Via Potentia ~ Modern Self Defense Training

Our next free seminar on self defense and physical conditioning is Friday, June 30 from 6 - 9 PM.

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Self Defense Shooting

Learning "proper" shooting is fun. I like to practice, go to tournaments, and see how well I can do against other shooters. But target shooting using sights and self defense shooting are two entirely different things (much like "martial arts" and self defense are two different things). Target shooting emphasizes steady stances, good form, still targets, proper sight picture, etc. But in a self defense emergency the lighting will be less than ideal, the situation will be moving and off-balance, your adrenaline pumping, you'll find it hard to focus your eyes on anything except the attacker, things will happen quickly, and the target is likely to be within 10 feet. There is no need to try to draw properly, assume the correct stance, line up the sights, focus on the front sight, etc. You won't have time, the target isn't going to hold still while you do so, and your human instincts are going to compel you to act differently.

As with common martial arts, with proper training these target shooting techniques can be adapted to self defense, but our goal is to teach self defense first, and competition shooting second (if at all).

We recommend and we train people to learn a technique called "point shooting" for self defense. This doesn't mean you are shooting to win points, but you are using the gun like your index finger, pointing it at the target, and then pulling the trigger with your "social" finger. The gun is held at a natural angle, and the technique springs from your innate ability to point accurately with your index finger -- a finger that, obviously, does not come equipped with sights. This requires specific drilling, but you can develop more-than-adequate accuracy with just 50-100 rounds of specific practice. It doesn't work with all guns. You need to make sure your index finger isn't going to be damaged by the slide, burned by gasses/lead, or interfere with the gun's mechanisms. Because you'll have only two fingers on the grip, you'll have less control over recoil. This can result in jams on some semi-automatics -- often called "limp-wristing." This also implies that it may be easier to do with a smaller caliber. Also, this can't be done with a very small gun due to the risk that your finger will extend beyond the tip of the barrel.

Practice first using an unloaded gun. Make sure that there aren't any pins or such that are going to cut your finger, or which you might depress making the gun inoperative. Another great method is to use an Airsoft replica gun, or the Beamhit system in your actual gun. Then move to live rounds. Make sure your finger does not extend beyond the end of barrel, and that you have sufficient grip to control the recoil. If using a revolver, wear a leather glove and inspect it after several rounds for heat or burn damage. Even if it is clean, you could still end up with a burn from side-blast where the cylinder chamber meets the barrel. Finally, learn to point shoot with both hands, while moving, etc.

On semi-automatics this method of holding the gun automatically raises your hand on the grip. This improves control of recoil, but also increases the possibility of getting bit by the slide when it pops back.

We welcome comments, questions and suggestions for improvement.
Via Potentia, 819 N. Hwy 99 W, McMinnville OR 97128 (in the Impact Jiu Jitsu gym between Sandwich Express and Mikey's Pizza)
Open most weekday evenings after 6:00 PM -- visitors are welcome
Telephone: 503-437-3450

Copyright Via Potentia. All Rights Reserved. Consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program; consult a lawyer before making a legal decision. All information provided on this web site or otherwise by Via Potentia is provided for educational/informative purposes only, is subject to correction, and should not be considered legal, medical or other professional advice. Use at your own risk.