An astonishingly comprehensive guide to the use of firearms.
According to League (The Perfect Pistol Shot, 2017), proper training in the use of a handgun requires a system that addresses the totality of possible circumstances, which presupposes but goes well beyond marksmanship and open-distance shooting. His approach is called Practics (meaning practical tactics), designed to combine the value of several different existing techniques, including point-shooting and aimed-fire shooting, but it also accommodates firing while the shooter is in motion and even while the shooting arm is in motion. And since the vast majority of gunfights occur within close range, the author discusses (in impressive detail) hand-to-hand combat techniques relevant for those circumstances and even subcontact shooting, in which a gun’s muzzle is pressed directly into the target’s flesh at the point of firing. League considers a dizzying array of scenarios—shooting in the dark, shooting around a corner and ricocheting off a wall, shooting while running, warning shots, and a seemingly endless list of others. Also, he discusses the fundamentals of marksmanship, an exhaustive account of the shooter’s tools (from holsters to knives), ambidextrous training, and the proper response to a firearm’s malfunction. The orientation of the book is unyieldingly pragmatic. League relentlessly examines a range of predicaments with which a shooter might be confronted. The entire manual is the equivalent of a three-week training course; the author also provides helpful suggestions about how to follow the prescribed course of study, which includes a surfeit of instructive drills.
League was a U.S. Marine Corps marksmanship and close-combat pistol instructor, and his wealth of experience and technical mastery are extraordinary. It’s difficult to imagine what would count as a more thorough treatment of the subject—he includes a discussion of firing straight up into the air and straight down into the ground. Also, the author supplies a searching account of the legal and moral questions that inevitably confront a shooter and the situations within which a “reasonably prudent person” can legitimately resort to deadly force as a matter of self-defense. League doesn’t glamorize or recommend violence—in fact, his book seems designed to correct unrealistic depictions of gun violence peddled in popular culture—but rather attempts to convey the safest and most effective uses of firearms consistent with the law. Occasionally, the author interjects his own political sentiments regarding gun control law, views which are not uncontroversial today and will certainly rankle some readers. Not everyone will agree that the “firearm is a tool for the civilized” or the fact that “the home defender being increasingly scrutinized and caricatured is undeniable.” Some will even be astonished by the pronouncement, delivered sans argument, that “George Zimmerman legally shot Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman had a God-given right, recognized by the U.S. Constitution, to defend himself— and he nearly went to prison for it.” Nevertheless, this is an impressive training manual, written with great clarity and filled with photographs helpfully illustrating its lessons.
A definitive introduction to firearms training, helpful for the novice and the expert.