How do you train with your pocket gun?

This is a discussion on How do you train with your pocket gun? within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; As the saying goes, "We talk .45s, shoot 9s, and carry .38s." I know a lot of people do actually carry bigger guns, a good ...

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Thread: How do you train with your pocket gun?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array AdamSean's Avatar
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    How do you train with your pocket gun?

    As the saying goes, "We talk .45s, shoot 9s, and carry .38s." I know a lot of people do actually carry bigger guns, a good deal of people do carry small pocket sized guns simply because it is easy to carry and mostly comfortable. I was pondering on the way people train with and shoot these little generally back-up guns when it is the only gun you are carrying. I tend to use a basic set of defensive shooting drills with all my firearms. I may draw a pocket pistol differently than a Glock 19, but then I tend to shoot the weapon the same way. I try to maintain a similar grip and aim on the firearm and use the same shooting tactics with only one difference. I will train more on reloads with a small pocket pistol that only holds 6 rounds than I would with a Glock 19 that holds 15. I utilize the double tap and triple tap mostly with any gun. I understand that I am limited on ammunition, but I was always taught to fire until the threat is neutralized.

    Would you follow the same principals as you would any gun or go by some other rule of tactics for pocket carry? How do you train with that tiny little pocket rocket?

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    Shorten the distance. Increase the round-count. The smaller the handgun, the more practice it requires to shoot well. And don't practice so much on the stuff you ALREADY do well. Work on the stuff you're rotten at. Draw from sitting, on one knee, flat on your back, in the dark, wet, cold, tired, with loud music (that you HATE) blaring, a light flashing in your eyes, with your weak hand, after a 50 yard dash, carrying a beer keg. IMHO, we get too wrapped-up in form & forget about function. A defensive situation isn't gonna' allow the luxury of time, comfort, convenience or preparation. It's an adrenalin dump with your life attached to it. It isn't a Steven Segal movie.
    There are only TWO kinds of people in this world; those who describe the world as filled with two kinds of people...and those who don't.

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    Distinguished Member Array alachner's Avatar
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    Additional to the great advice by ghost tracker, it is critical to practice drawing the firearm from the pocket holster A LOT and also train for a scenario where the holster might come out of the pocket with the gun.
    varob and Sontag like this.
    "If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. That's ridiculous... If I have a gun, what in the hell do I have to be paranoid for?" [Clint Smith - Thunder Ranch]

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    Senior Member Array AdamSean's Avatar
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    Both excellent advice that I never thought of. Thank you, I will include such practice.

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    Senior Member Array Fausty's Avatar
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    Yea actually something I have been trying when I have the range to myself (private range no RO's) is doing 100 jumping jacks in the range house to get my heartbeat up and then going up to shoot. I can't really do run and gun but it's close. It's really, really hard to shoot when your pulse is elevated.

    I think if I did it when other people are there they might complain that I am being unsafe.
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  7. #6
    VIP Member Array Taurahe's Avatar
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    I practice pocket guns the same way I practice with big guns...by putting rounds down range, just at pocket gun ranges
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    VIP Member Array 40Bob's Avatar
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    I run my 640 Pro in IDPA matches as a SSR. I am at a disadvantage for winning, but that is not why I play.
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  9. #8
    Senior Member Array Old_Dog's Avatar
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    For the reason you stated about shooting until the threat is stopped is why I do not practice double and triple taps. People who do that tend to stop and look after their double tap. Why in the world would you want to practice shooting only two or three bullets if you agree that you keep shooting until the threat is stopped? Doing what you are doing will imprint the practice of limiting the number of shots you take at one time and that is not what you want. When I practice I empty my mag but what I see everyone else doing at the range is taking carefully aimed shots with lots of time inbetween and shooting groups. Shooting well does not equal doing well in self defense with a gun. If you take the time to shoot groups or use your sights you may very well be late to the party. He who hits first usually wins or at least has a major advantage. That has been my experience and I do not mean that I read it on the internet. :)

    If you have a 15 round mag you can break it up into 7 and 8 if you like but I just empty a mag. Perhaps it is my combat experience with a 1911 talking because I saw that even with a .45, handguns are not great stoppers unless you hit vital spots or the enemy stops for psychological reasons and you should keep shooting continuously, not double taps, until the enemy stops. Their is a reason why the military does not teach shooting groups or double taps. It is the wrong thing to use for self defense. Spec ops may learn it but they have specialized tasks to perform that we do not. I did just fine aiming at COM. I do not even remember using my sights. Maybe I did but I mostly point shot with one hand and that is what I practice and train for because that is what most people will do when they are facing death. They will grab their guns and try to shoot it as soon as it is pointing in the general direction of the threat which they will be focused on. They will want to press that trigger as soon as possible. Sights are good for distance shooting but if you cannot put them all into COM at 7 yards with one hand, point shooting, you are not practicing for reality. I trained new guys in the Army and I know a little about how they do during the first time they come under fire. All that training goes out the window and I assure you that they get more than the average civilian does. How many of you practice with explosions going off near you and bullets whizzing overhead with a Drill Instructor screaming at you? I have a hard time convincing those I teach that real gun fights are not like what you experience at a range no matter what you think. Everyone has a mental picture of their gun fight in their heads and guess what, they are always the winners and they never soil their pants. Yet in real life, good guys do die and brave men soil their pants. Imagination and real life are often very, very different.

    BTW, these days you can carry a .45 and 9mm in your pocket very easily and I do. The Sig P938 and XDs fit nicely in my front pocket. Even my HK P2000SK is carried in my pocket at times. I just make sure I take my largest pocket gun with me when I shop for pants and make sure it fits in whatever I am buying and you do not have to sacrifice style to get pants with big enough pockets. As a last resort simply have a tailor make new pockets for you. Fairly inexpensive and you can have them made to hid a pretty big gun. If the weight of the gun is too much, take a look at Perry suspenders which hook onto your belt. Wear those under your shirt and it will support even a full sized all metal 1911, whether on your belt or in your pocket. :) You can carry long handguns in your front pocket if you buy Tail sized shirts and wear them untucked. They will cover your whole pocket so even if the grip is sticking out a lot, no one will ever see it. I pocket carry a lot and know all the tricks and no one, even those who know I am carrying, knows that my gun is in my pocket. They all think it is on my belt.

    Sorry for the long post but even though I am semi retired I try to teach a few people each year how to shoot and more importantly, how to use their guns in self defense which are two different skill sets. Everyone practices the first and not the second. Heck , my last student went against my advice and got himself a LCP and a pocket holster because he did not want to give up his tight pants and shirt. He called me up to tell me that he had been pocket carrying for a few weeks and was happy with the gun. I know his job requires that he sit down most of the time so I asked him if he ever thought to practice drawing while seated at desk or in his car or laying down as if someone just sucker punched him. Later on he called me up to ask me which belt holster to order because he discovered that he could not draw his gun in those position. Most who carry around my neck of the woods do not practice drawing and shooting. Heck most do not use a holster and never heard of a gun belt. For some reason, many think that they will have advanced warning of when they will need their gun. Having worked and lived in tough neighborhoods I know that sometimes the first warning you have is a knife placed against your back or a tire iron to your head that puts you on the ground. Not too many criminals are going to give away their hand so you can run away. :)
    40Bob, Kennydale and Bill MO like this.
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  10. #9
    Distinguished Member Array BadgerJ's Avatar
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    I think the idea of practicing 'drawing' from a pocket is misplaced. The advantage of a pocket gun, IME, is this:

    1) It assures you always have a firearm with you - bathrobe, shorts, jogging, at the pool and the gym. This availability is far, far more important than a 'fast draw'.

    2) Carry a pocket gun up above the pants in a vest with an inside pocket, or a sweatshirt with a side pocket (say in the gym). In the upper carry (such as a 5.11 concealment shirt), it's small enough not to bulge or pull down and if you have to use the bathroom you're ok.

    3) You can 'pocket' the gun in a jacket pocket, or even almost conceal it in your hand if danger threatens. Here is the idea of constant and consistent carry - you can think ahead, and as the knife guys tell us, you should already have your knife palmed. Likewise you should always be able to have your pocket gun almost ready to shoot (yes even through a pocket in the most extreme). Note it's impossible for someone to 'get the draw on you' if you already have the firearm in your pocket, grip secured as you walk into that dicey gas station at midnight.

    4) Being small and light you will not leave it at home. At the five year mark without ever having an 'incident' and feeling very safe, people will find reasons to leave the firearm behind now and then. The unexpected is what we're guarding against.

    Now, I'm not saying that these are the best options. Obviously, if you can open carry and have your gun always extremely accessible and easy to carry in a .45, that's the ultimate. An OWB holster is the most comfortable. But with a pocket gun you have the above options and they are significant, if not necessarily ever going to be needed.

    $0.02
    Kennydale likes this.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array AdamSean's Avatar
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    40BOB, I like the way you think. I have thought of doing this myself. Old_Dog, that makes a lot of sense and something i need to consider while shooting. Mix it up, maybe create some kind of reactive target to simulate a stopped threat. I saw one wear someone used a balloon in a cardboard box on a string and the box would drop when the balloon inside was shot.

    Folks think I am crazy for carrying 3 spare magazines for my NAA Guardian, but it only holds 6. It is also for functionality in case a mag fails. Also, on the folks making slow concentrated sighted groups, i tend to giggle myself. My friend does that and that will do little in a panic when someone is running at you or shooting at you. I have actually removed the almost non-existent sights on my Guardian too to add speed to the draw. I am a point shooter anyway and don't need them on such a gun designed for very close range.

    Great advice from everyone. Awesome!

  12. #11
    Distinguished Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    You should train several ways. Practice at a static range to learn trigger break and recoil, and get a feel for the sights.

    Practice shooting while moving. Usually this is firing while retreating or moving off to the side.

    Practice shooting targets that are moving. Chances are, you're going to be very lucky to get a single hit in the event of a real-life encounter.
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

  13. #12
    Ex Member Array ScottM's Avatar
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    One thing many do not ever think of is drawing from a pocket with your off hand, as in you have a wounded right hand and the gun is in the left pocket.

    Some can do it easily. Those with a successful life body, maybe not so easily.

    Unlikely scenario, you say? Perhaps. But ease of access is why I quit carrying a spare mag in my off-side pocket. Better to find out now in training that is doesn't work than in real life.

    Also, try drawing while moving off-line of the attack. Not just moving after you shoot, but actually trying to get the gun out while moving.
    40Bob likes this.

  14. #13
    VIP Member Array Kennydale's Avatar
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    This is my favorite forum. The advise given is clear, sincere and when you read it, you go: THAT MAKES A LOT OF SENSE ! So as a new shooter (Since Nov 2012) I am really absorbing this all. kudos to all.

    I tried a friends Ruger of the LC series (I forget which one, I think it was the LC9). I thought the trigger feel was Strange. But, I now think that I would really like to have a decent pocket pistol.

  15. #14
    Distinguished Member Array chuckusaret's Avatar
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    I train as I do with any weapon, the draw, target acquisition of a stationary target, moving target, victim down, moving victim and target and shot placement. I also train with a laser for a possible low light encounter which has reduced my draw to target hit times. I use a LCP as a BUG and carry it in a Guru zipper top wallet holster in my rear pocket on my strong side.

    Yes, I would be in deep doo doo if I should injure my right hand during the initial engagement.
    US Army 1953-1977

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    Distinguished Member Array Bill MO's Avatar
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    My pocket pistol is carried in off side front pocket. I see it as a hand on gun type situation gun giving me time to bring my XD into the game. My practice is left handed, close target and point shooting. I practice enough to keep the feel of gun and trigger in muscle memory. I do my real training and practice with the EDC XD.
    It's gotta be who you are, not a hobby. reinman45

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