Have you recently picked up a pistol for self-defense purposes? Dealing with a self-defense scenario in which you need to use your pistol isn’t a situation to take lightly. Having a plan and regular practice will help you stay calm and focused, should such an event ever arise.
Here are some ways you can prepare to use your pistol defensively.
How people use guns at their local range isn’t necessarily the way they would be best-served in a defensive scenario. You don't have the luxury of casually checking your targets after every five rounds or slowly swapping out magazines.
While you won’t be able to perfectly replicate a self-defense scenario at the range, you should spend time practicing with a sense of urgency or pressure. Work on building up the speed of your draw, follow-up shots and target transitions. Consider using a shot timer to measure your performance and set goals.
Also consider firing from different positions, such as behind cover, crouched or on your back (assuming you’re at a shooting location that permits this).
Another route to consider in honing your defensive pistol skills is to find a defensive shooting course with professional instructors. If you have the basics, firearm safety and fundamental techniques all down, then more advanced classes geared toward shooting defensively could prove valuable.
They can also be great for learning how to defend yourself with a pistol in different scenarios, such as road rage incidents or a variety of home-invasion situations.
Identify Your Target
If a home invasion happens at night, are you ready? Waking up in the middle of the night, half-asleep and stumbling around doesn’t make for great defensive technique—especially when all your lights are off.
Have your defense pistol equipped with night sights and flashlight. Think about how you can position yourself to be obscured in darkness when turning on the lights on the intruder.
Choose Ammo Wisely
Over-penetration is a common concern with self-defense shooting. Expanding rounds are typically advised for self-defense ammunition due to less penetrating power. Consider hollow-point or soft-point rounds, as opposed to full-metal jackets, when looking for defensive ammo.
Prepare for the Worst
When you practice your defensive shooting, you should also prepare to grapple with situations when things go wrong. Just because your ammo hasn’t stovepiped or a primer hasn’t failed in your range outing doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t happen when you least want it to.
Be prepared to clear a jam or swap to a backup magazine. Without looking, have a friend insert a dummy round/”snap cap” into your magazine, along with live rounds. When the gun doesn’t fire thanks to the dummy round, practice either ejecting the dummy round or swapping mags.