NFO started it today with a post concerning training guns. I observed the comment thread and thought about it. Here are my thoughts on his post. I may be kicking over a hornets nest, but hey, it's my blog, your mileage may vary.
You know the drill, click to enbiggen the pics.
On any given month I teach at least 30 new shooters. I mean NEW. Never touched one, never shot one. So what do you think I am going to hand them after four hours in the classroom, this?
Uh, no. It will more likely be this:
Or maybe even this:
The S&W Model 34-1 Kit Gun revolver in .22LR or the Colt 1911 in the same. I also use a Ruger MKIII.
Why? Less recoil to be sure and minimal muzzle flash as well.
NFO showed his first rifle and I have to say that for many of us, the .22 caliber firearm was a right of passage to adulthood. Here is my first rifle:
Winchester Model 290 in .22 S, L, LR. Mine, like NFO's is about wore out. It still has a place in the safe though.
My first pistol? Guess what. A .22LR.
A Colt Woodsman.
So now you may be thinking "OK old dude, you have old stuff, you know them and you shoot them. Big deal."
Well it is a big deal. Some comment on "train with what you carry." I agree to a point. Believe it or not, some that take the Concealed Carry class can't throw 400 rounds down range every month in a defensive caliber. The humble .22 brings home the same lessons I consider paramount and is cheaper to do as well. I would rather have a newly minted CCH holder at the range with a .22 at least once a month instead of them qualifying for the certificate and never firing ANYTHING again. Believe it or not some do.
Sight picture, sight alignment, and most importantly to me trigger control are the keys to getting that first accurate shot off. For those that lament the lack of recoil in a "non defensive caliber" for fast multiple shots, I disagree. The .22 will force you to reacquire the sights and reassess the threat before taking the next shot, just like the .44 Magnum. If you have any weakness in your grip, it will become obvious as well.
As to defensive justified use of deadly force incidents, stance, breath control, and other factors for being a good target shooter go out the window. I don't worry about them so much. I am really worried about safe presentation from concealment and time to first (ACCURATE) hit with all due speed. Remember rule 4, be sure of your target. In a self defense incident I throw a corollary out of this rule. "What is the penalty for a miss?" I would rather have complete mastery of presentation and first shot placement with any Firearm before I go any further in my training. Hey, a .35 diameter hole in the right place may make the whole second shot thing go away. It might not, but why not try to make that first one really count before doing the Ted Nugent "Double Tap"?
All of this can be practiced with a .22 caliber of your carry Handgun or rifle.
Here is a M-4 in .22 caliber:
Guess what? Every thing works the same on this .22 as it does on the other one.
Let's face it. I have read many words here on the Interwebz about almost every Firearm related topic you could think of. Some pearls of wisdom, much background noise.
I tell my students there is a 99.9 percent chance they will never have to present from concealment. If however they fall into the .1 percent, mistakes made then are usually severe and permanent. Placed in that context I believe the training guns have a prominent place.
Ok, I will get off the soap box now!