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Armed self-defense has three main parts: gun-handling (the fine art of bringing your firearm to bear on a threat without shooting yourself or a friend or forgetting how the damn thing works), marksmanship (hitting your target) and strategy (mastering the who, what, when, where and how of the thing). Gun ranges are excellent for the first two-thirds of the skill set. Not so good for the strategy side. Dry firing at home, running around like a pre-teen imitating your favorite cop show cop, is a better bet. Still, needs must. If your gun range is at all accommodating, here’s a few shooting positions to add to your regular repertoire . . .

NOTE: Always check with your range master to see if shooters are allowed to assume any and/or all of the following positions. Do not attempt any of these shots unless you have the gun handling skills needed to perform them. If in doubt, ask a professional instructor for supervision. 

* “Bad” stance – If you normally shoot in an isosceles stance, shoot side on. And vice versa. The chances that you’ll have perfect form in a self-defense situation are almost as low as the odds that the perp will stand still and “take it like a man.”

* Bended knee –  As Dee Brown might have warned (if she’d been writing about armed self-defense rather than Native American history), you don’t want to bury your heart at wounded knee. To keep your ticker ticking if your legs are knocked out of commission, practice shooting from one knee. Then the other. Then both.

* Sitting down – Concealed carry weapons permit holders are the type of people who’d look a bad guy in the eye and declare “I’m not going to take this sitting down!” Yes, well, perps have a predilection for knocking good guys on their ass. You need to be able to shoot when you’ve been knocked ass over tea kettle (as the Brits are wont to say). Practice shooting sitting criss-cross apple sauce and legs forward. When you shoot, sit up, lean forward and lean back.

* Lying down –  Same as above. Only lying down is even more important; hitting the deck is an excellent way not to get shot. Practice shooting whilst lying on your stomach, on your back and on your side (facing both directions). If you can find a range that lets you do so from behind cover or concealment, that would be most excellent.

Basically, don’t let style points blind you to the fact that gun battles are nasty, brutish and short. And awkward.

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  1. Enquiring minds want to know:

    Is there a Gun Kama Sutra that illustrates these positions and others? Do any of the positions improve penetration? Are any of the positions legal in Arkansas? Can I get arrested for practicing these positions in the privacy of my own home? Will I throw my back out?

  2. Thanks Robert for the article! Good points and positions I hadn’t considered. Ignore the sarcasm. A lot of us nowadays are still learning! Just wish I could find a place to practice such positions. Thanks & keep up the good work!

    • “Fantasy”, like “no one needs a gun in our cushy modern world” and “the more armed people there are walking around, the more O K Corral repeats we’ll have”?

      • No, fantasy like, if you’re not in the drug business or a member of a gang, your chances of needing the gun are much lower than the chance that it gets misused in some way.

        So, you’ve already made a bad decision to get the gun in the first place, but once immersed in the “culture,” naturally you and your friends keep telling each other how right you are. Eventually comes the fantasy highs. Robert is a type of shaman in this cult of yours, showing you ways to make believe you’re about to be attacked in various ways and practiciing for it. All the talk about carrying, even at home, even in the shower, for christ’s sake.

        It’s a perpetual, self-aggrandizing, self-justifying fantasy, not that I mind, I really don’t. But, don’t expect me to take it seriously.

        • Guns are safe. Firearm accidents are so rare you can round the statistical likelihood of experiencing a death or serious injury to zero. More precisely, it’s 0.000188 percent. Given the average gun handling skills and gun storage habits of the average gun owner, guns MUST be safe. Both in relative (compared to, say, swimming pools) and absolute terms (approx. 1500 per year).

          Yes, I know: try saying that if your child shoots themselves. And damn if you didn’t leave a huge amount of wiggle room: “misused in some way.” But you need to abandon this idea that anyone who owns a gun would be safer if they didn’t. ‘Cause they would be—right until they wouldn’t. And then what? Gun owners don’t want to go there. And they don’t want you to tell them that they can’t keep a gun for that eventuality. Or anyone else who’s an American without a criminal record.

          Besides, why NOT have a gun? Given that guns are safe and Americans have a constitutional right to own and yes carry them and the amount of violence “caused” by legally owned guns is (again) statistically irrelevant and you can’t disarm criminals, what’s the point of trying to “control” guns? To make you feel better? I mean seriously Mike, what do you care? You have little to no respect for gun owners. So let them shoot themselves by accident if that’s what they’re going to do. If their kids shoot themselves they’ll be less stupid gun owners in the future. Darwin and all that.

          Lest we forget, you live in Italy. Why do you care what happens in the U.S.? And even if you lived here, the chances of you getting shot by a gunloon are so low as to not merit concern. (Yes, even you.) So what’s your beef? What is that bothers you about responsible people taking reasonable precautions (in their minds anyway) to ensure their safety and the safety of their loved ones? The fact that irresponsible people do it too? In the grand scheme of things, who gives a shit? I hate to bring up that car thing again, but seriously. You want to rid the world of dangerous products and/or restrict them to “safe” owners? Start with tiny cars and the Italian driver’s licensing system FFS.

          All that said, I like to think TTAG’s self-defense tips are about realism. In mall ninja-land, all armed self-defense scenarios are clean and tidy. In real-life they’re nasty, brutish, short and chaotic. So shooting in all kinds of “odd: positions is more realistic than practicing “simple” marksmanship. Am I wrong? About ANY of this?

  3. “But, don’t expect me to take it seriously”

    or contribute anything of value to this discussion. Why do you parrot your own talking points from your own blog, mikebunchofnumbers? is your traffic that slow?

    “Robert is a type of shaman in this cult of yours”

    while i’m sure deifying RF is flattering for him, you are way off the mark, as usual

    “self-aggrandizing, self-justifying fantasy” sounds just like the drivel you post here, and on you own site.

  4. The message here is important. However, you don’t have to go to the range to practice. Get yourself an Airsoft gun that simulates your carry gun (close is probably good enough), and practice in your basement, back yard, hallway, or whatever. I have two 1911 simulators. One cost over $200; the other cost under $30. Either one does the training job nicely. Airsplat is one on-line dealer that has a wide variety of Airsoft guns to choose from. There are others, but I don’t have experience with them.

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