused on clearing the area rather than checking to see if the pistol that was a moment prior in my holster was properly chambered!

Taking such action seems to me to be unnecessary, and possibly dangerous.

I guess I agree with the Seal.



The Most Effective – Says Peter

Peter (again) brings the Truth!

“What’s the single most effective thing you can do to improve your chances in a gunfight?”

That question was put to me by a reader this weekend.  He asked, “There are so many different opinions out there for a defensive weapon:  this or that caliber, or cartridge, or firearm, or technique, or whatever.  Is there any one thing I should look to master before worrying about the others?  Is there any single element that can make the difference between life and death, if I ever need it the hard way?”Why, yes.  Yes, there is.  It’s basic marksmanship.

  • No matter what super-dooper, felon-stopper, magnum-blaster ammunition you carry, unless you can put it into an attacker’s vital zones and shut him down, he’s going to hurt or kill you or your loved ones.
  • No matter what plastic-fantastic, space-cowboy-zapper death-dealing firearm you’re toting, unless you can bring its whiz-bang features to bear against an enemy, it won’t do you any good (except to make you look technologically sexy, and I doubt your corpse or your surviving family members [if any] will care about that).
  • No matter how gung-ho, super-fit, extreme-martial-artist your physical capabilities may be;  no matter whether you can sprint a hundred meters in Olympic-record time while simultaneously dodging speeding bullets;  no matter whether you can bench-press three hundred pounds while operating a machine-gun with your toes;  unless you can put down-aimed, effective fire on your opponent, his return fire is going to turn your superhero body into a colander.

A couple of years ago I wrote an article titled ‘.22LR as a defensive round‘.  It remains one of my most popular and most-searched articles on the subject of defensive shooting.  In it I outlined a very low-cost and extremely effective training technique that anyone can apply to almost any weapon.  If you read that article, and follow the training it advises, I guarantee that your combat effectiveness will be multiplied several times over, even if you do nothing else to improve your chances.  Weapon and ammunition selection can follow, and of course you’ll need to practice to achieve similar results with a harder-kicking, less easily controlled firearm.  Nevertheless, the basic principle of getting effective rounds on target remains the key to successful self-defense.

Remember, too, that accuracy with a firearm is a perishable skill.  It’s not one you’ll retain unless you keep in training.  Start with basic ‘bullseye’ target shooting and/or competition, by all means, and progress through the training methods I outlined in my earlier article;  but don’t rest on your laurels once you achieve marksmanship nirvana.  You’ll have to stay in practice.  I reckon you should be shooting at least a hundred rounds a month with your BB handgun to do that;  and if you’ve upgraded to a suitable defensive weapon, plan on shooting 100-200 rounds every three months as an absolute minimum with it.  I prefer a practical minimum of 50-100 rounds every month, but I realize not everyone can afford that much time or that much ammunition.  That’s why ongoing practice with a BB gun is a very inexpensive, ultra-affordable and extremely important way to keep your skills current.  You can do that in your back yard, or in your garage, or even (using Airsoft guns) in your living-room without risking damage to your furniture or fittings.

Practice, practice, and more practice.  It’s indispensable – and it really does make a difference.  There’s a lot more to defensive shooting than just marksmanship, but in the absence of accuracy, none of it matters worth a damn.


Reading this, I was reminded of what I read regarding Marine training, long ago.  Basically, what was said was bullets hitting people was the desired result.
You can have the most inherently accurate, reliable machine.  In the best caliber.  BUT, if you cannot hit your target, all is for nought!
When was the last time you practiced?  Or even dry-fired?


(And, now for something completely different – as promised)
I would ask all of you bloggers out there to at least make the effort to post a link to


Even ONE of these heroes making this choice is unacceptable! (Day #13 of 22)

“Driving Mr. Guffaw” (an after-action report)


After three previous abortive attempts, Bob and I made it to the desert, yesterday.  It was unseasonably warm (81*- sorry Rev. Paul and Gloria!).  There was enough breeze to keep the sand flies at bay, but not enough to knock over targets.

That was in part because Bob brought his recently acquired steel targets!  That 3″  wide roll of masking tape in my range bag was unnecessary!


And the best part of the trip (as my car – the 2000 Olds Intrigue – is not running very well), Bob took it upon himself to pick me up, drive us to the shooting location, then lunch, then back home.  Just one trip one direction was at least an hour, mostly freeway!   😛

I, of course, shot my National Match 1911 and S&W 442 (electroless nickel).  Bob shot his Glock 19, 21, and his 10″ bbl SIG 556 SBR!  Both with and w/o the can!  (He let me shoot them, as well!)

Then, we went up the road to Rock Ridge* Springs – a famous desert freeway pit stop – for lunch and homemade pie!  All-in-all a good day…

EXCEPT, due to my not shooting very often, my skills have deteriorated.  I sense more dry practice in my future.

*a Blazing Saddles reference.  I always wanna call Rock Springs Rock Ridge!

attn FTC – we bought our own pie.  Get your own!

The Sign of The Cross

crossNO, this isn’t a critique of old movies, or of the Catholic Church.

It’s a comment on unsafe pistol presentation.

First we had TV and the movies borrowing an Israeli technique of holding the pistol sideways (and adopted by gangstas and the great unwashed, nationwide), which is finally losing it’s appeal – now, everyone in Hollywood seems to be using the cavalry presentation, with and without holsters (!)

When done properly, it can be done in relative safety.  But it’s slow, and, at least on TV is rarely done correctly.


And, it doesn’t help when well-known holster manufacturers reinforce poor technique, in an effort to push more leather.


The point being, unless one draws correctly, one crosses oneself with the muzzle.  And class, we all know that violates which Rule?  (if not, see the right sidebar).

AND, with the advent of smaller and shorter pistols in better calibers, even using a standard strong-side presentation into Weaver or Isosceles could have the student preparing to shoot themselves in the weak hand, making it even weaker.

DON’T cross yourself!  Remember the Four Rules.

A Long Time Ago…

…in a lifetime far, far away…

I studied kenpo karate for a couple of years.  This was after I’d done some self-teaching at home (books by Bruce Tegner and Bruce Lee, and others not Bruce).  On at least one occasion, it did keep me alive.

Guffaw in AZ:  Assault On A Veggie Cook

Due to my leg disability, I focused mainly on hand and arm techniques, sticky and trapping hands, arm bars, hand strikes and such.  I didn’t get very far belt-wise.  My focus was initially philosophical, but then evolved into basics – what I could do to stay alive.

And, over the years, I’ve informally shared some knowledge with other folks who’d expressed an interest, mostly women I’ve dated and shooting students.  More knowledge is better, right?

Now, my roommate (an ex-gf) has expressed an interest.  We’re working on breaking holds, blocks and where and how to strike.  She had been giving me grief, as we’ve known each other almost 10 years, and while I coached her on her shooting, I’ve never broached this subject.  So, we started some training.

But, neither of us is a spring chicken, which makes for amusing training sessions.  Lots of exclamations of ow from both teacher and student.

But, neither of us anticipate training to get to this level:


h/t Miss K

Eyes and Ears!

…or at least eyes.  Or ears.

When I began shooting (at age 6, with my Dad) the concept of sight and hearing protection were foreign.  Point down range and touch ‘er off!  I was told I’d get used to the ringing.  Even a Colt Vest Pocket .25 is loud with no protection.

Years later, when I renewed shooting as a young ‘adult’, I was wearing protective lenses (well, eyeglasses, anyway), but no hearing protection could be had.  Dave (the genius mechanic) and I soon determined that placing something in our ears besides elbows was probably a good idea.

Of course, in the interim, there was much play with fireworks, including the black cat firecracker lit waist high, arm cocked to throw, and subsequent premature explosion next to my left ear.  The hand didn’t function for a few moments, but the finger count did show a quorum, so all was okay.  So was the tinnitus.

Now, when shooting, I religiously wear eyes and ears.  I still sometimes have ringing, mostly due to the overdosing of NSAIDS.  And I do have some high-frequency hearing loss in my left ear.  A ticking watch goes tick-tick-tick at my right ear, and pong, pong, pong at my left.

I blame the firecracker.

Wear your protection, people!

Elfritz to Suarez to Phillips and Nichols…

Guns, Guns, and More Gosh Darn Guns gives us a fine, detailed after-action report:

AAR: Suarez Intl. Point Shooting Progressions – April 21-22 w/ Roger Phillips and Greg Nichols

Greg Elfritz (of Defense Institute of Ohio) motivated JD (the blogger of GGAMGDG) to attend the training with these words:

“This clearly identifies a need for additional training and highlights the critical importance of making yourself a moving target during a gunfight. If highly trained shooters hit their opponents’ torsos with only eleven percent of rounds fired, imagine how much worse the average street thug with no training and minimal experience will perform under similar conditions!”

“I’ll simply say that we as trainers need to do some more work. We need to find a better solution to allow our students to hit their targets with a greater percentage of rounds during the stressful, fast-evolving nature of a gunfight. Whatever that solution is, be it training in point shooting techniques, an enhanced sighted shooting curriculum, or stress-inoculating scenario-based training, it is our collective responsibility as trainers to find it.” (emphasis Guffaw)

Obviously, we all need to keep our minds open, and keep training as we can.  This course appears to be some finely detailed, street-worthy information.

Go and read what JD has to say about his experience at the link above.

ht/ JD, Greg Elfritz, Roger Phillips, Greg Nichols, Gabe Suarez

Weaver vs. Isoceles – a different opinion

Most of my regular readers know I’m old school.  I shoot modified Weaver.  This doesn’t mean I’m adverse to other techniques, or others using other techniques.
Hey, different strokes for different folks.
I try to teach my students different concepts regarding grip and stance, coupled with my opinion of which works better.
But, like the legendary Bruce Lee said, kata is vertical death.  Obviously, in a defensive-reactionary situation, if it works, use it.  Wasting time trying to find the correct stance and grip can will get you killed.
Which brings me to American Mercenary.  He’s a little more direct in his assessment of stance and grip, particularly in the use of the now (in)famous teacup grip.
Go to the link, and read.  And remember, while proper technique is good, whatever works faster is better.

Jack Bauer of '24'

h/t AM

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…