Katie Pavlich

These four basic rules are simple and an easy way to have a safe and problem free day out on any range. Now, any gun enthusiast knows you should always keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target and when you’re ready to shoot, but one of the most interesting things I learned Friday has to do with how the body, specifically hands, act under stress. In a high stress situation, such as defending yourself or your home, when one hand does something, the other does the exact same thing without you ever noticing it. Why is this important? If you’re in a high stress situation with your finger on the trigger but aren’t yet ready to shoot and you go to squeeze or grab something with your other hand, guess what? You’ll end up pulling the trigger.

Throughout my training Friday, it became clear consistency and operating at a pace that will get you results is a very important component of self-defense training. Speed only comes with practice and you can’t rush getting there.

This is key when it comes to learning how to reload a carbine (the one I am using for my training is a Smith & Wesson AR-15). The ammunition magazines I am using are standard issue 30-round magazines.

There are two reloading techniques I learned Friday. The first is called a “tactical reload.” This type of reload isn’t conducted when the magazine is empty, rather when there is a break in a problematic situation, stress or lack of an immediate threat. The reload requires the shooter to grab a fully loaded magazine, place it next to the magazine currently attached to the carbine, drop the current magazine into the same hand as the new one, insert the fresh magazine and put the old but still partially loaded magazine into a pant pocket because it’s still valuable. A “speed reload” typically happens when a shooter runs out of ammunition in a high stress, immediate threat situation and is much simpler: run out of ammo, grab a new fully loaded magazine (or a partially loaded one if that’s all you have), drop the empty magazine to the ground and replace it with a swift push and pull. The speed reload can also be used when you need to fully load a gun in an immediate threat situation. Reloading can be done from a standing or sitting position.

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(Photo credit: Jane Anne Shimizu)

In terms of shooting stance, I learned a whole bunch of them. If you’re standing and shoot right handed, feet are a little more than shoulder’s width apart with the right leg slightly back. The gun should be facing toward the target, held up in the shoulder and up in the cheek weld.  Both eyes are to be kept open, no squinting required. Knees are bent but not much and the shoulders should be in front of the belt buckle. This stance provides a solid platform to shoot from and absorbs the recoil of the gun. Kneeling takes three different forms, the fastest is “speed kneeling,” which is similar to a lunge. Right handed shooters lunge out with their left foot and shoot the same way as if they were standing, always in a fighting forward position.

After shooting each number of required rounds, students at Gunsite are taught to survey their area for future threats, to put the safety on and to close the dirt shield on the right side of the rifle. On safety, the carbine is always carried on a sling with the muzzle pointing down and to the left, just outside of the foot.

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(Photo credit: Jane Anne Shimizu)

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(Photo credit: Jane Anne Shimizu)

Saturday and Sunday, Dave will be going over gun malfunctions, shooter readiness and moving shooting.

* Editors note: TOWNHALL News Editor Katie Pavlich is participating in a multi-day firearms training course at the Gunsite Academy in Paulden, Arizona. Stay tuned for daily dispatches. This was Pavlich's second. The first is here. As the dispatches accumulate, they'll all be available here.


Katie Pavlich

Katie Pavlich is the Editor at Townhall.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiepavlich. She is a New York Times Best Selling author. Her latest book Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women, was published on July 8, 2014.