SIG Sauer Academy

Posts Tagged ‘Ken Hackathorn’

Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn

Saturday, October 29th, 2016

Magazine Madness

Of all the issues I see with users of the AR15/M4 weapons platform, two issues create the most problems. First is lack of lubrication. You must keep these firearms lubricated to work properly. Second is the problem of failing to seat the magazine into the weapon securely, when the bolt (moving parts) is forward.

Whether it is military, police, or private sector users, they try to top off their AR by putting a magazine that has 30 or often 31 rounds loaded into their carbine with the moving parts forward and in battery. With 31 rounds it will not lock into the weapon period, and with 30 rounds it will often be nearly impossible to get the magazine catch to engage in the magazine notch without beating the hell out of the magazine. This is especially the case with GI issue magazines. Some newer designs such as the Magpul polymer magazine has enough over travel in the spring that it can often be inserted and latched with 30 rounds in place. Yet, even with the Magpul I see many users fail to get it latched into the carbine properly with 30 rounds loaded.

The result of this failure to get the magazine secured into the weapon is that when the weapon is fired, the bolt carrier will fail to pick up the next round and you’ll get a click instead of a ‘bang’. In some cases the magazine will drop out of the weapon. Either way it is an ‘Operator Malfunction’ that can be easily corrected by first down loading any 30 round AR magazine to 28 rounds, and using a technique to insert the magazine with force, then give the magazine a tug to insure that it is securely latched into the weapon.

For half a century, the method of loading an AR magazine down to 18 rounds in a GI 20 rounder, or 28 rounds in a GI 30 round magazine was to insert the rounds into the magazine with the top round on the right looking at it from the rear. Press down on the top cartridge in the magazine with your thumb until the base of your thumb nail is even with the top of the magazine feed lip. Remember, top round is always on the RIGHT as you can load 31 rounds in the magazine; the 31st round will be on the left.

Now it gets interesting as the ‘Green Machine’ has converted to a magazine with a tan follower that will now have 30 rounds with the top round on the left; so much for 50 years of doing it one way, why not screw up the system? Again, remember it is the ‘Green Machine’; if you have been part of it you understand.

So, if you have the new tan follower GI magazines or Tango Down AR magazines, think top round on the left, thumb nail down to top round.

Now, which AR magazine is best?

Simple, whatever is free.

I like GI magazines with Magpul followers. I have Magul Gen 2 and Gen 3 mags, they are great. Nov 9th is coming, so make sure you have a good supply of quality serviceable 30 round magazines, and load them to 28 rounds.

– Ken Hackathorn

Old Guy With A Blaster

Ken Hackathorn has served as a US Army Special Forces Small Arms Instructor, Gunsite Instructor, and NRA Police Firearms Instructor. He is currently an FBI Certified Firearms Instructor, Certified Deputy Sheriff with Washington County SO, Ohio, and a SRT member and Special Response Team trainer. Ken has trained US Military Special Operations forces, Marine FAST and SOTG units and is a contract small arms trainer to FBI SWAT and HRT.

Ken has provided training to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and been active in small arms training for the past 25 years. He has written firearms related material for Guns & Ammo, Combat Handguns, Soldier Of Fortune, and currently American Handgunner and contributed to at least six other gun/shooting journals. Ken was also a founding member of IPSC and IDPA.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Bravo Company USA. Bravo Company is home of the Gunfighters, and each week they bring us a different trainer to offer some words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

Red Dot or Optic?

Quite often the question as to whether the red dot sight or magnified scope is better for use on an AR/M4 style firearm is best comes up. The answer is really quite simple, in that you should choose the sighting system that best serves your mission requirements. Typically the M4 style of firearm in 5.56Nato is pretty much a 400 meter max range blaster. It can be used effectively at greater distance, but for the most part engaging targets successfully beyond 400 meters is not common when you are involved in any situation where all conditions are not ideal, like when the bullets are coming your way. For most folks, the AR in police and private sector markets is a 150 yard or less weapon. Even military engagements that result in successful placed hits is generally limited to 250 meters or less.

If you can clearly articulate your AR/M4 needs to 150 yards or less, the red dot sight is probably your best choice. Note that most urban use will much less than 150 yards. If your mission is likely to be in terrain or environments of 150 to 400 meters, the optic scope can provide a much wider benefit.

If your evaluation of needs reflects your needs will be in the 150 yards or less, a good quality red dot has much going for it. I recommend a Aimpoint Micro as the way to go. There are many red dot sights on the market, you can pretty much match price with quality. For general range use where the red dot is mostly for pleasure sport shooting, the less expensive versions may have merit. I have a few that fall into this need, and they provide for my needs. For anything that you may be staking your life on, don’t buy cheap; all my serious carbines have Aimpoint Micro T1, H1, or T2 red dots installed.

The fact that you can turn them on and leave then that way for 4 or 5 years is proof of their value, plus they are pretty much bomb proof. Pick a mounting interface that is rugged and reliable. My current favorite is the Scarlarworks Aimpoint Micro mount. I generally mount my Micro over the ejection port far enough forward that my breath will not fog the lens during cold weather.

For a magnified optic, I highly recommend a good 1X4 or 1X5 scope. You must have a low power setting for use at close range, CQB, or low light operations. Some folks demand a true 1 power setting, others do fine with the lowest settings at 1.25 or even 1.5. It depends on your eyes and how well you can focus quickly with both eyes open. Most of the time, your scope will be set on 1 power, or if working in more open terrain, you may click up to 2 or 3 power. One major advantage the magnified optic has over the red dot is in the area of target ID. There are often times that a target beyond 100 yards is not really clear or exposed well enough for clear identity, simply twisting the power ring up to 4 or 5 power will easily allow you to see what you need to know.

The problem with good 1×4 or 1×5 optics is how much to pay. You can spend the equivalent of a good used car, or just a few hundred bucks. I own a 1×4 S&B that has great optics, as well as some rather inexpensive varieties like Primary Arms, Weaver, and Leupold 1.5×4 1″ tube versions. The Trijicon 1×4 T24 is a great optic, and I have a few of these on various carbines. I am not so sure that the most expensive variables are worth the money for my needs. In some cases they can be grossly overpriced. Oftentimes end users choose first focal plane optics, which great for much higher magnification sniper scope use, but terrible for close range carbine applications. At 1 power on a first focal plane scope the reticle will be small and hard to see in low light or dark background environments.

Yes, illuminated reticles can fix this problem, but note that the battery life of most of these models is extremely short compared to a Aimpoint or even the ill famed EOTechs. Remember, the need for a ranging reticle on a 400 yard carbine is a real waste. You can deal with most every ranging issue you have with just hold over out to that distance, even to 400 meters, the trajectory of the 5.56 round is pretty easy to master by adjusting different aiming points. You want an simple easy to use reticle, and you DO NOT need target adjustment knobs on a carbine scope; hey get damaged easily, and move position far to easy with bumps and rubs against gear.

Pick a good rugged mount interface to your carbine. In some cases this may be a quick release throw lever design. Sadly, most of the current offerings are heavy. Everything you add to a 5.56 carbine adds weight. The last thing I want to lug around is a heavy carbine: handy means lightweight.

Consider what you want your carbine to do; what is its mission? Then, select the sighting system that meets your needs.

– Ken Hackathorn

Old Guy With A Blaster

Ken Hackathorn has served as a US Army Special Forces Small Arms Instructor, Gunsite Instructor, and NRA Police Firearms Instructor. He is currently an FBI Certified Firearms Instructor, Certified Deputy Sheriff with Washington County SO, Ohio, and a SRT member and Special Response Team trainer. Ken has trained US Military Special Operations forces, Marine FAST and SOTG units and is a contract small arms trainer to FBI SWAT and HRT.

Ken has provided training to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and been active in small arms training for the past 25 years. He has written firearms related material for Guns & Ammo, Combat Handguns, Soldier Of Fortune, and currently American Handgunner and contributed to at least six other gun/shooting journals. Ken was also a founding member of IPSC and IDPA.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Bravo Company USA. Bravo Company is home of the Gunfighters, and each week they bring us a different trainer to offer some words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

I note that the latest vibe from the FBI is that they are looking to go back to a 9x19mm pistol. Modern 9x19mm self defense ammo is certainly much better than just a decade ago. An educated guess as to the pistol they are looking at is the Sig Sauer P320. This is a very modern striker fired pistol that has many fans. I have fired them, but have no dedicated trigger time on one to make any kind of judgement. I can not but reflect that a few decades ago, my carrying a cocked-and-locked 1911 pistol was the cause for alarm by many as being dangerous. More than once I heard “Deputy, do you know your pistol is cocked?” Life is about change, and now the FBI is looking to adopt a pistol without any form of external safety; not even the trigger activated safety button made famous by Glock and copied by so many makers. Who would have thought…

The US Military is looking at a new service pistol (XM17) program. Apparently, it too will be a striker fired design. I still carry and prefer the 1911 pistol, as it meets my needs just fine. I teach with and try to use whatever pistol platform that most of the students in my class use. If a military class that may be a Beretta M92, often a Glock 17 or 19 is the choice. LE classes may require a Glock 22 or S&W M&P.

I am a fan of the H&K VP9, and currently use a Sig P226 for my overseas requirements. They all are fine sidearms. All serve their purposes well. Many people love to debate the which pistol is best. I have been around this business long enough to realize the weapon is not really all that important, it is the guy behind the trigger that matters. Yes, I have favorites, but whether it is one of my pet 1911s or Glock 17/19 issued to me for a training program, it is MY job to make it work. What I have learned after 35 years in this business is that it is my job to learn to use them effectively, and not to get married to one gun or design. Remember, in the real world we don’t always get to use the gun we want, sometimes we have to use what is available.

– Ken Hackathorn

Old Guy With A Blaster

Ken Hackathorn has served as a US Army Special Forces Small Arms Instructor, Gunsite Instructor, and NRA Police Firearms Instructor. He is currently an FBI Certified Firearms Instructor, Certified Deputy Sheriff with Washington County SO, Ohio, and a SRT member and Special Response Team trainer. Ken has trained US Military Special Operations forces, Marine FAST and SOTG units and is a contract small arms trainer to FBI SWAT and HRT.

Ken has provided training to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and been active in small arms training for the past 25 years. He has written firearms related material for Guns & Ammo, Combat Handguns, Soldier Of Fortune, and currently American Handgunner and contributed to at least six other gun/shooting journals. Ken was also a founding member of IPSC and IDPA.

To see Ken’s Training Class Schedule visit aliastraining.com.

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 SSD readers hard earned words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

It is beyond amazing the amount of ‘junk’ I see people hanging on their AR15/M4 style blasters. Some folks seem to think that if it’s for sale, they have to add it to their carbine. I keep thinking that the word has gotten out about this stupid approach, but apparently I am wrong.

So, here is my read on this topic. Put only what your need on your blaster. That means good sights: I strongly recommend a good quality red dot (Aimpoint Micro is my favorite). Backup iron sights remain on all my guns. If you live in an area where ranges can be longer than 100 meters, an optic (scope) may be warranted. A good 1×4 or 1×5 scope has merit. You will normally be set on one power, dialing up in power as range and time allows for. First focal plain scopes on carbines are brain dead; you can’t see the reticle for shit when it is on one power. Remember this isn’t a sniper weapon, second focal plain is what you need. A good two point sling is my recommendation. I have never been a fan of single point slings, they are quickly becoming only favored by those guys that have everything hung on their carbine except for a coffee maker.

I want my primary weapon to have a good trigger. Some AR platform makers offer good serviceable triggers, others feel like they have a broken hacksaw blade for a sear, backed up with a truck spring for a hammer spring. Bill Geisselle offers the ‘gold standard’ in AR triggers. I have a couple of Hiperfire Enhanced Duty Triggers that have proven to be outstanding and Paul Buffoni of BCM is about to release an enhanced GI spec trigger that if it measures up to everything else BCM offers, it should be a top choice.

A white light is critical; if you need your carbine in a low light scenario, you must be able to identify your target. Don’t go Cheap Charlie on this one; get a good light, mount it where you can operate it when your carbine is being held in the manner your normally fire from. Changing your hand position to activate the light and them having to move it back to your firing position is a mistake.

For the life of me I do not understand why so many folks think they must have a muzzle brake/compensator on their carbine. I realize much of this comes from the 3-gun gameboy world. Listen up, in the dark these things are terrible, indoors they are horrendous with a concussion that can be very disturbing, and if someone touches one of these comps off beside your head, you will have your chimes rung for sure. Yea,yea I here the crap about how they make the gun shoot “flat” and keeps your splits really low. If you are such a wimp that you can’t control the recoil of a 5.56 then I understand your needs, and splits, well they don’t mean sh-t in the real world. Keep your primary (carbine) simple, keep it lubed and running with good magazines and quality ammo.

Train, practice, and stay alert.

– Ken Hackathorn

Old Guy With A Blaster

Ken Hackathorn has served as a US Army Special Forces Small Arms Instructor, Gunsite Instructor, and NRA Police Firearms Instructor. He is currently an FBI Certified Firearms Instructor, Certified Deputy Sheriff with Washington County SO, Ohio, and a SRT member and Special Response Team trainer. Ken has trained US Military Special Operations forces, Marine FAST and SOTG units and is a contract small arms trainer to FBI SWAT and HRT.

Ken has provided training to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and been active in small arms training for the past 25 years. He has written firearms related material for Guns & Ammo, Combat Handguns, Soldier Of Fortune, and currently American Handgunner and contributed to at least six other gun/shooting journals. Ken was also a founding member of IPSC and IDPA.

To see Ken’s Training Class Schedule visit aliastraining.com.

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 SSD readers hard earned words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn

Saturday, February 6th, 2016

A common thread I hear concerning skill at arms is that in the event of a life threatening event, our hero will claim “I would rather be lucky than good.”

Really.

The next time you hear some moron make this statement, take a quarter out of your pocket, flip it and catch it, then cover it on your hand. Ask this ‘gambler’ to call it. What are his odds? 50/50.

Do you want to stake your life or that of your family on those odds. Personally, I’ll take skill over luck any day. Through training, being aware, avoiding danger areas, and being prepared is the best way to insure your own ‘good luck’.

– Ken Hackathorn

Old Guy With A Blaster

Ken Hackathorn has served as a US Army Special Forces Small Arms Instructor, Gunsite Instructor, and NRA Police Firearms Instructor. He is currently an FBI Certified Firearms Instructor, Certified Deputy Sheriff with Washington County SO, Ohio, and a SRT member and Special Response Team trainer. Ken has trained US Military Special Operations forces, Marine FAST and SOTG units and is a contract small arms trainer to FBI SWAT and HRT.

Ken has provided training to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and been active in small arms training for the past 25 years. He has written firearms related material for Guns & Ammo, Combat Handguns, Soldier Of Fortune, and currently American Handgunner and contributed to at least six other gun/shooting journals. Ken was also a founding member of IPSC and IDPA.

To see Ken’s Training Class Schedule visit aliastraining.com.

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 SSD readers hard earned words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn

Saturday, December 26th, 2015

If you were to tell your neighbor that they are going to experience a home fire tomorrow, most would run to check the status of their fire extinguisher, or maybe even run out to purchase a new one. It sounds a bit flippant to say this, but the aftermath of the most recent terrorist event in the US has had a similar effect on many citizen’s outlook on firearms. Make no mistake, the Second Amendment is in place for such an need. I am always amazed at the number of people that have CCWs, yet rarely ever carry a sidearm. Somehow, they think that they will have time to strap a gun on if trouble is about to descend upon them.

Reality is that being prepared is about being ready. Situational awareness must be practiced; it is something that most people don’t possess; like combat marksmanship, it only comes with practice. Just having a gun is not really enough, you must be safe and skilled with a small arms in order to be effective. Most folks go to a class to qualify for their CCW. In most cases they make no effort to either improve their shooting skills or maintain them. Right now the buzz is that everyone wants a ‘high capacity’ pistol to prepare to shoot it out with a terrorist cell. Get real, it’s not how many bullets your sidearm holds, or how many spare magazines you have on your belt; it is about how well can you shoot effectively when the chips are down. Find a range in your area. Set aside time each month for dedicated practice. Seek out instruction; any is better than none.

Most every area of the USA now has a local guy cooking kydex holsters in his kitchen, another building AR15s in his garage, and another guy that has bought a set of 5-11 clothes, a war belt with leg holster (generally one that looks more like a high ankle holster), and blaster that looks like it came from the movie set of Star Wars. These types declare that they are ninja commando trainers and your answer to learning to become a great ‘Combat Shooter’ (whatever that may be).

Look at the reason you need a sidearm. What are realistic problems you face? Remember those little compact 380s and pocket rocket 9mms may be great to carry, but how well can you shoot one when someone is shooting at you? Most of these little pocket type guns are perfect for the people that carry them, as long as they never need them.

Good training and a supply of ammo to stay proficient is not cheap. Don’t kid yourself and think that just because you ‘qualified expert in the military’ or outshot your buddies 10 years ago at a beer can shooting match means anything today. Combat marksmanship is a perishable skill. Okay, if you are going to exercise your CCW rights, make a plan now to become skilled, and get started.

– Ken Hackathorn

Old Guy With A Blaster

Ken Hackathorn has served as a US Army Special Forces Small Arms Instructor, Gunsite Instructor, and NRA Police Firearms Instructor. He is currently an FBI Certified Firearms Instructor, Certified Deputy Sheriff with Washington County SO, Ohio, and a SRT member and Special Response Team trainer. Ken has trained US Military Special Operations forces, Marine FAST and SOTG units and is a contract small arms trainer to FBI SWAT and HRT.

Ken has provided training to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and been active in small arms training for the past 25 years. He has written firearms related material for Guns & Ammo, Combat Handguns, Soldier Of Fortune, and currently American Handgunner and contributed to at least six other gun/shooting journals. Ken was also a founding member of IPSC and IDPA.

To see Ken’s Training Class Schedule visit aliastraining.com.

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 SSD readers hard earned words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn

Saturday, October 10th, 2015

Finger position is ‘King’

Everyone in the small arms training world pays homage to the concept of ‘gun safety’. Some of these gun safety rules are simple to follow, some are not. Visit any indoor shooting range or local gun club and within minutes of your arrival you will likely see someone violating a basic firearms safety rule. Everyone seems to place varying degrees of importance on gun safety. Some folks will tell you that there are ten rules of gun safety; others will quote five rules to follow. In the “Real World” (defined as where the targets are shooting back and there are no ‘firing lines’) there are only two rules that matter. Understand that the most critical gun safety rule is the mindset that ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED. Once you understand this, the only other safety rules you must get clear are muzzle awareness and finger position.

Now, I’m going to say something that will make some folks heads explode; sometimes in the “Real World” we point guns at other people. Often on purpose, and occasionally by accident. We try like hell to never point a firearm at a target we do not wish to engage, but guess what, shit happens. So, no matter how hard we try to avoid unintentional flags of people that we do not want to hurt, it is critical that one has a back up firearms safety system that prevents injury to friendly forces. Finger position or finger register is the key; tt has to be programmed into your firearms handling skills and never violated.

The best news is it is a very easy skill to master. Whenever you handle a firearm, never put your finger in the trigger guard unless you want to hear a loud noise. When on the range or practicing, program your brain that when your sights come off the target, your finger comes off the trigger and out of the trigger guard. It is really pretty simple. Once you start programming yourself to do this, it is pretty easy to adapt to.

I suggest and teach that you place your trigger finger somewhere on the firearm where you can exert pressure against the frame or side of the weapon so that in a startle response you will not end up on the trigger. On a pistol, I teach trying to place your index finger on or as near to the ejection port as possible. On a rifle/carbine put your finger on the stock above the trigger guard or receiver, so that with pressure nothing will go ‘bang’ when you exert positive pressure. On the AR-15 platform take care to NOT put your finger on the magazine catch. I often recommend a small patch of skate board tape placed on the part of the firearm that you want to index with your trigger finger. When your finger becomes raw form the skate board tape, you can remove it as you will now understand where your trigger finger belongs.

Some folks tell me that it is better to engage the safety instead of worrying about finger position. WRONG. What if your sidearm does not have a manual safety? Recently, one of the other Alias instructors detailed his method of always engaging the safety (of an AR or AR control style) firearm for all things when not shooting, including reloading when empty and clearing a malfunction. Mike and Pat are professionals that I have the highest level of respect for. However, I do not teach, nor recommend engaging the safety for every task. Not all small arms have the controls located as ideally as the AR-15 platform; many of the current popular sidearms don’t even have manual safeties and many that do can’t be engaged and still allow the small arm to cycle or load.

Remember, instructors don’t always agree on everything; doesn’t mean that Pat or Mike are wrong. We just don’t agree on this particular safety manipulation. I teach to utilize the safety when moving or when performing shoulder transitions, but when reloading an empty weapon or while clearing a malfunction, I’m not a fan of ‘safety on’. What I am really touchy about is finger out of the trigger guard and ‘in register position’. The way I instantly measure a new face with a firearm in their possession is whether they follow this rule.

If you have to work with or be around folks with firearms, remember, the finger position rule is ‘King’ in gun safety.

– Ken Hackathorn

Old Guy With A Blaster

Ken Hackathorn has served as a US Army Special Forces Small Arms Instructor, Gunsite Instructor, and NRA Police Firearms Instructor. He is currently an FBI Certified Firearms Instructor, Certified Deputy Sheriff with Washington County SO, Ohio, and a SRT member and Special Response Team trainer. Ken has trained US Military Special Operations forces, Marine FAST and SOTG units and is a contract small arms trainer to FBI SWAT and HRT.

Ken has provided training to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and been active in small arms training for the past 25 years. He has written firearms related material for Guns & Ammo, Combat Handguns, Soldier Of Fortune, and currently American Handgunner and contributed to at least six other gun/shooting journals. Ken was also a founding member of IPSC and IDPA.

To see Ken’s Training Class Schedule visit aliastraining.com.

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 SSD readers hard earned words of wisdom.

Gunfighter Moment – Ken Hackathorn

Saturday, August 8th, 2015

After kicking around the shooting business for the past 35 years or so, I have noted a few trends. Most are for the better, and today’s modern ‘gunner’ has benefited from both training and small arms designs. Today’s gunners shoot more rounds in practice and training than those of past generations even dreamed of. The demand for and supply system for ammo in the USA exceeds anything we could have dreamed of 40 or 50 years ago. Go to most shooting ranges in the US today and look at the amounts of spent .223/5.56, 7.62X39, 9X19mm, 40S&W, and .45acp brass littering the ground. Most gun club/shooting ranges are having record memberships. Gun sales have been off the chart for the past few years (much thanks to the current anti-gun administration).

We now have extremely wide spread exposure of guns and shooting events on both the internet and TV. Action shooting competition is popular beyond belief. While traditional bullseye and high power rifle events are still going strong, they have been surpassed by the newer games of IPSC/USPSA, IDPA, Cowboy and the latest craze of three-gun.

If there is one disturbing trend that I see is the obsession of ‘speed and accuracy’. What it should be is ‘accuracy & speed’. The mindset of today’s competition gunner is often totally overshadowed by the time element versus the accuracy requirements. Now, I get the part about going fast being great fun. Sadly, I see the speed part of the equation overwhelming the accuracy requirements.

I don’t see this trend changing much for a couple of reasons. First, is that most of the current group of ‘action style shooters’ love runnin’ and gunnin’. Second, by placing a heavy reward for fast times vs accuracy, you can place well often times with less than stellar accuracy. Many of the very best top level shooters have managed to achieve skill at shooting accurately and quickly, unfortunately many of the other competitors have developed the fast part of the skill set, but skipped the accuracy part. I fear that anytime you reward the speed over the accuracy element, marksmanship takes it on the chin.

The other annoying habit I see is the near obsession of action shooters to want to make ‘sight checks’ prior to shooting a drill or practice session. This is the process where the shooter draws his sidearm or mounts his long gun to get a sight picture on the target or targets prior to actually shooting. For lack of a better term they want to do a rehearsal of the skill or test they are about to do. Since we do not get a chance to do this in the ‘Real World’, I’m not so sure that it is really a good practice. Just my view.

In classes, before a shooter runs a skill test, I am often asked “Can I check my sights?”, meaning they want to the do the above aiming in exercise. My answer is always “NO!”; they were on the gun the last time you looked at them weren’t they? This seems to disturb them a bit. Like most things in life, they’ll get over it. The other practice that gets me is the obsessive ‘press check’ of the pistol or carbine when they prepare to shoot a drill or stage. If you loaded before you placed in in your holster or before you put the safety on the carbine; they don’t secretly unload themselves before you fire it again. Stop doing these stupid moves. Man up and act like a professional gun handler. ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED. Treat them accordingly, and once you load it, learn to trust the fact that it is ready to go bang; don’t keep fingering it doing ‘press checks’.

Enjoy the benefits of these shooting games, but beware of those practices that do nothing for you except to mimic
the big boys simply because they look cool.

– Ken Hackathorn

Old Guy With A Blaster

Ken Hackathorn has served as a US Army Special Forces Small Arms Instructor, Gunsite Instructor, and NRA Police Firearms Instructor. He is currently an FBI Certified Firearms Instructor, Certified Deputy Sheriff with Washington County SO, Ohio, and a SRT member and Special Response Team trainer. Ken has trained US Military Special Operations forces, Marine FAST and SOTG units and is a contract small arms trainer to FBI SWAT and HRT.

Ken has provided training to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and been active in small arms training for the past 25 years. He has written firearms related material for Guns & Ammo, Combat Handguns, Soldier Of Fortune, and currently American Handgunner and contributed to at least six other gun/shooting journals. Ken was also a founding member of IPSC and IDPA.

To see Ken’s Training Class Schedule visit aliastraining.com.

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 SSD readers hard earned words of wisdom.