Continued; After The Permit Is Obtained…More Thoughts On “Now What?” Simple Little Things!

Furthering Your Concealed Carry Permit Training…

     In the past several weeks a number of things have been brought to my attention and reminded me that little, simple things can help us be safe or prevent our success.  Here are a few items that will be expanded upon in this discussion:  Eye issues, small almost invisible sights, trigger reach problems, heavy trigger pulls and weak hand strength, too thick of stocks/grips and the too little too light firearm chosen for self protection.

First item:  Eye issues with the related small sights.  In a recent Utah CFP class I had a gentleman who wore bifocal lenses in his glasses.  It so happens I require those as well.  He had a Smith and Wesson Model 642 he had rented for the class.  This is a small 5-shot 38 Special light-weight revolver with tiny, stainless steel colored sights, and a very short sight radius (the distance between the front and rear sights).  It was apparent he had trouble in the lighting of the range picking up his front sight and struggled to see it, which led to him elevating the barrel in order to get a sight picture.  His shots went high.  I could see what was happening and reviewed sight alignment and picture and noted I also wore bifocals, which frankly, suck when shooting.  Since it was a rental gun, there were no changes that could be made, but I did recommend a large front sight or a brightly colored one that could be more easily seen on his personal weapon.  Bright colors attract the eye and draw it to the front sight, which needs to be on the target or misses occur.  This phenomenon of pushing up the front sight has shown up a lot in the past months in classes.  Students raise up the front sight in order to, in their view, see it better.  It has the effect of throwing shots over the target.  When shown the correct sight alignment, hits are back on target.

Next issue: Trigger reach and heavy trigger pulls.  When choosing a self-defense tool, it needs to fit the hand and the operator of that tool should be able to reach all the controls and parts.  If the grip area is too large in circumference, trigger reach becomes a problem. 

Three examples: 

First Example: A security force firearms trainer was having difficulty getting his officers to qualify with the issued handgun.  He contacted me and asked for assistance in figuring out what to do.  In questioning him, he said the issue handgun was the Berretta 92FS, a gun known for it’s long trigger reach and large grip diameter.  Trigger reach is how far the finger needs to “reach” in order to press the trigger to the rear to fire the shot.  Further inquiry revealed he had people of small stature with small hands and short fingers.  They did not have the “reach” to pull that double action trigger to the rear.

The second Example: a young couple was attending a CFP class.  The husband had purchased the firearm for his wife, who when I asked, stated she was 4 feet ten inches tall.  Her hand would barely reach from my wrist to the bottom of my fingers, and my hand is medium large.  The firearm was an early Kel-Tec 9mm Luger with a large double stack magazine and large grip circumference and long, heavy trigger pull.  She got one shot off by using BOTH hands, slammed the gun to the bench and said, “I don’t like this!”  The gun was traded for a Colt .380 Government model with a single column magazine and short trigger.  That one fit her hand.   Lesson learned: Check to see if you can pull/press the trigger before you purchase.  A member of my family wanted to use a double action revolver and found she did not have the hand strength to press through the double action trigger stroke.  Better to know in advance, than to not be able to operate it later!

The Third Example comes from again, concealed carry classes.  Over a several week period I had two older people, a man and a woman, come the class with the new Ruger LCP .380 pistol.  It is a nice, small and easily concealed tool.  It does have, however, a long and heavy double-action only trigger.  With both people, it was very difficult to operate.  Each had issues with hand strength.  The woman would finally get it to fire but pushed the gun down by squeezing with her whole hand to have enough strength to get the trigger back to the firing position.  Neither one had tried the trigger pull before purchase.

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