Train and Live With Your Defensive Firearm

A properly trained shooter practices with the weapon they carry and live with on a daily basis.

Col. Jeff Cooper admonished his students and readers to live with their defensive carry gun. That way, the defensive shooter learns to manage, handle and operate the gun until it becomes second nature. Thus, the individual’s focus can be on the threat and not on the mechanics of the defensive tool used to deal with the threat.

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Slow and Steady Makes For Good Firearm Practice

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It’s good to keep in mind that every bullet that comes out of your gun will hit something—or somebody. That is one reason we should address a threat with the fewest shots, and the most center hits possible. Practicing, for our purposes, should be defined as taking the things we learned in training and making them a habit. Going slow during practice sessions is a good thing. To begin with, we take the time to get into a balanced fighting stance every time. We also practice our pistol presentation slowly, ensuring that we have a proper grip each and every time. We focus our eyes on the spot on the target where we want our bullets to go, and we break the shot as the gun comes into our line of vision and we see the front sight. Practice makes these essential elements become habits, and good defensive habits will keep a person alive.

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Why is Situational Awareness So Important?


Spending your life in Condition White is downright stupid, but constantly being in Condition Orange is not an option. Living with effective situational awareness requires balance.

Some years ago, Col. Jeff Cooper USMC designed the Color Code to help us understand the level of mental awareness and preparation needed to deal with violence—or the potential violence—that might encounter. In Condition White, the person is unaware and unprepared. In Condition Yellow, the person is in a state of relaxed awareness, alert for any possible threat. In Condition Orange, the person has observed a potential threat. And, in Condition Red, the person has observed an actual threat.

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Safety Comes First: Training With a Firearm

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My friend Mark Hargrove and I recently sent Colt Detective Specials off to Tyler Gun Works to be customized as Fitz Specials. Back before WWII, J.H. FitzGerald, a well-known Colt employee, would shorten the barrels on Colt DA revolvers, bob their hammers, and cut out the front of the trigger guard. Shootists of that era dubbed them Fitz Specials. And, let me say right now that Bobby Tyler and his crew did a magnificent job on our two Colts.

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