Mousegun practice

Back in December of ’06, I wrote a post about how I rather frequently carry a Walther P22. If you’re wondering, I still do, it’s my main carry gun for situations where the GP100 would be…impractical. That means that it gets carried a lot during the summer, or if the manner of dress required just won’t hide a full size pistol, even with the awesome IWB holster I made for the GP100.

I shoot the P22 almost every time I go to the range. It’s fun, and it makes for good practice in the off chance that I should actually have to ding someone with it. I got an email from a friend asking me “how I practiced” with the P22 when thinking of it as a carry gun – so, not plinking cans on the farm. I firmly believe that if you’re going to carry a mousegun, you had better be able to shoot it right to the edge of the pistol’s performance envelope. Shot placement is always king, and especially so when your bullet is that small. What I’ve got below is basically how I train with the mousegun. While some of it is specific for the P22, I believe it could be adapted to any sub-caliber auto or revolver.

A while back I bought some .22LR snap-caps, so I can dry fire the pistol without worrying about messing up the firing pin. I use the snap caps when I’m at home practicing my draw from concealment. Since I’m operating off the assumption that shot placement is key, the draw from concealment drill involves drawing the weapon, acquiring the sights and pressing through the double action stage of the trigger. This is in my opinion the most important drill to practice, regardless of what caliber weapon you carry. A well placed first shot leads to well-placed followup shots.

Once I’ve done the draw-sights-fire drill, I switch to trigger reset. Still using the snap caps, I’ll dry fire the P22 in double action, and then while still holding the trigger back to simulate just firing a round, I’ll manually run the slide and cycle a new snap cap into the chamber. This drill allows me to practice letting the trigger travel the minimum amount of distance necessary to reset itself. I’ve been doing this for a few months now, and I can honestly say that it’s allowed me to run that pistol a lot faster.

Above are the two primary dry fire drills that I recommend. Quite frankly, just practicing those has improved my marksmanship with the P22 significantly. I also do a battery of live fire drills when I get the P22 to the range, all drills use either silhouette targets or standard IDPA targets.. I’ve got them listed below in the order that I practice.

Drill #1
Set the target at 15 yards. Load two magazines (10 rounds each). If your range allows you to draw and fire, then draw, acquire your sights and press through the double action trigger, aiming for center of mass. Safely lower the hammer, holster and repeat the drill. If your range doesn’t allow you to draw, then start the drill from the low ready position. Remember, each shot (20 rounds) should be fired from the double-action trigger stage.

Drill #2
With the target still at 15 yards, the process is the same as the first drill, except now you’re firing two shots. Basically, it’s a double tap drill at 15 yards from either the holster or low ready, aiming for COM. Simple. (20 Rounds)

Drill #3
Target still at 15 yards, aiming for COM, place 20 aimed shots on the target as rapidly as possible. This means a magazine change after the first ten. (20 rounds)

Drill #4
Move the target in to 10 yards. This drill is from the holster (or low-ready). Two shots COM, one head shot. I refuse to call this anything other than a Mozambique drill, because “Failure to stop” sound so pansy. This drill is fired in strings of thee, with the first shot of each string coming from the double action mode. (30 Rounds)

Drill #5
Target at ten yards, load the pistol to capacity. Have a spare 10 round magazine ready. This time from the holster (or low ready) draw and fire one three shot string (2 body-1 head). After the headshot, continue firing three shot strings without re-holstering in the “2 body-1 head” pattern. You should be empty after 10 rounds so your first shot from the 2nd magazine (number 11) would go to the body. Rapid fire drill. (20 rounds)

Drill #6
Move the target to 7 yards. From the holster, draw and fire a single aimed shot to the head. Lower the hammer, re-holster and repeat for 20 rounds. (20 rounds)

Drill #7
I call this the “anti-zombie drill”. At 7 yards, draw and empty the magazine as rapidly as you can acquire the flash sight picture. All shots go the head – change magazines. Do this for 20 rounds. I do confess, this is my favorite drill just because with practice you can run a P22 super fast.

There you go, you’ve burned through 150 rounds (which probably cost 3 bucks), and hopefully you had a lot of fun doing it. I don’t think that a .22LR is ideal for personal defense, but if you’re going to carry one, you had better be able to shoot it better than a mall ninja bullshits.