Ep. 20 Should I Shoot? Why You Must Learn to Use As Many Firearms As Possible


Editor’s Note: The following is a post from Sammy Reese, a former Marine Corps Artillery Officer and retired police officer from California. He is a part-time range master for the police department he retired from as well as a life-long martial artist and combatives coach.

Check out the last five episodes in this series:

The question of “should I shoot?” is almost 100 percent dependent on you having a gun with you if you should need one to save your life. I say almost because the gun you use might be one you took from the bad guy or acquired as a “battlefield pick up.” The first one requires some skill in disarming techniques, and the second might sound like it’s only going to happen in some foreign land on the field of battle but believe me, it can happen right here at home.

At this point, some of you might be saying, “I carry my (fill in the blank) every day, so I don’t need to know how to manipulate or shoot any other type of firearm.” Well, what if Murphy decides to crawl inside your EDC pistol and cause a catastrophic failure? Murphy is like that sometimes, and you end up having to use a friend’s gun, one you took from a bad guy or one you found on the deck in the middle of a rapid mass murder.

Can you make it run?

I just spent some time working with some pretty squared-away guys. The training block segment included familiarization with all kinds of guns that were later introduced into battlefield pick-up drills. It really drove home how important it is to have a basic understanding of as many different platforms as possible. Taking for granted one gun runs like another is like skydiving with someone else’s rig and not taking the time to learn how it functions. You might get lucky and figure it out in time, or you might end up with a feature written about you in the obituary section of your local paper.

I watched guys who aren’t familiar with handguns with external safeties squeezing the trigger so hard I thought it would fail. One guy actually broke the safety on an M&P. He was so stressed that when he finally figured out how to disengage it, he snapped it with his kung-fu grip.

Grip safeties were also a gremlin interfering with how some guns ran (or didn’t run.) Some guns have different types of magazine releases and it caused more than a few helmet fires while they tried to work it out. Revolvers are simple to run, but keeping them running and shooting accurately is a whole different skillset you won’t be learning under fire. All manners of problems were incurred when the long gun wasn’t an AR variant, and shotguns were another mystery for some.

If there is a weapons system out there you aren’t familiar with, I would bet you have a buddy who is. Better yet, get a bunch of your shooting buddies together and cover as many different guns as you can gather. Not only will it be informative and fun, you might even pick up a skill that could end up saving your life.

For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visit www.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

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  • Sgt. Pop September 16, 2016, 10:45 am

    another very good reason why one should become familiar with as many firearms systems and functions as possible is the fact if you travel a lot (flying or driving), like I do, Alabama to Alaska and overseas on occasion, there is a very good chance you will not have the firearm of your choice in an emergency, in fact it probably is a given. I own most “systems”, but the ones I don’t, I know those that do and have borrowed long enough for at least ‘familiarization”. Having used firearms of one kind or another, as civilian and military for most of my 70 odd years, it doesn’t take but moments to figure out how most operate, but if you get into ”field stripping” it may take a little more time/effort. Brings to mind a young new generation shooter, recently, looking at my P38, where is the mag release? told him right where the Ruger MkI & II is, he got it,,,,,,,,,

  • Will Drider September 7, 2016, 5:47 pm

    Pandora’s Box Pistol Drill. The purpose of this drill/event is to test the competitors ability to load, fire unsighted and make safe an unknown handgun in the “blind”. An option is to let each shooter use their own handgun. 

    Target is at 3 yards. A uncommon handgun, wheelgun and five loose rounds (in a small tray or bowl) or a pistol and loose mag w/5) is placed in a medium size cardboard box. The box is open on the target side (prep, scoring) and a 8 inch hole centered on the firing line side. 

    Shooter starts with support hands on back top corners of box. At the beep the competitor using ONLY ONE HAND Reaches inside box, loads, fires and clear firearm ALL DONE BLIND INSIDE THE BOX. Cycle is over when shooters empty hand is back on the box.
    If no round is fired in 1 minute the competitor is DQ. Adjust time on difficulty if using unknown handgun. Score time, target and leaving a safe weapon
    Note: Revolver rounds can be loose, on star or half moon clips or speed loader.
    If using AR/AK pistol use a heavy and reinforced box. Have spare boxes. A mat inside the box is helpful. 
    Exclude NAA removable cyclinder 22s, and obviously cap and ball. Lol
    Do you want to test yourself against Pandora’s Box?

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