Goal setting for CCW focused shooters

Yesterday I talked about the importance of goal setting when measuring performance, and I approached the subject entirely from a competition shooting standpoint. Now while we’re big advocates of competition shooting here at Gun Nuts, I also accept that there are some shooters who simply aren’t interested in matches, but still want to get better. For the ccw-focused shooter, what are good ways to set goals and measure performance?

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FAST Drill with the Springfield Armory Range Officer

The RO is over 1500 rounds now, and after being generously lubed and politely talked to, it made it an entire range session without a malfunction. Although the pin I noticed walking on a previous test continues to wander around, which is quite annoying. Here’s me running the FAST Test with the RO.

With regards to training, I’ve been focusing lately on working from my actual concealment rig; which means AIWB with a closed front garment. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t practiced with this set up nearly as often as I should, and it shows in my training. My draws are nothing spectacular, pretty pedestrain 1.50s to a headshot, but oh my lord my reloads are ass. Just hot, wretched ass for days and days. The best reload I pulled today was a 2.26. Mind you, with an open front concealment garment, I could get sub-2.00 reloads all day long and when I was hot could even get in the 1.5s. But this closed front thing? It’s the worst. Yes, it doesn’t help that I’m trying to reload a single stack without a magazine funnel on it, trust me I know.

I’ve wanted a FAST Coin for a long time. The last time I had a whack at one, I turned in a decent time in the mid-sixes, good enough for the Wall, but not good enough for a coin. Then it slipped from my focus for a while, and then I took all of last year off from shooting. Now I’m back behind the gun and training hard again, and it feels good. I’ve pushed my raw shooting skills back to where they were around 2011-2012 when I was at the peak of my game. With some more work I should be able to get consistent with my reloads from concealment again. Since Ernie Langdon has taken over the FAST torch from Todd, I might even have a chance.

CCW game on point

Who says you can’t carry a good gun and look awesome at the same time? Now that the grip screw situation has been solved, I can set up my Springfield Armory RO with my red Crimson Trace 20th Anniversary Master Series grips. This grips…man they just look amazing. The best part is that they still perfectly perform their intended function as an aiming device.

The 5 worst guns for self-defense

Everyone has an inherent, human right to self-defense. Here in America at least, that right is obviously frequently exercised with the use of firearms. In the gun community, we always say “the first rule of gunfighting is have a gun” – and while that’s all well and good, we should also discourage people from picking guns that are terrible for self-defense. Because let’s be honest, some guns are not good choices for self-defense. Maybe they’re poorly made, maybe they’re a gimmick, but guns like this really shouldn’t be carried as primary defensive weapons.

5. Semi-auto rimfire pistols

taurus 22 LR pistol

When was the last time you heard someone say “man, that .22 is super reliable” and they weren’t talking about a Ruger? That’s the big problem with pocket-sized .22 LR autos. First off, they’re just not that reliable. They tend to malfunction, sometimes because of ammo issues, sometimes because of feeding issues. The ammo reliability is really an issue, because rimfire ammo has less reliable ignition characteristics than centerfire rounds.

Option: pocket sized .25 ACP pistols. From a 2 inch barrel, the terminal ballistics are basically the same between .25s and .22s, but small, pocketable .25 ACP pistols are going to be a lot more reliable.

4. Derringers

cobra derringer

I like derringers, and I even think they have a role in self-defense. Just not as a primary. I think that two shots of .38 or .45 or whatever you’ve got plugged into your derringer is a decent option as a last ditch. But as a primary? Hard pass. Derringers are tough to shoot well, most are single action, they recoil a ton, and they don’t hold any ammo. They have all the drawbacks of a j-frame and none of the benefits. But again, as a last ditch option? Not so bad. If you must, get one from Bond Arms, because Bond Arms makes legit good guns. If your derringer isn’t a Bond, it’s probably crap.

Option: honestly, a j-frame would be a preferable choice. It still doesn’t hold much ammo, and it’s still tough to shoot, but it makes a better choice as a primary than a derringer.

3. Gimmick guns

Monica Belluci COP derringer

What’s a gimmick gun, you ask? It’s a gun that’s designed around features that don’t make it better to shoot, easier to reload, or any actual feature that you’d want to have in a defensive pistol. I don’t want to bet my life on “cool engineering,” you know?

Options: Buy a Glock or an M&P, don’t be a special snowflake.

2. Single-action revolvers

Ruger Vaquero with Winchester PDX

I love single action revolvers, and like derringers I think that they do have a purpose in self-defense. Just not as a primary gun for the average dude. Because remember, the average guy lives in the suburbs and drives a crossover or a pickup truck, and probably doesn’t need to shoot a bear or a mountain lion in his backyard. If you do need to shoot a bear or a lion or something, a single action revolver makes a lot of sense. However, for every day self-defense for Average Gun Bro? Not really. There’s a pretty steep learning curve on SA revolvers, from loading to firing and unloading that makes them a poor choice as a primary defensive tool.

Options: Uh, a DA revolver? If you want a wheelgun, get a big DA wheelgun. You can even shoot it SA if you’re a bad person, but they’re easier to load, unload, and shoot than an SA gun.

1. Eastern Europe milsurp (other than Makarovs)
Let’s get real here for a second. If you’re buying your CCW piece with your C&R license, you need to fix yourself. The big problem with a lot of these former Combloc guns is that they weren’t designed for anything other than capping a dissident in the back of the skull at contact distances. Sure, they’re cool collector items and they’re fun to take to the range, but as a serious self-defense tool? No. Just no. Especially since a CZ-52 is pushing $300 these days, for that price if you shop smart you can get a used Glock 23, which is literally better in every possible sense of being better.

Options: Buy a Glock or an M&P, don’t be a special snowflake.

There you have it, some simple recommendations. If you think I missed one, or you think I’m off my rocker, let me know in the comments!