Self Defense
Live Fire Drils

Warm-Up Exercises

Semi automatics are loaded with six rounds. Revolvers are loaded to capacity, five or six rounds.

  1. Exercise 1 - Warm-up (6 rounds)

    Make sure you allow the gun to come down naturally on its own to the target without "muscling it", acquire a second sight picture, and reset or releasing the trigger.

  2. Exercise 2 - Warm-up (6 rounds)

    Aimed shots: Firing a series of aimed shots in a relatively rapid sequence, one immediately after the other onto a single target (as in the last exercise), is referred to as firing a series of aimed shots. These are aimed shots. The second shot should only occur as fast as you can accurately aim it.

    Safety: Note the importance of keeping the gun pointed in a safe direction and your finger off the trigger while loading or reloading, particularly while reloading from behind cover.

    For the remainder of the exercise it is your responsibility to perform a reload when you see fit to do so. You will also fully load the magazine on semi-Autos. Bring extra magazines, speed loaders, and speed strips to the line fully loaded. This does NOT mean have a loaded gun on your hip or one in your hand unless you are at the firing line. It DOES mean you are to have your magazines/speed-loaders charged and ready for use.

  3. You are responsible for placing the required number of hits on the target. For the remainder of the exercises, it is your responsibility to place the specified number of hits on the target. If you miss the target or make only a peripheral hit immediately fire another shot. The shooting exercises state the number of shots that should hit the target, not the maximum number of rounds you are allowed to fire.

Assessing the Area for Additional Threats

  1. Breaking tunnel vision

    When shooting, you may tend to get tunnel vision. Do not concentrate on the target to the exclusion of everything else around you. This tunnel vision is exacerbated in a high-stress situation.

    To break tunnel vision after firing, assess the target, and be alert for additional unseen attackers, lower your handgun just enough to look over your sights and assess the area to the left and to the right of the target once it is no longer a threat, and do wide angle visual scan around yourself to search for additional threats.

  2. Return to ready and assess

    Without a firearm, return the firearm to a ready position, assessing left and right, and doing a 360- degree scan.

  3. Eyes, muzzle, target

    Your entire upper torso moves with your head so that your eyes and the gun's muzzle track as a unit. Point the gun in the direction of whatever you are looking at.

  4. Range safety

    For safety purposes on the range, be careful not to turn too far when assessing left and right. Unless, you really like getting thrown off the range with bunches of people yelling at you, many of them armed!

Flash Sight Picture (Sight Deviation)

In a close-range defensive encounter, you usually do not have the time to acquire perfect sight alignment. While accuracy is important, it is also important to deliver effective shots onto the target as rapidly as your ability allows.

  1. Imperfect alignment

    As soon as the front sight is lined up somewhere within the rear sight, you should fire. The front sight blade may be slightly off to the right, left, high, or low, but as long as it is somewhere in the notch created by the rear sight, you can fire. This is referred to as a flash sight picture.

  2. Quick acquisition

    You should be able to acquire this flash sight picture within a fraction of a second of bringing the sights onto the target at close range (i.e. 15 feet or less).

  3. Rapid engagement

    A flash sight picture is used as the first shot when at close range and the shot must be taken quickly. It is also used as a technique to deliver rapid follow-up shots.

  4. Distance equals time

    The farther away a target is, the more time you have to acquire a more proper sight picture. Also, the farther away a target is, the more critical proper sight alignment and trigger control become in hitting the target. Conversely, the closer the target, the less time you have.

  5. Exercise 3

    Sight Alignment Deviation Drill (minimum 24 rounds, 8 rounds at each distance)
    Target distance: 9, 15 and 21 feet

    Note that for those shooting short-barreled handguns, sight alignment is more critical than for those with longer barrels. This is because the closer the front sight is to the rear sight, any misalignment of the sights will cause a greater angle of deviation or error. As the distance between the sights increases, any misalignment has a lesser effect.

As a demonstration as to how far the sights can be misaligned, fire the following exercise (this only needs to be done once):

Accelerated Shots

  1. Sequence and cadence

    Accelerated shots are very similar to aimed shots, except that rather than a refined sight picture for each shot, a flash sight picture is used instead.

    The sequence of accelerated shots is:

    You should shoot at your own speed, and only as fast as you can safely and accurately shoot.

  2. Dry-fire drills

    Target distance: 9 to 21 feet

    Assume a ready position with an unloaded firearm.

    From a ready position, dry-fire two shots in quick succession using a flash sight picture for each shot and return to a ready position.

    Repeat several times, dry firing two, three, or four shots until you are comfortable in rapidly acquiring a flash sight picture.

    Pay particular attention to your trigger control and whether or not you are focusing on the front sight and whether the front sight is staying in the rear sight notch.

    Remember that you are also to assess left and right every time you return to a ready position.

  3. Live-fire exercise

Cover and Concealment

  1. Cover

    What is cover? Cover is anything that will protect all or part of the body from incoming fire.

  2. Concealment

    What is concealment?
    Concealment is anything that hides all or part of the body from observation.
    It differs from cover in that it will not stop incoming fire.

  3. Cover vs. concealment

    Why are cover and concealment important? Cover can reduce the risk of injury. Concealment can prevent an adversary from locating you or being able to deliver accurate fire toward you.

    Which is preferable, cover or concealment? Cover is usually preferable to concealment.

    When should cover or concealment be used? Cover or concealment should be sought whenever possible, particularly to reload or clear a malfunction.

    Will cover protect equally against all types of ammunition? The degree of cover an object provides depends on what it is constructed of and what is being shot at it. An object that provides cover from a .22 rimfire might not provide cover from a 9mm.

    Also note:

    Since you are NOT part of "The 'A' team" (old time TV) a 9mm will NOT bounce off a trash can lid held vertically (or danged near any other way).

  4. Common household objects: cover or concealment?

    Although there is ample concealment in most homes, usually very little cover is avaiable.

    Take a moment to visualize what objects in your own homes could be used as cover or concealment.

    When should yo make use of cover or concealment?
    Whenever it is available!

  5. Shooting from cover (strong-side cover)

Kneeling Position

The kneeling position is used quite frequently in defensive shooting. Use kneepads for practice.

  1. Study the kneeling position

    Beginning from a ready position, demonstrate getting into the kneeling position by:

    If you are standing too close to cover, or do not want to move any closer to it, drop your knee into position rather than stepping forward.

    The muzzle is kept pointed in a safe direction and the hands are extended into position as the knee contacts the ground. Stand up as you would normally do from a kneeling position ensuring you keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

  2. Practice the position Practice assuming the standard kneeling position with the firearm with an unloaded firearm from a standing ready position.

    Practice both methods of assuming the position:

  3. Align your position with the target and establish the target NPA on the target.

    Dryfire: From a standing ready position, practice assuming a kneeling position and dry fire two or three accelerated shots as soon as possible after assuming the kneeling position.

  4. Exercise 8 - Standing to Kneeling Strong Side Cover (minimum 6 rounds)
    Target distance: 15 to 21 feet

  5. Exercise 9 - Standing to Kneeling Weak-Side Cover

    Repeat Exercise 8 using the weak side of the cover.
    (minimum 6 rounds)

Point Shooting

Note that sometimes an attack occurs so close and so fast that any reference to sight alignment becomes unnecessary or impossible.

In this situation, you need to extend your handgun in a two-handed grip toward the center of mass of the target and fire as soon as your arms extend fully into the firing position.

You are focused on the target rather than the sights. Specifically, you are focused on the precise point you want your bullet to strike the target.

The sights are at eye level, and you will usually see at least the rear sight in your peripheral vision.

Raise or extend your handgun from a ready position to its normal firing position with the sights at eye level. The difference is that the shot is fired as soon as the handgun is in the firing position without any attempt to visually align the front and rear sights.

  • Exercise 11 - Point Shooting (minimum 6 rounds)
    Target distance: 6 to 9 feet Cover.- Not used

  • Exercise 12 - Point Shooting (minimum 6 rounds)