Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Opening Statement

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury. You are here today to determine what the facts are.  Most of observable facts are not in dispute. It is not disputed that Mr. Blackman was a neighborhood youth of only 13 years, although 6 foot 3 inches with a menacing appearance.  It will also not be disputed that he approached the defendant, Miss Rightous, wearing a hoodie and baggie jeans below his hips. It will not be in disputed that he asks Miss Rightous what she was doing in his neighborhood in the only language that he knew, saying "Whitey, whatsup?

It will not be disputed that the defendant responded by pulling a 357 small revolver from her training bra and pulling 5 slugs into Mr. Blackman's heart from a distance of 3 feet..

The only issue in this case is what was the defendant's intent?  Undoubtedly she will claim that she was in fear of her life.  That is what you will have to decide.

The prosecution will show that Miss Rightous is a card carry member of the NRA. We will show that she practices regularly at the Shootem Gun Range, at least twice  a week.  We will show that she is proficient with her handgun being able to put 5 shots in a human target in less than 60 seconds at 15 feet.  The prosecution will also show what is maybe the most telling evidence, her facebook comments, that she carries her weapon concealed for the element of surprise and that if she ever has to stand her ground she has been taught to be sure her opponent does not get up.

Ladies and gentlemen, you will have to decide, is Miss Rightous a innocent fearful victim or a well- trained killer just waiting for the opportunity to use her skill.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Holster Location

The Irishman on facebook posted a photo of an alleged illegal holster position.  I don't understand the problem with the rule because if the trigger guard must be over the seam of the jeans, then the location of the end of the holster or muzzle of the gun is determined by the cant of the hollster which must be less than 20 degrees.  I guess there is about an inch of fudge factor there by the size of the trigger guard, but the muzzle is where ever it is by the cant.  That inch is important so that the gun is properly lined up for the shooter's draw. Any way this post is not about that.  It is about holster location and movement

We have several new shooters that have been working hard to learn their holster location.  One is a former olympic athlete and former college field event coach who was adjusting his holster to the limit of the rules.  The opinion of those watching was that "he couldn't do that."  The other novice has been chasing the clock and she would adjust her holster and belt 10-15 times before each shot. It would tire me out just watching her.   She has been looking for that magical location that would produce the fastest time.

When you watch the pro s they do not move their holsters during a match.  They may check the alignment before the start but they do not constantly adjust their holster location.  If you change the location during a match you are essentially changing your draw.  If you are changing your draw each and every shot, then you are going to be inaccurate and slow.

During practice you might want to try different locations, but if you do you should do it in a manner that you can remember what you did and the results.  To be constantly changing it without any way to remember the change and results is just practicing missing.

Once in competition, you dance with the girl you brought.  The draw you brought to the competition is the draw you should shoot, start to finish.  You can beat anyone in the field.  Just believe in that pretty little gal who came with you.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mental Preparedness (Updated)

Cowboy Fast Draw is largely mental. Any athletic or competition driven activity is mentally important. Fast draw requires focus, concentration and relaxation. Getting prepared mentally before a practice session or match is challenging some times. Top level performers don’t just show up on game day and perform at a high level. They come with a well tuned mental attitude.

High level performers practice on and off the range. A University (don’t ask me which one) conducted an experiment with the basketball program. The whole team shot free throws to get a baseline score based on the number of free throws made out of 10. Half the team physically practiced improving their skills on the court for 2 weeks. The other half of the team never stepped foot on the court for the same 2 week period. The second group did nothing but in a relaxed state vividly imagined themselves shooting free throws successfully. Imagining the feel of the ball and the smell of the gym and the sound the ball made going trough the hoop. At the end of the two weeks the first group did improve their skills. The second group that didn’t touch a ball for 2 weeks but vividly imagined successful shots improved more than the group that physically practiced. Athletes call this “skull practice”. A night or two before a big match rest your body but exercise your mind getting mentally prepared vividly imagining yourself standing on the line, imagine the feel of the grip, watch the light come on and explode into action hitting the light, imagine your perfect trigger pull position, smell the gunpowder in the air. Your subconscieous mind can’t tell the difference between a real experience and one that is vividly imagined. That’s why dreams seem so real.

Mental preparedness plays a big roll in your confidence. When you are on that line you need to believe that you are the best shooter on that line. You have practiced, you know what your abilities are, you know what is going to happen, you know you can do it you’ve done it thousands of times before. Believe in yourself to be successful. Believe you are good enough not to be afraid to face anyone, your the best, nobody is better than you are. I realize for this to work for you that you have to have the skills to get yourself to believe that so practice until you develop the skills so you can believe that winning attitude.

When you are standing on that line empty your mind of everything. Flush your thoughts. You have made the decision and investment to be standing on that line at this point in time. All that matters is focusing your attention on exploding on that target when the light comes on. This is the fastest sport in the world measured in thousands of a second. You can focus 7 seconds at a time and not have a thought in your mind for that long between “Shooters on the line, shooters set” to the 3 – 5 seconds the light comes on. Then let the world rush back in until you hear “The line is ready.” Flush your mind and focus for another 7 seconds.

Relax. Relax your mind and body on the line. Loosen the grip on your gun grip, relax your shoulders, relax your arm. Explode from the relaxed position when that light comes on. Have you ever had a practice session where you are tensed up and the harder you try the worse it gets? I have. Then you give up to the point you almost don’t care anymore so your not trying as hard, your more relaxed then you just let it fly and happen on its own is when you get your fastest times ever. Easy to say relax, hard to do. Practice it.
Prepare mentally, relax, focus, develop your skills for a confident winning attitude. See you on the line.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

What is more important, elevation or windage?

What is more important to develop in cowboy fast draw technique, elevation or windage (left-right).

Most mentors would say that it is most important to be lined up on the target in respect to left and right and then to adjust the elevation as you see where the misses are.  I think this is poor advice.   Normally you are told to just "aim higher" or "aim lower" to compensate.  Aiming is only relevant for "the point and shoot" shooter.  You should not be aiming. you should not be thinking about aiming. Any aiming or any thinking about aiming slows you down.

Another method of moving the elevation of the point of impact is to adjust your balance, forward or backward, as needed. Again change during the shot will slow you down, any thinking about change will slow you down. But you can change your balance before the set  command.  Once you have change your balance, forget about it.  Draw your normal draw.

Another method is to use body movement. Some shooter visibly and sometime violently move to adjust the point of impact. Any additional motion can not be good  for accuracy.

Some say you can fire on the up swing of the gun.  Accuracy then becomes a function of timing.  It may be quick but seems to be tough to do accurately to me.

I suggest a much better way is to develop your draw so that you consistently shoot 50" inches above the ground from a stable shooting position. When practicing or developing your draw right or left makes no difference.  Every shot should hit 50" above the ground.  A taller shooter will have an advantage, since all shooter will shoot slightly upward, but the tall shooter will have less of upward trajectory. The perfect shot string will be one which all bullets hit in a horizontal line.  That would mean the shooter is consistently drawing and shooting in the same position as it relates to elevation.

Why this is so important is that once your draw has been finalized, you can adjust your point of impact right or left BEFORE the set command without aiming and without any change to your draw. If hitting right turn your stance slightly to left. Once you have adjusted your stance forget it. Do not aim, do not think about aiming, do not think about hitting.  You simply draw your normal draw that will send the bullet 50" above the ground. You change nothing.  If by chance, you now hit left, a slight adjustment back the other way should split the difference.


Sometimes you will see a shooter in competition, whether seasoned or novice, be all over the place, high right, then low left, then high left, then low right.  You will think how can he miss so often.  What is happening is he is thinking about it and trying to adjust his draw to hit the target.

Never, ever, adjust your draw in competition.  Adjusting your draw is normally fatal.  Thinking about it is normally fatal.  That is why most often we lose to slower shooters when we try to adjust to slow down.

All adjustments need to be made before the set command. All adjustments need to be to our alignment and not to our draw. 

Horizontal adjustments are made by moving the feet.  If you are shooting right turn your shooting toe to the left slightly.  If you are shooting left turn slightly to the right.  I have told novices to turn their toe and invariably they will lift the ball of the foot moving in the proper direction then raise and move their heel in the same direction and final alignment is the same or worse.   When you change your alignment raise your the ball of your shooting foot and turn it slightly. Do not move your heel. After adjusting the shooting foot you can move the off foot to where it comfortable.  All this is done prior to the set command.  With practice you should be able to move your shot across the target in small increments, say 3 inches.

Vertical adjustments are made by changing your balance.  If you are shooting low, balance back slightly.  If you are shooting high, balance forward slightly.  Again this is done before the set command.  Again with practice you should be able to sweep over the target from bottom to top in small increments.  Again all adjustments are made prior to the set command.


When the "shooter on the line" command is given you are done making adjustments.  You just draw your normal draw, each and every time. I have heard other mentors tell their shooters to change where they are aiming.  I think that is bad advice.  We do not aim.  We should not try to adjust our draws or adjust our aim.  

A good practice drill would be to start with a blank card board with no aiming spot set at 6 feet. The 6 feet helps so that we hit the cardboard most of the time.  Then practice walking your shot string across the target in 1 inch increments from left to right.  Left to right since most of us are right-handed and have a cross-shot.  You practice making the pre-set command  horizontal adjustments.  Likewise you can next walk your shot string from bottom to top.  When you are done hopefully you will have a big plus sign on your target.

In competition if you hit the fringe of the target make an adjustment to move your shot towards the center.  If you have been practicing making small adjustments (3 inches), you should have the confidence to walk your shots to the light.  A fringe hit may be a fringe miss without an adjustment.