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Chapter 5

Defensive Shooting Skills

In an emergency, defensive shooting skills are critical and mistakes can be dangerous. Effective use of a defensive firearm requires mastery of certain essential skills:

  • NRA Rules for Safe Gun Handling
  • NRA Rules for Using and Storing a Gun
  • Learn to operate the firearm’s controls
  • Learn to load and unload the firearm
  • Learn to clean and maintain the firearm
  • Learn to grip, aim, and shoot the firearm
  • Learn to clear common malfunctions
  • Learn to shoot quickly with defensive accuracy

Defensive Shooting Technique

Once you become confident with basic gun handling and shooting skills, it’s time to learn how to defend yourself with a firearm in a defensive encounter.

To represent the target area for defensive accuracy, use a blank sheet of standard office paper as a target at distances of 5-15 feet. Hit the paper by looking directly at the center and shooting without using your sights. You should be able to hit the paper consistently with a bit of practice.

Any hit on the paper is just as valid as any other. There’s no need to hit the center of the paper every time. In fact, consistently hitting the center of the paper is an indication that you should speed up. Balance speed and accuracy with a rapid yet controlled shooting pace that results in a distributed shot pattern on the paper.

Practical Tip: Adjust your defensive shooting pace to balance speed and accuracy. If you feel frantic or sloppy, you’re shooting too fast. If you’re being overly precise, you’re shooting too slowly.