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What hell, pay attention
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Came across an interesting and informative thread over on THR called "Things learned from concealed carry matches".

The author was saying that seeing so many carrying "small" guns, and never seeing them practice with them, he came up with a match to test your skills with them, from how you carry them. Sounded like a great idea and a lot of fun too.

From what he was saying, it sounded like a lot of the people shooting the match, at least had some skills at the start, and were not total novice shooters. There were no real caliber restrictions, you could use anything from 22 to 45, etc. The only requirement was, the gun had to fit in a box that would hold a Colt Officers Model.

Heres a few quotes from the OP in the thread....

"Lessons learned:
People don't like performing badly. All of the guys shooting 5 shot 38 specials performed VERY poorly. "

"No one came close to winning with a 45acp. Take that for what it's worth....
On average people shooting physically larger compact guns or smaller small caliber guns (22 lr, 32 ACP) performed better."

"If you are truly a good shooter, you will probably do well with whatever...."

"I will never understand the mindset of people that will continue to carry a gun that they have demonstrated that they can't perform with. You would think it would inspire them to either practice with the gun and continue to compete until they could perform, or switch to carrying a gun they could perform better with. But no......I just don't get it."

If you want to read the whole thread, its over on THR in their "Strategies, Tactics, and Training" section. They touch on a number of good and valid points and the whole thread is a good read.



So, for those who do choose to carry the "pocket", and similar sized guns, whats your normal practice routine with them, and do you practice from how you carry them, and in differing and more challenging ways, shoot any matches (if they let you) with them, ect.?

Considering that these smaller guns seem to be a popular choice these days, you would think there would be more emphasis put on training with them, which doesnt seem to be the case. Seems like many think you can just pop one in your pocket and youre good to go.

To me, that last sentence has always been a scary thought.
 

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Space Force Recruit
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Excuse my ignorance, but what is THR?

Thanks!
The High Road. It’s a really popular forum that touches on a little bit of everything. Very knowledgeable people over there.


Anyways I carry a pocket .38 as a backup to my Glock 17, or when I’m at work so I don’t get fired for carrying my Glock 17. I can shoot it well but to be entirely honest I’ve not tried drawing it much from my pocket.
 
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My two standard carry guns right now are my Beretta 92 and my J-frame 38.
With the Beretta, I do the FBI qualification a lot, along with “Dot Torture” drills. Both are challenging, but with a full size 9mm they offer good opportunities for improvement. The beretta rides in an OWB holster, so drawing is something I am very familiar with.


The J frame sits in a Blackhawk ARC AIWB holster. My most common drill with it is draw and fire two shots on a 2/3 silhouette, reload and fire two more, trying to keep all shots in at least the 9 ring from 5 yards. I also do more close-contact shooting, and shoot from weird positions, like laying on my side, or with the gun held close to my stomach.

I also have my Ruger Max-9, but I’m still experimenting with holsters for it. I haven’t had a chance to shoot it yet either, and I won’t carry it until I’ve put 200 rounds through it.
 

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It makes sense. I used to carry a S&W Shield .40, but stopped after I just could not figure out how to shoot the damn thing as accurately as I felt that I needed. If you do some googling you will find out that it is pretty common that people have difficulty shooting the Shield .40 accurately. The Shield 9mm is great though.
I now carry my Springfield EMP 3" 9mm Commander 1911 most of the time. I find that I am pretty accurate with it. I do not shoot a lot, but I do dry fire quite a bit. I do feel pretty confident that I could put my EMP 9mm into play if I really had to.
I carry a Taurus 605 .357 snubby at times and my Taurus 738 once in a while. The 738 is a very small pocket semi-auto. I can shoot it pretty decently. I usually only carry it when I am around my home and yard doing things.
 

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What would Mal do
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always a good topic. I remember dinner plans with a good friend, owner of a large training company..shielded himself, so he also did a lot of working helping LEO be able to qual and the usual quals for retired security guards etc type thing. anyway, he says one night, meet me at the range while I wrap up and we'll go to dinner from there.
when I get there he is just finishing a guy that had to qual. so he looks and me and says..it's all setup, let's run one. I told him, all I have on me is my 3" kimber 1911. I knew as soon as the words came out of my mouth that I was about to get a verbal spanking. "That's what you carry right?...that's what you have to be able to shoot".
yep. Ran it twice that evening, shot in the 230s, so I at least didn't embarrass myself and he commented that I'd be surprised at how many uniforms struggle to even pass, much less score that well.
For those that might not know, the qualifier, is a pretty simple test for LEO. 50rounds, various drills, called out. Perfect score is 250, minimum to pass is 200. Normally this is done with the duty weapon..ie: full size pistol.
my always gun is an even smaller colt mustang 380. still about the same 3" sight radius. I can pass with that gun as well, but just barely.
 

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Back in the day when dinosaurs roamed the earth and revolvers were cop guns, most departments required people to qualify with their off duty guns over the same course of fire normally used. The tiny J-frames were difficult to qualify with but a 6-shot D-frame Colt, or a round-butt, 2-inch S&W K-frame delivered the goods and handled much better than the small guns. I still follow that principle and carry either an S&W 10-5, an S&W Model 12-1 or a Colt Detective Special..

Attachment is the modified tactical revolver course used for qualifying with the 5-shot J-frame S&W revolvers by the FBI and DEA in the 1980s-90s, fired on the TQ target.
 

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What hell, pay attention
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think the main point here is to get over ego and embarrassment and learn from what you do.

It was brought up in the thread there, that many just "quit", yet still carry/use the gun. They learned nothing, and didnt bother to even try.
 

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I pocket carry a SW Bodyguard in .380 and a SW Shield 1.0 in 9mm. I’m 6’2” with xl hands but I really enjoy shooting the tiny Bodyguard. Within the 7 yards that I define as “defense shooting” I shoot it well. The Shield is both IWB and pocket carry. I shoot it well but only out to 12 yards. I have a “members only” range where I can catch it empty and practice drawing all my guns from holsters.
 

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What hell, pay attention
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
What was the distance they were shooting at?
I dont think he really went into the course of fire itself. I would think it would be similar to anything else you would shoot, just the gun was different than what you normally used. And thats how it should be.

One thing I think it said was, the 5 shot revolvers actually started out in the hole, as they were already handicapped by the capacity, which makes some sense.

Thats one thing thats often brought up in the discussions of the smaller guns, that silly "Rule of Three" thing always comes up, usually as the justification of choice. You and the gun dont get to choose. You and the gun have to deal with what you get. If thats beyond both your capabilities, then you chose wrong and you were unprepared.

What I got from the author's original post was something I already pretty much figured out from personal experience with them. The only thing good about small guns is, they are small. Beyond that, they suck, they are harder to shoot well with, dont carry enough ammo, and require a lot more in time and constant effort from you, to get close to being proficient with them.

And the biggest downside is, most who do carry them, arent willing to put in that time and effort, to at least maybe get something positive out of them.

No matter what you carry, the best test of your skill and capabilities should be an "on demand, pop quiz". When you walk on the range on any given day, you get the random pop quiz, and at the beep, you run a quick drill with what youre carrying, and from how you're carrying it. Thats about as close as you get to reality. No warning, no prep, no warm up, just "go"!

And we all get to deal with our bruised egos, afterward. :)
 

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Capability, not scenarios
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I carry a Ruger LC9, the earlier model with the 2-stage trigger.

Whenever I go to the range, it's the first gun I shoot, no warmup, no nothing. In other words, just as if I had to use it in the real world.

I've done a little IDPA stuff, and it's good practice. Generally, though, it's harder with the LC9 as I was shooting steel targets at a range that made the short sight distance of the LC9 a little more problematic.

The 2-stage trigger has an interesting side effect. I like that trigger as the first pull has to be deliberate and intentional; no hair-trigger for me in a carry pistol. But the odd thing is this: once I get that dialed in, it improves my shooting with all my other pistols. If I can demonstrate trigger control w/ my LC9, I can do it with anything.

I did a fair amount of Scholastic Action Shooting at steel, and swapped off on my XD-M 9mm competition and my XD-45 ACP. Oddly, I'm a better shot with the XD-45, but faster with the XD-M. That XD-45 is a tack driver for me, and I have no idea why. The XD-45 is my home defense pistol.
 

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Si vis pacem, para bellum
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Back in the day when dinosaurs roamed the earth and revolvers were cop guns, most departments required people to qualify with their off duty guns over the same course of fire normally used. The tiny J-frames were difficult to qualify with but a 6-shot D-frame Colt, or a round-butt, 2-inch S&W K-frame delivered the goods and handled much better than the small guns. I still follow that principle and carry either an S&W 10-5, an S&W Model 12-1 or a Colt Detective Special..

Attachment is the modified tactical revolver course used for qualifying with the 5-shot J-frame S&W revolvers by the FBI and DEA in the 1980s-90s, fired on the TQ target.
speed loaders or dump pouches?
 

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Live Secret, Live Happy
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I am not supprised by the observations of poor gun handling and poor shooting of very small carry pistols, as especially of five shot J Frame revolvers. A few yrs back I competed in pracrical pistol events, using a variety of weapons.

My idea of a carry weappon is Browning High Power. Shooting my current Sig 229 is somewhat harder, and I have to work harder to produce the same results. When I tried running the same drills with a very light wt Keltek, I had to slow down massively, or I started missing the whole target. For my experience and skill level, a midsized carry weapon (3.9-4" barrel) is the minimun size.

I also ran the same practical shooting drills with several revolvers. My worst performance was shooting a buddies 3" Ruger SP 101, shooting high pressure 357 mag defense ammo. Which is supprising since I own and shot a 2.25" Ruger SP 101, loaded with light 38 Special loads very well.
 

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the thing about carry guns is that they tend to be very much a lifestyle choice....where there are compromises. people have different frames and different dress codes, work and live in different kinds of communities with different policies....where in some place a little printing is no biggie, in other places it would result in summary dismissal.

I'm blessed to work somewhere that is so pro-gun that we go out to shooting ranges as a company. However, in the past, I have worked places that explicitly had told me I could not be armed. How deep the concealment needs to be makes a big difference. I have found that I can easily conceal a snub-nose 38 anytime, anywhere, in pretty much anything short of a bathing suit.

In the winter, when I can get away with wearing a coat, I can easily bring a full-size pistol with no issues. Here's hoping the thugs jump me in December and not July, huh?

But yeah, I have always been a bad shot with snubnoses with fixed sights. I have tried the IWB thing with some good quality holsters and it just doesn't work well for me....it's a lot more hassle.

You just have to choose what kind of capability is acceptable to you.
 

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"No one came close to winning with a 45acp. Take that for what it's worth....
On average people shooting physically larger compact guns or smaller small caliber guns (22 lr, 32 ACP) performed better."

I'm personally not a fan of compact guns, I just don't find them comfortable. The G19 is pretty much the smallest gun I find useable. My preference is for the G17 though, and I have an advantage for that in my size. It's easier for a skinny person to conceal a full size pistol.
 

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What hell, pay attention
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
the thing about carry guns is that they tend to be very much a lifestyle choice....where there are compromises. people have different frames and different dress codes, work and live in different kinds of communities with different policies....where in some place a little printing is no biggie, in other places it would result in summary dismissal.

I'm blessed to work somewhere that is so pro-gun that we go out to shooting ranges as a company. However, in the past, I have worked places that explicitly had told me I could not be armed. How deep the concealment needs to be makes a big difference. I have found that I can easily conceal a snub-nose 38 anytime, anywhere, in pretty much anything short of a bathing suit.

In the winter, when I can get away with wearing a coat, I can easily bring a full-size pistol with no issues. Here's hoping the thugs jump me in December and not July, huh?

But yeah, I have always been a bad shot with snubnoses with fixed sights. I have tried the IWB thing with some good quality holsters and it just doesn't work well for me....it's a lot more hassle.

You just have to choose what kind of capability is acceptable to you.
Ive regularly carried in NPE's most of my life, and while you do have to make some concessions, you really dont have to short yourself either. Where theres a will, there is a way, and the voices in your head that generate those "negative waves" can be quieted, with a little experience. You also have to "want" to do it. "Cant" really isnt an issue, and just part of those negative waves. :)

These days, the gun I carry as either a BUG or one for those times it has to be deeper concealment is a Glock 26. It and my 17 are my "carry" guns, and I shoot them both regularly in practice. Weekly for the 17, and usually bi-weekly for the 26. Most of that practice starts from the holsters I use, and there is no difference in the way I shoot them.

The big advantage to the 26 is, it shoots very much like the 17, and while a smaller gun, it doesnt shoot like one, or have some of the deficiencies that a lot of the others have. Once I realized I could carry it where I was carrying my Seecamps, etc, I havent carried those since.
 
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