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  1. #1
    SelfDefenseNovice is offline Junior Member
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    Passed NRA Conceal Carry Course: Just interested in self defense

    Today. I passed my NRA "Conceal Carry" course. It was like I couldn't miss the 5 1/2 inch target circle. In order to pass the course I had to hit a target 5 times from 21 feet away.

    My instructor had me put 5 rounds in the magazine. For the first shot, she had me do something with the Taurus PT1911 handgun which made me waste my first shot. I don't even fully remember what she had me do. I felt that the gun wasn't loaded, but it was. The way I would usually shoot single rounds was to load the magazine with one round, put the magazine in the gun, cock the gun, aim and press the trigger.

    Question: My gun is for defense purposes only! How often should I go the shooting range for practice. Would once a year be enough, or can I get away with not going to the range for years. Seriously, I'm a busy person and feel I don't need that much practice. I just have to press the trigger slowly if I have to. I have 800 rounds of target ammo which took more than two weeks to reach me though my gun dealer.

    My handgun shot about 80 rounds since its last cleaning. Should I clean it again. Is it due if I'm not planning on using it a lot. I'm going to clean it tomorrow to make sure I know how. I'm planning on not shooting a lot. I do need the cleaning practice. My gun dealer showed me once, and if I have problems I can see him again. When he cleaned my gun, the spring popped out and hit my eyebrow. He was scared of that happening. The trick for me is to remove the frame (slide) I have to pull it (jerk it) way way back over the hammer, I guess! To put the frame back on, I have to push down a weird pin near the hammer and jerk it back on in the reverse direction.

    What are some practical ways I can use my conceal carry permit.

    Here's my application for a conceal carry permit in Virginia. I'm going to fill it out tomorrow and take it to the police station next week.

    http://www.vsp.state.va.us/downloads...v_7-1-2012.pdf

    The Conceal Carry course had overlap wih my NRA Handgun First Steps Orientation course. Should I take the NRA Personal Protection in the Home course.

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    berettabone is offline Banned
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    " I don't even fully remember what she had me do". " I felt that the gun wasn't even loaded, but it was". I think that you need a bit more " awareness" as to what condition your firearm is in, at all times. I realize you may have been a bit nervous(maybe not) but knowing what condition your firearm is in, is of utmost importance, always. IMHO, you need to familiarize yourself with your firearm more, before you start carrying it around. Everybody's practice times are different. Some feel that a couple hundred rds. a year are enough, others shoot thousands of rds. a year. No one can tell you how much range time you think you need. How much range time do YOU think you need. If the firearm is going to stay in your home, versus carrying....I would think that practice time would vastly increase if your going to carry. Personally, I don't see how anyone could CCW a firearm, and not shoot at least 400-500 rds. a year, depending on your backround and prior experience.

  4. #3
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    Re: Passed NRA Conceal Carry Course: Just interested in self defense

    Everyones different, but shooting is a perishable skill that needs to be maintained to keep proficiency with a weapon. I suggest try to work on drawing from the holster & dry firing at least once a week. I would think live fire your weapon at least once a month... round count is what you can afford. Buy snap caps and practice malfunction drills as well. That's my opinion as an NRA instructor and Tactical Handgun/Carbine instructor.

    Everyone should know or be able to figure out how much time they need for practice based on experience and proficiency.

    Congrats on your CPL/CCW.

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    A normal learning regimen must include 10 minutes of dry-fire practice a day, plus at least 50 rounds of live-fire practice on one day of each week.
    This course of behavior teaches both familiarity with the tool, and familiarity with the process. (However, never let familiarity become overconfidence or complacency.)

    As your skill improves, you should then add-in presentations from the holster, and then, when you're comfortable with that, presentations from the concealed holster.
    Every presentation at dry-fire should end with a "shot." The process should be a completed one.
    Most formal gun ranges will not allow presentations from the holster, so live-fire training will become an issue. Maybe you can find a place which will permit this.

    The next step is a presentation from concealment which ends in a "double tap," that is, a two-shot presentation. In dry-fire practice, only the first "shot" will be functionally represented, but the second one can be faked with success. Many ranges will not permit live-fire "double taps," so that, too, may become an issue.
    Then go to "double taps" on more than one target: Either "one on each" of two targets, or even "two on each" on as many as three separate targets.

    There's more, but the above regimen will occupy more than a year of learning.


    At least lightly clean a gun, including the barrel's bore, after each live-fire session.
    Detail-strip it for deep cleaning after every 200 to 500 shots. (Instructions may be found in the book that accompanied your pistol.)
    Wipe it with a lightly-oiled rag after every use, including dry-fire practice.
    Do not store a gun in its holster.


    If you properly strip a 1911 pistol, the recoil spring will not hit you. You must control it with your thumb, as you rotate the barrel bushing to set it free.
    Once the spring is no longer compressed, taking the gun apart becomes quite simple and somewhat intuitive.

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    I've been at this for 45 years and there certainly have been times when I have been lax on my trips to the range. But never a year between sessions; probably not more than three months between them at the most. However, for some time now I have been pretty diligent with my practices and for the past year and a half, I have been going every two weeks.

    As has been mentioned, shooting and good gun handling techniques are skills that need to be kept up with frequent practice if you hope to expect to be good enough to call upon your sidearm should the need arise. I would set aside time several days a week for dry practice (drawing, trigger discipline, proper hold, sight alignment, etc.) and hit the range at least once a month.

    BTW, in what part of Virginia do you live?

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    The broke man perspective:

    I can't tell if you have a .45 or what caliber you have, reguardless buying ammunition is expensive. I recommend you stock up on some ammo and rotate when you go to the range.

    Dry fire with snap caps is good as well. Practice drawing. And another member on the forum brought up something very good. Awareness. Thats number 1 when your carrying and when your observing the enviornment around you. Always have the jump on the baddies my friend.

    Lastly research, there's alot of fine print and things you need to know should you ever have to use your weapon. I suggest listening to people who have drawn or used it, theres alot of gun youtubers who have, read some laws, read forum stories, get a sense for what it means and possible consequences. Nevertheless be firm and if the time comes be ready and prepared!!!

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    Passed NRA Conceal Carry Course: Just interested in self defense

    I've been shooting for 37 years and feel I need to be at the range at least once/week. I've carried a firearm daily for the last 33 years. You will want to become intimately acquainted with any firearm you stake your life on. You'll want to develop the muscle memory needed to make your firearm an extension of yourself. You've received good counsel from the replies to your post. I hope you heed the sound advice you've received so you can enjoy the shooting sports. Good luck.

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    SelfDefenseNovice is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    There's more, but the above regimen will occupy more than a year of learning.
    I'm going to buy from my gun dealer two holsters, an open carry and concealed carry holster. I'll practice drawing the gun from both. I'll concentrate on the open carry holster first. I'll also practice shooting while I duck down behind something. First, I'll use snap caps and then go to the shooting range.

    But, I'm curious what else can I do to improve my chances of surviving a real serious attack.

    I don't want to neglect things necessary for survival!

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    Re: Passed NRA Conceal Carry Course: Just interested in self defense

    Take a Tactical Handgun course... look for some in your area and look at the instructors credentials. My advice is to look for a company with instructors with LE or Milirary backgrounds so you get practical knowledge and not just "theory" instruction. Look for a course with dynamic shooting (outdoor) vs static target shooting on a traditional range. Some even offer a moving target systems to practice on.

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    Re: Passed NRA Conceal Carry Course: Just interested in self defense

    Check out FPF Training, they are in VA and have a pretty good reputation.

  12. #11
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    Re: Passed NRA Conceal Carry Course: Just interested in self defense

    What state are you (OP) located in?

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TAPnRACK View Post
    Take a Tactical Handgun course... look for some in your area and look at the instructors credentials. My advice is to look for a company with instructors with LE or Milirary backgrounds so you get practical knowledge and not just "theory" instruction. Look for a course with dynamic shooting (outdoor) vs static target shooting on a traditional range. Some even offer a moving target systems to practice on.
    I agree with you on the training part. As far as the LE or Mil background, I have to disagree on. There are very good instructors out there that were neither. As long as they know the craft, that should work. JMO

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    Re: Passed NRA Conceal Carry Course: Just interested in self defense

    I just feel those who have experienced either combat or deadly force confrontations on multiple occasions may have more to offer in way of practical application gained through personal experience vs someone who has never actually been in a high stress deadly force confrontation.

    I do think there are some amazing instructors out there with no real life experience... but far too many bad ones who read a book or took an 8 hr instructor class as well being Tacti-cool.

    Just my opinion... based on the many schools I've attended and the feedback from students at the company I teach for.

    Would you rather go to a Sniper School ran by real Snipers with time in the field or a group of Hunters who shoot long distance for a hobby?

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    Harryball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TAPnRACK View Post
    I just feel those who have experienced either combat or deadly force confrontations on multiple occasions may have more to offer in way of practical application gained through personal experience vs someone who has never actually been in a high stress deadly force confrontation.

    I do think there are some amazing instructors out there with no real life experience... but far too many bad ones who read a book or took an 8 hr instructor class as well being Tacti-cool.

    Just my opinion... based on the many schools I've attended and the feedback from students at the company I teach for.
    I can understand your point. Some of the instructors I have run into thru my training schedules have been there and done that as civilians. Some of the LE have never pulled there gun in the line of duty. You are right about checking creds, it does help. I have seen to many times someone that was in LE or Mil were not what they claimed. IE: A truck driver in the Mil. or a desk jockey as LE. Some of us have seen the elephant....

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    Re: Passed NRA Conceal Carry Course: Just interested in self defense

    Very true... there are a lot of those out there too.

  17. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TAPnRACK View Post
    Very true... there are a lot of those out there too.
    And a lot, and I mean a lot of the tacti-cool instructors as well. Its really bad in some areas...Sometimes I have to wonder what the hell the training counselors are thinking letting some of these jokers thru....

  18. #17
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    Re: Passed NRA Conceal Carry Course: Just interested in self defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Harryball View Post
    And a lot, and I mean a lot of the tacti-cool instructors as well. Its really bad in some areas...Sometimes I have to wonder what the hell the training counselors are thinking letting some of these jokers thru....
    A lot of it is lack of oversight after the fact/certification. They can fake the funk pretty well and let's be honest, a NRA Very is not that hard to get.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VAMarine View Post
    A lot of it is lack of oversight after the fact/certification. They can fake the funk pretty well and let's be honest, a NRA Very is not that hard to get.
    No its not if you find the right training counselors. lol The last classes I had we really good. The instructors was a no BS kinda of guy, and the class was fun, and interesting. To be honest if you pay attention its not that hard, but it was much better than the last bunch of guys.

    The advanced instructor set is what you want anyways, thats not so easy to get...

  20. #19
    SelfDefenseNovice is offline Junior Member
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    I go to the shooting range every 3 months, shoot 50 rounds obtained directly from the range, and spend the minimum amount of time there.

    The amount of time at the range is based on the minimum time slots that the range sells.

    Is this stupid, smart, or just okay?

  21. #20
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SelfDefenseNovice View Post
    I go to the shooting range every 3 months, shoot 50 rounds obtained directly from the range, and spend the minimum amount of time there.

    The amount of time at the range is based on the minimum time slots that the range sells.

    Is this stupid, smart, or just okay?
    It is stupid, smart, or OK only if you use the range time to better your technique.
    If you are merely banging away at a fairly close target, you are both not doing it often enough, and not doing enough. Thus, you may be wasting your time.

    I suggest that, if you carry a defensive weapon, you need to practice with live ammunition about once a week. In that case, 50 rounds per session—or even fewer—would be enough.
    You should also dry-fire practice for a few minutes, every day.

    But none of this is useful, nor is it a good use of your time, if it is not done according to a plan.

    Have you ever taken a course in pistol shooting?

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    SelfDefenseNovice is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    Have you ever taken a course in pistol shooting?
    Regrettably no, I have a busy schedule or I'm tired to the point of near total exhaustion. I find it hard to find free time.

    For example, these last few years I have had to move around the country a lot for work and get settled in to my new place and job.

    Since 1996, I've been exercising regularly (4 hours weight training each week and 1/2 hour aerobics each day)!

    I've been 20 pounds overweight for the last two years. (Cause: I used to buy all organic food and switched to non organic which offers more choices.) I am on a new weight loss meal plan that I think will finally work.

    Why should I do more than the same simplistic shooting technique every 3 months. Seriously, if I should be doing more explain to me why in a way that will get me to do it.

    I enjoy going at the range, but I have to know what to do beyond simply shooting at the same target 20 feet away. How will taking other courses protect help me protect myself.

    My shooting range is a 30 mile drive from where I live.

  23. #22
    Glock Doctor is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by SelfDefenseNovice View Post
    Today. I passed my NRA "Conceal Carry" course. It was like I couldn't miss the 5 1/2 inch target circle. In order to pass the course I had to hit a target 5 times from 21 feet away.
    OK! I'm going to try to answer your questions as nicely as I know how. If I'm a little rough on you, then, I apologize in advance. Now, not to upset you, but, 7 1/2 yards is, 'mutual suicide distance'! If you're going to be effective with a pistol - and, especially, against more than one armed opponent - you need to be able to consistently hit that 5 1/2 inch circle from more than twice that distance; AND, you need to do it quickly - Very quickly.

    Quote Originally Posted by SelfDefenseNovice View Post
    Question: My gun is for defense purposes only! How often should I go the shooting range for practice. Would once a year be enough, or can I get away with not going to the range for years. Seriously, I'm a busy person and feel I don't need that much practice. I just have to press the trigger slowly if I have to. I have 800 rounds of target ammo which took more than two weeks to reach me though my gun dealer.
    Not an easy question to correctly answer. There is a big difference between the skill levels of someone who's used to firing 1,000 to 1,500 rounds a month taking time off and not returning to the range for a year, and someone else who, 'just passed' some cockamamie pistol course, and imagines that he's going to be effective with a pistol if he only practices every six months, or so.

    THAT AIN'T GOING TO HAPPEN! (You wouldn't believe the pathetic, 'gun nonsense' I see at the range every weekend! Then, again, maybe you would; and, if you want to be really impressed, wait until the Russians come out from Brighton Beach, set up, and begin shooting. The whole personality of the firing line suddenly changes! These guys shoot and act as if they were born with a little silver gun in their mouths!)

    As for, ‘slowly pressing the trigger’ being all that you need? Ahh, …… No! Until you can draw and fire, at least, three accurate rounds in less than three seconds you are, and will continue to be, no better than an excellent target.

    Quote Originally Posted by SelfDefenseNovice View Post
    My handgun shot about 80 rounds since its last cleaning. Should I clean it again. Is it due if I'm not planning on using it a lot. I'm going to clean it tomorrow to make sure I know how. I'm planning on not shooting a lot. I do need the cleaning practice. My gun dealer showed me once, and if I have problems I can see him again. When he cleaned my gun, the spring popped out and hit my eyebrow. He was scared of that happening. The trick for me is to remove the frame (slide) I have to pull it (jerk it) way back over the hammer, I guess! To put the frame back on, I have to push down a weird pin near the hammer and jerk it back on in the reverse direction.
    There are no, ‘tricks’ to disassembling and reassembling a handgun - Only certain steps that need to be followed. There are no, ‘weird pins’ on a pistol. There are only pins whose use you either do, or do not, yet understand. Have you been reading the Owner’s Manual that came with the gun? Have you read it, at least, three times? (I always have.)

    A hard fast rule: Just like in the military, if you shoot the gun, you clean the gun. It’s been, literally, three or four decades since it’s taken me longer than two or three days in order to clean whatever I recently finished shooting. Usually, I clean my weapons the same day I use them; and, often, I clean my primary pistol before I leave the range. (Because it’s, also, my EDC; and I hate getting, ‘range crud’ all over my shirts and pants.)

    Your cleaning question would be better stated as, ‘How do I disassemble and reassemble my pistol?’ (Which has me wondering what pistol you own?) Why don’t you check YouTube to see what disassembly/reassembly and cleaning videos are listed there.

    I can save you some cleaning time by telling you to wrap a properly sized cotton cleaning patch around your bore brush, and scrubbing out your barrel like this rather than working with either an unnecessary and time-consuming slotted tip, or jag.

    When you’ve got your seldom-used pistol clean do one of two things: (1) Either coat and polish its exterior with any auto polish that contains Carnauba wax; or (2) use FrogLube in order to do the same thing. This way your pistol will be able to withstand a lot of external neglect between periods of use; and the usual periodic maintenance required with petrochemical cleaners will be greatly reduced. Your bore should be periodically wiped out and inspected. How often? If the gun is kept in a reasonably dry and temperature-controlled environment, once every six months should be sufficient.

    If you can’t get to the range all that frequently, you should set up a training regimen similar to someone who works out with calisthenics or weights. With a cleared and empty pistol you need to practice your draw while keeping your trigger finger arrow-straight along the side of the frame, and until the pistol’s muzzle passes the, ‘low-ready’ position. (45 degrees in front of you with the muzzle still pointing at the ground.) You need to practice drawing like this, over and over, again until the body movement becomes a thoroughly-ingrained reflex action.

    The other exercise you should regularly practice is dry-firing. Ten or fifteen minutes in the morning, and the same thing, again, at night. What you need to do is to hold the front sight PERFECTLY steady every time you press the trigger, and the sear, ‘breaks’. You’ll have good days, and bad; but you’ve got to stay with dry-firing until you, ‘know’ what that front sight is going to do every time you press the trigger.

    Quote Originally Posted by SelfDefenseNovice View Post
    What are some practical ways I can use my conceal carry permit.
    There ain’t any! It’s not a, ‘badge of honor’ - Only a legal document. Keep it in your wallet, and focus your energy upon learning how to safely and efficiently master your gun.

    Quote Originally Posted by SelfDefenseNovice View Post
    The Conceal Carry course had overlap with my NRA Handgun First Steps Orientation course. Should I take the NRA Personal Protection in the Home course.
    Yes! You should take both Personal Protection Courses: Inside, and Outside The Home. If I wanted to quickly learn how to effectively use a handgun I’d contact any IDPA, or USPSA gun clubs in the area, tell them that I’m a novice, and I’d like to take the safety and handling classes preparatory to shooting in a few matches.

    If you have the money, then, I’d suggest you seek professional training with someone like D.R. Middlebrooks at Tactical Shooting Academy in Surrey, Virginia. D.R. is a very good pistol instructor; if you listen to him and absorb what he says, I’m sure he’ll turn you into a much better than average pistolero. (Your days of hitting yourself in the eye with recoil springs will be over!)

    http://www.tacticalshooting.com/what-is-fist-fire/

    Good luck to you!



    NOTE: You do NOT need to purchase two holsters; and forget about, 'ducking down' while practicing, too. Simply follow the training regimen outlined above. One OTB strong-side holster will be sufficient. Just make certain to get one with a, 'stiff mouth' on it that carries the gun's butt in tight to your body. Me? I'd, probably, be happy with something like a Safariland, 'ALS' paddle holster.

    http://www.safariland.com/DutyGear/p....aspx?pid=6378 (Which may, or may not, fit your particular pistol. I don't know?)

  24. #23
    Bobv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SelfDefenseNovice View Post
    Today. I passed my NRA "Conceal Carry" course. It was like I couldn't miss the 5 1/2 inch target circle. In order to pass the course I had to hit a target 5 times from 21 feet away.

    My instructor had me put 5 rounds in the magazine. For the first shot, she had me do something with the Taurus PT1911 handgun which made me waste my first shot. I don't even fully remember what she had me do. I felt that the gun wasn't loaded, but it was. The way I would usually shoot single rounds was to load the magazine with one round, put the magazine in the gun, cock the gun, aim and press the trigger.

    Question: My gun is for defense purposes only! How often should I go the shooting range for practice. Would once a year be enough, or can I get away with not going to the range for years. Seriously, I'm a busy person and feel I don't need that much practice. I just have to press the trigger slowly if I have to. I have 800 rounds of target ammo which took more than two weeks to reach me though my gun dealer.

    My handgun shot about 80 rounds since its last cleaning. Should I clean it again. Is it due if I'm not planning on using it a lot. I'm going to clean it tomorrow to make sure I know how. I'm planning on not shooting a lot. I do need the cleaning practice. My gun dealer showed me once, and if I have problems I can see him again. When he cleaned my gun, the spring popped out and hit my eyebrow. He was scared of that happening. The trick for me is to remove the frame (slide) I have to pull it (jerk it) way way back over the hammer, I guess! To put the frame back on, I have to push down a weird pin near the hammer and jerk it back on in the reverse direction.

    What are some practical ways I can use my conceal carry permit.

    Here's my application for a conceal carry permit in Virginia. I'm going to fill it out tomorrow and take it to the police station next week.

    http://www.vsp.state.va.us/downloads...v_7-1-2012.pdf

    The Conceal Carry course had overlap wih my NRA Handgun First Steps Orientation course. Should I take the NRA Personal Protection in the Home course.
    Train to maintain, a Unprepared carry concealed person with no musle control drawing or practice with his or her firearm will likley get them killed or hurt, you should practice weekly or a couple times a week and when satisfied with your performance then you should regulary shoot to stay focused and in check.

  25. #24
    SelfDefenseNovice is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    It is stupid, smart, or OK only if you use the range time to better your technique.
    If you are merely banging away at a fairly close target, you are both not doing it often enough, and not doing enough. Thus, you may be wasting your time.

    I suggest that, if you carry a defensive weapon, you need to practice with live ammunition about once a week. In that case, 50 rounds per session—or even fewer—would be enough.
    You should also dry-fire practice for a few minutes, every day.

    But none of this is useful, nor is it a good use of your time, if it is not done according to a plan.
    Yes, I have a carry permit, but I always keep my weapon at home. I have the permit for when I go to the range. (I know I probably don't need it, but it may help me if I'm stopped by an officer.) Since I am at home for at least 8 hours of sleep, I feel that I am protected while home.

    Am I correct, or should I shoot more and go to the range more, please give me details of what I should be doing. I want to learn to better myself!

    My range does not allow me to draw my gun from a holster.

    I will try to act on sound advice.

    Thank you,

  26. #25
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    First of all, you need to decide why you own a pistol:
    Is it for recreation and fun?
    Is it to help you improve your general physical skills?
    Is it to familiarize yourself with pistols, out of general interest?
    Or is it for self-protection?

    Once you have decided what function the gun is supposed to fill, then you can decide how to go about using it.

    So, let's start with that basic question: Why do you own a pistol?
    (Please answer as completely as possible.)

    If, according to your screen name, you are indeed a self-defense novice, please explain why you seem so uninterested in actually learning self-defense technique.
    (Please answer as completely as possible.)

    If you have gone to the trouble of acquiring a carry permit in a state which does not require you to have one for mere ownership, why do you seem so uninterested in pistol carry?
    (Please answer as completely as possible.)

    With that information in hand, maybe I, and the others, can give you some useful advice, and answer your questions.

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