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Hello everybody! I recently took part in a short pistol clinic. It was held by a local instructor and was geared towards safety, basic shooting fundamentals and holster work. It was a fun clinic that really focused on drilling safety and fundamentals into us. As an instructor and firearms enthusiaist I truly appreciate that. But it really got me thinking about the basics. Not just there importance but actually wrapping my head around using them with every single round I send down range. How do we truly clear our minds and let those primordial shooting skills and “muscle memory” really take over. A good friend of mine calls it “Monkeys and Footballs”. Whether using a timer or a “threat” yell we all battle with our own lack of concentration at times. Our minds turn to jelly it seems, and we end up looking like a bunch of monkeys trying to play catch with footballs if you can envision that. So how do we minimize this? How do we control our minds and concentrate on topics of our choosing instead of bouncing around from one mental locker room to another? Well lets look at some basic disciplines of pistol shooting and I believe we will start to see a pattern.
First of all if you don’t have a solid understanding of the basics of pistol shooting it’s going to be near impossible for you to have consistency on your targets. So what are some of these basic fundamentally known disciplines I’m speaking of? This is just my opinion of a portion of what the list looks like.
Stance: You need to have a comfortable, natural stance. Feet should be about shoulder width apart and you should be squared up to the target. To steady your platform lean forward just a little to maximize your center of gravity. This is going to help you aim. It may feel unnatural at first but with practice it comes relatively easy.
Grip: I’m only discussing semiautomatics here not revolvers. They’re all that matter in my opinion. Holding the pistol in your strong hand I want you to get a high grip but make sure you keep your hand below the slide. Support hand thumb goes along the frame just under the slide and keep your index finger on the opposite side of the frame. Finger off the trigger! Wrap your support hand around your dominant hand, keeping your fingers under the trigger guard. Dominant thumb should be laying on top of the support thumb. This is a thumbs forward grip and it takes a lot of practice to become comfortable with it and even more training to become efficient at it.
Aiming: Front sight focus is imperative to your success here. Pistols have front and rear sights. Use them! People have peripheral vision. Use it! What do I mean by this? I mean always shoot with both eyes open. For many of us, this requires many hours of dry fire practice but the good news is that dry fire practice is free. Just takes the right kind of attitude and ambition to be successful at it. If you’re taking the time to read this blog then you probably have the mental fortitude to do this with practice. Keep both eyes open, line up the front sight so it sits squarely between the rear sight posts and is centered on the target. This is called sight alignment and sight picture and together, when done properly, keep your aim true. This doesn’t happen overnight though. You may get discouraged but you can do this with practice.
Trigger Control: I can’t stress enough the importance of pressing the trigger straight back in a smooth fluid like motion using the pad of the trigger finger. The smooth press straight back minimizes movement and thus helps to keep you on target. Anything else is unacceptable and will leave you wondering, “why didn’t I hit my intended target”? Listen to me here, there is no substitute for dry fire practice and live fire practice on this particular discipline. Every practice rep and every round down range counts so make the most of them.
Recoil Management: Guns produce recoil. No doubt about it. The battle we all have is minimizing or controling it. How? Well with a lot of practice. A solid grip and base are very important during practice. You’re probably going to anticipate the reoil though and that will cause you to push the gun downwards sometimes. It’s a common problem amongst newer shooters especially but with practice and training it can usually be overcome. Stop focusing on the “fear of the bang” and concentrate instead on your front sight, breathing pattern, holding the gun steady, minimizing your arc of movement, and presentation toward the target. Clear your mind. Stop worrying about what’s for dinner and concentrate on the business at hand.
Concentration: Defined as the action or power of focusing one’s attention or mental effort. We have now come full circle.
Concentrating is one of my basic pistol shooting disciplines. Without it I don’t believe we can have repeatable success on the range. We may get lucky from time to time but if the shot isn’t repeatable does it really matter? So did we answer the original question? Do you remember what the original question was? Let me refresh your memory. I basically asked how do we improve our ability to concentrate when we’re on the line? Well folks, like most things involving firearms the answer is simple. We practice and we train until we succeed. Concentrating is just another discpline that requires our best efforts. As gun enthusiaists, competitors, hunters, 2nd amendment advocates, etc that’s just what we do. We work with our tools until we are the best we can be.
Leave it all on the range,
790.15 – Discharging firearm in public or on residential property.
Because of where I live and my frequent Facebook interactions with people this particular statute has a special place in my heart. The topic of “back yard ranges” seems to come up on a daily basis. Lets disect 790.15 just a little bit shall we? But be advised! I am not your source for legal advise. This is simply my interpretation and my own personal experience.
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) or subsection (3), any person who knowingly discharges a firearm in any public place or on the right-of-way of any paved public road, highway, or street, who knowingly discharges any firearm over the right-of-way of any paved public road, highway, or street or over any occupied premises, or who recklessly or negligently discharges a firearm outdoors on any property used primarily as the site of a dwelling as defined in s. 776.013 or zoned exclusively for residential use commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s.775.083. This section does not apply to a person lawfully defending life or property or performing official duties requiring the discharge of a firearm or to a person discharging a firearm on public roads or properties expressly approved for hunting by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or Florida Forest Service.
Section 1 sounds pretty clear to me. No discharging firearms…
- in a public place
- on the right-of-way of a paved public road, highway, or street
- over an occupied premise
- recklessly or negligently on any property primarily used as a dwelling site or zoned exclusively residential
Now that we understand what the statute says we can’t do we can continue reading to understand it’s a first degree misdemeanor if charged. Keep in mind, the law tells you what’s illegal not what is legal. So far nothing stopping Acreage residents from enjoying safe responsible plinking on their property right?
(2) Any occupant of any vehicle who knowingly and willfully discharges any firearm from the vehicle within 1,000 feet of any person commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
Section 2 seems pretty cut and dry right? If you want to practice shooting from a vehicle make sure you’re at least 1,000ft away from other people. Maybe this isn’t a good idea to try on your property. Just my opinion anyways.
(3) Any driver or owner of any vehicle, whether or not the owner of the vehicle is occupying the vehicle, who knowingly directs any other person to discharge any firearm from the vehicle commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
Section 3 is pretty clear isn’t it? What I get out of this is don’t tell someone to dscharge a firearm from the vehicle you own or are operating. Let me put it to you like this, NO DRIVE BYES! No getting mad at a tailgater and telling the passenger to shoot out their tire. Seems obvious doesn’t it?
(4) Any person who recreationally discharges a firearm outdoors, including target shooting, in an area that the person knows or reasonably should know is primarily residential in nature and that has a residential density of one or more dwelling units per acre, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. This subsection does not apply:
- If you read section 4 in it’s entirety it sure does sound like target shooting at home would be illegal right? First degree misdemeanor punishable by 775.082 or 775.083. Scary stuff. BUT!!! There’s hope!!! The very last sentence clearly states “This subsection does not apply: (b) If, under the circumstances, the discharge does not pose a reasonably foreseeable risk to life, safety, or property”
What in the world is that supposed to mean? If I build a really nice private range with large thick berms I’m good right? As long as I’m being responsible and there’s no drinking alcohol or other craziness when the deputies arrive then I’m legal right? Well folks here’s the bottom line… it’s up to the deputy responding in my opinion!
Here’s my final thoughts based on my personal experience. I’ve had deputies out to my house multiple times now. Neighbors complained about noise, gun fire, and a few times the deputies simply heard gunfire so they investigated. Each and evey time they were simply doing their job and each and every time I welcomed them on to my propety so they could see my range with their own two eyes. I always have eye and ear protection. I always have my firearms cleared, slide/bolt locked back and pointed in a safe direction. I never have alcohol in my range area. I don’t even throw empty bottles in the garbage can back there. I have targets hanging and I have a 30’x10’x8′ berm with 150 tires behind it as my back stop. And I have never had a local deputy ask me to stop plinking. We have always shook hands and wished each other well. Being respectful goes a long way. Having a private range is incredibly fun and valuable for training but it comes with an enormous responsibilty. And in my humble opinion it’s a freedom worth fighting for!
Be safe and see you in class,
Chapter 790 – Weapons & Firearms
790.001 Definitions.—As used in this chapter, except where the context otherwise requires:
(4) “Destructive device” means any bomb, grenade, mine, rocket, missile, pipebomb, or similar device containing an explosive, incendiary, or poison gas and includes any frangible container filled with an explosive, incendiary, explosive gas, or expanding gas, which is designed or so constructed as to explode by such filler and is capable of causing bodily harm or property damage; any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any device into a destructive device and from which a destructive device may be readily assembled; any device declared a destructive device by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; any type of weapon which will, is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of any explosive and which has a barrel with a bore of one-half inch or more in diameter; and ammunition for such destructive devices, but not including shotgun shells or any other ammunition designed for use in a firearm other than a destructive device. “Destructive device” does not include:
(5) “Explosive” means any chemical compound or mixture that has the property of yielding readily to combustion or oxidation upon application of heat, flame, or shock, including but not limited to dynamite, nitroglycerin, trinitrotoluene, or ammonium nitrate when combined with other ingredients to form an explosive mixture, blasting caps, and detonators; but not including:
The exclusions contained in paragraphs (a)-(d) do not apply to the term “explosive” as used in the definition of “firearm” in subsection (6).
(8) “Law enforcement officer” means:
(19) “Ammunition” means an object consisting of all of the following: