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Key Competencies for Defensive Handgun Carry

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics and Training' started by Fred Fuller, Sep 20, 2012.

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  1. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

    Mar 26, 2004
    AL, NC
    One of the most important questions pertaining to handgun carry is what skills one should strive to learn before doing so.

    Our member and moderator Frank Ettin ofters the following:

    When I've been asked this sort of question, I usually look at the package of knowledge and skills.

    Competently carrying a gun for self defense involves more than just marksmanship:

    • You will want to know and understand the legal issues -- when the use of lethal force would be legally justified, when it would not be, and how to tell the difference. You will want to understand how to handle the legal aftermath of a violent encounter and how to articulate why, in a particular situation, you decided to take whatever action you did.

    • You will want to know about levels of alertness and mental preparedness to take action. You will want to understand how to assess situations and make difficult decisions quickly under stress. You will want to know about the various stress induced physiological and psychological effects that you might face during and after a violent encounter.

    • You will want to develop good practical proficiency with your gun. That includes practical marksmanship, i. e., being able to deploy your gun and get good hits quickly at various distances. It also includes skills such as moving and shooting, use of cover and concealment, reloading quickly, clearing malfunctions, and moving safely with a loaded gun.
    Of course, as others have pointed out, the practical pistolcraft can be tough to work on given the limitations imposed by most ranges.

    Dry fire and some of the drills mentioned would be useful. Also, when on the square range and not able to do holster work or move, it never hurts to keep up with basic marksmanship skills -- trigger control and flash sight picture. I'll often shoot quick 2, 3 or 4 shot strings starting a low ready. I'll also do some multiple target drills by putting smaller targets (I like the 7 inch Shoot'Nc ovals) around on a standard bullseye target and shooting 1, 2 or 3 shots on each, starting at low ready.

    IPSC and IDPA competition can also be helpful.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 20, 2012
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