The Czech CZ-75 in 9mm
The Czech CZ-75 in 9mm
This is what I would call a Thumper! In that it will thump somebody on both sides of it after cranking one off!
As the story goes, the late Col. Jeff Cooper and a bunch of like-minded shooters were participating in Cooper’s Leatherslap competition back in the late 1950s–shooting from the hip as they blazed away at balloons less than 10 feet away. They missed. A lot.
Then along came Jack Weaver, a Los Angeles County deputy sheriff.
“Most of the talk was about how fast different contestants were; ‘hundredths of a second’ seemed very important,” Weaver, referring to the first Leatherslap in 1956, wrote in the February 1994 issue of Handguns. “Nobody ever mentioned accuracy–that problem was somehow going to take care of itself, like all the Westerns on TV during that time.”
Weaver set out to find a better way, and when he showed up at Leatherslap the following year, he tried point-shooting with two hands on the gun, which he extended about 1.5 feet from his stomach.
“It worked pretty good in practice but was a complete flop at the contest.…A short time later I discovered that if I tilted my head down a little and brought the gun up a foot higher, I could see the sights. Eureka–something that worked every time and was still pretty fast!”
The following year, Weaver won Leatherslap and won a lot of converts as well. It wasn’t long before everybody was using what became known as the Weaver Stance–shooting with a two-handed grip in which the firing hand pushes forward as the support hand, which is wrapped around the firing hand, pulls back.
At the time, though, the inventor himself hadn’t really given the details a whole lot of consideration.
“No thought was given to foot position, recoil control or pushing with one hand and pulling with the other,” Weaver wrote. “I found out all kinds of things about myself that I didn’t know until I read them in gun magazines.…I had to go out and fire a few rounds to see if I really did push the right and pull the left arm–sure enough!”
Col. Cooper was so impressed with the Weaver Stance that he made it one of the foundations of his famed Modern Technique. The FBI was so impressed that in 1982 it embraced his technique after an in-depth study of handgun shooting, calling it the “quickest ‘on target’ technique with first-hit capability, as well as having the weapon remain on target after recoil.”
“The important thing is the hand position on the gun (no wrist grabbing or palm-under-the-hand stuff),” Weaver wrote in Handguns. “I put my left thumb over my right and squeeze tighter with my left (weak) and than the right…The rest is up to the individual. Unless you are a Jack Weaver clone, you can’t be expected to do everything exactly like I do.”
Weaver never sought fame nor glory, never sold videos, never wrote books, which in a way is a shame because as a pioneer of combat shooting it seems he could have taught us so much. But at least we can pass on this little pearl of wisdom from his 1994 letter to the magazine:
“So, my free advice is: Practice, experiment, shoot in competition, stick to one gun, one style (no last-second decisions) and don’t wait until you’re in a shootout to find out what works and what doesn’t.”
The father of the Weaver Stance died at his Carson City, Nevada, home last April. He was 80 years old.
Read more: http://www.handgunsmag.com/tactics-training/tactics_training_hg_deathofa_-200909/#ixzz55B28AzNl
Jack Weaver (1 November 1928 – 7 April 2009) was a Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriffand the developer of the Weaver stance, a popular shooting stance for firing handguns.
Weaver was born on November 1, 1928 in South Gate, California. He was the second youngest in a family of five children. Weaver briefly attended Glendale Community Collegebut left when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. It was around this time that he met Joy Moniot, whom he married on Aug. 30, 1952, in Glendale, California.
He was a member of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Pistol Team, along with Ray Chapman and several other world class shooters. In 1955, the team and individuals won the national championships at the Toledo, OH combat range using both one and two handed stances. The team defended the trophy for most of the following decade at practice matches in preparation for the National Pistol Matches, held shortly thereafter at Camp Perry, OH.
Weaver retired from the L.A. County Sheriff’s department in 1979, and resided near Carson City, Nevada until his death.
The Weaver stance was developed by Jack Weaver in 1959 to compete in Jeff Cooper’s “Leatherslap” matches. The stance, which incorporates a two-handed grip, isometrictension to reduce muzzle flip, and aimed fire using the weapon’s sights, was adopted in 1982 as the official shooting style of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to his friends, Izawa worked in JGSDF for over 20 years before retiring five years ago to study to be a chiropractic in Aomori Prefecture. It seemed he couldn’t stay away from the duties of protecting his nation for long though, as he decided to re-enlist in 2017.
His teacher described the sergeant major as a very motivated and passionate student, while others thought of him as a person who was always smiling, putting everyone around him at ease.
Japanese netizens were greatly saddened by the passing of a brave hero who placed his comrades’ safety before his:
“I’ll pray for his soul. To the comrades he fought to protect, please live life to your fullest. The Self-Defence Force is the pride of Japan.”
“It’s really noble to sacrifice your life to save others. The JGSDF just lost one of their most outstanding soldiers. I’ll pray for you, may you rest in peace.”
“My heart burns with pride knowing that our people are protected by someone as great as him.”
Soldiers of the JGSDF undergo intense training to protect Japan, a duty that Sergeant Major Takayuki Izawa carried out to the best of his ability. His presence will not only be missed by those he sought to protect, but by everyone he shared his life with.
Source: Livedoor News, Sankei News via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso
Now that we know a little about gun sights and how to use them, we should discuss the rest of the steps of firing a shot and what your resulting group on paper will tell you. Combined with the first article on sight picture, and a planned article on sight adjustment, this will explain the fundamentals of shooting accurately at close distances. This, in turn, will lead to discussion of shooting positions, and, ultimately, ballistics.
One of the more important things to understand about accurate shooting, whether it be pistols or rifles, is that you cannot hold sights on target continuously. Two things prevent you from doing that, and those are that your muscles get tired, and your breathing will mess you up.
I teach rifle shooting as one of my hobbies, and, paradoxically, it is often the young guys, in shape, who also think they know how to shoot, that end up getting out shot by their less physically strong and less experienced wives, girlfriends, or kids. The dudes try to muscle the rifle onto the target, instead of using something commonly called natural point of aim, which abbreviates to NPOA.
Although the discussion is incomplete without explaining shooting positions in depth, the idea behind NPOA is, when you are in a shooting position (prone, seated, or standing), the rifle will point somewhere naturally. This is most easily seen if you shoulder a rifle, and close your eyes. Breathe a couple times, then open them, and notice that the rifle is NOT where you left it on the target.
The novice will quickly move the rifle with his arms where it needs to go, and wonder why his groups are inconsistent. This is because muscle control is not precise, especially over time as you get tired. The trick is to not move your arms, but to move your body. It is best explained by a question posed to a WWII fighter pilot of “how do you aim the guns?” by a young boy. The answer: “You don’t aim the guns; you aim the plane.” The rifle and your body is a unit, move them together to stay reliably on target.
The second concept is breathing. Every marksmanship coach has their thing; the programs I teach come from the old Army shooting courses, which is now only done by the Marine Corps. The key concept here is repeatability. You can’t hold your breath, low oxygen will ruin your shooting, and the act of breathing will move your sights as your diaphragm moves. You want to fire at the end of a breath. Breath normally, exhale normally and completely, and squeeze the trigger at the end of the exhalation, during that 3 to 5 second window before you need to breathe again.
This is called “Rifleman’s Cadence” and is what “rapid fire” actually is. Once you have your position and NPOA dialed in, you should be able to fire one accurate shot (later, more) per breath, on a target, at any range, and continue until you run out of ammo, or need to switch targets.
Riflery is a Zen sport. You lie on the ground, control your breathing, and get into the zone where it’s just you, your weapon, and your target. You must have two kinds of focus here, with the first being mental. Don’t worry about other things, concentrate on good shooting.
The second focus is visual. If you are shooting an iron sighted rifle, you need to focus your eye on the front sight. Not the back sight, and not the target. The back sight exists to frame the front sight, and the target is there, and you can’t move it. The only thing you can move is the front sight, and that is what you should focus your eyes upon.
Scopes are both harder and easier. Sometimes, you can focus on both the crosshair and the target, but you need to prioritize the crosshair. Often, you can see your bullet holes, and you can over exaggerate your sight movement at high power, so your target shooting should be done at lowest power on a scope so you don’t chase your bullet holes of previous shots, or get overly concerned with the sights movement and “fuss the shot.”
Most people, misinformed by Hollywood, think that you yank the trigger and it will result in an accurate shot. There are only two times I can think of to punch a trigger, with the first being wing shooting (clay pigeons and skeet and dove hunting, etc) which is a totally different style of shooting, and the second being close range shooting where you are under a time crunch to send lead down range, and a little bit of disruption to your aim by punching the trigger can be afforded. However, many excellent shooters can shoot very fast with good trigger control.
Triggers are a mixed bag, and most stock triggers on budget rifles are bad, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from shooting poorly when they know what they are doing. There are a few terms we should know about triggers. Take-up is the slack in the trigger from its at-rest position until you feel decent resistance.
If it’s a one stage trigger, that resistance after the take-up will “break” at a certain force (usually measured in pounds over here, kilograms elsewhere), and the sear will be released and the hammer or striker will actuate. If it’s a two stage trigger, there will be a lighter force first section, and a stronger second section before the trigger breaks. I tend to think single stage triggers are more for match shooting, and two stage triggers are more for duty/combat work.
Overtravel is when a trigger breaks, but keeps going past that spot, and it can be adjusted out with stop screws and internal work. Sear reset is when you release the trigger after the shot, and the sear resets itself to shoot again. (Full auto guns work differently in that area.) Creep is when you put the amount of force needed to break the trigger on it, but it moves further before breaking, instead of breaking “like a glass rod.” Lastly, roughness in the mechanism is often compared to being gritty.
When firing, you want to press the trigger through its take-up before you fire, and apply some force (either enough to get to the second stage or not enough to break the first stage if it’s a single stage) and keep it there. As you cycle your breath, and the sights come back on the target, apply the last amount of force and break the shot.
Once the shot goes off, you must do two things. Firstly, you must follow through. A golfer does not stop his swing after he hits the ball, he goes all the way. You should not reflexively let go of the trigger, either, for two reasons. The first is that it can actually disrupt your aim, even though the bullet is mostly gone down the barrel, and the second is that you do not need to fully release the trigger to shoot again. If you hold the trigger down after a shot, and release it slowly, the gun will make a click when you reset the sear, and that’s all you need to do. This saves you time on the next shots.
The second thing you must do is call your shot. You must know where the sights are when the shot goes off, and you must be able to call fliers, which are off target shots due to bad aim. If you know you threw a flier out of a group of five, and know it went high left, when you go down to the target, you know to discount the one high and left, knowing that it’s not the gun that did that.
In the first article, we covered sight alignment and sight picture. We just discussed breathing, focus, firing the shot, and follow through. Doing this properly, with a good position and sling use (look for these in future articles), will result in good groups.
A group is your collection of holes from the amount of rounds you fired into the target. These should be shot in a string in cadence, and are usually five shots. What we are going to concentrate on now is the shape of group, and not where it is on the target. The size and shape of the group is on you, the shooter. Where the group is on the target is on the rifle, and you fix that by sight adjustment, which will be the next article in this three part series, but the takeaway point here is that you must fix your shooting before you fix the sights, otherwise you won’t know how to fix them.
I will cover the most common group errors I see on firing lines.
Wide open group: This group has rounds all over the place, and it means that the shooter does not have a solid shooting position, or does not have NPOA established.
Vertical stringing: These rounds are in a line up and down, and show that the shooter is not shooting at a consistent point in his breathing cycle.
Horizontal stringing: These rounds are in a line left and right, and indicate bad trigger control.
Diagonal stringing: Bad breathing, and either also bad trigger control, or poor position with the support elbow not under the rifle.
Two groups: This shows that the shooter changed something mid string of fire, and, since you can’t tell which is which, you need to eliminate the change before further addressing the problem.
Note that these groups can be wherever on the target, and, if they are off target, as well as having a shape problem, it means there is a human problem AND a sights problem.
Although I will attempt to break up the monotony of the shooting tutorials here soon, since these are admittedly getting a little dry, with something like “Idiots Seen In The Gun Store,” like the efforts of my colleague Br. Moner, I am trying to get someplace and stick an 8 hour class into a series of articles.
I do agree with one of the comments in the previous article in particular that Ed said. “Don’t learn to shoot from a webpage.” Although I’d happily take anyone here shooting if I could, and I would feel completely competent keeping you safe and teaching good habits and skill on a range in person, the internet, even with videos, leaves a lot to be desired. My intention is to awaken your awareness of the shooting discipline so that you will seek out competent instruction of your own and that my words might help you to discern good instruction from bad and know which areas of the sport, if any, you might be interested in pursuing. Be safe.
Read More: How To Properly Aim A Firearm