Perhaps one of the greatest frustrations of a new shooter is simply hitting the target. That silly little piece of paper with the black dot and surrounding circles. I have discussed the entire process of stance, grip, sight picture and sight alignment a number of different ways. It should be simple . . . . it doesn’t seem to be . . . . even for some “old heads”.
For many shooters, their range trip consists of standing in a bay, behind a bench with their weapon, ammunition and magazines in front of them. Their time is spent making holes in paper with the intent of having the smallest grouping possible. There’s nothing wrong with this at all. It’s a good way for a new shooter to learn the basics of stance, grip, sight alignment, sight picture, trigger press . . . . and getting familiar with their weapon. This is all good stuff! However, it is also very limiting and can introduce some habits that could prove fatal in a defensive situation.
Remember, most defensive shootings follow the “Rule of Three” – 3-rounds, 3-yards, 3-seconds. From the identification of a threat until the end of the engagement . . . . 3 seconds. Obviously, if you take the time to draw, get a nice stance and firm grip, align your sights so you are aimed center mass of your threat . . . . you may well go home in a Ziploc. You do not have time for the “fine points”. And, you have no need for them.
What is working both against you – and for you – is the distance to the threat. You don’t need to get fancy, you simply need to place “Metal on Meat” to get “combat effective hits”. These are hits on the threat that do damage, cause pain and are used to either change their mind about their attack on you . . . . or to put them down.
What the heck does “metal on meat” look like? Well, it looks something like this:
You’re looking at a 1/3 sized IDPA target at an equivalent distance of 21 feet (those3 above are ¼ sized and are used to simulate a threat 30 feet away). The weapon in my hand is my Glock 17. Notice that the “metal” (the rear of the slide) is completely covering the “meat” of the target – center mass of an oncoming threat at 21 feet. For the training I do – this is about the furthest distance for this type of shooting. You take one or two hands, grip the weapon, place your “metal” on their “meat” and press the trigger 2-5 times. No worries about stance, sight alignment, sight picture – just cover them with the back of your weapon and shoot.
A good way to introduce yourself to this type of shooting is to purchase a LaserLyte round for your weapon, print out a 1/3 sized IDPA target, tape it to a safe wall, insert your LaserLyte round in your weapon and practice your draw stroke and first-round hit. Change your focus to the threat . . . . draw your weapon . . . . join and extend . . . . and as SOON AS YOU HAVE “METAL ON MEAT”, press the trigger. Begin slow, work through the process and then gradually work up your speed with a sub-2 second goal for your first hit.
Once you are satisfied with this for dry fire, practice it on the range. Start slow . . . . no need to add holes to your body! If you can’t draw at your range, work from the low ready. Keep both your eyes open. Focus on the threat. Work at distances from 21 feet to 9 feet. I suspect you will be surprised how quickly this skill can be learned.
Time is life – it’s as simple as that. Spend too much time getting your aim “right” . . . . your day will not end well. Metal on Meat is one of the building blocks of defensive shooting. It’s quick, it’s accurate enough for the task at hand . . . . and it needs to be part of your skill set.