Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

Pistols and courses of fire

There are a lot of great courses of fire out there that truly test marksmanship skill but we should identify the advantage/disadvantage or relative level of difficulty of the same course of fire given the type of pistol/caliber combination used and the relative accuracy of the gun. To make the point as clearly as possible I will use a well-known course of fire that is one of my favorites, the 700 point aggregate. It will challenge even the best shooters and has been a part of my training for 15 years now. The 700pt Aggregate is extremely gun dependent and truth be told was designed to be shot with a match grade gun. Shooting it with my Vickers Custom 1911 vs. my Glock 22 w/stock barrel is truly the difference of night and day. My LAV gun will shoot sub 1.5” @ 25 all day long and my G22 is working to shoot 2.5” with the stock barrel. That disparity constitutes a 40% smaller group potential at the outset. The accuracy capability of the LAV gun vs. the G22 is a distinct advantage. That is compounded by the crisp flat 1911 trigger vs. the Glock Safe-Action (even with the best trigger job I can do with a full power striker spring). There is nothing wrong with the Glock, I like and have carried them for personal defence, protection work (PSD), combat and sport so don’t get wound up yet. There are certain advantages with certain guns that lend themselves towards certain courses of fire. If you shoot a course of fire that is both accuracy and speed dependent with a match grade 1911 in 45 ACP and then the same course with the identical gun in 9mm who has the advantage now? Obviously the 9mm has the advantage due to recoil impulse. Now shoot that 9mm 1911 against a Beretta M9? Now put in high round count stages that mitigate the accuracy and emphasize the capacity? The gun gives you or gives up advantage by design, accuracy potential and capacity even in the same caliber. The point I am making is one I just made recently to a close friend from my SOF days who asked me “what are you shooting the 700 in nowadays?” My response was “with which gun?” A Glock 22 on a 12 round course of fire with the potential of make-up shots has an overwhelming advantage over a single-stack 1911. Shoot whatever you have and shoot the 700 point aggregate but make sure when you compare scores take into account what gun you’re shooting. Depending on the course of fire it will make a world of difference.

1. Model
2. Caliber
3. Size (compact/fullsize/long slide)
4. Trigger weight
5. Relative accuracy from the bench (I had a big name polymer gun shoot 4-6” groups @ 25 right out of the box. That alone would put a 700 Pt. Ag in the low 500’s instead of 600’s.)
6. Capacity

– Mike Pannone


Mike Pannone retired from the Army’s premier assault force (1st SFOD-D) after an explosive breaching injury. A year after his retirement America was attacked on 9/11 and he returned to help serve his country as the head marksmanship instructor at the Federal Air Marshals training course and then moved to help stand up the FAMS Seattle field office. In 2003 he left the FAMS to serve as a PSD detail member and then a detail leader for the State Department during 2003 and 2004 in Baghdad and Tikrit.

In 2005 he served as a ground combat advisor of the Joint Counter IED Task Force and participated on combat operations with various units in Al Anbar province. Upon returning he gave IED awareness briefings to departing units and helped stand up a pre-Iraq surge rifle course with the Asymmetric Warfare Group as a lead instructor. With that experience as well as a career of special operations service in Marine Reconnaissance, Army Special Forces and JSOC to draw from he moved to the private sector teaching planning, leadership, marksmanship and tactics as well as authoring and co-authoring several books such as The M4 Handbook, AK Handbook and Tactical Pistol shooting. Mike also consults for several major rifle and accessory manufacturers to help them field the best possible equipment to the warfighter, law enforcement officer and upstanding civilian end user. He is considered a subject matter expert on the AR based Stoner platform in all its derivatives.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.

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One Response to “Gunfighter Moment – Mike Pannone

  1. Jesse says:

    Maybe I need to try it with my .357 P229 with SRT.