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Discussion Starter #1
I beg a question of the assembled forumites in an effort to guide future purchases and examine my own approach.

Is it better to

Practice fire a large quantity of a caliber that's not as well suited to self defense

Or

Practice fire a lesser quantity of a caliber better suited to self defense

The reason I ask is that I believe shot placement trumps bore size, but even at that I wholeheartedly agree that a more powerful caliber will be a more effective tool than a less powerful caliber.

This is why I'm attracted to 9x19. You can do lots of practice with the actual cartridge/load you would be firing in a real altercation. .45 ACP is great and so is .40 S&W, but for the price of one box of .45 I can often get two boxes of 9mm.

Even if you can afford a better caliber you can always afford a larger quantity of a lesser caliber.

OTOH why should you limit yourself this way when you know there are better tools to be had for the same money? Is the inherent power of these catridges worth not getting as much practice time in? Many very knowledgeable people inform me that no handgun I own is truly adequate for self defense, and I can't really say they are wrong (or right either).

Am I right in thinking extra range time will develop better significantly better shot placement and better skills that will make up for the perceived lack of power, or is it better to have less trigger time but have a better tool?

Who's better armed? The shooter who carries 9x19 and has put 10,000 rounds down range out of that gun, or the shooter who carries .45 ACP and has put 5,000 rounds downrange out of that gun?

Or am I beating a dead horse yet again? I don't mean to debate the relative effectiveness of various calibers, I'm just curious what everyone thinks about practice time vs. a better tool.
 

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Euclidean said:
Who's better armed? The shooter who carries 9x19 and has put 10,000 rounds down range out of that gun, or the shooter who carries .45 ACP and has put 5,000 rounds downrange out of that gun?
The shooter who carries .45 ACP and has put 10,000 rounds downrange out of that gun.... :wink:
 

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Let's say you have a weapon and you want to be good so you practice all the time. But you've never been correctly trained. Is 10,000 rds down range with flawed skills better than 5,000 rds down range to fine tune a properly instilled technique?

Quality, not quantity. I would also submit that thousands of rounds downrange from a static position under no pressure (even if it's a time pressure) serves NO GOOD at all. I'd feel better running four IDPA courses of fire where I expended a max of 18 rds per stage (or per string) and I was operating under pressure and forced to use proper TACTICS than I would drilling useless holes in paper all day long.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Fair Enough ExSoldier, but let's keep in mind Mozambique drills, point shooting, and other skills can only be developed with lots and lots of actual firing and practice.

I'm only using this one example, this one facet, in isolation for complete clarity of what I mean.

I believe using a skill in any kind of way helps no matter what you are doing, regardless if it's shooting or learning how to speak French. Static targets is about all most of us have constant access to. It's better to do something than nothing.

Also keep in mind that the kind of training you're talking about would get most of us banned from our firing ranges if we attempted it.
 

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Don't just stand there...DO something?

Euclidean said:
Fair Enough ExSoldier, but let's keep in mind Mozambique drills, point shooting, and other skills can only be developed with lots and lots of actual firing and practice.

I'm only using this one example, this one facet, in isolation for complete clarity of what I mean.

I believe using a skill in any kind of way helps no matter what you are doing, regardless if it's shooting or learning how to speak French. Static targets is about all most of us have constant access to. It's better to do something than nothing.

Also keep in mind that the kind of training you're talking about would get most of us banned from our firing ranges if we attempted it.
You wouldn't get banned from a range if you were practicing with a sanctioned IDPA club during a match. I'll bet AND you'd be learning and reinforcing good tactical skills and sharpening your marksmanship as well. I would disagree that reinforcing poor skills is bewtter than doing nothing at all. It just means there will be more to "unlearn" later assuming of course that your poor skills don't get you killed first. I'll bet if you check with IDPA you'll find a club nearby. http://www.idpa.com/
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Let me rephrase more bluntly:

How precisely is learning how to hold a X" grouping at X number of yards a poor skill?

How is learning how to deal with recoil a poor skill?

How is learning to clear a malfunction a poor skill?

Do you see what I mean? How precisely does one learn these things better without lots of repeated static fire?

If anything I think you'd get killed not correcting a problem like your wrist constantly breaking up or not knowing what to do if there was a misfire.
 

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Bumper said:
The shooter who carries .45 ACP and has put 10,000 rounds downrange out of that gun.... :wink:
Rats! You beat me to it! ;)

In a non-answer, I'd have to say: it depends. For a brand new shooter, I'd say take 1,000 rounds of 9mm over 500 rounds of .45. Once one has a good grasp of the fundamentals and some experience, proficiency can probably be maintained with fewer rounds down range, which would negate some of the smaller caliber savings.

You're an educator, right? Make it a word problem. If Rambo shoots once a week, and saves $10 per session by shooting a smaller caliber, how much will he save in a year? Maybe the savings would be enough to pay for a course with a quality instructor. On the other hand, if the savings go for post-practice beer, might as well keep your weight down and shoot a .45.

I usually shoot 150-200 rounds per week, plus a few sessions of dry firing. I don't think twice the shooting would make a big difference. I could probably stay proficient with fewer rounds down range and more dry firing, if the cost were prohibitive. I would probably approach your issue by guesstimating the minimum amount of actual ammo required to maintain proficiency, then go with the largest caliber that I could afford.

Big help, huh? Well, good luck with the decision, anyway.

SSKC
 

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There are different skill sets to defend yourself with a firearm, usually taught by experienced shooters who have done it for a living. The normal run of the mill guy is not able to attend most of these because of work, family or expense. What can be done is to dryfire in your own home, that is a poor mans trigger job. This will enforce motor skills and train you how to squeeze and not jerk the trigger over time. It will save money. As Euclidean has pointed out other skills can be picked up a little at a time going to the range. Always have a training plan when shooting at the range. It may be simply how fast can I get back on target after a shot. There will be a savings in money and time and after awhile your skill set will pick up. IDPA does seem like a way to increase your defensive skill levels. One more item, these guys on the forum are well experienced shooters having done so for 10 or 20 years, they started out the same way, a few shots at a time.
 

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By All Means...Be BLUNT!

Euclidean said:
Let me rephrase more bluntly:

How precisely is learning how to hold a X" grouping at X number of yards a poor skill?

How is learning how to deal with recoil a poor skill?

How is learning to clear a malfunction a poor skill?

Do you see what I mean? How precisely does one learn these things better without lots of repeated static fire?

If anything I think you'd get killed not correcting a problem like your wrist constantly breaking up or not knowing what to do if there was a misfire.
If you're a novice and you do indeed practice those skills once you've correctly learned how to do them that's fine. But it won't help you a bit to clear a jam, or put all your rounds in the X if you can't do it in weird uncomfortable positions under pressure or on the move. Extreme pressure (like where you might have the perception that your neck is on the line) has a way of turning your arm muscles into noodles and just take your breath away. You'd better be able to reload on the run without taking your eyes off the target or at night by feel.
 

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ExSoldier762 said:
I would also submit that thousands of rounds downrange from a static position under no pressure (even if it's a time pressure) serves NO GOOD at all.
You are assuming that the person has bad habits that he would be reenforcing. I would agree with you that it may not be the same firing on a fixed range with no movement vs a popup range with movement, but to say it does "no good at all" is simply not true.

ExSoldier762 said:
I'd feel better running four IDPA courses of fire where I expended a max of 18 rds per stage (or per string) and I was operating under pressure and forced to use proper TACTICS than I would drilling useless holes in paper all day long.
Sounds like IDPA works well for you, at least you like it. There are people, however, that don't want to (or don't have the time to) participate in IDPA matches and would rather spend their time on a range or in training. You are not necessarily any more prepared for a face to face shooting situation than they are. You may be, but then again you may not be....
 

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100% Correct...Sorry Euclidean; Bumper

Bumper said:
You are assuming that the person has bad habits that he would be reenforcing. I would agree with you that it may not be the same firing on a fixed range with no movement vs a popup range with movement, but to say it does "no good at all" is simply not true.
You know, now that I think about it, I was doing regular target shooting (aside from qualifying for the army and competing in post combat competitions) before I discovered first IPSC and later IDPA, for about 10 years. All that time I had a CCW permit and was actively carrying.

So, Bumper and Euclidean, I do apologize.
 

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ExSoldier762 said:
You know, now that I think about it, I was doing regular target shooting (aside from qualifying for the army and competing in post combat competitions) before I discovered first IPSC and later IDPA, for about 10 years. All that time I had a CCW permit and was actively carrying.

So, Bumper and Euclidean, I do apologize.
That's exactly what I was thinking about. I learned to shoot in the boondocks. The military and police academy improved on it on msotly static ranges but some popups and mechanical targets. I don't profess to be the best shot around but I can generally hit what I am shooting at. More important, IMHO, is mindset and getting over the mental struggle of a shoot/don't shoot situation. Again, that's an opinion since I have never actually had to shoot anyone (and hope I never do).

And, ExSoldier, no apology is necessary for me.... :biggrin:
 

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One week of training repeated 52 times???

fifty two weeks of training, done one week at a time???

Caliber and number of rounds fired are secondary to a daily practice of the color codes or OODA.

Six Ps.

Would much rather have someone on my six that understood things like 'distract, disrupt, disable , destroy', than someone that shot 100 rounds a month, just to be shooting.
 

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Spend $35 on a blue gun (which doesn't shoot anything) that matches whichever carry gun you have. You can get in some extremely valuable practice time in your own living room and even better in you garage with your heavy punching bag for no further cost at all.

Spend 5-10 minutes once or twice a day with the blue gun. You can practice things that are relatively dangerous with a live firearm safely with it. For example, you may need to draw and fire sometime after being pushed over. Fall on your back, kick with your feet and draw. It's a dangerous thing to practice with a live firearm but perfectly safe with a blue gun.

Also, buy and airsoft. You can get in a LOT of cheap safe marksmanship practice with one. You can even bring in a "bad guy" for some neat force-on-force training. FFKG (Feet, Fists, Knife Gun) produces a neat video entitled "Legitimate Training with Airsoft." I like it and recommend it highly.

Chuck
 

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Back to the cost of ammo and 10k though a 9 or 5k though a 45 ...

Simple roll your own cost goes down quite a bit and you can shoot a lot of either calibers ...

Rolled 600 45's out in a few hours last night boy i need a progressive

Probley roll another 400 45's tonight then i need more bullets counting i got them tuesday im doing all right got 1k 9 mm to rould plus 38 super and 1k of 38 sp :RockOn mi
 

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Blue gun

Pyrolyzer said:
Spend $35 on a blue gun (which doesn't shoot anything) that matches whichever carry gun you have. You can get in some extremely valuable practice time in your own living room and even better in you garage with your heavy punching bag for no further cost at all.
Chuck
I second the blue gun. It's so easy to pick it up and practice grip, aim, and general handling when you have a spare minute, without having to meticulously unload and double-check your real sidearm. It's also nice to have handy when reading a book or watching a video, so you can try stuff as you go without having to interrupt the reading/watching.

SSKC
 

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Bumper said:
You are assuming that the person has bad habits that he would be reenforcing. I would agree with you that it may not be the same firing on a fixed range with no movement vs a popup range with movement, but to say it does "no good at all" is simply not true.

Sounds like IDPA works well for you, at least you like it. There are people, however, that don't want to (or don't have the time to) participate in IDPA matches and would rather spend their time on a range or in training. You are not necessarily any more prepared for a face to face shooting situation than they are. You may be, but then again you may not be....
Shooting from a static position is good to re-enforce the basics, but that is all. If that is all you do you are not preparing yourself for a gunfight. Under stress you will revert to your training. You will take a static stance line up your sights and die in a hail of gunfire. Movement = survival.

I recall a story of a police agency who's yearly qualification consisted of drawing and firing a single shot into a shilouette target several times. The cops would draw, fire their shot in the alotted time and reholster so the instructor could evaluate their performance. Wouldn't you know it, one of their cops was killed when he drew his pistol, fired a single shot at an attacker, and reholstered. Oops.

Secondly, IDPA is a GAME. It is not a substitute for proper training and tactics. Using proper tactics will cause you to loose an IDPA match miserably and will often get you disqualified. Try this at your next match. On the close target, draw to guarded retention and fire, then drop to position sul and threat scan 360 degrees.
 

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Of the original query, trigger time vs caliber potency....I go along with all the comments on practice practice practice. When to occasion arises I want my first shot (hopefully only shot required) to "hit the mark" and that means practice. As for the cost of practicing with 9mm instead of .45, this brings in another variable....that is the gun itself. I have a few different caliber guns and every one is in a different "style" ....meaning the grip is different, the weight, the trigger....everything. Since most of "my" problems are associated with "tigger pull" consistency, this is really exaggerated when switching guns at the range. Ideally, I would have one "style" gun in different calibers...assuming the trigger pull is identical, I could fire the cheaper calibers to concentrate on "hitting the mark" and feel confident I could do same with the larger caliber. Don't get me wrong though, I still need to practice with the larger caliber.....just not a frequently perhaps....my two coppers.............I have a cheap source of .45's so isn't an issue with me.
 

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IDPA is better than IPSC or NOTHING

clubsoda22 said:
Shooting from a static position is good to re-enforce the basics, but that is all. If that is all you do you are not preparing yourself for a gunfight. Under stress you will revert to your training. You will take a static stance line up your sights and die in a hail of gunfire. Movement = survival.

I recall a story of a police agency who's yearly qualification consisted of drawing and firing a single shot into a shilouette target several times. The cops would draw, fire their shot in the alotted time and reholster so the instructor could evaluate their performance. Wouldn't you know it, one of their cops was killed when he drew his pistol, fired a single shot at an attacker, and reholstered. Oops.

Secondly, IDPA is a GAME. It is not a substitute for proper training and tactics. Using proper tactics will cause you to loose an IDPA match miserably and will often get you disqualified. Try this at your next match. On the close target, draw to guarded retention and fire, then drop to position sul and threat scan 360 degrees.
I agree 100% that under stress, you will revert to your training.

I also recall an incident YEARS (decades? sheesh) where a pair of FL Highway Patrol troopers were killed in the hinterlands while in a firefight with a pair of badguys who were exchanging fire with the cops with both pairs behind their cars on the side of the road. The troopers were using .357 magnum wheelguns. The practice of troopers on the range according to strict range rules was to police the dropped brass. When the troopers were flanked and killed by one assailant, they were found with expended revolver brass lined up in neat little rows.

Now IDPA may be a GAME but it is the closest thing to the real thing most folks will ever have a chance to experience and it calls for using proper tactics including the threat scan! Your 360degree example is simply unsafe and you know it. Most all IDPA courses of fire call for moving and shooting and taking cover. The close target is usually accompanied by another target and another and another which become visible as soon as the close is taken or as you move to another position of cover.

Why don't YOU do the threat scan as the next two bad guys appear in front while you're looking behind? You see? Every situation is unique. If you just capped off a bad guy and had to threat scan 360 would you sweep your wife and kids with your finger on the trigger and all that adrenalin pumping thru your system?

The reality is that if you've just blown a scumbag out of his socks very decisively are his BUDDIES going to hang around to be NEXT? Speaking as a former parole officer with close contact to thousands of felons, I say NO. They're cowards who seek quick cash with LITTLE or NO risk to themselves! No honor there, either. Revenge? Maybe later in the case of a gang, but not on the spot. At that point it's survival (run) and hang everybody else.

IDPA is more likely to save a life than cost one. IPSC/USPSA is the real GAME which will cause deaths in the population for poor or no tactics. IDPA was formed in response to them!
 

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a 360 degree threat scan is completely safe, your rant would be unneccecary if you knew what position sul was.

Place you weak hand palm down over your sterum and the gun hand over that. you gun will be pointed in a safe diercetion (about a foot and a half infront of your feet) throughout the entire threat scan. If another threat appears you simply punch out into a firing position. Threat scans are done after the action and while moving towards cover.

If IDPA properly utilized cover you wouldn't loose points for hitting out of the A-zone when shooting around cover. If you can see the A zone, the target can see you.

You can train correctly at an IDPA match, but you will loose every time without exception.
http://www.warriormindset.com/Articles/article-IDPA.htm

The closest thing to the real thing is FOF, but that's a discussion for another day.
 
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