The best way to end a gunfight is to win it, and sometimes that requires proficient handgun accuracy at ranges beyond the norm.

All too often officers find themselves confronted with a suspect wielding a rifle or shotgun. Many now quip something to the effect that you can “fight your way back to your rifle.” Great slogan—too bad slogans don’t win gunfights. Until an officer responds to every call with a rifle slung on their side, the reality is they may and probably will be fighting against a long gun with their pistol. You really have to prepare for the fight you may get, not the one you want.

It is normally the “routine” call that is the most dangerous. On these calls your rifle is down the street in the trunk or rack and you are in the fight of your life. If that rifle has become a “crutch,” you are fighting it on one leg. It is critical the rifle be an advantage when necessary, but not a replacement for pistol skill. There are a few simple things you can do to prevent this from occurring. The most critical and easiest thing you can do is simply to be accurate with your pistol, and the longer the range you can do that the better.

Knowing how your pistol performs at longer ranges is imperative, and certainly something you’d rather find out prior to a gunbattle.

The more accurate you are at 25 yards and beyond, the more accurate you will be at 10 yards. The converse is not true, as many an officer that looks like an action shooting star up-close cannot hit the side of a barn at 25 or 30 yards. You need to train to be accurate at distance, period. That takes effort, but not a ton of it, and it just may save your life someday.

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