Posts Tagged ‘firearm’


I’ve seen shooters at all levels that struggle to some degree with “flinching,” or what we commonly call anticipation. This is evident when you look at a target of a student and see the rounds striking the lower left area because just a split second before they fire, they “flinch” and the final aiming point and muzzle dips and turns resulting in a low hit or miss. (Opposite for left handed shooters)

New and less experience shooters, or those who do not practice regularly struggle with anticipation. The primary causes of anticipation are: Fear or uncertainty, improper grip, and lack of practice or training. The good news about “flinching” is that it is curable with a little bit of work.

Fear or uncertainty is usually the first thing we need to address. Everyone has an aversion to pain and new shooters and those who are inexperienced or do not shoot frequently enough are afraid of being hurt by the handgun when it discharges, cycles, or both. There is also quite a bit of anxiety or uncertainty that also needs to be overcome. To be a good shooter you have to tolerate a bit of discomfort, but that can be minimized and managed by a little bit of practice and confidence.

I tell all of my students that the “scary” noise and the mechanical actions happens faster than they are able to perceive it, and none of it happens until micro-seconds AFTER the bullet leaves the barrel of the gun on its way to the target. So getting the perfect shot in the right place happens before any of the things we are uncertain or afraid of, actually take place. So getting the round to hit what you are aiming at is a simple application of the fundamentals… and then the “scary stuff” happens.

I know this information is not comforting to the timid shooter, so let’s analyze the second part of this problem. More gun than you can handle! You need look no further than Youtube for endless videos of idiot boyfriends handing their girls or guy friends extremely large caliber hand cannons, offering no training or advice and then laughing hysterically when they get hurt. These videos breed stereotypes and fear among potential new shooters. Hollywood doesn’t help either when they wrongfully depict a handgun discharging and sending the shooter flying backwards. If you are a timid, new or inexperienced shooter, start with a small caliber handgun and build confidence before picking up something larger. A defensive caliber does not have to start with a point four (.4-) to be effective. (Uh oh… I just said calibers less than .40 are good for defense… Brace yourself for the hate mail)

I have handguns available to rent for my courses and they are usually .22LR or 9mm. I also use steel frame handguns that are a little heavier to help mitigate some of the recoil. Starting off with something manageable helps assuage some of the fear or uncertainty. When they are expecting a civil war cannon bang and all they get is a sharp pop, shooters realize that handling a firearm is not that difficult after all. It only takes a couple hundred rounds for confidence to soar and after seeing how well you can shoot a small gun, most shooters are eager to step up to something bigger. So if you are learning to shoot start small.

The second part of the flinch equation is an improper grip. I teach and strongly advocate the 100% or thumbs forward grip. Shooters of all sizes, strength and skill levels have had great success using this grip. Using your Google-fu you can find dozens of articles on this style of grip and its numerous advantages. This two handed grip style will give you the maximum skin to surface contact on the handgun as well as the best position to manage the cycling of the slide during recoil. If you page through the Home Defense Gun (.net) site you can find an excellent video that demonstrates this grip. If you are improperly holding the handgun, the recoil you are absorbing will be felt to a much greater degree than necessary, which will cause pain or extreme discomfort and cause you to “flinch” unconsciously.

The best way to fight the flinch is to seek out quality training and practice on your own. I recommend a lot of dry fire practice if you have a problem with anticipation or flinching. Dry firing means that you develop strong neural pathways (muscle memory) without any of the “scary” stuff happening. By focusing carefully on the fundamentals of proper trigger press, sight alignment and follow through without having to worry about the noise or mechanical action will allow you to grow comfortable and confident. When you do finally hit the range you can apply the skills you acquired during dry fire practice. With a solid foundation to build on, the right grip, and a manageable caliber handgun you will be well on your way to ending the “flinch” or anticipating.

To end the fight against the flinch once and for all you will need practice. Here is a drill I recommend to anyone struggling with anticipation or “flinching.” Take a handful of empty casings and as you load your magazine or cylinder, randomly place an empty casings into the magazine interspersed with live rounds. (Or have someone else load your magazines randomly). As you shoot on the range, you will not know when your gun will go bang or click and if you have a problem anticipating the recoil or flinching, you will catch yourself doing so as the hammer falls on the empty case. When you pull the trigger and there is no bang, no mechanical reaction and you still flinch and drop the front sight down and left in anticipation… you’ll feel really silly. After a few bouts of this behavior your concentration level will increase, and since you do not know when the gun will really fire, you’ll fight the flinch, stay on target and start making good hits. Try this out and post your results, I’d love to hear your feedback.

Once you master the smaller caliber and the fear and uncertainty fades, challenge yourself and pick up the next larger caliber available. Confidence comes quickly with a little practice and training. Once you grow accustomed to the motion, mechanical action and the noise, you’ll start to relish the discomfort you feel and after a while, you’ll enjoy it… from there you’ll be well on your way to being a top notch shooter.

Train hard, stay safe.

Scott S

Your mind is the weapon, everything else is just a tool! For more information please visit our website at: or find us on Facebook. For more firearms, safety and personal protection articles, videos and sound advice visit my friends at or search for Home Defense Gun on Facebook.



If you carry a (semi-auto) handgun on a daily basis, you need to remember that it is a finely tuned machine that requires a certain amount of maintenance and care to function. We want to make sure we take proper care of our machine because the moment we need it… it has to work! Since we have busy lives and some of you (admit it) do not give your handgun a thorough cleaning each time you shoot it, make time in your daily routine for a quick operational check. A quick two minute assessment could save your life.

First, start with a safe and empty weapon. Perform a mechanical, visual and physical check of your handgun to make sure it is unloaded. Grab a cleaning cloth and a couple of Q-tips as well. Once you have a safe and empty weapon, close the slide and visually inspect the exterior of the gun. If you carry concealed wipe the dust bunnies and fuzzy stuff off, especially around the hammer, safety and any recessed portions. Overtime, dust binds with lubricant and can cause a malfunction or stoppage.

Now, lock the slide open and check the rails. There should be a light film of lubricant visible. If your gun is bone dry, you should stop at this point, break it down and properly add lubricant to the recommended areas. If you are unsure where lubricant goes and how much, consult your owner’s manual.

Next look at the recoils spring and barrel to make sure they are seated properly and the guide rod is intact. Now that some manufacturers are using plastic for guide rods, you need to pay attention. Plastic cannot withstand the same punishment as steel. Look down the barrel and also make sure it is free from obstructions. You don’t want any debris or dust bunnies in the barrel either. Give a quick check of the feed ramp and extractor to make sure both parts are intact. Finally look down into the magazine well and make sure that area is also clean and free from obstructions. Now you can begin a function check.

A function check is a quick easy way to assess the features of your handgun to see if they are working. Depending on the model of handgun you have, not all of these will apply, but follow along and tailor the function check to fit the needs of your particular semi auto handgun.

Close the slide and de-cock or engage any safety features associated with your handgun. Once the safety is engaged, pull the trigger and make sure the gun does not dry fire with the safety mechanisms engaged.

Starting from your carry position- striker fired, hammer down or cocked and locked, check the trigger pull and listen for the audible striker functioning. For guns with a hammer, watch the hammer fall and on both types, keep the trigger buried to the rear after the first press. Now, keeping the trigger buried, cycle the slide which should reset the striker or cock the hammer into single action. Now, slowly let out on the trigger and listen for the reset. If you have a handgun with a hammer, now press the trigger a second time to test the single action trigger pull.

Now that you have a ready and functioning handgun, holster it and grab a magazine. Just like the handgun, give it a visual inspection and make sure it is also clean and free from dust bunnies and debris. Make sure it does not have an excess of lubricant on the magazine. I have seen a few well intentioned handgun owners over lubricate their firearm causing the excess oil to get onto the magazine and gum it up. Now we can check the feed spring. I always like to pop a couple of rounds off the top of the magazine to make sure they slide easily past the feed lips and the spring tension is sufficient enough to push the next round into place instantaneously. Now, replace the couple of rounds you pushed out and make sure the feed lips retain the rounds properly.

Now, insert the magazine well into the firearm and give it a tap and tug to make sure it is seated properly. If the magazine comes out without depressing the release, you need to have your handgun serviced.

Draw your handgun (point it in a safe direction) and charge it. Engage any safety features and safely re-holster the handgun with your finger outside the trigger guard. Now press the magazine release and check to make sure it also functions properly. You should be able to pull the magazine clear of the handgun without it reengaging, catching or feeling any unnecessary friction. Now, reseat the second round that was in the magazine (now the top round) and top off the magazine with an additional round so it is at full capacity. Re-insert it and again listen for the audible click to tell you the magazine is seated firmly. Give it a tug and you are ready to go!    

If you carry a spare magazine (which I highly recommend), perform the same check and place it in your magazine carrier. Lastly, if you carry a holster with any type of retention device, make sure it is working properly as well.

While the narrative is long, this quick pre-flight check takes seconds and will give you comfort knowing your tool is ready when you need it.

Till next time, be safe and remember: Your mind is the weapon, everything else is a tool!

For more information about One Weapon Any Tool or for firearms training in Northern California visit our web site at: or find us on Facebook!

If you are on Facebook and want more information on personal or home protection, visit my friend at Home Defense Gun! An excellent source for firearms, personal protection and related information.


Stay safe

Scott S



Whether you are in law enforcement or a civilian with a concealed carry permit, you have earned the right to carry a firearm with you to most places. We all decided to carry because we want to be prepared to stop a lethal threat if it presents itself. We know from personal experience, facts, statistics and the evening news that bad things happen almost everywhere you go… but there is one place millions of Americans go every week and it is the one place gun owners usually do not carry their guns into: Church.

It is a sad state in America when we have to consider arming ourselves to go to a place of worship, but the facts remain, and despite what we wish was true, a church is a target of evil doers.

Carrying a firearm into church is certainly a controversial one. I’ve had this conversation in the past with a group of people who argue that there is no need to carry or have a gun in God’s house. Common arguments are, “God will take care of his own,” or “Don’t you have any faith,” or “Nothing bad is going to happen here,” and “God would never approve of that.” I usually translate that into, “I’m complacent,” or realize that my fellow believer forgot even Jesus’ disciples carried swords from time to time. It is not a lack of my faith in a Higher power, it is my lack of faith in mankind. To prevent, overcome and combat sin is one of the reasons we visit church in the first place. So we already acknowledge evil exists and has to be addressed. Finally, God’s approval is His to give, and I doubt a well-meaning follower is qualified to deny it should I decide to carry a gun into church.    

If you look at active shooter situations, the one thing they all have in common is a larger gathering of people that are unarmed and in a confined area. A church is no different than a shopping mall, theater or school. In fact, just outside of the main Sanctuary of most churches, Sunday school is taking place. A large gathering of undefended children usually supervised by a well-meaning person who believes several of the arguments I listed above.

Please understand that I am not trying to demean my fellow believers, but tactics, security and personal safety is not usually high on the list of parishioners in America. Churches in more volatile countries have no problem posting men with AK-47s at the door to ensure worshipers are uninterrupted as they commune with God. But if America acted more like Israel, we wouldn’t have some of the domestic security issues we have. Besides, we’ll have plenty of time to talk to our attacker about God while we wait for the ambulance and police.

Think about your local place of worship. Is there a security person on site? Does your church have an active shooter plan? Have they shared that plan with the congregation? While the adults are in the congregation, who is patrolling the perimeter of the church or is watching the doors? Who is watching over the kids tucked away by age group in Sunday school classes? Like David who watched over his sheep, you are the shepherd of the flock? Just like the mall and the theater, you are the first responder.

If you are a concealed carry or law enforcement professional… you are the Shepherd. Consider what God says about our ‘brothers.’  1 John 4:21 tells us that, “Whomever loves God, must also love his brother. Remember in Genesis when God asked Cain where Abel was? Cain replied, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” God asked Cain because he had an expectation that Cain was supposed to be watching out for and ‘keeping’ his brother in good welfare.

In the 23rd Psalm, God talks about being a shepherd and in verse 4 we are comforted by the rod and staff, the tools the shepherd used to guide, discipline, and defend the sheep. In Jeremiah 31:10 we are advised to gather those who are scattered and watch over the flock like a shepherd. I also like Luke 12:37 – It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watchful…” As a servant of God, we will have to give an account and we are to remain watchful over our brothers. John 15:13, one of the most popular verses for warriors tells us – “Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his brothers.” Finally in Acts 20:28, “Keep watch over yourselves and all of the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own Blood.” (Also look at Titus Chapter 1:8- While it is talking about a church leader, it is a good description of what a concealed carry holder or a cop should be.)

I am not one to pass judgment on someone who has the right to carry a firearm and chooses not to. It is a personal choice and it is a choice that requires a lot of thought and soul searching. It will require additional thought and soul searching when carrying your firearm into a house of worship. Should you decide to carry, please take the extra time to make sure it is deeply concealed and you have trained to draw under these circumstances. I would never advertise that you are carrying or risk printing a gun, especially when picking your kids up from Sunday school. Ultimately, it’s your decision, I have made mine, pray about yours. Consider King David, and other warriors in the Bible. I bet they had a sword or spear in the temple. I’d be willing to bet, there are more guns in your church than you think.  

I want to close by again making you think… If ne’er-do-wells decide to target your church and you stand and defend your flock like a shepherd defends his sheep, are you going to be heralded or scorned? You could save a hundred sheep from the lion, but that may not change the opinions of the sheep. Like every defensive shooting, there is an aftermath and not all of them are pleasant or well received. So consider this as well when you are deciding to carry or not to carry. Being a shepherd is a big responsibility, be ready.


Until next week, be safe, Godspeed!

Scott S – Founder

One Weapon, Any Tool   

Upcoming classes are posted on our Facebook page and at the web site:




Trigger time is something every shooter on the planet needs to maintain proficiency.  Getting it, is always the challenge.  During the ammo crisis of 2013, the cost of live fire doubled (nearly tripled) due to Democrat rhetoric and panic buying, requiring a second mortgage just to afford a trip to the range.

While I recommend that every time you buy ammo, always but 2 boxes.  One to shoot, and one to save, that way, in times of crisis, you will have a ready supply on hand you can use to maintain your proficiency.

However, in the lean times, you can also substitute a few drills using Dry Fire techniques which off the range will increase your accuracy and performance on the range.  Dry Fire practice has been proven to improve performance and I highly recommend it to all my students.

I prefer a double/single firearm for this drill, but any handgun will suffice.  Before you begin any type of Dry Fire practice you need to perform a 3 step safety check to make sure your firearm is unloaded.  Also make sure there is NO LIVE AMMO in the practice area.  I take an extra precaution and take my verified and empty firearm to a different room where ammo is never stored… In my opinion, you can never be too careful with a firearm. (For an explanation of a 3 step safety check, see the subscript following the drill)

Find a small object that will fit on top of the slide of your firearm.  For Sig, Glock, Ruger,XD and H&K shooters, you are blessed with a large slide that will easily accommodate a penny for example.  Revolver shooters may have to find a pellet or BB, something that will sit comfortably on top of their barrel of sight groove. 

Place the small object on the slide and establish your natural point of aim.  From there, establish a good thumbs forward or 100% grip and press the trigger.  The goal is to keep the penny or object in place, balance on top of the firearm. 

Any slapping, jerking or anticipation will easily unbalance the pistol in your hand and cause the penny (or object) to fall.  This is where you can self analyze to determine why the gun jerked or moved so drastically causing the penny to fall.  For a double/single or revolver, continue to press the trigger keeping a good sight picture, and consistent trigger press.  Those shooters with striker fired pistols, find a partner to help you with the drill that can cycle the slide and rebalance the penny so you can stay on target and continue with a series of trigger presses.

While you are running this drill, make sure you feel for the reset point of your trigger each time and keep the tip of your finger in constant contact with the face of the trigger.  If your finger comes flying off the trigger after the hammer falls… this is a great time for you to recognize this deficiency and take corrective action.

 Try it our and post your results.  Trigger control is one of the seven fundamentals and one of the hardest to master.  Good luck and Godspeed.  Always remember, your Mind is the weapon, everything else is just a tool!  See you on the range.

Scott S- One Weapon Any Tool


3-Step safety check:

Mechanical – Visual – Physical

1) Mechanical:  For revolvers, open the cylinder and use the plunger to expel all the rounds onto the floor.  Repeat this at least 3 times to make sure the mechanical features of the gun are working properly and assisting you in unloading as designed.

For a semi-auto:  Remove the source of ammunition from the handgun via the magazine release.  Let it fall to the floor.  With your finger off the trigger, and indexed along the frame, cycle the slide at least 2-3 times and watch the extractor remove the round out of the chamber.  Then, lock the slide open with the slide stop.

2) Visual:  Look at each chamber on the revolver cylinder of look into the mag well and chamber on your semi-auto pistol.  Visually inspect and make sure it is clean and there is no live ammo in the pistol.

3) Physical:  Use a finger to physically touch each cylinder of the revolver to make sure you feel a hole where a round would fit.  If you do not “feel” a open hole, and feel a flat surface, there is still a round in the cylinder.  Repeat steps 1 & 2. 

For a semi-auto, insert a finger into the mag well to verify there is no magazine in the gun, and then feel into the chamber to make sure you feel an empty hole.  If there is a flat surface there instead of an opening, repeat steps 1 & 2 and expel any live ammo.