Pajama carry. Shower carry. Topless carry. It’s all good. (Click here for the full NSFW reveal.) Well, not really. As comely as this lass looks with a 686 dangling from her plaid pants, ain’t nothin’ like a real holster baby. Always carry your firearm in a holster. Not only are you safer, but it’s still sexy; I reckon the model would have looked just as attractive with that Smith & Wesson revolver (or, dare I say it, something smaller) inside a Remora holster. Now, where was I? Oh yes. Practice at home. Right. Three exercises you should try at home. First a word about safety . . .
Use a blue gun. As it’s completely inert (the self-defense community needs more erts), the odds of it being loaded are exactly zero. It’s the best “weapon” for pistol packers to practice gun handling skills in the privacy of their own home.
If you wish to the Starksy & Hutch thing at home with a real gun, safety check your weapon thoroughly. Aside from the usual protocols, I recommend that a second or even third party safety check the weapon after you do. Make sure they know how to do it properly and don’t rush them.
Don’t dry fire the weapon during these exercises. If you don’t pull the bang switch, the gun can’t go bang. Even though it can’t. Don’t muzzle or “laser” anyone. If you don’t aim a gun at someone, you can’t shoot them. Even though you can (over-penetration, right through the wall).
1. Practice accessing your gun
Perform some normal domestic task—watching TV, cooking a meal, de-linting the dryer, etc. Have a volunteer go the farthest point from you in the house. After a suitable pause (i.e. domestic bliss), they should pound a table or wall three times, and start a stopwatch.
Time how long it takes to get to your gun. If the person doing the pounding thing can see you at any point in the retrieval process, they should shout BANG! You’re dead.
Home carry people.
Once you accept the truth of that experiment, time how long it takes you to get to your shotgun and/or safe room while holding your [blue or triple safety checked] handgun. Practice and time getting to your shotgun/safe room from different points in your dwelling.
2. Practice situational awareness
As German Field Marshall Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke said, “no plan survives contact with the enemy.” Don’t get to thinking it will be a straight line from your initial handgun acquisition postion to shotgun/safe room access, or from one place to another in your house (to gather friendlies, hide and/or engage invaders).
The plan: survive a home invasion. The strategy: varies according to the situation. Well, it should. As Emile Chartier said, “Nothing is as dangerous as an idea when it’s the only one you have.” More simply, “good habits” can get you killed.
So have a volunteer place randomly numbered cards along the route from one place to another (e.g. from TV to shotgun or safe(ish) room). See how many numbers you can recall, to test your run-to-the-gun situational awareness. Then add pictures or names of other places in your house; you have to go there first.
Add stress: loud music, a deadline, people yelling on you, etc. If your family doesn’t think you’re nuts (yet), do all this while shepherding family and/or friendlies to your defensive position. [Hint: use the stopwatch and make it a game.]
3. Practice situational awareness again
Our final quote comes from Lyndon Johnson: “A decision is only as good as the information it’s based on.” Very few gun training exercises involve NOT doing things. Not shooting. And not moving. Try it.
Yes, I know: moving and shooting is THE most important skill for the self-defense shooter. And hesitation kills. Speed surprise and violence of action? Absolutely. But you really should know where you’re going and what you’re doing before you start going there and doing it.
If you have an alarm and/or a dog, you should have some precious thinking time. If you don’t, that time is even more precious. Practice stopping and assessing. Do the above exercise with the new instructions in an envelope. Include a listening station where you have to wait for an audio cue (word, sound) to remember. Give yourself a minimum completion time.
All of these exercises are designed to increase Operational Familiarity (OPFAM). The trick is to train yourself to respond appropriately in the event of a home invasion. It might not work out that way, but there’s no point in not trying. Despite the picture above, it’s better to be ready for a gunfight than to look ready.