Shooting the Defensive Revolver: Part 1

Posted on October 12, 2011 by


Learning to shoot the fighting revolver (or any handgun) correctly is, alas, yet another area of defensive doctrine that is fraught with controversy. There are a lot of schools of thought on this subject, some of which are founded in reality and some of which are not.

In such a broad field you are likely to find any number of “experts” on the subject who have served with any number of secret squirrel organizations and are therefore qualified and authoritative, and invariably their opinions will all differ. Instead of playing “choose your expert”, I want to examine the fundamentals of combat shooting and take them to their logical conclusions.

Combat shooting fundamentals are not the same as the fundamentals of shooting for, say, target shooting or American Skeet. In the former, the goal is to shoot groups that are as tight as possible into targets that are not moving. In the latter, the goal is to bust a clay pigeon that is moving through the air at a speed and trajectory that are more or less constant.

In combat shooting, we are shooting to stop another human being who is unpredictable, dangerous, and may be shooting back at us. And we must very often do so in situations in which we do not have the luxury of assuming a comfortable stance, controlling our breathing, or obtaining a proper sight picture.

The problem lies in the fact that most of us train in a manner that more closely resembles recreational shooting. Then, when the time comes and our lives are on the line, we have developed neither the confidence nor the skill set necessary to function in a dynamic environment.

What I want to do over the next few posts in this series is take a look at the fundamentals of shooting defensively as they relate to the fighting revolver. For our purpose, the fundamentals of combat shooting are:

  • Orient yourself toward the threat
  • Point the handgun at the threat
  • Press the trigger until the threat has stopped

In next Wednesday’s post, we’ll talk about the importance of orienting your body towards the threat and what that should mean in relation to how we practice with our revolvers.