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Nasty Habits Can Ruin Your Concealed Carry Ability

Correct Pistol Stance

You know I just started training with Ted, my pistol instructor. He told me that I had some bad habits when I fire my pistol. We went to the range last week for the first time. I told him that my brother had showed me the stance and other ideas about shooting my pistol. Ted asked me to show him what I had learned. I took the stance and fired a few bullets.

He said I had some parts of my shooting that were very bad. He said it was a good thing I have not been shooting for a long time. If I had been I would have put these bad habits into my muscle memory and it would be very hard for me to correct them. Ted said he would start me off right and get me to use the right techniques. He told me that shooting takes some work. You have to concentrate and do things the right way or you will not be successful in consistently hitting your target.

Ted said that I approached setting up to take a shot in a haphazard, lazy way. He told me that I needed to be stable and consistent in all my techniques to have accuracy. He said I need to get rid of all these nasty habits that can ruin my efforts to concealed carry. When I take a shot he said that I was leaning back with my upper trunk. I had my shoulders back. I was leaning back from my waist. This is not a good thing. I was off balance, and the recoil from my pistol could knock me backward. This “lean back” is a natural compensation for the weight of the pistol that you have out in front of you. But there is a better way. Ted said to stick your butt out and lean forward with slightly bent knees. This will give you better balance and counter the recoil of your pistol.

For some of my shots Ted noticed that I would bend one or both of my arms. In order for me to have stability in each shot he said I need to keep both arms straight. Doing this forms a triangle with my pistol at the point and my shoulders as the base of the triangle. Sometimes this is called the isosceles stance. This creates a lot of stability for each shot. He told me that fortunately I did not do what some people do. That is droop my shoulders. This is just laziness. To keep consistency to the target it is best to tuck your shoulders up to the side of your neck.

Another bad habit that people use when making a shot with their handgun is to turn sideways like they are shooting a rifle. Ted said that does not give you the ability to pivot to the target if you need to. You need to face the target fully with your arms in the triangle position to be most effective. Some people also like to close one eye when they use a pistol. This is a method they may have learned when firing a rifle, but it is not the best for the handgun. Keeping both eyes open is the best way to have proper target acquisition.

Flinching with the pistol is a very big problem with new shooters. It is probably the most destructive of the habits that can ruin a shot. If this get into your muscle memory it is a stinker to get rid of. Ted said that I need to do a lot of dry fire practice to avoid building a flinch into my shots. Ever new shooter will have an anticipation of the bang that will occur when they pull the trigger. Doing bunches of dry fire repetitions can help to keep from getting a flinch when you shoot your pistol for real.

Correct Pistol Grip

The way that I started off holding my pistol was not correct. The best way is the “two hand wrap”, Ted said. With this you wrap three fingers of your predominate hand around the pistol grip with your trigger finger along side and not in the trigger guard. Three fingers of your other hand are wrapped over the fingers of your predominate hand. Both your thumbs rest on top of one another beside the pistol and on the opposite side from you trigger finger. You do not put your trigger finger on the trigger until you ready to fire.

Lots of people cup the grip of the pistol with their non-dominant hand, hold their shooting arm with their non-dominant hand, or other ways. These are not grips that will give you the stability and consistency that is required to make accurate shots.

I think Ted is going to help to learn the right way to shoot that will perfectly complement my concealed carry.