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What would I need to do to be considered proficient with a 1911? To the point that I could be comfortable using one for CCW.

I'm turning 21 soon and want to protect my family and myself the best that I can.

Thanks
 

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The first step to being proficient enough for CCW is dependant upon your experience/training with your weapon.

Do you practice twice a week or twice a year? Have you taken any nationally recognized courses (Thunder Ranch, Gunsite, etc.)?

Proficiency is a never ending quest. The learning curve is very steep for a novice. It slows down a bit the more practice and time that you put into it. It NEVER ends, however. Is one really ever "good enough"? Only you (or your potential adversary) can answer that. If you are dedicated to practicing and learning the skills needed to carry a pistol defensively, then you will have a better chance of achieving your proficiency goals. If you choose to wear your gun every day, but fire it once every year, you will be severly disappointed (perhaps fatally) with your results, if you ever need to rely on your weapon.
 

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I would suggest that you pick up some books and or video`s on the subject, so you can get a idea of what kind of drills are considerd "good to be able to do" by some experts in the field.. I would consider you to be proficient if you could complete a drill like the (El President`e)(sp?) in a good time with good hits.. I think that is a good one to work up too.. -Gilmore
 

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First, GET A 1911, if that is your chosen firearm.

Then, I highly recommend reading the book, "In the Gravest Extreme" by Massad Ayoob. This book is the only one I know of that goes into detail about what happens AFTER you shoot. Read it, over and over again.

Next, I would seriously recommend hooking up with someone who is a reloader--or, learn to reload yourself.

Get to the range. If you have a new gun, or one that you haven't fired before, shoot AT LEAST 500 rounds through it before making it your primary gun.

When you practice, concentrate on the basics: good grip, proper hold, find the front sight, squeeze the trigger. Don't try for speed--speed comes with time, and with practice. Shoot at first at 5 yards, and go out at least once a week initially, with about 100 rounds. When you can consistently place your rounds in a 3-inch circle, center mass, then back up 1 yard. Continue out to 25 yards.

When you shoot, practice in different positions--the standing, kneeling, and weak-handed positions. Shoot from around barricades, if you can. Learn how to shoot one handed, and also the instinctive shot, also known as point and shoot.

No flame intended to anyone on this board--but you do not have to go to any "nationally recognized school" to learn to shoot effectively. What the nationally recognized schools teach is what works--FOR THEM. Not knocking the experience level--most of the instructors are ex-SF, Ranger, or Law Enforcement. But, remember these tips--

1. The best stance is whatever is comfortable to you.

2. The best ammunition is whatever works.

3. The best gun is whatever you can hit the target with, be it .22 or .475 Linebaugh.

4. Your most valuable instructor will be your attorney--because they can prepare you for what will happen if you ever have to take a human life.

Good luck, and good shooting!

Eagle C. Tovar Jr.

[email protected]
 

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Originally posted by Powderman:

No flame intended to anyone on this board--but you do not have to go to any "nationally recognized school" to learn to shoot effectively. What the nationally recognized schools teach is what works--FOR THEM

And no return flame intended, but I disagree. The question asked was "what do I need to be proficient with a 1911." There is no substitute for professional training. A new shooter will simply develop too many bad habits without proper coaching. The schools do NOT teach what works for them. You have obviously never been to a good school. They teach proven and acceptable methods of defensive handgun. No one I know has walked away from such courses without gaining valuable training that can be applied in CCW situations.

I am not saying that a course is mandatory. What I am saying is that the poster is trying to determine his level of proficiency. He can't do this on his own. "Good enough" in some peoples' opinions can get them killed.

If you can afford professional training - get it.

Originally posted by Powderman:
The best stance is whatever is comfortable to you.
Unfortunately, this is a common misconception, and you are wrong. A novice will indeed adopt the most comfortable stance he can, and it will not be correct. He will not be controlling recoil effectively, and he will be losing valuable time in recoil recovery and multiple round placement. Not to mention that accuracy will be out the window without a proper stance.

Originally posted by Powderman:
The best gun is whatever you can hit the target with, be it .22 or .475 Linebaugh.
I don't recommend either caliber for a beginner or expert. Nismofun is asking for some real advice - don't do this to him! Without starting the Mouse Caliber Wars again, a .22 is simply not suited for a defensive cartridge - whether you can hit the target or not.



[This message has been edited by shane45-1911 (edited 09-18-2001).]
 

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And, to a certain point, I must again disagree.

I know that for the most part, folks haven't been exposed to the level of training and practice that I've been through. This training is what I've learned over the past thirty years--first, at my father's side, then as a soldier, training with Special Forces members, Rangers, and others from different services--sometimes different countries--with the same view. Currently, I shoot Outdoor Pistol in competition, and carry daily as a cop.

But to suggest to a guy that he needs to go to one of the extremely high priced schools might be doing him a great disservice. How? The tuition can be kinda steep. The average joe cannot afford the cash. And, let's face it--the first thing that must be learned is basic marksmanship. If you can't hit what you're shooting at, you are not effective. Period.

As for the remarks about firearms, and the best caliber, this gent might find that he doesn't want to keep a 1911. Heresy? Perhaps. I personally carry a Glock 22 and an Enhanced Model Colt, in .45, as duty guns. But, what good does a handgun do if the person isn't comfortable with?

No, I haven't been to one of the "good" schools. But I feel that I am proficient with my sidearm of choice--as a matter of fact, perhaps beyond proficient. And, what is better--a .45 that misses, or a .22 that hits?

Yes, this gent will be well advised to get a handgun that will deal a telling blow with as few center mass hits as possible. Any NRA certified instructor can give him the basic marksmanship instruction. The rest is practice.

And, I still stand by this--that the most important thing to learn is what happens after the shooting. Most folks just go up to the trigger pull, and the bad guy down or running. What about the criminal laws involved? Is it a good shoot? What about the civil trial that WILL follow? How does it feel to have to spend thousands of your own money to defend yourself in court, when all you did was to defend your life?

What school gives more than lip service to that?

As far as stance, recoil recovery, don't worry. When the adrenaline pump goes off, you won't even feel the recoil. For the most part, most folks feel a slight push. Others say that the deep crack of the .45 sounds like a popgun, with no hearing protection. I will tell you this--when the poo hits the fan, you WILL revert to a natural body position or stance--unless you have practiced another a minimum of 3-4 thousand times. It's vastly more important to put steel on target--and to do so accurately--than to worry about the nuances of the (take your pick)Weaver, Modified Weaver, Chapman, or what have you. As long as you have a good, steady platform to service the weapon and the target, you're doing fine.

As far as mouseguns are concerned, I personally recommend that the defensive handgun have at least a caliber that starts with a 4. But, there are some who can't handle that.

My father carried a Colt Cobra, .38 Spl. (Called it his roscoe). The first time I saw this 70 year old (at the time) man whip out that gun from under a coat (from a hip pocket carry), and put three .38 LRN rounds in a circle about 2 inches wide--at about 15 yards--I almost fainted. I did'nt think guys could move that fast. Also, he did it from a one handed stance.

Again, good luck and good shooting!
 

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Originally posted by nismofun:
What would I need to do to be considered proficient with a 1911? To the point that I could be comfortable using one for CCW.

I'm turning 21 soon and want to protect my family and myself the best that I can.

Thanks
You will probably get many answers but a simple measure of "proficiency" would be to draw from concealment and place 5 good hits on a paper plate at 5 yards in around 2 to 2.5 seconds, while moving rapidly off line, including reaction time. Not that you have to be able to do that to be comfortable carrying one for defense - but it is proficient.

As a minimum, merely internalizing the 4 safety rules (practicing them so much that they are reflex) and knowing your jurisdictions statutes on the use of lethal force as well as some rudimentary marksmanship skills - to insure you do not endanger bystanders - is better than not having a gun at all...just try to stay a step ahead of the bad guys, which is a tall order.

Probably in too much of a hurry to have explained that well


Carry on,
Jim Higginbotham
 

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I would suggest that you get to know the basic safety rules as mentioned. Fire the weapon at a range with someone who knows the weapon (a friend will do). When you feel comfortable with it then attend a competition match such as IDPA or USPSA to get to really know the weapon. People at the matches tend to be real helpfull. After some matches you will get a feel for the weapon.

The real hard part will be the "mind set" in a gunfight. I believe most schools do a good job at the mind set as well as techniques, but the mind set is #1.

I think this is one of the most economically ways to learn.
 

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Originally posted by nismofun:
What would I need to do to be considered proficient with a 1911? To the point that I could be comfortable using one for CCW.

I'm turning 21 soon and want to protect my family and myself the best that I can.

Thanks
You have no doubt recieved many good replies so I will expand my answer to include some things you didnt really ask about but I think should be considered by a new shooter.
Feel free to disregard if you wish.

First, I wouldn't worry about CCW if you live in either Missouri or California. You cant carry at all in the former and will probably never get the permit without knowing or being someone very VIP, in the latter.
But, you can still own a gun and get good at shooting it. Take a firearms course from the NRA. I am sure you can find the basic pistol course without too much trouble.
A common error is to focus on the gun too much when we first start get interested in shooting. It is better to be a good shot with many types of pistols then to focus on just one make of gun. Not everyone likes a 1911 style, even though they may love the gun and its history and romance of it all.
They may shoot a Glock like Ole Wild Bill Hickock but think they are ugly pieces of tupperware. That doesn't matter when it comes to defense shooting. For protection, you need to train with the gun you shoot the best. Besides, if you ever have to shoot someone, your gun will be impounded, taken apart, tested and left in pieces, maybe for years, while you wait to get it back. Unless you get convicted of an illegal shooting, then you will never get it back.
So, don't depend on your prized 1911A1 for primary defense or any gun you love as you may have to surrender it one day. Think of your defensive gun as a mechanic thinks of a jack. You want a good dependable one you know how to use but not necessarily one that is gold plated and cost you a couple thousand.
So, find a range where you can rent a lot of different guns. Shoot many calibers and makes before you decide on your primary defense gun. And if it still comes up a 1911A1 .45? More power to ya :)
As to proficiency? Being able to draw from concealment, get on target within about a second is what I would consider proficient.
This only comes from recognizing danger before the SHTF. Reacting from a tacticle ready stance is better than letting someone get the drop on ya. If you arent worried about drawing the gun then being able to hit your target, while it is moving at you, with more than one shot, in low light, would be proficient. Remember, you never shoot anyone running away from you. That is murder, NOT self defense.
 

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Define proficient. A "master" is just someone who does the basic fundamentals really well. While I do think formal training is money well spent, you don't have to go to a major school to get good training. There are many top guys who travel (Hackathorn, Crews, Cain, OPS, etc) not to mention any number of local guys. As a sometime teacher and always student, I'll say that a competent trainer will be able to help you attain proficiency much quicker than attempting to do it on your own or by listening to some keyboard commando. Of course, you could always just watch TV and learn how a real operator does it. NOT.
 

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Originally posted by blinder:
While I do think formal training is money well spent, you don't have to go to a major school to get good training. There are many top guys who travel (Hackathorn, Crews, Cain, OPS, etc) not to mention any number of local guys.

Right blinder. I didn't mean to imply that one had to go to Thunder Ranch to get good training. I was trying to indicate that some level of professional training is very beneficial - either at a national or local level.


[This message has been edited by shane45-1911 (edited 09-19-2001).]
 

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All of the suggestions above are very well put. As for shane45 suggestion, I would agreed with him about enrolling in courses that is offer by these establishment(Thunder Range, Gunsite, ect.) These places offer you more of a tactical enviroment, rather than just shooting 500-1000 rounds at the range. You can never learn enough of anything, even if you are right now proficient with any types of weapons. There is something new to learn every day. that is why we go to school right?
 

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To your original question of "What would I need to do to be considered proficient with a 1911? To the point that I could be comfortable using one for CCW." I'd respond that you'll know when your ready. If you don't feel comfortable carrying and operating the pistol then you shouldn't be carrying a 1911 or any other firearm.

As far as training goes, I have to side with the group who advocates professional training. I have been fortunate in that I've attended several "big name" schools as well as classes with some of the top notch traveling instructors. I cannot say enough good things about the training I've received and its value.

Professional schools teach far more than basic marksmanship. The value of such a school is that they teach an entire system of fighting. It should be remembered that marksmanship, while an essential component, is but a small piece of what is necessary to survive an armed confrontation. These schools use a building block approach to ensure that you can shoot accurately as well as manipulate your pistol (reloads & malfunction clearances).

I'm an LEO and when I attended my first class, I was the best shooter at my duty station. Our rangemasters openly said that I shot better than they did. I went to FrontSight's Four Day Defensive Handgun class and vastly improved my skills. More importantly, I learned that there was much I did not know. That first class really showed me that there is far more to the use of the defensive pistol than marksmanship.

While some of these classes may seem expensive, I can assure you that I've been completely satisfied with every class I attended and thought I received an excellent value. There are ways to attend these schools at a reduced cost. You can purchase "certificates" for FrontSight that cut the cost of a class in half. Also, airfare to Vegas is typically cheap.

When I took my class at GunSite, I went with a buddy and split costs such as gas and groceries. We also camped out which saved a huge amount of money. I feel that if you realize how important good training is, you'll find a way to attend.

As mentioned above, there are some excellent traveling instructors out there. I took a class from Jeff Gonzalez (http://www.tridentconcepts.net) and was blown away. He is one of the best instructors I've ever learned under. His classed are very reasonably priced and he travels a lot, meaning he'll come to you and save you the travel.

Look around your area and I'm sure you'll find some school worthy of your time. The only caution I have about good training is that it can be quite addictive.
 

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I have spent money at Thunder Ranch and trained at another school/range (now defunct) and with another instructor. I wasted a lot of money at the defunct school. I learned nothing at Thunder Ranch (except room clearing) that I had not learned previously and had not been covered in detail by the "other instructor" who happens to be quite skilled and a good friend. I have both had classes with him and had non-official instruction. It is not easy to be that fortunate to meet someone like this guy. It is easy to waste money. I spent more at the defunct school/range than I did at Thunder Ranch and I certainly would have gotten a LOT more out of Thunder Ranch.

You don't have to go to TR or some other big named school to get great training, but places like TR carry a strong reputation for doing just that on a very regular basis. I did the 5 day version. By day 3, I was beat. On day 4, I was getting into the groove of the week. By the last day, I was ready for it to continue through the weekend and into next week. It was good, solid training. The instructors were to notch and helpful, not condescending.

It is easy to mess up. When it is the middle of July, it is easy to mess up more than once. The staff at TR showed a great deal of patience with those of us who got tired, heat exhausted, or just could not get with the program until after lunch kicked in. The were first rate all the way.

That is the benefit of a big named school. Clint Smith tries to make the learning experience of each shooter be positive. His success depends on repeat business and word of mouth advertising.
 

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I was 21 when I purchased my first handgun. It was obvious to me that I need to learn how to shoot it properly. I have seen many loudmouth know-it-alls who did not impress me on the range. I want to be the best I can with my sidearm, so it seemed logical to learn from the best. So I enrolled in Col. Jeff Cooper's General Pistol class. That week in Raton, NM CHANGED MY LIFE!!!!
There is no second place in a gunfight.
How good do you wish to be? What level of commitment do you have? Can you put a Pricetag on your life? these are questions that only you can answer for yourself.
If you go to a second-rate instructor, you'll get second rate instruction.
As a NRA certifieid instructor myself, I would say NOT to take a NRA course. It would be a waste of your time and teach you bad habbits.
Do Go to Clint Smith in Texas or Rich Wyatt in Denver.
all fall to hardball!!
Daniel
 

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My only professional training was in the military, and I have also shot competition within the military. But before that I was basically self-taught from a fairly early age (after my father had taught me the basics that is), and have not attended any professional schools since the military save some State-mandated qualifications for work in the private sector.

I refined what I learned in the military by studying the written works of many individuals, and my own experiences/observations.

Having said that, I have to agree with the advices above, of a good practical pistol school.

I would not choose a school that teaches a competitive discipline. Competition is a sport, and what works in competition is not necessarily suited to self protection. The fundementals of safety and marksmanship apply, and some of the skills are without a doubt useful, but it may instill some bad habits. Not safety, or those detrimental to accuracy, but those which might be disadvantageous in a gunfight.

[Yes to those who like competition - I agree that "what might be disadvantageous in a gunfight" is somewhat(!) contraversal]

Those who teach those practical pistol schools (like Gunsite, Thunder Ranch, etc etc) include people who really have extensive insights into the practical and psychological aspects of combat shooting, and have spent decades developing their instruction. And in addition to safety and fundamentals of marksmanship, it is the other concepts and habits they teach that are important.

If you absolutely must go the do-it-yourself route, at least to begin with, I would first buy and study (note; study - not just "read") some of the works of Col. "Jeff" Cooper, Chuck Taylor, Massad Ayoob, etc etc. Then I would buy the books/videos offered by a few of their professional schools that have them available. Compare them all, analyse them, and use your sense of reason and logic accordingly. You will find that opinions on various points may differ, so your own analysis will no doubt decide the choices you make, and may influence which school you might attend at a later time if you get the opportunity.

Develope your shooting style, technique and drills SLOWLY. Slow, deliberate, smooth and consistant repetitions.

Do not attempt to be "fast" early in the process. This might likely give you some very bad habits straight away. You want to learn smooth consistancy. Speed can be developed with time and practice later on. In the event that you need to be fast in a deadly confrontation, speed will likely come with necessity under the impulse of self-preservation. But as you attain a level of consistant accuracy and shooting drills, you can gradually increase your speed.
 
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