Thursday, June 13, 2013

Overreliance on the Long Gun

Several months ago I started to write a post about what I believe a duty or defensive carry handgun/shooter combination should be capable of doing. I never finished that post (the distractions of life) but recently the topic has come back up as it relates to shooting at distance with a friend who is former LE from the east coast. I believe that any handgun being carried for duty or defensive use should be capable of getting C zone hits from 50 yards in the hands of whoever it is that will be carrying it. Some, in fact probably many, would argue that there is no way you could make an argument for self defense if your bad guy is 50 yards away. I would argue that 1) it depends on how your state law is written and whether it allows defense of a 3rd party and 2) if said bad guy has a rifle, I bet you would think otherwise, especially if he has half a clue about how to use it.

To be extra clear, I am not saying go find a gunfight, what I am saying is that there are plenty of circumstances where I might be forced to engage at a further than normal distance. In my experience, 50 yards is not that far. There have been many times where I may be 50 yards away from a family member or friend at a store or some type of event. When I go to the mall, I don't always have my family in my hip pocket, sometimes we aren't even in the same shop. I would assume that to be pretty normal.

So getting back to the point of the post. The reason we carry handguns is because they are convenient. They fit in nice little holsters that go on our belts or in our pockets and can be hidden from view. A long gun isn't quite as easy to carry, and definitely not as easy to conceal, so we don't usually carry them on our person even though the long gun is generally superior to the handgun in every way. What that means is we have to rely on our handguns to solve problems that in training we would probably typically solve with a long gun. This is probably especially true of law enforcement. The long gun probably stays stashed in the patrol car, but what if you can't get back to the patrol car in a reasonable amount of time to deploy the long gun? You just have to work with what you have.
So this is where we run into our problem. We are faced with a problem that would normally be solved with a more capable weapon (a long gun), but all we have is a handgun. Do I just not solve the problem and let the events run their course, which probably means I lose a family member or friend? Do I try to reposition myself so I can solve the problem? But that eats up valuable time and gives the bad guy opportunity to counter. Or do I try to make sure ahead of time that even though it may be less than ideal, I can still solve the problem with what I have on me at the time, a handgun?

50yd w/G21
I kind of think of it like this. I would like to have that calculator to solve this fairly complex math problem that just got put in front of me with 3 seconds to solve or someone dies, but I don't. Instead I have to solve it the old fashioned way. If I am good at math and working problems in my head, probably not an issue, if I am not good at working problems in my head because I always use a calculator for these types of problems I might be in trouble.

Not to be misunderstood, I am not saying shooting at longer distance should be a training priority over more typical distances. But, it should not be ignored either and if we are smart about how we train, we can usually kill two birds with one stone. All shooting at distance is, is understanding the fundamental concepts of shooting and applying them. That is all it is. We should be practicing that anyway.

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