What Kind of Shooter Are You?


By Brett H

The Importance of Multiple Platforms & Considerations for Equipment Selection and Techniques with Cross Over Benefits

What kind of shooter are you; or, what do you shoot? Many people identify as a pistol shooter, a rifle shooter, or a shotgunner. Hopefully, you identify as a serious student seeking to be a highly competent shooter. Other than that, I would like to caution you to try to avoid labels when describing what kind of shooter you are.  All legitimate and legal shooting activities can be beneficial, and the pursuit of any shooting activity can instill discipline, increase focus, and be an outlet for positive social networking and interaction. The defensive practitioner seeks the additional benefit of lawful self- defense.

Whether an individual chooses a pistol, rifle, or shotgun, any of these can be extremely relevant to a defensive practitioner. Situation and circumstance beyond an individual’s control usually determine which firearm may be the best tool for the task at hand. Let’s take a view of the pros and cons of the pistol, the rifle, and the shotgun when considered for a defensive application.

Pistols or handguns are used mainly for immediate defense of an unforeseen and unexpected threat. As such, they need to be readily accessible, accurate, dependable, and of sufficient caliber to stop a determined violent criminal attacker. Carrying a pistol on one’s body is truly a system. The complete system depends on a quality gun belt specifically designed to support the weight of the pistol and additional magazines of ammunition. Infinite adjustability is a very desirable quality to a good gun belt. A quality holster that is comfortable and safe is a key component to the overall system. The holster may be the most important piece of the system and can make or break a person’s readiness and safety.

You should be familiar and comfortable with the “fence” position or interview position to guard your torso and head yet grant fast access to a concealed firearm if necessary. Your stance should be a fighting stance or an athletic stance. You should be able to defend yourself either by hand to hand combatives or be able to quickly access and fire a pistol and be in full control of the recoil to promote follow up or additional shots if necessary.

While the pistol is easy to conceal and access quickly, it is a system of limited effectiveness when it comes to immediately stopping violent criminal aggression. Not only is the pistol’s ballistic effectiveness less than desirable, the platform is also limited in range. Many defensive practitioners would be hard pressed to hit a target at 75 feet much less any threat further distant.

The pistol should be able to be drawn immediately from concealment. Let’s define immediately, as less than 2 second to draw, and successfully hit the A Zone area of an IPSC Target at distance of 21 feet. More speed and accuracy in the draw and employment of a pistol are always desirable. Deployment time of greater than 2 seconds is undesirable. Violent criminal acts can happen quickly when the actor is at a position of advantage and you may be at position of disadvantage.

The speed of life or the speed of fight in a violent criminal act can unfortunately occur in fractions of a second. Ideally, one should be able to recognize potential threats in about a ½ second time (the reactionary gap), make a decision to react in about ¼ second, produce the pistol from concealment in approximately 1 second and fire an aimed an accurate shot in another ¼ second. As stated earlier, faster is better and with regular training and a discipline in dry practice, faster can be achievable. At a minimum, the defensive practitioner should be striving for this level of performance. Therefore, if the defensive practitioner is not able to access and employ in this time window their defensive pistol is not fulfilling its intended purpose and for practical purposes may as well be on the dark side of the moon. Carry your pistol, make sure it is immediately accessible, be sure of your skills and, most importantly, be able to perform on demand when you need to.


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The rifle is a powerful firearm purposely built for accuracy, ballistic effectiveness and a longer range. The rifle’s con as compared to the pistol is that it is very difficult to conceal and can be much more difficult to carry and or keep immediately accessible like a pistol. If you have the ability to employ a rifle instead of a pistol the advantages of that situation are undeniable. Increased lethality and usually increased ammunition capacity can be but a start. Rifles or carbines can be great for close quarter work like 50 yards or closer. Accurate rifles can also considerably extend engagement distance with the use of variable magnified optics. This type of capability usually falls outside of the defensive practitioner’s intended purpose of use. However, there can be breakdowns of societal law and order which present circumstances where a defensive practitioner could very well be served with the capability to keep threats at bay by keeping them at a distance. Recent incidents underline situations where greater engagement distance would be exceptionally beneficial; those would include localized societal collapse or active shooter situations.

No one firearm performs all defensive shooting applications extremely well. The defensive shotgun is not superior to the defensive pistol or defensive carbine in overall effectiveness. However, the single shot application of multiple high velocity projectiles that can produce immediate incapacitation at distance of 45 feet or less is unmatched. This is quite an impressive capability. The shotgun is heavy, has greater recoil and lower ammunition capacity and is slower to load than the pistol and the carbine but that does not mean it has no place in the defensive practitioner’s world. It is one seriously effective choice for home defense and other applications.

Not all justified applications of defensive force rise to the level of lethal force. Any firearm will be regarded in the eye of the law as lethal force. Sometimes self-defense is necessary but only justified at a combative or less than lethal force level. Do you possess effective fighting skills like striking and grappling? A well rounded defensive practitioner should.

Let’s reexamine the original question, what kind of shooter are you? Not only should you be a serious student in pursuit or possession of high competency levels. You should consider yourself a fighter. A fully capable fighter has many tools available with which to defend themselves and loved ones from attack.  Does your fighting system effectively cross over from hand to hand, to pistol, to rifle or shotgun as necessary? Or even better does your systematic approach quickly make you effective with the best tool for the situation and circumstances at hand.

Green Ops training utilizes this system approach to fighting. Our fighting stance works for hand to hand, pistol, rifle and shotgun applications. We teach a commonality approach to work space and firearm manipulation that instills safe weapons handling and manipulation, while maintaining situational awareness through proper visual acuity of battle space. We stress the importance of grip, recoil mitigation and effective aiming to help you quickly become an efficient fighter capable of reading and reacting appropriately to potentially harmful criminal actors. These crossover benefits easily and quickly correlate and transfer from platform to platform allowing the defensive practitioner to select the best tool available for the task at hand.

We are honored by the trust placed in us by you all. We are grateful to have you all as friends and clients. We hope to help you reach your defensive goals. We are debuting three new courses to help you continue to reach your defensive goals: Variable Power Optics/ Precision Rifle Fundamentals, Defensive Shotgun I, and Concealed Carry Close Quarters Combatives; a combined offering with C4 Combatives. All these new courses were developed from client requests. Please continue to let us know how we can help you improve your readiness and capability.

Keep training hard and stay safe! Be ready and stay dangerous toward the evil predators amongst us!

Author: Brett Harnish
Edited by Jay Laluz and Andy Lander

Michael Green