Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 556, February 7, 2010

"It is worth everything you are to think for yourself."

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HGN—Basic Safety and Shooting Fundmamentals
by Mark Quon

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

A)Four Cardinal Safety Rules

1.Assume all guns are always loaded

Self explanatory. Everytime you pick up a gun, always treat it as if it were loaded. Check to ensure that it is in the desired condition.

Be certain that its loaded before placing on your nighstand/holster; or at the range always take a sec to be sure your loaded and got one chambered before the start of a drill. Conversely, always double check to see that it's empty before disassembling for cleaning or dry practice. When you get distracted or put your down for even a sec re-check it once you pick it up again.

You have nothing to lose by double checking it's status but to cut corners even once is to invite unnecessary tragedy.

2.Avoid letting your muzzle cover anything you aren't willing to destroy

At the range, this means there are only two places for a loaded gun.

Either in your holster or pointing downrange when it's in your hands. In fact, you keep the gun's muzzle downrange whether you are loading/unloading/reloading or clearing malfunctions.

If your gun has a problem which requires disassembling or you need to oil it, unload it on the firing line and take the piece to a designated safe area before fucking with it. And let everyone know so.

3.Keep your finger off the trigger until you have made a conscious decision to shoot.

For beginner's purposes, your finger does not touch the trigger until your sights are on target and you are ready and prepared to fire then and there.

At ALL other times, your finger will remain OUTSIDE the trigger guard and resting on the frame. And this is the case for all manipulations/handling until you have made a conscious decision to fire.

4.Be aware of your target and what is in line with it.

At the range, this is simple. You know where your target is and you have a readily available safestop behind your target(s).

On the streets or a real time encounter target discrimination and the issue of back stop for any rounds which might exit the bad guy and endanger innocents is a bit more complicated but for the purposes of this posting which is solely concerned with range safety and basic drills as long as you only fire downrange or in a direction prescribed by the instructor, you're good to go.

B)Shooting Fundamentals


Basically, a solid and stable fighting platform that'll afford you both balance and steadiness as well as the ability to move off line of threat. Like a boxer's aggresive type posture.

Also, in order to keep avoid a weapon snatch, it might be advisable to keep your gun hand side leg slightly bladed to the rear so either during a draw or in the face of an onrushing threat you can "compress" your weapon away from the Bad Guy by shielding it with your support side hand as well as your body.


With self loaders, grip the HGN as high up on the tang area as possible. There should be no gap between the tang and the web of your thumb.

Also, position the thumb of your shooting high up on the frame. Not only does this afford you more control but if you position yur thumb low you may unintentionally depress the mag release button and drop your magazine. Embarassing if it happens in calss but probably fatal in a firefight.

A note on properly aligning the gun in your hand. Besides assisting in controlling the gun, it should also allow you to naturally align with whatever you're pointing at and the best way to do that is to look along the top of the weapon from muzzle to hammer/rear and ensure that it is straight in line with the top of your forearm. This will increase the rapidity with which you can index in on your target.

Support Hand should "mate" with firing hand so that the fingers of the support side fits into the grooves created by the grip of firing hand. A two handed grip creates a 360 degree encompassing pressure which is a key to controlling the weapon. Keep the top of the support side index finger up against botom of trigger guard so that there is no gap. Any gap translates into less than optimum control.

Placement of Support side thumb—A couple schools of thought here but in my experience the most effective method is to point it forward and rest the firing side thumb on top of it.

Not only will this allow you to get the maximum amount of meat on your weapon (read: control) but along with the sights and the natural alignment of a proper firing grips, the thumb pointing forward can allow you a tertiary layer of indexing your gun on target.

3.Sight Alignment

This is the relation between between the shooter's eye and the rear and front sight. Establishing correct sight alignment then is levelling the top of the front sight with the top of the rear sight with front sight centered in the notch of the rear sight so that there are equal amounts of light showing on either side of the front sight (as seen trhough the rear sight).

4.Sight Picture

This is nothing more than properly aligned sights superimposed on the desired point of impact on target.

The finer the desired pint of impact, the more precise the hit. Example—if you want to hit the center "X" ring on a silhouette, do not just aim for the whole "X" but aim for where the two lines of the "X" intersects and you will hit it somewhere in the ring.

BTW, for the puproses of the begiiner, strive only for precision (meaning perfect sight picture with each shot. Since the human eye can only have sharp focus on one plane at a time, it is important for the shooter to concentrate solely on the front sight when firing the shot.

Not the target, not the rear sight but the top/center of the front sight's post.

5.Trigger Press

To get hits what is called for is not a sudden pull or a spastic jerk. What you want is smooth steady pressure straight to the rear until the shot breaks off. Do not grind the pressure to one side or another or you will end up with some windage misses. Press the trigger straight back.

6.Follow Through

This is controlling the pistol and triggerafter the shot is fired in order to avoid disturbing it's aligment while it is firing. Failure to do so will throw the shot off.

With recoil you will momentarily lose the visual verifcation of the front sight. Refocus on the front sight the moment the recoil dissipates.

Also, do not release your trigger after a shot. Ride the trigger during the shot and only release the trigger after you have visually reacquired your front sight.

Trigger reset. After each shot and once you have reacquired your sight picture, release your trigger only enough for the sear to re engage. No need for you to take your finger off the trigger if you aren't trhough shooting a string. Done properly you will feel and hear a "click." This will translate into quicker and more accurate follow up shots if they are needed.

HGN Basics—presentation, reloading


Or what folks commonly call the draw.

1.Grip/Protect Centerline

Primary hand acquires firing grip on pistol( or unsnaps retaining strap first if there is one...) while support hand rises to protect centerline by indexing edge of your thumb against your sternum.

BTW, your finger does NOT touch the trigger yet.

2.Clear Holster/XCQ

While still keeping your finger on the frame—weapon is brought up until it clears the holster and is immediately raised into horizontal over holster with thumb of firing hand indexed against firing side's lower rib cage. If you need to start shooting from X-treme Close Quarters, you are in a able to do so from this position.

3.Clap/Safety Off

If you're weapon has a manual safety, this is when you disengage it as your your support hand joins with your firing hand at the centerline of your chest. Note that this motion is done without your support hand ever straying in front of the muzzle.


Once your hands have joined—punch out to full extension. Depending on threat level you either punch out to Low Ready, Contact Ready, or sighted in on target.

If you do not yet have a specific threat but am anticipating one, you draw to Low Ready. This is when you draw anticpate an impending threat. In the Low Ready, your weapon is held in a two handed grip with muzzle pointed at 45 degrees from parallel to the ground. Finger of OFF trigger.

If you have a potential threat before you, you draw to Contact Ready. This is where the gun's muzzle is slightly more elevated than the Low Ready. You are pointed in at the lower portion of a potential bad guy's torso with your mzzle depressed just low enough to see his hands since those are your primary source of danger. Trigger also remains outside of the trigger guard and along the frame until you have made a conscious decison to shoot.

If you are have a specific threat in front of you which requires immediate shooting this is when during the terminal phase of your draw, you punch out to desire point of impact on Bad Guy—which, in this case, is the upper thoracic/chest region—and as your start to acquire your sight picture, your finger finds the trigger and your begin taking out the slack. Once your have your sight picture, focus on the front sight as you press off the required shots before following through.


As with the other stuff I have mentioned, there are a few variations on these but I have found the methods I have descibed to be the simplest and most foolproof to perform while under extreme conditions.


This is when you have fired off some shots (but haven't shot it empty yet)and there is a lull in the fight—possibly concluded—but you wish to "top off" your gun. Just in case.

The easiest and most straightforward way to reload is to depress the mag button with thumb of firing hand and ejecting the partially depleted mag into your support hand and stowing it in a pocket or your waist before acquiring a fresh, fully charged mag from your pouch and inserting it into the gun.

BTW, the proper way to insert a mag is to acquire the mag with your index finger along the front spine of the mag and your index finger actually resting on the tip of the top most catridge (this way you are tactilely confirming that you are indeed holding a loaded mag without taking your eyes off the threat) while the base of the mag rests on the palm of your hand. Raise the mag to the gun and place the flat mag's rear to the flat read of the mag well (just think "flat against flat") and slap the mag into the well to seat it.


Also, known as the Empty Reload or the Emergency Reload. This is when you shoot your gun empty while in the middle of the fight and you need to get it recharged ASAP.

You will usually know when you are emnpty if you press the trigger and nothing happens while your slide is locked back.

Solution. Depress mag release button with firing hand thumb, while ripping the empty mag with support hand and discarding it. Acquire fresh mag, insert and rack slide to chamber a fresh round.

Yeah, I know most autos have a slide release button which is a bit quicker to use but they are also a lot less dependable. With the adrenaline dump you'll get from a life or death situation, it'll be damned easy for you to miss that little slide release lever with your big, clumsy thumb esecially, if there is blood, dirt and oil present. Much more reliable to just grab the top of the slide with your support hand and pull it back and release it to chamber a round from the fresh mag.

That's all for now. In the meantime whenever there's any sort of a weapon in your hands, stay mentally switched on!!!!!!!


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