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There are all sorts of articles and videos out there recommending this drill or that technique for concealed carry training. Granted, there is a lot of good information out there, but believe it or not, there is also a wealth of information from famous gunfighters of the past that can serve the modern carrier well.

Some things do change over the course of time - few people carry double-action revolvers for instance; the plastic striker gun is the handgun du jour - but certain fundamental truths about shooting in defense of yourself or others never do. Here are a few fantastic training and practice tips from famous gunfighters and gunwriters of previous eras that can serve you well.

Practice The Draw

drawing a pistol

Clover-leaf groups are great, but it doesn't matter if it takes you eons to get your gun into the fight - therefore you must practice the draw.

Two of the fastest shooters ever recorded were Delf "Jelly" Bryce and Bill Jordan, both being legends among law enforcement during the middle 20th century. Both were known for being lightning fast and surgically accurate to boot.

Granted, both men were also said to possess a natural talent of incredible reflexes and ability with firearms that others just don't, but what is also known about both is that they put in a fantastic amount of practice. Bryce was known to spend hours just practicing the draw. Jordan recommended in his landmark book "No Second Place Winner" that 90 percent of all practice shooting be what a lot of instructors now call the "first shot drill" - draw and fire a single shot.

Jordan maintained the first shot was the most important and that "if it is in, the others will follow."

You may never get as fast as either of them; both men were capable of drawing, firing and hitting a target in less than .3 seconds. You can, however, get fast enough by consistently and diligently practicing the draw.

Learn Trigger Control

trigger control

Another area where almost all people considered handgun masters agree regarding, it is on trigger control. Enhancing and maintaining trigger control skills should certainly be part of any concealed carry training and practice regiment.

The aforementioned Bill Jordan held it as essential that trigger control be learned before any other aspect of shooting. Another devotee of mastering the trigger was Jeff Cooper, whom many would consider the "top of the mountain" as it were regarding combat use of a handgun.

Most important of all aspects of trigger control is to ensure the gun doesn't move as the trigger is compressed. That aspect of trigger control has been stressed by virtually every expert on handgun operation, including Cooper, Jordan, down to gurus of competitive shooting like Robbie Leatham and Jerry Miculek.

One of the best things to do to learn trigger control? Dry firing. If you can consistently dry fire a pistol without moving the gun, you're further along than a lot of shooters will ever be.

Learn To Use The Front Sight Press And Point Shooting Both

using handgun front sights

Another aspect of concealed carry training that shouldn't be neglected is getting competent with both of the combat sighting techniques, as both the front sight press and point shooting techniques have serious merits.

Jordan and Bryce used point shooting to great effect, and both taught it to younger officers during their days as instructors, Jordan in the Border Patrol and Bryce at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Fairbairn and Sykes taught point shooting to the Shanghai Police, and Col. Rex Applegate taught the point shooting style to our servicemen in World War II.

However, the front sight press is also effective. Cooper taught the front sight press to Gunsite students for decades, and it continues to be taught there to this day and with good reason - it also works. Bill Allard, the famous NYPD detective on that department's stakeout squad in the 1970s focused on his front sight so intently that he could count the serrations on his Gold Cup Colt 1911. Wyatt Earp and Wild Bill Hickok also stressed focusing on the front sight when in armed confrontations.

Convention wisdom, which has been borne out in the field in the experiences of law enforcement and military personnel, is that point shooting is both fast and effective at close distances, but that front sight shooting is good for fast and accurate shooting at intermediate distances. Therefore, it is beneficial for both to be practiced as part of a concealed carry training and shooting practice regimen.

Obviously, there are many more authorities on the matter and also many more skills and drills that a person should gain competency in regarding defensive shooting skills. However, if a person can gain a foothold on these, it will put them further ahead than a lot of other shooters.

Sam Hoober  

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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