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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Many folks have shifted to subcompact handguns with the reasoning that:
  • They are easier to carry
  • easy to carry translates to more likely to be carried.
  • a gun is better than no gun

Some who select small handguns often observe the following trade offs:
  • Controls can be hard to manipulate
  • slides can be hard to rack
  • sights are of reduced utility
  • recoil can be more punishing due to smaller surface areas and less weight

I tend to carry what I call a midsized handgun in today’s market. (They used to be considered compact, but don’t seem so compact by today’s standards.). Not a Glock 19 but in that same size range.

Many folks tend to go with even smaller guns, such as, J-frame snub nose revolvers, PPK sized .380s and 9mms and even smaller, such as the LCP sized .380s

I have observed that the trade-offs of carrying sub compact guns often results in less time actually using them at the range, or practicing using them. Less range time and less practice usually results in lower familiarity and just plain, comfort in operating the handgun and ultimately poorer performance.

If the idea is to have a small gun with you at all times in case something bad happens. It seems logical to be well versed in employing the firearm with you very well.

So, how do you practice? What drills do you do? Do you practice drawing from your carry location? Do you practice at contact distances (Disengaging safeties where applicable and putting safeties back on before holstering)? Do you practice aimed fire? Weak hand? Where double actions are used, do you focus on getting critical hits with the double action?

I note most folks at ranges just bullseye shoot. I also understand most ranges have formal rules that often negate or prohibit holstering and drawing. What are your work-around s for these rules? Starting from low ready or a tabled handgun? Do you put multiple aiming points on a target to practice transitioning from one target to another?

Just curious how folks actually practice for carry with the small guns.
 

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Many folks have shifted to subcompact handguns with the reasoning that:
  • They are easier to carry
  • easy to carry translates to more likely to be carried.
  • a gun is better than no gun

Some who select small handguns often observe the following trade offs:
  • Controls can be hard to manipulate
  • slides can be hard to rack
  • sights are of reduced utility
  • recoil can be more punishing due to smaller surface areas and less weight

I tend to carry what I call a midsized handgun in today’s market. (They used to be considered compact, but don’t seem so compact by today’s standards.). Not a Glock 19 but in that same size range.

Many folks tend to go with even smaller guns, such as, J-frame snub nose revolvers, PPK sized .380s and 9mms and even smaller, such as the LCP sized .380s

I have observed that the trade-offs of carrying sub compact guns often results in less time actually using them at the range, or practicing using them. Less range time and less practice usually results in lower familiarity and just plain, comfort in operating the handgun and ultimately poorer performance.

If the idea is to have a small gun with you at all times in case something bad happens. It seems logical to be well versed in employing the firearm with you very well.

So, how do you practice? What drills do you do? Do you practice drawing from your carry location? Do you practice at contact distances (Disengaging safeties where applicable and putting safeties back on before holstering)? Do you practice aimed fire? Weak hand? Where double actions are used, do you focus on getting critical hits with the double action?

I note most folks at ranges just bullseye shoot. I also understand most ranges have formal rules that often negate or prohibit holstering and drawing. What are your work-around s for these rules? Starting from low ready or a tabled handgun? Do you put multiple aiming points on a target to practice transitioning from one target to another?

Just curious how folks actually practice for carry with the small guns.
The defensive use of a handgun would all depend on what type of situation that you're in, time and distance? There's a big difference in target shooting where you have all the time in the world to carefully take aim and fire than having to draw and fire a weapon within a fraction of a second.

For close range let's say under 10 ft. you'll only have time to draw and fire. In which case it's point and shoot. You can practice drawing and firing at a target within that distance. It also helps to just practice drawing and dry firing as quickly as possible. In that type of situation I don't think that you'll notice or care whether you have a small, large or medium sized gun or the recoil and blast the gun makes.

If someone's breaking in you may have time to take up a position with your gun at the ready and let the intruder come to you. In which case you'll probably be able to aim and fire. Same as if someone came charging at you from a distance. Although that would be a pretty dumb thing to do if someone was pointing a gun straight at them.

If you have to shoot someone at a distance you're probably gonna' have a lot of explaining to do in order to justify a self defense shooting.

If you're someplace where a madman decides to go on a shooting spree. If they don't get you first you may also be able to take cover, take aim and then take them out. But then again maybe not? In which case you'd better be a damn good shot. That would require being able to draw, take aim and fire within a short period of time. But you'd want to practice that where nobody else is around. I doubt very much that they would allow that at a public shooting range?

Obviously you'll have to practice with the type of weapon you're carrying and where you're carrying it on your person. If it's a SA semi auto such as a 1911 you'll have to practice disengaging the safety as you're drawing the weapon. Carrying that type of weapon in anything other than condition one (loaded chamber, cocked hammer and safety on) is a fools errand. Myself, I don't want to have to deal with a safety or anything else that you may have to do before firing the gun. As a fraction of a second may get you killed or seriously injured.

Of course there are dozens of other situations that you could find yourself in and nearly impossible to practice for each and every one of them. So I think that it's best to narrow it down to the situations that you stand a better chance of finding yourself in such as the one's I've mentioned above. You don't want to be a jack of all trades and master of none.
 

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When I carried a pocket pistol, I practiced with it just as I do now with my slightly-larger (but much less powerful) EDC piece.
I did several dry-fire presentations every morning, when first putting on my pistol, and then several more dry-fire presentations when I was about to take it off for sleeping.
About once-a-week, I live-fired at least a magazine-full at a silhouette target. This practice involved movement, and sometimes also a reload.
 

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My every day carry is a compact Springfield XDE chambered in 45 ACP and being that this gun is a double action single action hammer fired, I don’t really do anything extravagant when I go practice but the one thing I always try to keep brushed up on is taking advantage of its double action first shot. I’ll go through quite a bit of magazines and fire the first shot in double action mode, then the second shot in single action and then decock the hammer and do it all over again.


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At my range we’re limited to no holster/hip shooting and slow fire only (1/sec max cadence), though I do sneak a double-tap in now and then. At home, I’ll practice draw and presentation along with dry fire in various positions (seated, standing, moving).
 
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My range is out in the middle of the desert where no one is around. I can do pretty much what I want as long as I don't leave anything left behind or disturb the landscape. There's also a popular spot where a lot of people go, unfortunately a lot of slobs go there too. They leave their shit all over the place from broken bottles to old appliances. I don't want any part of that, not only that but it gives us all a bad name. Why anyone would want to trash this awesome landscape is beyond me? Fortunately there's not a lot of litter out here, but even a little is too much.

It's great to be able to have the freedom to go out and practice drawing and firing as fast as you can. Or just setting up a row of soda cans and see how fast you can blow them all away. Cans and plastic bottles can be easily picked up and taken back with you. Glass bottles and containers explode upon impact and leave shards of glass all over the place. It's also hazardous to wildlife that may step on it. Glass doesn't deteriorate, it's there for good.

Out in the middle of nowhere you don't have to worry about other people being around or having a range officer bearing down on you. Not that I blame the range officer at all it's their job to keep everyone safe. I've seen a few people do some pretty stupid things at a public range and were subsequently thrown out on their ass. I don't want to be around such people, all it takes is a fraction of a second for someone to get killed or seriously injured by someone's carelessness. I try to avoid public ranges like the plague.

  1. Arizona | Bureau of Land Management
    www.blm.gov › recreation-activities › arizona
    National BLM Target Shooting Regulations: Shooting and possession of firearms is allowed on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management provided that the specific shooting activity involved: Does not create a public hazard, public nuisance or direct threat to public safety and use. (paraphrased from Title 43 CFR Sec. 8365.1-4.)

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So, does anyone limit their small pistol shooting due to discomfort or because “small guns aren’t fun to practice with”?
 

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So, does anyone limit their small pistol shooting due to discomfort or because “small guns aren’t fun to practice with”?
I don't but everyone's different. But then again you've got to take into consideration that all small guns are not alike. People should practice with what they carry. How a gun feels in your hand makes a big difference as to whether you'll practice with it or not. In which case you'd be better off either trading it in or buying something else. Some guns you can just change the grips to ones that better fit your hand. Such as these that are on my J-Frames. A gun that you can not get a good grip on is gonna' bang around in your hand more than one that feels like it was molded to your hand. It's kinda' like going on a hike with a pair of boots that don't fit. You probably won't get very far.

Obviously you don't have as many choices with polymer framed guns, although they do make grip sleeves for them. They do a pretty good job of absorbing the recoil and are grippy. However I find that they "cling" to my clothes. My Sig P290 is the absolute worst feeling gun that's practical for self defense that I own. There's just not enough to grab on to. I've got other's too, a coupla' 45LC/410 Bond Arm's derringers and a few .22 WMR NAA mini revolvers. I consider them to be novelties more than anything else. Those are not the kind of guns that you're gonna' go out and put a hundred or so rounds out of in one session. That really serves no purpose other than to waste ammo. I've probably put no more than 10 rounds out of each of those guns just to see what they are like but that's about it.

I've got a NAA Guardian .32 that I've put quite a few rounds out of. The advantage of a gun this size is that you can conceal it just about anywhere and you can squeeze off 6 rounds as fast as you can pull the trigger. Because it's a .32 it has very little recoil and is easily controllable for such a small gun. It's a point and shoot gun meant for extremely close range. Loaded with hollow points and less than a foot or two away someone's gonna' be in a world of hurt with a diet of six of those in them. This is the kind of gun that you can carry it in a pair of gym shorts and not even know it's there or will anyone else.

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My local range doesn't allow drawing from a holster, rapid-fire or double-taps so I have no idea how I'd shoot quickly. I practice my draw at home. I shoot my carry guns just often enough to know I'm not rusty. 12-15 shots each 2-3 times a year. These are tiny, snappy guns so if I do fist-size groups at 7 yards I'm happy.
 
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