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Why You Should Train with the Handgun You Carry

Why You Should Train with the Handgun You Carry

A friend and fellow writer contacted me to get some background research on an article he is preparing for publication. He thought interviewing some concealed-carry licensees concerning their choices in hardware for different occasions might reveal useful information he could pass on to his readers. His assumption was that most of us use different pistols for teaching and training versus the ones we routinely carry for defensive purposes.

Do you train with a full-size pistol, then carry something smaller and lighter for defensive use when you’re out and about? Perhaps something like your favorite gun worn on your belt for competition and a small pocket pistol worn appendix-style for concealed carry? If so, I would wager you’re not alone, as this is a common practice.

I’m not criticizing this choice, but I do wonder how much time and attention you put into the smaller gun. They’re more capable than you might imagine, but you’ll need to work at it to appreciate what you can do. For example, I recently taught a Pocket Pistol class at Gunsite, and by the time we had finished our 3-day class, the students were performing most of the basic drills we use in our week-long Defensive Pistol class, as well as making head shots at 15 yards and body shots at 25.

I’m going to suggest you go to the range with your practice pistol and your carry pistol(s) and do some comparing. You can use FMJ ammo in the practice gun, but use your choice of carry ammunition in the little boomer to get accustomed to how it feels when you shoot it and to make certain you know exactly where it hits. As an aside, if your carry revolver is a lightweight five-shot chambered in .357 Mag. with heavy loads, you’re about to have an interesting experience…just sayin’.

You’ve seen these drills before but they’re the ones I want you to shoot with both pistols and compare the results.

Here are the Drills

5x5x5 Drill:
5 yards Fire five shots from the holster, in 5 seconds, into a 5-inch circle.
Pass/Fail

Gunsite 250 Drill:
Fired on an Option or silhouette target, all shots fired from the holster.

3 yards A single head shot in 1.5 seconds. Repeat.
Total: Two rounds

3 yards Two shots to the upper chest in 1.5 seconds.
Total: Two rounds

7 yards Two shots to the upper chest in 1.5 seconds.
Total: Two rounds

10 yards Two shots to the upper chest in 2.0 seconds.
Total: Two rounds

15 yards Two shots to the upper chest, from standing to kneeling, in
3.5 seconds.
Total: Two rounds

Ten shots total, five points for center hits, two for any shots outside. Possible 50 points.

Give this a try then sit down and have a serious conversation with yourself concerning your carry choices. In my case, I decided to carry, teach and train with the same pistol and ammunition. Your mileage may vary.

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