Top 10 Reasons to Own a Gun

There are countless reasons why people choose to own guns. In my book, as long as it’s legal, any reason is a valid reason. Protection, competition and hunting are the top reasons gun owners cite for why they own a firearm, but there are also collectors, people who have them simply because they were inherited or just because they can.

I own my firearms for various reasons, not just one and I can say that all the above reasons are included.

As a woman, knowing how to safely and confidently use my firearms empowers me. In a world where women are often victimized by criminals, because we are seen as weak, knowing my firearm is by my side assures me that anyone who tries to do me harm isn’t getting away without a fight. Guns really are the one true equalizer.

Besides self-defense, I thoroughly enjoy the shooting sports and am proud that I can put fresh, 100% organic meat on the table—now that’s true field-to-fork.

Gun ownership isn’t just about hunting or the right to defend yourself. Gun ownership is a symbol of freedom. And fortunately, we have the Second Amendment to back up that inherent right.

My reasons might be different than yours for owning firearms, but I believe the following ten reasons should be at the top of your list:

  1. Preserve your liberty.

The Pew Research Center did a survey in the Spring of 2017 and found that 74% of gun owners associate gun ownership with their personal sense of freedom, stating, “Whether for hunting, sport shooting or personal protection, most gun owners count the right to bear arms as central to their freedom.” America’s founding fathers felt that firearms were so central to our freedom, they made the right to bear arms the second most important thing on the country’s Constitution. If it weren’t for firearms, Americans wouldn’t have won their independence from England. Thomas Jefferson, principal author of the Declaration of Independence and third President of the United States wrote, “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”

  1. Protect your life and the life of your family.

Seconds matter and the police take minutes. Feeling safe is a basic human need. Polls from Rasmussen, Gallup, the Pew Research Center, ABC News and the Washington Post find that 68% of Americans report feeling “safer in a neighborhood where guns are allowed.”

  1. It’s your right.

The right to self-defense is an inherent right and the Second Amendment guarantees that right.

  1. Guns keep America safer.

The Crime Prevention Research Center reports that states with the highest number of concealed-carry permits have the biggest reductions in homicide rates, consistently concluding that “allowing concealed carry leads to a reduction in violent crime.”

  1. More guns equal less crime.

Two million people a year stop crimes with a gun. Guns are used 80 times more to prevent crimes than they are used to commit murder.

  1. Criminals will never give up their guns.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 80% of criminals obtain their firearms from private, illegal sources.

  1. Be a responsible, law-abiding citizen.

Concealed carry permit holders are safer than citizens who don’t have a license to carry. The Crime Prevention Research Center finds that concealed-carry permit holders are the most law-abiding demographic in our country.

  1. Feed your family.

Wild game is the only truly organic, grass-fed, and sustainable meat. It is lower in fat, cholesterol, calories and saturated fat, as well as high in protein, iron and vitamin B and contains no antibiotics or growth hormones.

  1. Teach firearm safety and pass on the tradition of firearm ownership to the next generation.

Currently, only five percent of Americans hunt. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service predicts that number will decline in the next ten years. This is extremely problematic because the money made from hunting licenses and the excise tax on guns, ammunition and fishing equipment provides 60% of the funding for state wildlife agencies and conservation systems.

  1. Guns help increase your sense of responsibility, discipline, concentration, and confidence.

Samir Becic of the Health Fitness Revolution says the shooting sports increases your strength, stamina, focus, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and relieves eye stress.

As you can see, not only are there good reasons to own a firearm, but there are also positive consequences to responsible firearm ownership that benefit our entire country!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Why do you own a gun? List your reasons in the comment section.

First Time Hog Hunt, Lifetime of Memories

I remember the first time I set my gaze upon feral hogs like it was yesterday. Dense morning fog had just lifted to reveal an unruly sounder rooting under an oak tree on the edge of a steep finger well off the beaten path in California’s La Panza range. It was my first hog hunt and while I did not kill that weekend, the hunt stayed with me, gnawing at me like a tick to get back out there. Seriously—and not from experience mind you—I liken hog hunting to crack or some other stranglehold drug—you absolutely can get addicted your first time out. I didn’t kill on my second, third or fourth time out either. Even my fifth, sixth and seventh time were exercises in futility; however, my addiction stayed. Every hog I saw fanned the fire.

Thermal image of a hot gun, hog is down
Writer Kevin Reese recalls his first night time hog hunt, made even more thrilling with digital night vision and thermal imaging.

To be honest, I don’t recall how many hunts it took to drop my first hog, but I do remember the experience well. It was an early morning rifle hunt and I was walking to the corner of a wheat field when I heard the grunts. I had seen pigs from afar but this was the first time I heard them. I froze and scanned to my right to see a half-dozen rooting up a soft patch of dirt at a tree line some 50 yards from my position. I shot a large sow and learned quickly how little they sometimes bleed. With virtually no blood trail to go on, I conducted a methodical sweep of the area. After a solid two hours of combing, I had to laugh silently to myself. While I thought she had made good distance before she expired, I found her less than 15 yards from where she was shot; she had bolted out of sight then circled back.

I also remember my first night hunts—first with a bow, then with night vision and thermal. What is spooky to some, simply added excitement to my nighttime experience. New sounds shattered the silence in every direction—locusts, the intensified volume of lulling cattle, even the shrill scream of a cougar rose the hair on the back of my neck on that first dusk ‘til dawn hunt. And, of course, the screeches, barks and grunts from agitated hogs crashing into a freshly rooted area had my heart beating out of my chest. Admittedly, I bow hunted hogs for years before stumbling upon the thrill of night hunting with digital night vision with a Sightmark Photon.

While my firsts have been many and decades of chasing critters and filling freezers in the making, nowadays, my favorite pursuits are those spent with new hunters and reveling in their firsts, especially those late-night experiences where an entirely different outdoor world is busy playing out. Not long ago, I had the pleasure of witnessing a first hunt. The hunter was equipped with an AR-platform rifle and Photon RT Digital Night Vision Scope as we scouted on freshly planted crop fields just south of Waxahachie, Texas. With amazing folks at Three Curl Outfitters at the reigns, we rolled down a handful of farm roads, scanning with thermal monoculars. As the night rolled on, we continued glassing fields and adding to the collection of empty energy drink cans on the truck floor. The time was right, the weather was right… but our timing had not been right at all. I laughed to myself several times as I imagined large sounders of hogs dropping down into the fields we scouted just seconds after we passed—who knows? They may have. Just as we began to tucker out it happened. “Pigs!” Our guide stopped the truck and glassed with his thermal monocular to confirm. Yes, finally, they were there, a half-dozen or so near a tree line on the opposite side of a field nearly 1,000 yards out. We parked the truck, slid out onto the road, then quickly and quietly filed out onto the field.

With the wind in our favor, we closed the distance pretty quickly—especially given the trek across uneven terrain was over a half-mile—the last few hundred yards in stalk-mode. When the guide finally stopped us, we were no more than 75 yards away from the few remaining pigs—half had ventured back into the trees during our stalk. We quietly fanned out side-by-side, lowered the handguard of the rifle down into the into the cradle of the monopod and settled in.

Two men dragging a dead wild hog through a field seen through the view of digital night vision
My first hog fell 15 yards from where I shot it.

I stood close by. Instead of a rifle this time, I had my smartphone. Amazingly enough, the Photon RT, Sightmark’s latest model, includes built-in video and Wi-Fi. Most importantly at this moment of truth, the Wi-Fi had allowed me to connect to the scope and to watch the first-time hunter’s display remotely on my device. The beauty of it was obvious—I was better able to coach him quietly while maintaining a shooter’s perspective of his reticle, overall field of view and the small sounder of pigs completely unaware of our presence.

Once we were set, the guide asked us to confirm when we had “eyes” on the targets. We confirmed and I watched his reticle on my phone lower and settle onto a sweet spot just behind the largest pig’s ear. The guide counted down, “three, two, one.”

At one, the first shot shattered the deafening silence, dropping the first pig where it stood, it never budged an inch. As hog hunting sometimes goes, especially with new hunters, the rest of the hogs made it into nearby trees, disappearing instantly under the cloak of a tangled thicket.

It was his first kill ever and on a wily old sow. I smiled to myself in the darkness as a flurry of high-fives and hugs made a quick round. Decades later, I still recall the sudden rush of adrenaline, when my emotions suddenly were not my own… and a mix of tears and laughter, perhaps best described as elation, reverence plain old uncontrollable jitters. I had been a mess and now some of those feeling had rushed back being fortunate enough to share this defining moment with him. There, on that field trimmed neatly in hues of midnight blue and silver, another hunter was born.

We would love to hear your first hunt stories. Share them with us in the comment section.

Living and Leaving: It’s all About a Legacy

Revelation

The heat from his little body radiated into mine as beads of sweat raced down his cheeks, mixing with the stream of tears carving their course for the tip of his tiny chin. “Hold me tight, Daddy!  Hold me tight! Please, hold me tight!” His pleas filled the room as he continued to sink into me, pulling my arms ever tighter around his chest. Finally, the nurse had her sample; with a little luck, we would have our answer within a week. After all, how long should a father have to wait to find out if his son has Leukemia?

That day I realized there is no lifetime guarantee on tomorrow, what we do today must outlast us. Building my legacy, and helping him begin his own, has become more than just a sappy dad’s goal; it has become the very fabric of our bond.

Man and son dressed in camo walking toward a watering hole.
Form the fabric of your bond outdoors by teaching your children valuable lessons of love, freedom and heritage.

Just a few nights after receiving the miraculous news our son had tested negative, I tucked my son in with a kiss and headed toward his doorway.

“Daddy?” I watched him search his bedroom wall for the right words. “When I get older, can I have your truck?”

I smiled, “Why do you want daddy’s truck?”

Still searching the wall, he responded with an answer that took my breath away, “So I can take you hunting.”

It never dawned on me, what he was taking from our trips to the woods was something he wanted to give back to me; our trips were really something special to him. I hadn’t realized the most precious aspects of my legacy were being formed in the woods. If you’ve ever wondered what your purpose is, keep reading!

Why on Earth Are We Here?

Introspection and outdoor observations revealed opportunities as obvious as the blood-trail of a heart-shot hog. Appreciation for life – including wildlife, love, family, freedom, heritage, stewardship, ethics, integrity, conservation, preservation and yes, even death, all play out here upon the majestic stage of our great outdoors.

The first time my son sat with me in a blind on a hog hunt, we watched several does walk across the field with two fawns in tow.

“Which one would you shoot, Daddy?”

 “The big doe in front, son.”

“Why that one?”

“Because the other two are younger and the one in back has those two fawns to look after.”

“Why don’t you shoot it then?”

“It’s not deer season. We have to wait until the season opens.”

A boy and a man dressed in camo, with rifles slung over their shoulders walk away from a deer stand
While hunting together, I’ve taught my son ethics, stewardship and integrity.

In 30 seconds of conversation, he learned I genuinely love both wildlife and the outdoors. It was a lesson in both ethics and stewardship. He also learned about integrity; he’s heard me many times, “What you do when no one’s looking is what really matters. That’s the stuff character is made of.” He saw my words in action and they stuck like glue.

Jacob was with me when I caught the biggest bass of my life. You should have seen the look on his face when I pulled the fish from the water. He touched it repeatedly before finally petting it down its slick side. I reveled in his nervous excitement as he watched my entire fist disappear into the fish’s mouth. His excitement quickly turned to doom and gloom when I told him to say goodbye as I lowered the bruiser back into the water.  “Maybe someone else will get to catch their biggest fish now.”  He smiled, “Maybe me?”

“Maybe so, he’s in there waiting for you to catch him.”

Purple, gold and scarlet hues of a sleepy sun gave way to silver light dancing on the water as we finished cleaning our fish and stowed our gear. Great memories and another lesson were born; my son understood what giving back to our outdoor heritage is all about.

The opportunities to teach our children the core values our country was founded upon are endless when you search for them outdoors. Whether you are fishing, hunting, camping or hiking, never lose an opportunity to teach your children lessons, they shape the men and women our children become.

An Ounce of Reflection

A man and his young son give high five after firing a long-distance precision shot from a rifle.
Hunting with a McRees Precision .308 rifle and Sightmark Photon digital night vision riflescope.

To this day, Jacob’s pleas to hold him tight still haunt me; recalling those few minutes still invokes emotions that are tough to swallow back. Yet, my darkest hour gave way to my greatest awakening; realizing I am not promised another day with my son shattered my someday-soon attitude and replaced it with the hope that my legacy will add to a mosaic of memories and actions serving to build his legacy for what I hope is many, many years to come.

My son once told me I was his hero. It wasn’t long ago my words echoed his as we sat and hunted together, watching lessons unfold for both of us. Our outdoor world, whether a stone’s throw from suburbia or seemingly endless miles off the grid, is exceedingly special. Out there, in wild places brimming with untamed creatures and still void of man’s industrial “touch”, our legacies grow together.

And, for this particular dad, the notion that the fabric of his own legacy—woven with mine in those special moments we shared—now veils him in such character there seems little left to teach him, means if tomorrow didn’t come for me, I would be alright with that.

 

 

 

Make Your Mark with Sightmark Latitude Long-Range Riflescopes

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2018/03/17) –Whether you are on the hunt of a lifetime, ringing steel on a Saturday morning or fighting for the top spot in your next precision shooting competition, Sightmark’s new Latitude riflescopes bring your most challenging targets into focus.

Designed with versatility in mind, Sightmark’s Latitude line includes four long-range scopes with robust 4:1 zoom ratio, fully multi-coated scratch-resistant glass, green/red illuminated reticle options, locking fast-focus eyepiece, 34mm tube diameter, external zero-stop ring and oversized turrets. Sightmark Latitude riflescopes are available in the following models: 10-40×60 F-Class (SM13044FTR), 10-40×60 Benchrest (SM13044BR), 6.25-25×56 F-Class (SM13042FTR) and 6.25-25×56 PRS (SM13042PRS).

Sightmark Latitude riflescope
The Sightmark Latitude riflescopes help with precise shot placement and have fine-etched illuminated reticles.
oversized turrets on riflescope
The Latitude riflescopes are designed specifically for fast, accurate target engagements.

Second-focal-plane Latitude F-Class and Benchrest 10-40×60 and F-Class 6.25-25×56 Riflescopes are built for extreme distance shooting. F-Class and Benchrest models feature 1/8-MOA (10-40×60 FTR/BR) or 1/4-MOA (6.25-25×56 FTR) windage and elevation adjustments up to 110E and 70W. While Latitude Benchrest and F-class riflescopes deliver stunning clarity, perfect for reading mirage and other environmental conditions at extended distances, the fine-etched illuminated reticles are designed specifically to obstruct as little of the target face as possible for precise shot placement.

Sightmark is excited to add another first-focal-plane option for next-level marksmen to consider, the Latitude 6.25-25×56 PRS Riflescope. The Latitude PRS riflescope boasts .1 MIL windage and elevation adjustments (up to 31E and 20W), external zero-stop ring and a fine-etched, red/green-illuminated PRS reticle designed specifically for fast, accurate target engagements at varying distances whether employing turret adjustments or holdovers.

Sightmark Latitude Riflescopes include a sunshade, CR2032 battery, manual and a lifetime warranty.

Media members interested in learning more about Sightmark products are encouraged to stop by or schedule an appointment by emailing mediarelations@sightmark.com.

Click here to shop the Latitude series of riflescopes.

 

M-Spec Red Dot Sight is Ready For Duty

The Sightmark M-Spec takes a beating from the Cheyenne, Wyoming police department and proves it’s a durable and reliable piece of essential gear.

Our country’s police forces wouldn’t be able to protect and serve without reliable equipment. They are better prepared to do their duty safely and swiftly when they are equipped with dependable gear they can trust. Sellmark Corporation Senior Law Enforcement Sales Representative Rich Collier who is also a current Deputy Constable of Tarrant County and former Chief of Police says law enforcement need their equipment to be reliable, cost-effective and have a good warranty. It is a tough job evaluating a new product. Getting it wrong can cost innocent lives. How can they be sure it won’t fail when it really matters?  In 2017, Sellmark added a dedicated team to support local, state, national and even international law enforcement personnel. With new GSA-approval, it is now easier for government agencies, including law enforcement, to purchase Puslar, Sightmark, Firefield and 12 Survivors products. Sellmark stands by its products and without hesitation will send them out to police departments for review and testing.

Sighmark Ultra Shot M-Spec reflex sight with black and white background
The Sightmark Ultra Shot M-Spec passes rigorous testing from the Cheyenne, Wyoming PD.
Black reflex sight with scratch marks
For 18 days, the Ultra Shot M-Spec was pushed to its limits and didn’t fail once.

 

One product that both law enforcement and military find useful is a red dot or reflex sight. These optics provide quick target acquisition and accurate shots, are easy to use, perform well in low-light, and allow the user to aim and shoot with both eyes open, which is important to staying situationally aware.

From February 8 to February 26, 2018, the police department of Cheyenne, Wyoming ran the Sightmark Ultra Shot M-Spec FMS (SM26010) through the gauntlet. In fact, they performed more rigorous testing on a product than any other department. Officer Young of Cheyenne, Wy PD pushed the M-Spec to its limits and it exceeded expectations.

The Ultra Shot M-Spec is a night-vision compatible reflex sight with an illuminated red 65 MOA circle dot crosshair reticle with 6 brightness settings.

Features:

  • 65 MOA red Circle Dot Crosshair (60 MOA circle w/ 5 MOA sub tension, 2 MOA central dot)
  • 8 brightness settings, 6 night-vision compatible settings
  • 33×24 window
  • 105’ field of view at 100 yards
  • Unlimited eye relief
  • 120 MOA elevation adjustment
  • Up to .50 caliber recoil-resistant
  • IP68 IP Rating, submersible to 40’
  • Weaver/Picatinny mount
  • CR2 battery with up to 1,000 battery life
  • Parallax-corrected lens system from 10 yards to infinity
  • -22 to 160 F operating temperature
  • 103mm long x 49mm wide x 61mm tall
  • Weighs 7.5 ounces
  • Cast magnesium housing with protective shield
  • Automatic shut off after 5 minutes of no motion

Here is the detailed account of the test:

Cheyenne, Wyoming PD received the unit along with a magnifier on February 8, 2018. It mounted quickly without issue to a DPMS AR-15 and was easily zeroed at the range. The leaver on the magnifier got in the way of the rifle’s charging handle but changing the lever to pull closed to the front made it fit better. Shooting several drills at steel targets at 100 to 25 yards, the M-Spec’s dot was easy to see and got on target quickly. After 180 rounds, the optic was still holding zero.

Drop Testing

Banged up reflex sight
This unit was dropped and thrown repeatedly and never lost zero.

The DMPS rifle was tipped over on its side 20 times and the Ultra Shot M-Spec still held zero. The magnifier was removed, and the rifle was tipped over again on top of the sight and it still held zero. The rifle was dropped from a height of 3 feet onto its side an additional 20 more times. Zero was still held. Then it was dropped from 4 feet directly onto the optic 5 times and removed from a vehicle 20 times. It was after this round of testing that zero moved three inches high.

On 2/26/18, the rifle was dropped directly on top of the optic from three feet and again, it kept zero. To test the durability of the optic by itself, it was removed from the rifle and thrown 10 feet into the air, allowing it to hit the gravel 5 times. It still held zero. Additionally, the M-Spec alone was thrown about 20 feet into the air 5 times and still held zero. The sight by itself was thrown down range 30 yards and it still stayed zero. Thrown 30 yards again—it still held zero. Thrown 45 yards down range and it stayed zero. While taking the optic on and off the rifle, Officer Young accidentally over-tightened the rear mounting screw, stripping the screw. The M-Spec had not been turned off since the department received it on February 8 and was still fully operational.

Extreme Temperatures

Two days after getting the Sightmark M-Spec, Officer Young froze the rifle with the red dot attached in sub-zero temperatures and poured water over the optic and magnifier.

After freezing, on February 13, 2018, the M-Spec was still functioning at full power, despite having been turned on since the 8th. The magnifier needed slight adjustments to bring the reticle back to center. Despite this, the M-Spec was still holding zero.

Officer Young put the rifle with the optic attached in a hot shower and then froze it in a sub-zero temperature for three hours. It was frozen multiple times and tested for fogging.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Click here to check out the M-Spec.

Conclusion

After finishing the drop and extreme temperature tests, Officer Young drove around with the rifle and M-Spec in his trunk for two days. He slid it down a flight of carpeted stairs. After all of this, he fired 60 rounds and found that zero was still held.

After test and evaluation were finished, the Cheyenne, Wyoming PD ordered 10 units for law enforcement use.

To reach Sellmark’s Law Enforcement team with questions about products and ordering, call 817-225-0310 extension 288.

Does your department conduct field testing of products before purchasing? If so, we’d love to hear what types of tests you perform. Leave your comments below.

Extend Your Range with New Sightmark T-3 and T-5 Magnifiers

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2018/03/15) – Helping shooters accurately extend the range of their reflex or red dot sight, new T-3 (SM19063) and T-5 (SM19064) Magnifiers provide 3x or 5x magnification in a straight tube optic system 0.7-0.8” shorter than their predecessor. Perfect for AR-platform firearms and specifically target shooting, 3-gun competitions and hunting applications, T-3 and T-5 Magnifiers feature a locking quick detach and flip-to-side mount, allowing rapid transition between the magnifier and accompanying sight.

Side view of Sightmark T3 3x magnifier
Magnifiers feature a locking quick detach and flip-to-side mount.

An advanced, streamlined, low-drag design prevents the magnifier from snagging on vests and equipment. External windage and elevation adjustments make aligning the center of the magnifier’s point-of-view to the reticle extremely easy. Fully multi-coated optics improve brightness and resolution, increasing target and POI recognition. Both weighing less than 11 oz., T-3 and T-5 Magnifiers provide an effortless and effective way to increase optical magnification without sacrificing the advantages of a close quarters reflex/red dot sight.

Front view of a magnifier from Sightmark
Compatible with most red dot sights.

These magnifiers are compatible with most reflex and red dot sights on the market, including Sightmark Element, Wolverine and Ultra Shot models. IP55 water resistant and recoil rated up to .308, Sightmark T-3 and T-5 Magnifiers include flip-to-side LQD mount, adjustment tools and a manual.

Tested & Recommended: Sightmark Pinnacle 5-30×50

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2018/03/14) – Elite reviewers from the National Tactical Officers Association membership evaluation program have announced their findings on the Sightmark Pinnacle 5-30×50 riflescope. The Pinnacle took home an overall score of 4.4 with perfect scores from one reviewer in 8 categories including design, performance and accuracy.

5-30x50mm riflescope
NTOA tested and approved!

Since 2003, NTOA members have tested more than 2,000 products in real-world situations through the NTOA’s Member Tested and Recommended Program (MTRP). Results of these tests are shared with the law enforcement community in NTOA’s magazine, The Tactical Edge, online database, and eNewsletters and through the product manufacturers themselves.

The MTRP logo is widely displayed on product packaging, ads and websites, and is regarded by many LE agencies as paramount to their product purchasing decisions.

Learn more about the NTOA’s testing program on their website at http://www.ntoa.org/.

Sellmark has made their Law Enforcement team available for government entities at 817-225-0310 extension 288.

Sellmark requests that all media and public relations requests be routed through the Media Relations department.

 

Sightmark at NRA 2018!

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2018/03/07) – Firearm enthusiasts take note: this year the 147th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits will be held right in Sightmark’s backyard; Dallas, Texas. Sightmark is proud to announce they will be exhibiting their full line of optics, accessories and more at booth #12146 in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, May 3-6, 2018.

New Sightmark products introduced at the 2018 SHOT Show will be available for shooting and hunting aficionados to see firsthand, including all-new Photon and Signal RT digital optics, Citadel and Latitude riflescopes and Ultra Shot RAM series reflex sights. With everything from laser lights to long-range precision optics like the Pinnacle 3-18×44, the Sightmark booth is sure to have something for every kind of shooter. If you plan to attend this year’s NRA Exhibit, please take the opportunity to learn more about Sightmark products from our knowledgeable and friendly staff at booth #12146.

With 15 acres of guns and gear on exhibit, the 2018 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits will welcome over 80,000 patriots and 800+ industry exhibitors. In addition to the exhibits, the Annual Meetings will also feature a jam-packed schedule of seminars, workshops, special events and more! For more information on this event, please visit https://www.nraam.org/.

 

The Bill Drill—The Ultimate Defensive Shooting Technique

If you do only one drill at the range…do this one.

There are plenty of reasons why people chose to own firearms. Many firearm owners, like myself, own firearms for lots of different reasons. But there is one reason I have found that we all have in common—to protect ourselves and our families if we must. Honestly, I don’t know anyone that owns a gun that doesn’t say, “protection” as one of those reasons. I know people who own a firearm solely to defend themselves. In a Pew Research Center poll, 67% of gun owners report the main reason they own a firearm is for self-defense. No matter the reason, choosing to be a firearm owner means responsibly learning how to safely operate your firearm, as well as knowing how to clean and maintain that firearm. Buying a gun for protection and sticking it in a biometric safe next to the bed isn’t enough. Knowing confidently that you will be able to use that gun if you must is what can save your life. And the only way you are going to do that is by regular training and practice.

Practice keeps you proficient with the shooting fundamentals and basic handgun techniques. It helps you know the ins and outs of your firearm and how to keep it in tip-top working order. Training reveals your weaknesses. It creates positive muscle memory, so you can operate your gun efficiently in times of duress and hopefully, increase your speed and accuracy.

man at the shooting range
Practice keeps you proficient!

In Texas, we must take a course from a certified instructor in order to obtain a concealed carry license. Every instructor of that course will tell you at some time during those six hours that we “shoot to stop a threat.” It is highly unlikely that when you must use your gun to save your life, your first shot will put down an attacker. Though we cannot know what our exact reaction would be when faced with the situation in which we have to use our gun, most experts agree—you will not aim properly, nor will one round usually do the trick. When faced with a threat, your eyes will naturally stay on target and not your gun’s sights. That is why the simple Bill Drill is one of my favorite defensive pistol drills. It makes you practice your fundamentals but also prepares you for a self-defense situation and challenges you to increase your speed and accuracy. The Bill Drill focuses on a realistic aspect of a self-defense shooting—dumping your mag at a threat in close quarters.

Before doing the Bill Drill at the range with live ammo (you can easily perform this drill at home with airsoft or dry fire,) check with your range to make sure it is okay to draw from a holster and rapid fire. There are many ranges that ask you to keep 2 to 3 seconds between shots.

To do the Bill Drill you will need:

  • IDPA or IPSC silhouette or another man-sized silhouette target
  • Ammo
  • One full magazine with at least six rounds loaded
  • A 6×11 piece of paper, paper plate, index card, or another way to mark an area in center mass of the target

How to do the Bill Drill:

Put a paper plate in the center mass area of any man-sized target. Focus on speed and accuracy. Empty your magazine into the paper plate. Your goal is to have every round hit somewhere inside that paper plate.

  • Hang a paper plate, index card or a 6×11 sheet of paper in the center mass area of the target. This is your “A Zone.” Send the target out to seven yards (Most self-defense shootings occur between 10 and 5 feet.)
  • Either keep your gun in your holster or if your range restricts holster work, keep it on the bench or at the low ready.
  • Have your shooting buddy tell you when to go and clock your time on a shot timer.
  • Draw your gun from your holster, the bench or from the low ready and fire six rounds or your full magazine into the 6×11 area.
  • Your ultimate goal is to hit every round in the A Zone in under three seconds.

Start out slow with the Bill Drill, eventually working your way up from eight seconds to three Do the drill cold. Meaning, let it be the first drill you do when you arrive at the range. Think about it—you won’t get a warm up in real life.

 

Modifications and Challenges:

  • Reload quickly and perform the drill with another magazine
  • Switch from a paper plate to an index card
  • Practice reloads while keeping your eyes on the target
  • Practice clearing malfunctions without taking your gun off target

The Bill Drill is not only a practical self-defense shooting drill, it also helps you develop faster recovery time for quicker and more accurate follow-up shots and better trigger control and recoil mitigation.

You can dry fire any drill at home. Dry fire gives you the opportunity to practice and train more often and save money, especially if your gun range has restrictive rules.

Note: If you have never drawn from a holster before, please do not attempt the Bill Drill with live ammunition. Accidents happen when people are inexperienced at drawing and reholstering. You must learn how to present your gun from its holster safely. Practice this at home without any ammo, graduating to snap caps before any attempts at drawing at the range with live ammunition.

No amount of training will completely prepare you for real-life self-defense use of your handgun, but regular practice will help you develop the muscle memory needed to function efficiently if you have to. It will help you overcome the adrenaline dump that causes tunnel vision, loss of fine motor skills and memory loss when your body experiences fight or flight.

What are your favorite self-defense drills? Share them with other shooters in the comment section.

Sightmark LoPro Combos Receive Facelift for 2018

(MANSFIELD, TEXAS 2018/02/27) – Redesigned and improved for 2018, the latest LoPro Combo units from Sightmark are ideal for your tactical, home defense and hunting needs. Three revamped models ensure you’ll stay on target, including the LoPro Mini Combo (SM25012), LoPro Combo Flashlight and Green Laser Sight (SM25013) and LoPro Mini (SM25016). Hinted at by their name, all LoPro accessories boast a low profile design that allows them to be mounted in front of optics without obstructing the shooter’s view.

Replacing previous LoPro models, the new LoPro Mini Combo adds improvements including aluminum housing, protected windage/elevation adjustments, thread-on and rotating pressure pad and variable LED brightness for flashlight modes. A streamlined, solid metal construction and single-piece integrated mount assure your LoPro stays firm and holds zero in the face of extreme conditions and harsh use.

Similar to the LoPro Mini Combo, the upgraded LoPro Combo is a full-sized flashlight/laser combo that adds a useful IR illuminator to be used in conjunction with night vision units. A high-intensity, variable brightness LED flashlight gives shooters the perfect amount of light for their current shooting scenario. Ideal for a variety of day and nighttime situations, the LoPro Combo’s screw-in pressure pad securely attaches to the unit and stays in place during severe field use.

Lastly, for those wanting the most compact and lightweight setup possible, the LoPro Mini is second to none. Weighing a mere 6.7 oz., this IPX5 water-resistant laser/flashlight is light on your wallet, too, but packs a big punch. Featuring hand adjustable windage/elevation, tool-less adjustments can be made at the drop of a hat. All LoPro Combo models include a pressure pad and a single CR123A battery.

Click here to shop for a LoPro laser/light combo.

>