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Marksmanship in a Self Defense World

Marksmanship, often overlooked by the hardcore defensive shooters or "tactical crowd," plays a very important role in the world we live in.

I often get asked why I use B-8 bullseye targets when conducting live fire training courses. The answer is simple; I hold my students to a high standard of marksmanship because in the real world there is an attorney attached to every bullet. Reckless and uncontrolled shots have consequences, regardless of what movies and TV shows tell us.

In the real world, SHOT PLACEMENT MATTERS!

If you are under a high level of stress and have to use your firearm for self defense but never prioritize your accuracy in training, then I hate to break it to you but things will go bad very quickly. Training with a balance of speed and accuracy is the best formula for real world success. Don't just focus on one and neglect the other.

The more shootings that occur, the more the 21ft. rule gets tossed out the window. Let's look at the shooting involving Jack Wilson, who protected his fellow church members when an active shooter event occurred several years ago. That event required him to make a headshot at 30ft. (10 yards). That was just one of several incidents that have occurred in the past few years that are pushing the distance boundaries with a pistol for self defense use.

Training from 3-7 yards is practical, yes, but recent events have told us that the short range gunfights are not always the case anymore. Active shooter situations can push gunfights out to 25 yards potentially, if not further, depending on the situation.

Next time someone asks you why you're working slow fire marksmanship drills at 10-15 or even 20 yards, tell them you wanna be prepared for anything the real world throws at you. Being well rounded is important; not being well rounded is a liability.

Most people train for only speed because it's fun, right? But people don't train for marksmanship, not because it's boring, but because it exposes the holes in their overall shooting ability and, quite frankly, it's just downright difficult to shoot a handgun with a high level of accuracy.

A wise man once said, "Speed is fine, but accuracy is final"

Stay training and stay safe, guys.

Daniel Richardson /

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  • I firmly agree that marksmanship skills are part of the equation. You must be able to deliver threat altering shots to end an armed confrontation.. However, great marksmanship and one second draws cannot replace Tactics, Tactics, Tactics! Knowing when or not to engage, movement a surreptitious draw and overall decision making wins gunfights, not standing on a square range facing a stationary target, shooting small groups standing still! 🇺🇸👮🏻‍♂️👍🏻

    Sarge Mar 23, 2023

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