Hit the Range and Clean Your Pie Plate
Dr. John Woods 03.05.18
The question often comes up at the range or in prep consulting about what is considered adequate accuracy with a handgun for general all around self-defense and personal protection. I have often advocated the “pie plate” concept.
Most face-to-face personal threat confrontations occur within the amazingly short distance ranges of 3 to 10 yards, with the general average being about 7 yards. That is roughly the distance across an average sized room. These are averages reported by shooting incident reports from law enforcement crime statistics. Again, just averages.
Think about the situations or circumstance you may find yourself at home should a home invasion occur, outside in the yard if a drive by shooting started, or say shopping in town at the grocery store or even across a parking lot. Some distances from danger can be quite short, while others might be rather long. Be prepared for both.
Easy for us to say, but one wonders how does a person allow a threat to close the distance for a personal threat to only 3-7 yards? It can happen and much quicker than you can imagine. I once had a street vagrant sneak up behind me at a gas station within touching distance before I realized it. Those were in the days before I had a concealed carry permit or began to have an EDC at all times. Had he been an actual threat, I might not be here writing this story.
Most self-defense common sense tactics advise individuals to back away from threats to escape the situation when possible. Avoid getting forced into a corner or having to resort to an escalated response if it can be avoided, but if it cannot, then be prepared to defend yourself.
When you begin to practice your self-defense shooting or training, then, use the ranges of 3-7-10 yards initially. Hang up a 9-10 inch standard white paper plate, which represents the kill zone on a threat target’s chest. Get ready, set, aim your weapon, and concentrate as you shoot to put every round in the cylinder or magazine into the plate. Do this at all three ranges until you can consistently put every round into the plate.
Advance the training and practice by drawing from your mode of carry, IWB, OWB, pocket carry or whatever. Draw your weapon, aim and fire. Print all rounds into the plate. Initially speed is not the issue, consistent, accurate shooting is. Remember, you can’t miss enough to win.