Welcome to “TheGaGG.com Answers…” series. In this series, we present answers to the questions that we are asked from various media sources. Some of these questions may become longer articles that we will provide a more thorough answer to at a later time.
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The only fundamental that is the same between pistol shooting and rifle shooting is (in order to be good at either) that you have to practice and train with each, yet train differently.
I have shot pistols at long-range (killed two elk at over 900 yards) and I am currently ramping up to be competitive in the USPSA Regionals: both are entirely different.
If you want to be good with a pistol:
- Pick a pistol and train religiously with it.
- Establish a training regimen that consists of equal parts of dry and live fire. We wrote an article about this recently in my “Journey To…” series. You can read that here.
- Be prepared to constantly read, learn, modify and grow. Every time I feel like I have my trigger control correct, I realize that I do not! Be prepared to play mind tricks on yourself to overcome being “stuck”.
- Find a good coach – notice I did not say instructor. I have found “instructors” are too structured to work with a shooter and properly guide them. They are good at teaching “fixed” sets of curriculum, but do not have the skills to move a shooter forward beyond the curriculum that they know. I was once stuck on some speed issues. After spending an hour with me, we set up a shooting scenario and suddenly I was shooting twice as fast.
- Find a friend with whom to shoot – friends help push you!
Our “Journey To” series has a lot of information about becoming a better shooter.
Journey To Series Articles:
Stopping power is a ridiculous and completely unmeasurable value when applied to bullets and living creatures. Apply it to bullets and bricks coming at you, or any two objects completely under the strict laws of classic physics and then you can define stopping power. Otherwise, stopping power with bullets and living creatures DOES NOT exist.
I am sorry, but this is a pet peeve of mine – one that I see very informed “gun experts” still espousing.
Measuring the human reaction to trauma is completely unmeasurable. As a former Special Forces Medic, I have seen a lot of trauma ranging from bullet trauma to falling out of the sky trauma. I have seen guys burn in on parachute drops and walk off the drop zone, and others who twisted an ankle on a bad landing and had to be carried off. I have seen guys with bullets in their skull walk into the ER, and others with flesh wounds be in cardiac arrest.
If you carry any firearm (even a bazooka) and are expecting “McDonald’s-like”, instant gratification, knock an elephant down and stomp on it STOPPING POWER…let me say this very slowly for the hearing impaired:
Furthermore, caliber plays far less of a role in lethality (aka some version of “stopping power”) than shot placement. A bullet anywhere in the body is going to have less of a predictable biological response than one that is well-placed in the heart cavity or the brain pan. For those, you can expect some semi-reliable response. It could be possible death at some point unless immediate and massive medical aid is provided ASAP.
Equally so, 3 well-placed, 9mm bullets are going to have more of a predictable effect than 1 45 ACP bullet.
There is physics and there is biology. Physics is reasonably predictable, whereas biology is not – especially human biology.
- Pick a gun you can handle.
- Pick a caliber you can control.
- Learn to shoot well and practice regularly.
- Learn some basic human physiology.
That is your best “caliber” for “stopping power”. So let’s stop these “which has more stopping power” discussions.
Read our Caliber Wars Series:
You will love this article on stopping power too:
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Stayed tuned next week for more “Answers” from TheGaGG.com