Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ready on the Left? Ready on the Right?

The Siblings get a shooting lesson ...

(Redacted ...)


VC said...


Michael said...

Sweet! If Pen is Mourn is Moon Luna? I figured Diamond was Shaw but maybe he is Von making Agate Cayne.

or not. :)

I can not wait for this to get printed!!

Steve Perry said...

Pen is Mourn and Luna is Moon and Shaw is Diamond and Sola is Agate --

Goo goo gjoob

.. I am the walrus ...

Nataraj Hauser said...

Ahhh, Red!

Brad said...

Mmm tasty morsel you've fed us. Got the mouth watering for more. Better hurry up, the saliva dripping down my chin is unsightly at best.

Sean said...

Lovely sir, looking forward with glee like the others.

Thomas said...

You know I'm there the second it gets published. Thank you for the teaser.

Jordan said...

I'm curious about the comment that the best shooters can out shoot a fixed-mount. I know little about guns -- I assume though that's not just spice for the book, but based on real data. Know of any links describing the phenomenon in more detail? Sounds fascinating.

jks9199 said...

Great read... and I hate to nit-pick -- but doesn't it make some sense that Pen/Mourn would have had at least some basic exposure to guns in his years on the Flex?

Steve Perry said...

Jason --

The evidence on the shoots-better-than-the gun is mostly anecdotal. You see it in the gun magazines from time to time. Somebody plugs the gun into a Ransom Rest, it shoots a four inch group at twenty-five meters. He takes the gun out and shoots a three inch group consistently.

With semiautos, how you hold the gun matters. If you limp-wrist some of them, they can jam.

A mechanical rest doesn't have the same give as a human's computer-aided organic arm. I don't think that this is conscious, but I believe there are small compensations that the brain makes absorbing recoil that allow for tighter groups.

There are guys who can split playing cards, thread a washer tossed in the air, or one of my favorites, hit the edge of a standing coin and spin it on a table top. I saw a man point empty shells lined up on a table, no sights, about as fast I could cycle a trigger. I think it's because they shoot the piece so often they feel how it's going to throw the bullet.

Steve Perry said...

Guns aren't generally used in the Flex.

Exposure to handguns, even knowing how to shoot a little is not the same as being able to shoot well. (I've known a few LEOs who could barely qualify with their weapons after years being on the force and having to do it twice a year. Carrying a gun doesn't mean you are an expert with it.)

One of the things I learned when I took a class in how-to-teach pistolcraft was that bad habits are worse than no knowledge at tall. Most guys feel that it's manly to be able to shoot, and some of them, their cups tend to be full. Mine was. I could shoot okay, but I couldn't break it down as to why, and I'd had a lot of time playing with assorted boomware and had learned it the hard way.

I found that it was easier for me to show a woman who had never fired a handgun how to do it than a guy who thought he already knew how.

More than once, I've taught a non-shooter the basics and had them hitting the target after a few minutes. And more than once, I've had guys smile and nod and go Yeah, yeah, I know that. who then would missed the paper entirely. (Plus there is an earlier chapter that sets up the need for learning how to shoot in which Pen considers the notion.)

Travis said...

The explanation I've heard once or twice about outshooting a rest is basically that they are timing the movement. Nobody holds a gun perfectly still, certainly not more then the rest. But if you happen to be pulling the trigger when the gun is in the center of the waver it is more accurrate. Still at the unconcious level.

Just what I've heard. I'm nowhere near qualified to say 'this is the fact' but it seems to make sense

Michael said...

A question about the Flex -

In Musashi Flex it seemed as though it was much more about martial skill and 'honor'. Sure there were some asshats and weirdoes, etc. but when they fought it was bare vs bare or weapon vs weapon even if it meant losing. IE with Mourn and Primero, never a thought of cheating. You even get the feel that if you cheat they remove you from this coil. (I assumed a hit squad would snipe you or something.)

Yet in Matadora when Dirisha is playing the flex it alludes to the guy having all kinds of hidden weapons on him (as she had) just in case they started to lose.

Did the flex change or are there more than one flex? A hard core one like in Musashi Flex and a more relaxed one like in Matadora?

Or is it a case of the rules tighten up as you get closer to the top (IE 20 and up)?

Cool on who is who - it was Von that threw me the 5th sibling and no one to put him with. :)

Steve Perry said...

Always gonna be people who cheat and who think they can beat the system.

Lot of drunk drivers and criminals who don't, in their hearts, believe they will ever get caught.

When I shot my IPSC qualifying match, so I could use the local club's combat range, I saw the big division among the shooters -- the martial artists and the gamers.

The former were interested in training to use their hardware in a real life situation -- they tended to carry stock pieces in duty or every day wear concealed leather.

The gamers were interested in winning the match, used unlimited guns with all the bells and whistles, skeletal holsters, and would figure ways to stand and shoot that were technically allowed but not so much in the spirit of the street stuff. Nothing wrong with that, that's the way to win the match, but the focus was different.

Dirisha was a serious player. Some of the other Flexers, maybe not so much.

Justin said...

Really enjoyed this, Steve.
A quick edit about 2/3 down the piece: dupe "could."

"If they got to the point they could hit targets regularly inside, they could could out for longer practice."

"...could go out for longer practice," maybe?

jnabrown said...

Thank you, sir.
Thank you very much.

jks9199 said...

Cool, Steve... Wasn't trying to throw a monkey wrench in there.

And, I agree. Teaching a complete novice, whether it's unarmed combat or shooting, is much easier than teaching someone "who knows a little." And, unless the person is willing to set aside their ego, it's impossible to teach an "expert." Even if they're doing so many things wrong (by any standard)as they shoot that it's a wonder that they're even sending bullets in the right direction...

Steve Perry said...

It's a legitimate question, whether Mourn/Pen knows guns. He would, as a martial artist, need to know some. Luna/Moon is the shooter because it's part of her job. I'll see how it cuts together when I get the draft done, and will adjust how much Pen knows as necessary.

Sean said...

I will add as a thought re:Pen - similar to what went on with Sleel learning the sword, to a certain extent the artist transitioning to a firearm will be able to make some leaps in understanding and technique if properly worked - as you wrote before, there are only so many efficient ways for a person to move and much the same in shooting.

I have found in teaching shooting to some folks with martial arts backgrounds it is often easier to work with the stances they are already used to than to reinvent the wheel - plus it has the advantage of then being able to relate the close quarters portion of things more easily.

Just my brief input.

Steve Perry said...

I agree with Sean here.

I'm not an expert at much of anything, and that includes shooting. Fair-to-middling, and now and then, a good day. I learned from my parents, first with a rile, then a shotgun, and finally sidearms. Neither of them were much on pistolcraft. They grew up in the country, and small game hunting was for food in the pot or getting rid of pests.

As a fan of cowboy movies, I was more into the hoglegs.

So I had been shooting for ten or twelve years before I ever stepped into a martial arts hall, starting back in the days when you held a pistol or a revolver with one hand. (The evolution of the two-handed grip is interesting in itself: Palm-rest, Weaver, straight-thumbs, etc.)

The most common stances for two-handed pistol shooting are isosceles and Weaver, If you have time, you get into the one you like. You need to learn how to shot from wherever you are in a hurry, and different schools offer different ways to practice.

I expect the default is the one you practice the most. I started with isosceles. I learned Weaver, and I can do it, but even though it is more of a martial artist's stance, it's still a conscious choice and isosceles isn't. If somebody can shoot better with one than the other, there's nothing wrong with keeping it as a base.

Like being right- or left-eye dominant. Better to use what you have than try to make somebody switch -- if it doesn't matter anyway.

jks9199 said...

LE pistol training is shifting back to the isosceles stance from the Weaver as a result of looking at what actually happens in shootings.

But I learned a modified Weaver first. Under pressure, I still revert to a modified Weaver on the range. And it does have a resemblance to the walking stance I'm in as we clear houses or whatever... I've been working for about 4 years to shift to the isosceles... My back foot is coming forward slowly!

The bottom line is that in a real shooting, you're going to be shooting from the position you wind up in, that may be crouched behind cover, leaning sideways, hunching over the hood of a car, and lots of other positions that you just don't plan to be in. Learn from an ideal standard and you can adapt.

Stan said...

First, Steve, as always, thank you for the glimpse into SOTS.

Second, as to a "free hand" shooter beating a stable rest...I guess you could go back to Zen Archery where the shooter becomes aware of the one point in time where the archer, arrow and target are "one."

Third, how come Hunter didn't state the "final" rule...that you don't point a fire arm at something you don't want to be dead?

Thank you, Sir! ;~}

Steve Perry said...


I said: "One, never point a loaded gun at anything you aren’t willing to see shot."

I didn't use "dead" because that only applies to something living, and there are other things that can be shot, for reasons other than killing ...

Dan Gambiera said...

Third, how come Hunter didn't state the "final" rule...that you don't point a fire arm at something you don't want to be dead?

A better way to state it is "Don't point a gun at anything you aren't willing to destroy."

If you want a person dead as a regular citizen you need a psychiatric evaluation, not a pistol. Willing to kill, if that's what it takes? Sure. Wanting to? Congratulations, you've just scuttled any claim of self defense and made the prosecutor's day.

And "kill" only applies to critters or plants which are alive. Most of us point guns at non-living things most of the time - paper, steel, wood, gravel.

jks9199 said...

Steve included the Four Cardinal Rules:

There are a bunch of those, but here are the big three: One, never point a loaded gun at anything you aren’t willing to see shot. Unless you have personally unloaded the weapon, checked it three times to be certain, and kept it in your hand, you always assume that the gun is loaded, always. If you unload it, put it down, go pee, then come back, you are to assume that somebody sneaked in and reloaded it while you were gone. “Two, keep your finger off the firing stud or trigger until you are ready to shoot. If you are pulling the weapon from a holster or a waistband and you squeeze the stud before you are ready, you might shoot yourself. It is your fault if you do. “Three, make certain of your target, and this includes where the missile will go if you should miss.

He combined 1 & 2 (Treat all guns as loaded, and never point a gun at anything you're not willing to shoot/destroy), and 3 (Finger off the trigger until on target & ready to shoot) and 4 (Know your target - and what is beyond it) were left alone.

Actually, I kind of like the 3 point version... People tend to think in threes better than fours.

Stan said...

Okay! I surrender! ;~}
I was relaying the way I had been taught and I freely admit that there are other ways to phrase it. I believe that my instructor's point was to emphasize the "finality" inherent in pointing a firearm at anything.

Steve Perry said...

Nothing wrong with a little hyperbole -- the don't-want-to-see-dead is a common way of expressing it, and I've heard it that way and said it that way myself.

But I was getting into precision -- the spetsdods don't kill, and that's why Khadaji chose them.

I had a scene in a script once, never sold it, but the main character, an outstanding pistol shot, was recruited into making a shot through a high security fence. He had to keep the gun concealed, until the shot -- guards were posted, thus no rifle -- and the idea was, using a low-powered smallbore load, that he had to hit a button that would open a door fifty meters away from the fence. Couldn't use a full powered load, because the button had to be hit hard enough to operate it but not destroy it, so the usually admonition wouldn't apply.