Tag Archives: shooting

Shooting Stances for Those with Physical Limitations

2 Oct

Like many other physical disciplines, there is a commonly accepted way to stand and perform. For basic shooting stances, the most commonly used examples are the Isosceles or Weaver positions to aim and fire.

men aiming guns

These so-called standardized movements are taught to almost everyone initially.

The trouble many shooters run into with these common stances is that the instructor may be teaching with the assumption that the shooter is fully-functional physically and has few or no joint or muscle problems.

Few people have perfect bodies without any physical issues and as a result, some people become frustrated with trying to learn the basic positions exactly as they are taught. Some shooters are bent over or have a limited range of motion. Others have arthritis or weak grip strength or something else wrong with them.

Naturally, if you aren’t able to draw, aim, and fire your handgun using the basic techniques comfortably, then it’s time to find a method that works for you.

As author Bruce N. Eimer, PH.D. says in his article “What’s Your Stance?” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“The basic goal of any stance is to put your handgun up into the position where it does the most good. Your stance functions to align your point of aim, your front sight, your rear sight, your dominant eye, and to get all four points into a straight line.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)

Receiving professional instruction or learning from videos and magazines are great ways to start, but then it’s up to you to figure out a way to use your weapon as effectively as possible with the body you currently have.

You have to begin somewhere, so there is no harm in starting to learn standardized shooting stances. Yet, if it becomes apparent that these shooting positions aren’t working, the next step is to try variations on what you’re doing until you find something that works for you.

Do the best you can with what you have and focus on continuing to improve. The more familiar you become with yourself and your gun, the easier it will become to see better ways to work around any issues you may have.

And as always, the basics like having good balance, a solid stance, and good control over the gun are paramount concerns. Otherwise, you run a much higher risk of losing some control.


Shooting Drills: The Dozier

30 Jul

There are many shooting drills out there, but the Dozier Drill was created back in 1981 for a very specific reason and due to a very specific occurrence. U.S. Army Brigadier General James L. Dozier was kidnapped for 42 days. The people behind the kidnapping were the Italian Marxist terrorist group called The Red BrigImageade.

Times were different back then, and Dozier was completely unarmed when he was kidnapped.

This was due to the fact that anyone in the US military was prohibited from carrying their firearms in their homes or in the surrounding community.

The kidnapping took place when four terrorists entered Dozier’s home pretending to be plumbers. A political statement was read to Dozier while the terrorists brandished their weapons.

Subsequent to the shooting, Jeff Cooper created the Dozier shooting drill.

Typically during this drill, there are four targets and a weapon is removed from a bag just as it was by the terrorists in the kidnapping to create a stressful situation.

Overall, the drill is meant to engage multiple attackers, and the goal is that in the shooting, the participant will be able to draw the weapon before the terrorist is able to ready his.

Kevin Michalowski explains the drill of the month in his article “The Dozier Drill” on USConcealedcarry.com:

“To add an additional wrinkle or two to the scenario, consider starting with the pistol resting on a bench or barrel a short distance away from the shooter. At the command, the shooter must move to retrieve his or her pistol, simulating the movement to a pistol stored somewhere in the home, before engaging. This also reinforces the idea of moving to cover in the face of a deadly threat.


Further changes to the scenario could include arranging the targets differently or marking some targets as “unarmed” or “no-shoot” targets. The Dozier Drill is not designed to turn you into Jason Bourne. It is here to hone your skills in what will surely be a dynamic situation. It brings together the triad Cooper first described many years ago: Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas (accuracy, power, and speed). (Read more about the Dozier drill and shooting here.)

In thinking about it, engaging a shooting with more than one attacker probably isn’t the best thing to do and may not be something that you would need to do at all. However, it does mimic some added stress that is typically seen in the “look-shoot” method. Racing against someone else and against time in general is something that everyone who practices concealed carry should do.

The steps are simple: draw, engage, look at the next target, move the weapon and engage again until all targets have been subdued. It is important to practice all techniques in various shooting situations, but the point is to hope you never have to fall back on this training in real life.

What They Don’t Teach You at Firearms Training

12 Mar

If you take a firearms course, you learn the basics — how to load your gun, how to shoot at targets, how to clean your gun, etc. But the one thing they don’t and can’t really teach you is how to react to a real life situation.Image

At the range, you’re in control of your gun and the target you’re shooting at. You know what you’re going to shoot at and when. You can take your time or shoot as fast as you can. You set the mood and the timing.

But, if you encounter someone in a real situation where you need to use your gun, you don’t have time to think it through. There are stories of surveillance footage of victims shooting at the bad guy every which way but loose. They look panicked and they are. Their shots go wild, which could hurt or kill a bystander and give the bad guy a chance to win. Yes, it’s a stressful and unexpected situation, but you can take control.


Check around in your area to see if there is a range or law enforcement facility that has either a video simulation of different situations with bad guys, or a “live” staging area with buildings and popups of people (much like Hogan’s Alley at the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia).  Just do a Google search on firearms training simulators and you may be surprised to find one near you.

If you don’t have one near you, you can set up a different kind of target on the range or wherever you practice target shooting.

A favorite used by law enforcement is called an SEB Scoring Target, available online for as little as a quarter a piece. Unlike normal targets, this has a body outline shape with triangle for the head, a square at chest level and another square at belly level. On either side of the target are two circles at the neck level, numbered 1 and 2, then two squares below those numbered 3 and 4, and two triangles below those numbered 5 and 6. You can also find the images for these targets online and make your own.

At the range, put the target 10-12 feet from your firing line. In his article, “Finding Your Balance: What’s Missing From Your Firearms Training?” at USConcealedCarry.com, firearms instructor Rob Pincus offers this advice:

“Your commands could be, ‘Threat,’ ‘Left,’ and ‘Right,’ with the first requiring you to fire multiple shots into the high center chest and the latter two requiring either single or multiple shots into the appropriate small circle. With this simple drill, you have taken away your brain’s natural ability to prime your motor system for the exact set of actions that will be needed. You also are training yourself to execute those motor skills only after processing some specific information that lets you recognize what you need to do. Of course, you are still standing on a range and there is a great deal of overlap between the three possible commands, but at least you are stepping away from the free-throw and getting yourself into a much more (neuro-physiologically speaking) counter ambush situation.” (Read more about finding your balance here.)

You can mix it up by using more than one target at a time, come up with your own commands, or use different targets spaced about two to three feet apart.  You will need a friend to call out the commands in random order for you. Or, if you can’t find a friend to come with you, download an app from iTunes called Combat Focus Shooting: Balance of Speed and Precision Shot Timer By Boxkite Media for just $1.99. This will randomly call out commands for you.

Remember, practice makes perfect. . .  At least as perfect as you can get for an unexpected situation.