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Practice only with carry gun?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by breakingcontact, Feb 7, 2013.

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  1. breakingcontact

    breakingcontact Member

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    Is it best to practice with a gun that's easier to shoot well or practice with your carry gun?

    What I'm getting at is...is it easier to transfer the skills over to the carry gun from a gun that's easier to learn on or is it best to just good with what you carry?

    I try to stick with a "train to fight" mentality and want to shoot the gun I carry mostly. But sometimes I think of training on a different gun. Don't want to do myself a disservice and pick up habits that won't transfer over.
     
  2. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    That's not how learning works.

    If shooting with easier guns didn't make you a better shooter, people wouldn't get to be better shots by shooting .22's.

    Learning to see fast enough to track sights in recoil, change focus from target to front sight, transitioning between targets, etc., all have little or nothing to do with the specific gun, except that a heavy recoiling or uncomfortable gun may prevent you from EVER learning these things.
     
  3. gossamer

    gossamer Member

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    Personally, I'm a "State Dependent Learning" kind of guy; I personally retain best when I practice in the conditions I'm most likely to perform under. Muscle memory being what it is, I try to dry fire or shoot at the range using the guns I'm most likely to be using in a defensive situation. For me, this means practicing with more than one since my HD is different from my CC. All that being said, I also put as many rounds through my 22 as my 45 or 357.

    I'm sure others have their own reasons for doing differently, but this proves effective for me in other areas of my life besides firearms so I apply it there as well. YMMV
     
  4. Spdracr39

    Spdracr39 Member

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    I practice equally with all my guns ( when I can get ammo ) it helps to learn the difference between them and get more rounded training.
     
  5. Teachu2

    Teachu2 Member

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    Most critical skills transfer over - just be sure to practice enough with every carry gun to maintain proficiency.

    One reason I finally started to shoot Glocks was because I can carry nearly everywhere but at work. The only firearm on campus is a Glock. I thought it wise to become proficient with the only firearm that might be readily available in the highest-risk part of my daily routine. I realize that such a scenario is a long shot, but I'd rather be prepared than not.
     
  6. breakingcontact

    breakingcontact Member

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    I'm basically talking a about a full size vs a sub compact. Both centerfire. Not talking about training w a 22 here.

    Interesting question just popped up. Is one more likely to have to defend themselves on the street or at home? (All other things being equal)
     
  7. Skribs

    Skribs Member

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    Personally, I don't own any firearms that are not at least somewhat optimal for self defense. If it doesn't fit into a defense strategy I have in mind, (i.e. I have one gun for pocket carry, another for OWB carry, another for HD), then I don't want it. If I do competition, it's action competition with my CC gear. If I practice, it's range time with one or more of my carry guns.

    I see why people practice with a .22, but I just don't enjoy it and just don't see myself getting a .22 to practice with.
     
  8. Teachu2

    Teachu2 Member

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    All other things are never equal.

    Depends on where you work and live. I deal with at-risk youth at work, so I could have problems there, or in the parking lot, or following me home....
     
  9. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    I think it's best to train with every type of gun available. You see a lot of people complain about safeties. if you find yourself in a situation and that's all that's available for some reason, you better know how to use it.

    I just got back from the range practicing timed shots with the following.
    M&P45
    Glock 17
    BHP
    92 Compact Type M
    J frame
    PPK
    As you can see vastly different types of guns.
     
  10. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    You'll never be as good with your carry gun as you COULD be with your carry gun if you do not concentrate on working the functions, recoil pattern, manual of arms, idiosyncrasies, etc. of THAT gun into your hands. You can learn and practice various skills with other guns, but to really be at your very best with the gun that might save your life takes dedication to that platform.

    Now, this may apply mostly to a relatively high level of proficiency, and less to someone working on their basic skills. You'd have to do a pretty honest self-assessment about your own proficiency to be able to decide if you've attained a level of skill where shooting other kinds of guns extensively will diminish your high level of tactile familiarity with your carry weapon.

    None of us know whether the challenge we face will require a higher level of skill to prevail than we possess. In many shootings, good enough is sufficient, and in many others even "GREAT" skills wouldn't have been. There are no easy answers to this.

    Personally, I do not shoot only one handgun. I know it takes a significant amount of practice time (and ammo) to get back to my previous (or expected) level of proficiency with one gun when I shift platforms from something else I've been campaigning. I admit to accepting that my "good enough" with my chosen carry gun (which may or may not be my competition gun I'm shooting a lot at the moment) will be all I've got to give if the need ever arises.
     
  11. breakingcontact

    breakingcontact Member

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    Well said.

    I'm beginning to get "good". Far from great.

    Trying to avoid any self-imposed stumbling blocks in my training towards proficiency.

    Going to shoot IDPA match again soon. My carry gun is 8+1. Disadvantage for the sport of IDPA but shooting it is better training for me.
     
  12. madsend81

    madsend81 Member

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    I've seen quite a bit of improvement in my shooting abilities by practicing with my .22. The lighter weight of the .22 is harder to hold still, so practicing with that helps my arm muscles learn to settle down. When I move to the heavier full caliber arms, because I've practiced with the .22, the gun doesn't move around as much and it's easier to hold the sights on the target.

    Yes, you don't learn how to handle recoil of the full size with the .22, so for that you will have to practice on your full-sized firearm.

    Practice with multiple firearms. The .22's and other smaller calibers will help you with accuracy and other shooting fundamentals. The full-size will familiarize yourself with that particular action and recoil recovery.
     
  13. ku4hx

    ku4hx Member

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    I've been practicing with multiple guns for many years ... 40 at least. I can't speak for others, but switching from one to the other has never been a problem. That includes, revolvers, semi autos (all action and trigger types) rifles and shotguns. For me it was like riding a bicycle in that they all operate in a similar basic fashion: align sights, squeeze trigger, listen for the bang and follow through. I believe it has to do with what some people call muscle memory and what seems to be a stable pathway in the brain. Just seems that way.

    That being said, I know shooters who do have problem switching from a Glock to a single action only with safety and back to Glock again.

    I guess it just comes down to aptitude and concentration (getting "in the zone" as it were), but you gotta do what works for you.
     
  14. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    And, I'll add, a healthy understanding of what level you're operating at. I can pick up 'most any gun and shoot well enough to compete "respectably" with it, but I can't pick up one of even my own guns which is different from the gun I've been shooting most, and expect to shoot anywhere near my top level until I've gotten it "back in my hands" for a while.

    It is totally possible for a shooter to be able to manipulate lots of different guns competently. Safely, with understanding of their functions, and with good accuracy. I do not believe it is possible for a shooter to RUN many different guns simultaneously at their own potential for maximum speed and accuracy.

    If you're shooting bullseyes on a "square range" this probably isn't noticeable. A "10" is a "10." If you're shooting against a timer, testing your speed and smoothness of drawing, pointing, sighting, trigger control, recovery, transition, etc. you're going to see a significant difference between gun types.
     
  15. Skribs

    Skribs Member

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    Sam, I'd wager your "good enough" with a gun you've never touched before is far better than my best with any of mine.
     
  16. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    Shooting is like any other motor skill: driving a car, playing the guitar, knitting...

    The more you do it, and the more variety in the category with which you do it, the better you will be. With that comes greater ability to do what you do with an implement you've never held before.

    A guitar master can play well on any decent instrument, but he will always have favorites on which he feels he plays best. It's the same with race car drivers, who could drive well in each other's cars but prefer their own, and knitters, who can use any needles but will have a pair they like best.

    A truly accomplished shooter applies a set of skills to whatever firearm is in his hands, and can make it work well because he understands the principles in play and how to apply them. He will still have preferred guns, of course, which he shoots best, either in reality or in his own mind.

    I, for example, can shoot just about any gun with equal mediocrity.
     
  17. coolluke01

    coolluke01 Member

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    This is one thing I appreciate about Glock's. From full size to subcompact they all feel the same. I shoot most with my G34, but carry a G26. They are mechanically the same gun.

    Training with your carry gun is a must. I would question why you would carry a gun that you don't enjoy shooting? Requirements for a carry gun should be 1. Shootable 2. Reliable 3. Carry-able. In that order. These are not women's shoes we are talking about. Fashion should NEVER come before function!

    I think my G26 is my favorite gun. I shoot the G34 more for competition so it gets shot much more. Find a gun that you will not only be able to carry a lot but also shoot a lot.
     
  18. Skribs

    Skribs Member

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    Coolluke, while I agree reliability is a prime issue, shootability is not always the biggest factor. Look at the LCP...it's not chosen by people because of its shootability.
     
  19. coolluke01

    coolluke01 Member

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    I own one (LCP) and after shooting it I will never carry it! It's a terrible SD gun and should only be considered when deep concealment or other factors limit the ability to carry a better gun.
     
  20. bill3424

    bill3424 Member

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    I practice with everything I own. It's like driving different cars. If you always drove an automatic car, you'd be screwed if you had to drive stick in an emergency.:eek:
     
  21. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    And if you didn't have a glock in your hands?
     
  22. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Well, that's the other argument -- that you never know what gun you'd have to grab in an emergency. I find that to be a bit off the mark, though. You have SOME gun or guns that you are more likely to have with you in a defensive shooting than any other random gun.

    Of course you should be familiar with every gun you can get your hands on and develop enough familiarity to make it work -- at which point you'd need to rely on your basic funadamental skills to achieve the best speed and accuracy you're able under the circumstances.

    But when the question specifies A carry gun, then you can say with some certainty that we're discussing proficiency with A gun you are, by far, most likely to have in hand in that setting. And yes, to achieve best mastery of THAT gun, you need to concentrate on THAT gun.


    ...

    Look, we're talking about your defensive gun. The one you may find yourself with in the fight of your life. When a race driver is preparing for the RACE of his life he doesn't go spend a lot of time behind the wheel of a Peterbilt, a Cessna, and a 10-speed bike. He concentrates on that one (set of) car(s) so they operate as an extention of his body and will.
     
  23. guyfromohio

    guyfromohio Member

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    "Practicing" with your carry gun is prudent. But that doesn't preclude shooting all if the others.
     
  24. BYJO4

    BYJO4 Member

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    Practice enables you to shoot any handgun better. As long as you shoot your carry gun every few months to maintain familiarity, I would shoot anything I wanted to for practice.
     
  25. coolluke01

    coolluke01 Member

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    I can shoot just about any gun well I believe. But as was pointed out, this is not the purpose of the OP's question.
     
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