Showing posts with label handgun. Show all posts
Showing posts with label handgun. Show all posts

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Dynamic Handguns and Shooting in a Structure: Information for Writers Prt 3

Image found on Facebook
Ach! With the tinkling of broken glass on her ceramic floor, your heroine was wide awake and on high alert. She ran to bolt the lock on her new bedroom door, the metal one her dad had insisted on as soon as he heard about his daughter's psycho ex.

After dialing 911, your heroine yells at the person jiggling her knob, "I have a gun. Leave now!" Then she hears her nephew's voice down the hall screaming her name. She had forgotten in her adrenaline surge, that she had house guests. She has to save them.

Video Quick Study (3:37) Using a safe room.

As an author I'm sure your realize that having a safe room doesn't mean your heroine is safe. Here are two example 911 calls where the callers did the right things, and they ended up pulling the trigger anyway:
Audio Quick Study (0:41) Man shoots intruder after his
               family is beaten and 911 operator accidentally
               puts him on hold.
Audio Quick Study (2:34) Mom is hiding in the closet with her
                two children when she shoots the intruder 5 times in the
                face and neck. He is still able to leave the house and drive
                down the road. The police find him and take him to the
                hospital where he fights for his life.

Shooting in the home or other structure.

Violent encounters statistically
* Occur at very close range (3 yrds or less)
* Often happen in low or no light
* Are over in a matter of seconds (3 seconds)
* Include the firing of three shots

According to NRA Guide to the Basics of Personal Protection in the Home, there are
 5 possible responses to a life-threatening encounter:
* freeze
* submit 
* posture
* flight
* fight

Stress and its accompanying physiologic reactions include 
* Difficulty breathing 
* Loss of fine motor skills
* Racing heart
* Tunnel vision and hearing discrimination issues
*  Shaking hands all create obstacles to defensive shooting and
    following safety rules.

Perceptual changes during a threatening encounter:
* Tunnel Vision - focus almost
    exclusively on the perceived
    threat    (Blog Link)
* Auditory Exclusion - 
   extraneous sounds are 
   inaudible. Your heroine may 
   not be able to hear instructions    being yelled at her by
   the police or other characters
* Time Dilation - slowed time,
   things seem to to be happening
   in slow motions.

Mental Preparation

Video Quick Study (4:49) Mental preparation tips.

* Your heroine must decide in advance that she is willing to be hurt
   and keep going. Once engaged she cannot give up the fight.
   (Aggression/Response Blog Link) If she doesn't have the right 
   mindset she's going to lose. So it's imperative that if you're writing
   a beta heroine that she have some impetus greater than her own
   will to stay alive and fighting - she's protecting her child, she's the
   only one who can replicate the anti-viral that will save humanity...
What should your heroine do? Listen to her limbic system
   Blog Link

Controlling the Encounter 

Strategies for a heroine who finds herself face to face with the villain.

* Both parties are experiencing high adrenaline. The problems of
   tunnel vision and auditory exclusion effect the villain as well. 
   The heroine should yell directives so the villain can hear and
* STAY AWAY - no matter how compliant the villain is acting. 
   Your heroine should keep well out of reach. Villains can have
    hidden weapons. Villains will often talk softly and reasonably as
    they make their slow approach. Your heroine will want to
    believe him and believe that nothing bad is really happening. 
    You're the author; you know what the bad guy is really up to -
    she should get as far away from as she can and not get cornered.
    This blog article discusses different tactics used by villains
    against your poor heroine.

It's bad. Your heroine is standing between the villain and her family. Gun in hand, ready to do whatever is necessary to keep her loved ones safe, she aims...

Found publicly on Facebook

A major safety rule is know your target and what's beyond. 
* Is your heroine sending a warning shot up in the air? What goes
   up must come down. And what if there is someone on an upper
* What if the villain is standing in front of a propane or oil tank, a
   kerosene heater or any other flammable liquid?
* What if she is shooting by a window or interior wall? 


Video Quick Study (4:19) Extreme Close Quarter Shooting

   Your heroine will be shooting in an enclosed space without ear
   protection. She may well not be able to hear anything for several 
   minutes following the blast. 

   If you've never heard gun fire in real life it is LOUD!

   Remember that the military and law enforcement officers use
   flash bang to disorient the individuals in a structure so they have
   time to run in and time to function, taking control of the area. A
   gun shot is loud and can have this stunning effect or a deafening

   Will your heroine be able to shoot a few bullets while standing in
    her bathroom, turn her head and chat with her cohort? Not likely
    unless she can read lips. 

   Couldn't that lead to a complication? What if the
   good guy was shouting instructions, "Get down! Get down!" She
   would never know. 

   If she is an avid shooter she may have silencer and that would
   help immensely as would subsonic bullets. Why do I say avid
   shooter? Legally it takes a very long time (about a year) to obtain
   a license for a silencer. So not something she can just decide on a
   whim to go purchase.

 Brian Coates demonstrating a silencer with 
sonic and subsonic bullets at 
Nottoway Wildlife Association Link

Your heroine will not be wearing protective glasses, though her regular glasses would serve this purpose.

Without eye protection, she could have eye damage from the gases and debris from the blast of the firearm, or a casing could fly back and catch her in the eye. Now your heroine is blinded and deaf. A terrible situation.

Use of Cover and Concealment

As soon as your heroine senses a threat - her limbic system lights up. She needs to immediately seek cover or concealment. She should not wait until someone fires on her or rushes her.

Your heroine is doing her best. She's standing strong. She took a bullet to the shoulder, but she will not give up the fight. Now that she has the injury, she realizes that concealing herself behind the cabinet was not enough. She needs cover, and she needs it now!

When you write a scene make sure you know which term to use. 


She concealed herself behind the sofa, holding her breath, hoping the sound of her beating heart wouldn't give away her position.

Concealment is - 
* Anything that will hide your heroine from observation
* Does not protect her body from incoming fire.
* Could prevent the villain from locating your heroine or being able
   to accurately fire on her.
* Could help her gain the upper hand through surprise.
* Could allow your heroine to avoid or escape from the intruder all

Cover - 

Cover will protect your heroine from incoming fire. A fridge would be cover. A wood burning stove would be cover.
* A regular mattress provides concealment; a water bed provides 
   cover .
* Regular walls provide concealment; brick, stone, or concrete
   provide cover. 
* There's actually very little in a normal house that will provide
   cover - but the villain may not understand this. He could be
   aiming at the tiny piece of your heroine that is exposed instead of 
   shooting through the door or wall.

Techniques for using Cover and Concealment

* Minimize your heroine's exposure - the less seen the better her
   chance of escaping detection.
* When looking around a barrier, have your heroine do a quick
   peek, bobbing her head out to get an image then popping back
   into her place. (much less than a second)
* She should vary the places that she peeks from so that the villain
   isn't just waiting for her like an arcade game.
* The human eye is predisposed to tracking movement. As long as
   your heroine is frozen in place, she will be harder to detect. Once
   she moves, the villain's eyes will be drawn to her. An old Indian
   trick would be to wait very still and then let out a war whoop - the
   sudden noise would make the hidden pioneers flinch thus giving
   up their location.
* If your heroine must fire from her position, she should stand arm's
   distance from the barrier, leaning out just enough to catch the
   villain in her sights.

U.S. Marine Corp., veteran Brian Coates
teaches how to acquire the target from behind barriers.

* In this video, I emptied my clip to time how long it took me to fire
   off all of my bullets. This is a VERY BAD idea in a shooter
   ^ Reloading takes time and attention, leaving your heroine at
      greater risk.
   ^ She doesn't have an endless supply of bullets. Once she's out,
      she's out.
* Your heroine should make sure that her muzzle is clear of the
    barricade. Sights being clear of the barricade does not equal
    muzzle being cleared.
    ^ Firing into cover at close range can cause serious harm to your
       heroine from ricochet or from debris.
    ^ Firing at close range into your own cover can lessen its
* If shooting multiple times (for example, your heroine needs to
   reload) she shouldn't pop out each time from the same spot.
* Your heroine should not rest or brace the firearm on the cover -
   this can cause the gun to malfunction and messes up the aim.

Moving to cover/concealment
* Your heroine should try to keep as much distance between
    herself and her attacker as she can.
* Your heroine should try to move away from villain and toward
* Your heroine should practice moving backward and laterally to
   find cover. If she knows she's in danger
   -rabid ex, crazy stalker, etc - then she has time to practice and
   prepare. How will she move? Where will she go? What protective
   objects are placed strategically around? What if you showed her
   practicing and the villain thwarts all of those plans by attacking
   her elsewhere - where she was vulnerable? By moving
   backwards and laterally she:
   ^ Can keep her eye on the villain
   ^ Keep her firearm in a ready position (NOT aimed NO finger on
      the trigger)
   ^ She maintains her balance

Video Quick Study (3:46) How to move backwards and laterally

When your heroine is choosing her shooting position, the NRA manual indicates that she should consider the following list:
* consistency (she's trained in that position)
* balance
* support
* natural point of aim (versus torquing the body)
* comfort

Here's hoping your heroine does a great job and saves the day!

Image found publicly on Facebook
This blog article is based on my experience at an all-day dynamic gun training class that I took at Nottoway Wildlife Association, LINK  called "Personal Protection in the Home," following NRA curriculum. 

These are the same folks who taught me about rifles in this article: BLOG LINK.

Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.

I used the book, NRA Guide to the BAsics of Personal Protection in the Home (2000) to write this article
As always, this is a non-political site that is geared to help writers write it right. I am presenting information to help develop fictional characters and fictional scenes. In no way am I advocating any position or personal decision.
Related articles

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Dynamic Handguns and Shooting in a Structure: Information for Writers Prt 1 - Plotting Gems

graphic found on Facebook
This blog article is based on my experience at an all-day dynamic gun training class that I took at 
Nottoway Wildlife Association, LINK  called "Personal Protection in the Home," following NRA curriculum. 

These are the same folks who taught me about rifles in this article: BLOG LINK

You are writing a kick ass heroine. Woot! And while everyone loves a beautiful, smart, effective heroine, and I have one as the main character in my Lynx series, it also adds dimension and reality if she struggles a little bit. One of my writing coaches told me that if things are going well for your heroine, you're writing it wrong. Your girl should be constantly struggling.

Well if I were a template for a heroine in a dynamic gun situation, believe me there was a whole lot of struggling going on. 

Before your heroine even brings a gun into her home she:

* Understands that using a gun or any lethal weapon
   is a tool of last resort - though your heroine doesn't believe this
   standard applies during a zombie apocalypse.

* Understands that gun laws and her decision making is
   based on locality; she should know her laws and have made her
   decisions in advance. How your plot advances depends on the
   reality of those laws.

The focus of this first blog in the three-part Dynamic Handgun series is take-away plotting gems that I picked up through hands on practice and lecture.

Found on Facebook

Things I learned: Or, Why your heroine can't go out and buy a gun today, and blow away the bad guy who jumps out of her closet with a machete in his hands tomorrow.

* Firing on a range and
Indoor Shooting Range at Sarasota, Florida, US...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
   (moving/situational) firing
   are vastly different.
* Firing on the fly without
   lining up the sites and
   having time to
   check stance, breathing, etc.
   will definitely effect your
   heroine's ability to hit the
   mark dead center. 
   Her goal is merely center-
   mass. As a range shooter, I
   hit bulls' eyes. That day? 
   Eh, not so much.

* I am a dancer/MA fighter; you'd think that I had control over my
   body. When my focus was on the "bad guy" also known as the
   little piece of paper in front of me, my coordination was off. Way
   Watch this video that was taken on the archery range.

   Here you can see the technique while focused on a single task.
   My right elbow is down and back. Then I was asked to perform a
   memory task and a speech task with the second shot. Even
   moving with plenty of time and deliberation, you can see my
   practiced body mechanics shift; my right elbow went above
   my head. The point here being - your heroine must practice
   situational, all components put together, tactics if you are going to
   write her a successful outcome. Doing it first time on-the-fly
   just won't fly with your readers who know anything about tactical

   * Past injuries can effect your character's ability to move fluidly
   into certain dynamic poses. For example, as I tried to follow the
   instructions to go down on my right knee, I felt like and old rusted
   gate. My ACL (central knee ligament) is made from a cadaver
   ligament after a fight that did not end in my favor. Who knew this
   would impact anything? In MA practice and dancing, I simply
   don't make that move. For me everything was very crunchy
   granola, and I lost my balance on the way down. So think about
   your character's past injuries and how they could effect her
   present-time shooting scenarios. Did something happen in the past
   that could trip her up now? Remember, nothing should come easy
   for her

   Brian Coates, whom you will see in the ThrillWriting 
   inset video at the bottom of this article, is a U.S. Marine Corp.
   veteran. He moved into place and dropped to his knee smoothly.
   (I'd say gracefully, but I think that would paint the wrong 

   Video Quick Study (3:46) Shooting on the move

   Practice makes perfect. Practice on this specific move - not just a 
   generally fit/sportive heroine. While being an active person might 
   make the learning curve quicker, there will still be a learning

* In my mind, switching to non-dominant hand shooting was no
   big deal. When I was actually asked to perform the task, I had to
   stop and look at my gun and figure out how to change my
   fingering, my left finger on the trigger felt really odd and pulling
   the trigger with my left index finger felt even odder. Did your
   heroine sustain an injury to her dominant arm/hand
   necessitating a switch? It's not going to be as easy or effective as 
   it is in the movies unless she trained this action.

English: Naval Station Everett, Wash (Jan. 29,...
) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
* Eyesight matters. I know
   you're thinking, no duh. But
   what if your heroine wears
   glasses or contacts? Does
   she have time to grab her
   glasses and her gun? 

   What if there is low light/no
   light? Did she practice 
   aiming with her eyes 
   closed? Does she have 
   a light attached to her gun? 
   A laser?

   Consider not  just eyesight
   but visual dexterity. 
   How quickly can your
   heroine spot and decipher a 
   potential threat especially 
   in an adrenaline impacted 
   situation? This is a trained
   response. Maybe not 
   necessarily combat training
   but some discrimination training

   Did her past job/conditioning make certain eye patterns difficult? 
   Let me give you and example: 
   One of our tasks was to not aim the gun with sights but merely to
   look at the center of the target and pull the trigger. My paper had 
   bullet holes neatly placed all the way around the outside of the
   target circle not a single shot made it to the inside. 

Image found publicly on Facebook
I feel his pain

   When my instructors talked to me about focus, I realized that I 
   could not perform this task because I have done neuro-plasticity 
   training that required me to look at a center point and focus on
   the periphery. Something I will now train to overcome. Gamers
   might have this kind of reaction and certain sports. 

Image copied from Facebook

* While revolvers are predictably reliable, automatics fail. My gun
   needed oil, so it failed quite a bit. (Lesson learned.)
   ` Stove pipe - when a bullet sticks straight up in the chamber
   ` Two bullets in the chamber
     Video Quick Study (10:37) malfunctions and clearing
     instructions notice he says to practice at home with snap caps.
     Your heroine must practice to be effective.

graphic found on Facebook

* They ran a drill that demonstrated a knife wielding villain can get
   to and injure your heroine before she could get a shot off (with
   the gun already in her hands). This might be good news for a 
   heroine who attempts to flee a gun scene. It might be bad news to
   your heroine if she is all that's standing between the bad guy and 
   the future of the world as we know it.

* Being shot is not as effective as one might be lead to believe by
   watching video games, movies and the like.
   ^ It is typically not bloody or even visible. If you need a bloody
     crime scene try a knife. (Homicide Scenes Blog Link, Blood
     Spatter Blog Link)
   ^ The person does not blow backwards as if there was a bomb.
     They collapse if the bullet was well placed like a shot to the
   ^ Often the person who is experiencing adrenaline will not even
     realize they've been shot ( read about that under scar story at
     bottom of this interview Blog Link)
   ^ Multiple, well-placed shots must occur in order to down your
   ^ It will take several seconds for the impact of those shots to take
     effect. In those seconds the villain is still functioning and can
     still harm your heroine.
   ^ Your villain's physical response will be effected by drugs or
      alcohol use. (Illegal Drugs 101 - choosing a drug for your
      villain Blog Link)
     - was he wearing a bullet-proof vest and merely stunned?
     - is he faking the collapse so that he can get your heroine to
       lower her guard?
     - Have your heroine cover the guy with her gun, stay vigilant,
       and wait for the police. She shouldn't go up and frisk him - he
       may grab her, take her down, and take her weapon --or maybe
       that's what you want to happen next. Or maybe she's in a
       remote area with no hope of help. Now she has to make some
       darned hard choices.

* Knowing that an attack happens quickly, and your character
   needs to get her bullets in even more quickly, I shot my entire 
   extended cartridge (16 count) of bullets as fast as I could with 
   some semblance of hitting central mass. I knew I was being taped 
   and therefore could time it. 10 seconds and I was empty. I was 
   fortunate that I didn't have any malfunctions while firing those 

Brian Coates demonstrating a behind barrier strategy discussed in
Prt 2 of Dynamic Handguns. Fiona Quinn emptying her mag.

You were not a very benevolent author and decided that your heroine would not be attacked by one but several assailants all at once. What's your girl to do to save her skin?
* She should engage the most hazardous threat first. 
   Things which might inform her assessment include:
   ^ How close are the attackers to her and which is closest
   ^ What kinds of weapon are they wielding? 
   ^ How fast are the attackers coming at her?
      We know that the police with all of their training only have a
       20% impact rate. And we know that you can survive and act
       after being hit by a bullet. Since the guy with the machete is
       barreling towards her, she might chance the bullet hit to stop 
       the machete-swinger.
* How many bullets does she have? If your girl is unloading on
   thing-one, then thing-two ran round the corner, she's left with
   a not particularly useful empty gun
   Another strategy would be to try to put a
   bullet in each of the ogres and then assess. Was she successful?
   Yes? Call the police and wait. They're still attacking? Shoot
   another round into each and so forth.
* Remember, even the best of the best get tunnel vision and train
   strategies to prevent this from happening. While she has the ogre
   in her sights his troll partner could be sneaking up behind her and
   she'd never know he was swinging his club - lights out. 

Some of my articles you might want to review along with this information -

About guns:
Found on Facebook
Bullet Tutorial
Choosing a Handgun
Shotguns and Rifles
Shooter Simulation 
       (tunnel vision)
Carrying Concealed (interview)

About forethought/preparation:
Home Invasion - Hard v. Soft Target
Home Invasion - Setting Up a Safe Room & Creating an Escape Route

Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.

This article was informed by the NRA Guide to the Basics of Personal Protection in the Home (2000)
As always, this is a non-political site that is geared to help writers write it right. I am presenting information to help develop fictional characters and fictional scenes. In no way am I advocating any position or personal decision.
Related articles

Monday, July 15, 2013

Choosing a Handgun for Your Character


English: Trigger Double Action Italiano: Grill...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
DISCLAIMER - This is a non-political site that is geared to help writers write it right. 
I am presenting information to help develop fictional characters and fictional scenes. In no way am I advocating any position or personal decision.

Decision One - Why is your heroine carrying a gun?

Target Shooting - chose a gun that
    is comfortable to shoot and the
    ammo is inexpensive.
    (.22 is cheapest)
Conceal Carry - strong enough
     bullet to do the job (higher
     caliber), light enough and small
     enough to conceal on the body.

Home Protection, Back Woods, Zombie Apocalypse
     for all 3, she might want a 
     higher caliber
     (bigger bullet - .357, .44) to
     protect against large animals
     such as bear or werewolf.

This is a picture from one of my target practices with a Springfield 9mm XD-S/20 feet/32 bullets.

DECISION TWO: There are two kinds of handguns - the revolver and the semi automatic

English: Enfield No. 2 Mk I* revolver produced...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The revolver gets its name from the barrel that must revolve forward to bring the next bullet into play.

The industry standard is a six-bullet cylinder.

If the villain is using a revolver then your heroine can count bullets and has a window of opportunity when he has to reload.

Now choose:
Single action - your character will have to cock the gun before she can pull the trigger. This slows down her firing ability.
Double Action - every time your character squeezes the trigger it will pull the hammer back and fire


* Extremely simple
* Point and shoot
* They fire every time - if they fail to fire in an emergency situation
   simply continue to pull the trigger and the cylinder will continue
   to rotate and prepare the next round
* Easier to clean and maintain than a semi-
* Can be left loaded without issue


* Smaller capacity than a semi
* No recoil spring to help you with recoil action - the shooter's hand
   takes the recoil. This HURTS so, in my opinion, not a great gun
   for target practice but okay for emergencies.

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


A semi-automatic fires the bullet in the chamber, extracts it, ejects it, and loads a new round


* More control than a revolver
* More comfortable to shoot because of the recoil spring
* Higher capacity (holds more rounds)
* Quicker to reload


* Not as simple as a revolver: there are more parts such as the
   magazine release and the slide release.
* Not necessarily as reliable because they can jam occasionally. 
   The character would have to clear the jam before she could
   continue shooting.
* Must take apart to clean and maintain
* If you leave your gun loaded for a long time the magazine springs
   can become compressed so one should not leave it loaded (or just
   replace the magazines every once in a while). But this might 
   be a reason for a complication in your plot.

Semi- automatic video quick study (6:15)

DECISION THREE - What is the gun made from?

This mostly has to do with weight - how carry-able is it? How accurate is it? How much can your heroine handle?

Three Most Common Materials

Steel and Polymer (around 26  oz.)
Steel and Aluminum Framed (around 32 oz)
Full Steel ( around 40 oz.)

DECISION FOUR - Safety or no safety?

With a safety on, even if there is a bullet in the chamber, squeezing the trigger will not produce a shot. This might pose a problem for your character if her adrenaline is flowing, her brain isn't functioning, and she can't figure out why the bad guy is still attacking her.

Without a safety - her shot is quicker. However, accidents can happen. Would this advance your plot?

DECISION FIVE - Is this a good fit for your character?

* How big are her hands? (check grip size on gun)
* How strong is she? (check weight)
* Can she take the recoil? (a revolver might put her on her butt and
   that might be where you want her)
* What capacity (how many bullets does she need to do the job? 
   Or fail at the job?)
* Reloading (How fast? How many times? How successful?)
* What caliber of bullet does she use? Bullet tutorial

I would suggest that after doing some research and making some initial decisions, that you go by the gun store and hold the gun that you think your character would use. I have very small hands and some guns are just too large for me to grip properly. Glocks for example have HUGE grips and are not great for small hands reaching the trigger. Blog entry of me shooting a Glock at a F.A.T.S. demo CLICK HERE

I shoot a Springfield 9mm XD-S for comfort, and accuracy in range shooting and home protection. It fits my small hand, is a good weight and size, and I can use extended clips to increase my capacity. The trigger pull is about 6 lbs. which is easy enough for my strength level. 26 oz. Though pretty difficult for me to field strip (open it up to fix a problem). Small enough for concealed carry. 
Excellent overview of the XD (8:36)

While I write my blogs from the perspective of the heroine, my friend at Confidential Resource thinks you should note:
Hand size is not a gender issue. Handguns are all about the shooter's hand size. Hand strength is also an issue as most people don't work with their hands today. However, hand size is the most critical issue.

The reason it is so important is that the pistol barrel must align with the forearm to enable accurate controlled fire. To line-up with the forearm the tips of the second and third fingers must press on the side of the grip opposite the palm. Without this, you will not be able to acquire or maintain a proper firing grip. For people with small hands, this means a narrow front-strap that is well rounded--think 1911, P220, or perhaps the SR9 pistols. Of course, the reach to the trigger face is also an important consideration.

For concealed I like:
Sig Saur P238 Copperhead (video 1:38) It is easy to conceal (.380ACP caliber). It hurts to shoot. Watch your character's grip - the gun is so tiny she might get her hand over the barrel/slide.

I also like the Ruger LCP and the Kel-Tec P3AT Ruger and Kel-tec (video 8:38) The Ruger LCP is what Kelli carries Women Carrying Concealed blog entry


Did you know?

When you have a magazine in your semi it is not considered loaded. A loaded gun means that you have a round in the chamber. Careful when you're writing. If you write that the gun is loaded and then the character racks the slide, then you have made a mistake.

Should the gun be loaded? Talking to experts, the prevailing wisdom says:
   * If the semi has a safety, yes
   * If the semi has no external (thumb) safety then no (remember
      this just means not having a bullet in the chamber) 
Revolver - yes.
Conceal carry? yes.

Confidential Resource: Sources & Methods for the Investigator  ( @locuscommunis on twitter) explains that:
Experienced shooters always refer to the 'condition' to describe the pistol's state or readiness to fire. A proficient gun handler will usually keep the pistol in Condition One or Four. Institutions that know their people are incompetent will often dictate Condition Three to avoid negligent discharges in administrative handling.
  • Condition Four: Chamber empty, empty magazine, hammer down.
  • Condition Three: Chamber empty, full magazine in place, hammer down (Israeli carry).
  • Condition Two: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer down (extremely dangerous, especially with SA pistol).
  • Condition One: With Single Action: a round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety on. With striker fired pistol: a round chambered, full magazine in place, striker at ready position. With Traditional Double Action (TDA), DAO, or LEM: a round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer at ready.
  • Condition Zero: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety off.

Best video series I have ever seen on guns is:

And before I leave today can I just add this one little bit of information...? A pet peeve is someone who writes a silent shot with a silencer. Shooting with a silencer removes the sound and light to a distance that makes it easier to shoot without flinch (my target paper is always so pretty when I shoot with a silencer) but it IS NOT SILENT! 

LINK Nottoway Shooting Sports

See how this article influenced my plot lines in my novella MINE and my novel CHAOS IS COME AGAIN.

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