Tag Archives: Handgun holster

Applying Lessons Learned to Training Drills

Training plateaus suck. They are also inevitable when you don't have unlimited resources to fund or spend time with professional trainers to keep growing your skillset. Stepping into IDPA has helped me raise the bar in a big way- if I can train to a level that makes me competitive in that arena it is probably enough– at least it seems like it not having accomplished that level of skill yet. My initial foray into IDPA courses of fire (CoF) helped me identify some improvement areas:

  • more work on targets at the 12-15yd distance
  • work on transition between close and far targets (instinctive shots vs. sight picture and fire as I work threat progressions)
  • grip-sight picture-trigger progression – I had a couple sloppy targets that made me wonder how the sight picture went wonky

How to practice target transitions from near to far distances?

Restricted to public indoor ranges at the moment I have to simulate target transitions since folks don't appreciate range cowboys shooting across multiple lanes. I'm trying to smoothly transition between small targets and large ones to simulate differing ranges. I also am using a 4″ A-Zone around small targets to focus on better accuracy.

Another approach is to work more targets at 10+yards to get better at longer shots to make transitions more natural.

How to practice shooting from cover?

That's a really important skill if you want to keep your body intact in a gunfight (think active shooter situations or roving mobs of thugs). It's also a dangerous thing to practice in an indoor range since you end up pretty far behind the firing line if you try to use a shooting booth partition for cover. I am working on a solution for this and will share my results soon.

Different targets on different days:

I spend a lot of time shooting silhouettes since that's what bad guys look like in IDPA, USPSA, etc. In real life they normally look a little scarier but the shape must be helpful- otherwise LE wouldn't train using them. One potential enhancement to the “3” string of my silhouette drills is to make these shots a Failure Drill (aka The Mozambique for you history buffs) – i.e. double tap high center mass and one head shot:

Now I have added a large stripe with 2″ circles underneath are great for precision/speed training and I hope this will help with the longer shots:

My theory is that a conscious effort is required to aim and hit a small target. Disregarding conditions like wind, cover, etc. it shouldn't matter if the target is small because its close and small or if it is small because it is farther away. If is works longer shots should become easier because the an A-Zone size target will be more forgiving, it's putting the gun on target and properly executing the shot that makes the difference when the chips are down.


Get off the X! I still think this is a critical component of self-defense training since it doesn't make sense to stand still – creating more distance between you and the threats makes lots of sense. A reasonable and safe approach I have started is to begin right up on the firing line and to practice a few steps backwards during a string of fire. You MUST be careful and aware of your surroundings– if you see the person in the booth next to you STOP because you're too far back. I'm surprised at how much my hits vary with just a couple steps backwards.

How to keep focused on fundamentals like grip, draw, sight picture?

This all sounds good- considering the above changes what fundamentals am I practicing now? I have not abandoned the 1-1-R-3 approach (like this but 1-1 instead of 1-2) although some modifications are noted above. It's good for mechanics (grip, draw, sight, reload) and is pretty efficient with ammo.

  • Draw, front sight, fire
  • Combat (Slide-lock)reloads: focus on executing reload in the workspace and keeping eyes down range
  • Rapid fire (double tap/triple tap)
  • Target transition from precision to speed
  • Travel (focus on backing away)
  • Reholster after post-fire threat assessment
  • Randomize distances- more reps on 10-15 yard targets

Looks good on paper– my next competitive outing will reveal how much value has been ascertained…stay tuned & stay frosty.


Defensive Carry Tip: Train to Reholster

How far into a defensive scenario have you trained for using your carry gun? Basic firearm safety is a good start. Cooper's 4 Laws will help you avoid trouble. They did for Nick Meli. There are several takeaways one can glean from that situation In Oregon. One that isn't discussed often enough in my opinion is training to reholster. Although different schools of thought exist on how most of us will react under extreme stress I believe that most will fight the way they train. If that's the case one might want to following practicing a progression that takes these factors into consideration if you find yourself in a life threatening situation :

  • Do I have a shot? Think about those 4 Laws – you own that bullet when it leaves your gun and are responsible for whatever stops that bullet.
  • If you have a shot can you confidently take it? Can you hit a 10inch circle at 10 yards (most of the time that will be surgical enough to neutralize an attacker). Could you confidently take that shot considering the point above?
  • If the coast is clear, Reholster! There are a couple things to consider on this step- are you using an IWB holster? If you are DO NOT try to jam your pistol back into your waistband – that's a good way to cause a Negligent Discharge (ND) in a rather uncomfortable place. If you don't have a conceal carry holster that rides outside your waistband you may want to consider getting one or practicing reholstering and replacing the weapon in your waistband. I am a recent convert to the concealment holster + concealment garment approach…it is a lot more functional once you get used to it and is a really safe way to carry.

Why bother with the reholster step? There are a couple of reasons- (a thoughtful piece on this topic can be found on TTAG):

  • Do you want to be the person the Police see brandishing a gun as they come flying into an active shooter situation at 200mph (aka tactical speed)? If you called 911 did you tell them you're an armed citizen at the scene? Are you certain no one else made a call and even possibly reported you as the shooter? The only thing you're doing is identifying yourself as a potential threat if you are brandishing a weapon when the boys in blue roll up and how can the police possibly know for sure who is the bad guy and who is the good guy? The best case scenario for you in this situation is that you end up experiencing an Escalation of Force by the police while they sort out the situation. Worst case scenario ends up with responders who shoot first – and that does happen now and then.

Returning to concealed carry offers you multiple advantages beyond that one:

  • If you have loved ones to get to a safer position you can do that without in inciting panic by walking around an area where a shooting just occurred brandishing a weapon– I am not advising anyone to leave the scene here, just offering up a hypothetical option as every life situation is unique
  • If you find yourself in a really really bad situation where you may encounter additional threats after the first one reholstering gives you the advantage of surprise when you encounter the next threat. that can't hurt, even if there is a low probability of this happening
  • If you have to use your gun defensively you will likely be in shock afterward- securing the weapon also creates a safer environment around you because a good holster will minimize the chances of an ND (secures weapon, covers trigger, etc).


Mag Holster Review: Tagua vs. Galco

As I get closer to my first Practical Shooting competition it seems like a good idea to add reloading from a mag holster into my training regimen. I ended up with two double stack mag carriers: a Tagua MC6   and a Galco DMC22B . Both offer belt slits and snap-on options for wear. They are also both suitable for USPSA and IDPA type Practical Shooting use.


The Tagua cost about $28 at my Local Gun Store


and the Galco was about $50 at a different LGS.

How do they compare?

The Tagua is a nice, hearty leather. To fit my double-stack Glock 22 mags into it took some time and effort. A great trick I learned to help with break-in is to wrap two mags in a gallon ziploc (leave the tops of the mags accessible) and insert them into the holster. Stop a couple times working the mag into place and twist it to stretch the leather. Do this once a day and leave them in for a week wrapped in the plastic. The Tagua is nice for costing less than $30 but you should be prepared to break it in for a couple weeks and live without adjustable retention.

The Galco is easily the superior product but you pay more for the quality. In contrast I adjusted the retention screws on the Galco in just a couple minutes and carry mags securely enough to pass the ‘jumping jack test’ yet the mag draw requires virtually no effort. Once the Tagua is broken in I’m sure it will do the trick so if you’re on a tight budget just plan ahead and save the dollars.