1. Practicing this drill is a good time to practice checking a couple of things that are always essential: whether the cylinder or firing chamber is loaded (especially if you are dry firing), and what is not only behind the target, but what might be moving in front of, or back of, the target. One might tend to focus too much on opening and closing the eyes, and less on the immediate environment. I am reminded of a pigeon flying in front of a Randy Johnson fastball. Not so much worried about birds, but people wandering from the firing line while your eyes are closed. Best advice here is “don’t be stupid.” A real good drill, though. Reminds me a little of the Jim Cirillo concept of sighting with the whole gun.

  2. Great drill Mas and when I did this in your class I shot better with my eyes closed verses open 🙂

  3. Hey Mas!
    Recently on YouTube there’s been a little bit of “drama”, a channel called Gun Nuts Media made a video slandering and misrepresenting a man by the name of Paul Harrell. You were mentioned in a few of those videos, where Gun Nuts Media claimed that you “agreed with” him, though others have said your opinion falls more in line with Paul. If you had the time, would you be interested in watching these videos, and perhaps making a comment or statement about where you stand on it? It’s been making the rounds on the YouTube gun community these last few days.

    This is Gun Nuts Media’s first (?) video on the topic:
    And Paul Harrell’s rebuttal video, to my knowledge the only video he’s made on the topic:

    Gun Nuts Media made two follow up videos on his channel, too.

    • Seen them. Staying out of it. There’s video of me on YouTube addressing those topics, which I think speaks for itself.

    • I am doubtful about “Experts” who insist that they “know the Gospel” about the One (and only One) way to operate a firearm. You see these debates all the time. They range from the proper stance to use, the proper draw stroke, reloading techniques (both pistol and revolver), best caliber/ammo to use, etc. etc. etc.

      The fact is that people are different. What works great for Person A may be a disaster for Person B. For example, I shoot best using the Weaver Stance. I learned to shoot with airguns and rifles (as a child) and the Weaver “feels” natural to me. This is because the Weaver stance is basically an “adaption to the handgun” of the classic rifle stance. A person who starts out shooting handguns, and never learned the rifle as a child, may easily use some other stance with excellent results.

      So, despite whatever “theoretical” advantages are offered by other stances, the Weaver has become part of my DNA and I will use it as long as I can still hold a handgun and shoot it. I don’t even have to think about it. It is natural to me.

      So, while expert advise and training is very important, one cannot blindly adopt what is taught. The “True Path” (in my opinion) is to consider what others teach, adopt the best of what is taught but, ultimately, to go with what works best for you.

      A novice shooter does not know what works or does not work. That is where training is most needed. However, experienced shooters will ultimately reach a point where they know what works for them. It is not the same for everybody since all people are individuals.

      • So true. I”d been around long guns most of my life but never even held a handgun until a Certain Candidate appeared to be on the verge of becoming our next president. I dedided It Was TIme. I’d gotten to know the crew at my local Cabelas, and spent some time there during what I knew would be slow times. “Everyone” had told me repeatedly “just get a Glock and be done with it”. So I looked at some in the case… seemed OK, I had the guy put every model in my hands, I’d read some, Mas’ work amongst them, and seemed to find a natural stance easily. I already had good trigger control from y long gun work. But NONE of those Glocks seemed to “feel right”. Maybe it’s me….. just get one and you’ll get used to it. Tried some other things… one thing about the Glocks… when I would get a good grip on one, on a selected point of aim, lower it to low ready, close my eyes and bring it up to my line of sight, the Glocks would be pointing WAY off.. can’t remember for sure but I think they pointed high. Every time. Tried some other things, the Springfield XD’s they felt good, pointed naturally for me, Kimbers did, too, but I was not ready for a thousand dollar forty five. I put an XD40 on layaway. Made a coule o fpayments.. then someone put a Browning High Power in my hands. It felt as if John Moses had custom made that gun for ME. I bought one, then another… finally bailed out the XD but left it new in the box. Hah, by then the Certain Candidate was indeed our Chief Executive, and gun prices and availblielty began to climb as more “saw the writing on the wall: and wanted to get theirs while they still legally could. I left that XD untouched in the box… later a friend of mine mentioined he was looking to buy a handgun, I asked if he had anything in mine.. I about fell over when he said he wanted an XD 40. I told him about mine. I’d bought it on a steeply discountd package deal, then the retail price had gone up, twice… so I got every nickel Id spent on it back, and then a bit more.

        I still carry that first BHP daily, and love it, Have several more I”ve found, all but abandoned, here and there… two were brand new in the box, old Belgian ones. None are recent versions.

        SO the Glock everyone told me to get was not right for me, and I was able to learn this before buying one. The next “popular” gun I bought, but never fired it.. because I had come across something else that REALLY fit and worked. It is still respeced but I’ve only met a very few who carry them, they are far from popular for “daily drivers”. Fine. Easier to find “users”.
        Same with the AR pattern rifles, I have yet to hold one that feels comfortale in MY hands, and I’ve got quite a few different long guns (yes, of COURSE, a Belgian BAR, A bolts, some of their lever guns. Old military things that are just loads of fun besides their “cool factor”. But never, so far, an AR pattern I’ve thought I could adapt to so as to become an extension of ME. Wanitng something that feeds on the ubiquitous and fairly capable 5.56, I found a Ruger Ranch Mini 14….. perfect. Its not “black and ugly” but that is no selling factor for me. I respect those rifles, I see dozens of them on the line as I work as an Appleseed Instrictor, and have HAD to learn how they operate so I can assist when a student has an “issue” with theirs. I’ve watched them hold small goups (three inches) at four hundred yards. IMpressive. That’s about .66 MOA. No artificial support, just the shooter, dirt, and sling. So far, the single most popular type of rifle in North AMerica holds NO interest for me, though I remain open to trying more of them.

        Everyone IS INDEED different. We each need to find uot what works for US Then work to make that second nature.

        This drill is very much like what we call the “natural point of aim”, except we do a drill that, once we find and verify our NPOA, we are to take FIVE SHOTS in rapid fire succession, IF we haev NPOA our group will be very tight, If it is not tight, we lied to ourselves. Tru it again. It works. Very impressive when someone canput ten rounds in a one inch square in thirty seconds at 25 metres. They always want to know “how do you DO that??!??”. Well if you have a couple of days I can show you most of it. But the rest is up to you.

      • @ Tionico – I also agree with much of what you say. I remember the first time I held a Glock pistol in my hands. It was an early generation Glock. As I wrapped my hand around it, I thought “God, this is AWFUL!”. It felt like a brick. The experience was so traumatic that I have never even considered buying a Glock Since. Although, I understand that the newer generations have improved grips.

        While I like S&W revolvers, I generally hate their factory grips too. Fortunately, one can replaced the grips (or stocks, if you prefer) on revolvers with much better aftermarket ones.

        In contrast, I love the grip on my 1911. It just feels so natural to me. I have never owned a BHP but I will take your word that they are great too. John M. Browning was a true genius. Not merely in firearms design but in ergonomics too.

        Like you, I do not enthuse over the AR platform. I have an AR carbine and it is an accurate little rifle but it has never felt truly natural to me. I think part of the reason is that I am left-handed and the AR is so “Right-Hand”. I put an ambi safety on mine which helps some. Still, the gun does not feel quite right.

        In contrast, I own AK and Mini-30 platform rifles and they feel much better to me. It is hard to say why. I think that they are more lefty friendly despite the “experts” who tell us that the AR has “far, far, far” superior ergonomics.

        Fortunately, many modern pistols come with a set of grip panels to fit the grip to the end user. I have a S&W M&P 2.0 compact that came with four (4) grip panels. The medium-large was the one that fit me the best. While still not quite as good as my 1911, with this ML grip, the M&P feels pretty good. Far better than any Glock that I ever held anyway.

        People are truly individuals. I know folks that love their Glocks and won’t hear a word against them. I won’t say that they are wrong. FOR THEM, the Glock may be heaven. I won’t deny the possibility. However, the Glock pistol is the “Other Place” for me! 🙂

  4. Now would be a great time to create an online class of your classroom MAG-20. It can’t be as good as a live class with you, but it could cover the basic information. Once you sell it enough times to cover production costs, it could then be a source of passive income. Ask Jack Spirko or Rob Pincus it.

  5. Did that to get ‘trigger-centric’ in evaluation of three new (to me) guns. I’ll be writing about it soon — and thanks for the reminder.

  6. Teach by skype!! Each student brings a laptop with internet connection via cellphone to a gun range and interacts with you.

    This is the 21st century!

    • Some ranges where I work have NO SIGNAL of any kind, not even wired landline.

  7. Excellent drill that has been around for a long time but is largely unknown in the instructor community. By isolating the senses to the minimum needed to perform an action the mind is allowed to recognize that the noise and recoil of firing a gun is of no consequence to one’s personal safety therefore eliminating a primary cause of mis-manipulating the trigger and pulling the muzzle off the target before the bullet leaves the barrel. Many deficiencies in a shooter’s ability can be diagnosed and remedied by this and similar drills performed with the eyes closed under safety supervision. Articles in Shooting Illustrated, Concealed Carry Magazine and American Cop Magazine have been published on Overcoming the Self Preservation Response which was the title given in discussing the issues in this article and others involving innate responses spawned by the amygdala portion of the brain that had a detrimental affect on shooting performance. Mas and Ken are friends and sage sources of information! They won’t steer you wrong!

  8. In my time as an instructor I’ve come to believe that accuracy is about 95% or so trigger control. Removing the visual component gets rid of that tendency to jerk the trigger when the sights are ‘just right.’

    In our introductory class the first thing we do is tape up the sights for about the first six hours or so of training. We’ve had great results with this method. Turns out that most students can do very well out to at least 7 yards with this technique. Once they’ve learned trigger control accuracy tends to be *way* better once they are allowed to use a traditional sight picture.

    Again, to be clear, this isn’t about learning point shooting, but rather trying to teach trigger control before trying to teach pinpoint accuracy, which is impossible anyway unless you have good trigger control.

    • Friend Rick B, what you say is consistent with my experience over long years in wild country shooting a few aggressive bears coming at me suddenly from close cover. I consistently made sure not to jerk the trigger, but to wait just long enough for the finger pressure to trip the trigger when the trigger itself wanted to act, while I directed my weapon, using my sights, yes, but just letting the sight picture happen, no matter how urgent the occasion seemed to be. I always managed a stopping first shot, although afterwards I might wonder how I managed to react fast enough to get the job done. Jeff Cooper’s approach on film from Gunsite regarding 1911 trigger control seems similar. A good trigger and close familiarity with it are also life-preserving. Pepper spray has some application as a secondary bear deterrent, just make sure that conditions are adequate, and that you have a cushion via distance and time, as well as a primary plan of adequate caliber. Bear attacks are rare, yes, but each victim is 100% rare meat. Getting more that time of year again.

      • Strategic Steve,

        I guess being ambushed by a bear would be a good way to practice firing under stress. Congratulations on passing this test several times.

        Obviously a bear can only hurt us if it can touch us. Criminals with guns could shoot us from a distance. It’s good to “bear arms” but I hope no one ever finds a way to “arm bears.”

        In NJ, we have activists who protest the hunting of bears. I suppose one of them could rig a remotely controlled gun on a belt that would be wrapped around a bear. If a camera was in place there too, the anti-hunter could see a hunter approaching the bear. Using remote control, the anti-hunter could aim the bear-mounted gun at the hunter and fire it. So I guess someone might try to arm bears in the future.

        As Paul said above, “This is the 21st century!”

  9. (Feel free to delete this, as I know it is off-topic, but has anyone heard anything about Evan Marshall? Is he alright? His website “Stopping Power” has been down for a week or two.)