Charles L. Cotton

Charles L. Cotton

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Big Gun or Little Gun?

CLC 08 bustRest easy, I'm not about to get into this Ford v. Chevy argument -- well, at least not with both feet anyway.   I do want to make an observation from my CHL classes and I hope it will make some of the guys out there reconsider the theory that "the little lady needs a little gun."  Of all the students I've taught, only four failed to pass the shooting portion of the CHL class on the first attempt.  In every case, the gun was the problem; i.e. it was too small and kicked like a mule! All four of the women passed on the second attempt using a larger gun. 

In one extreme case, a tiny lady in her 80's was shooting a compact 9mm semi-auto and it was pounding her so badly she was flinching horribly everytime she pulled the trigger.  Who could blame her?  Every shot was painful and firing 50 rounds was torture.  I let her shoot a full size Smith & Wesson M&P in 9mm and she went from a score of 129 to 219 using a gun she had never fired!  I'm pretty sure her husband bought her an M&P the next day.  The other three women used one of my government model 1911's in .45ACP and passed with ease. 

Several years ago, my wife used to carry a Smith & Wesson Mod. 37 Airweight (17 oz.).  She quit carrying that gun for a very good reason, she wouldn't practice with it because it hurt her hand when she shot it.  It was her decision not to carry a gun she wouldn't practice with and I couldn't agree more.  She now carries a Kimber Ultra Carry in .45ACP, but she's been shooting for . . .  well let's just say she's been shooting for a LONG time.  (How's that Honey?)

The bottom line is this: buy jewelry to look at, light luggage to carry, and big guns to use is a fight (or practice).

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Training: Sport or Self-Defense?

CLC 08 bustOver the years, I have had a number of people ask if I shoot for sport or to train for self-defense.  At first I thought that was an unusual question but after having it asked a number of times, I came to realize that a lot of folks who either don't own guns, or don't use the guns they own, tend to think it as an "either or" situation.  I enjoy shooting as a sport and this has a direct impact on the amount of time and ammo I spend at the range. However, the highest and best use of a gun is to preserve innocent life, so this aspect of gun ownership must be taken seriously. 

Recognizing and appreciating the self-defense uses of firearms doesn't mean you can't have fun or that you can't engage in informal "plinking."  There's an old saying that all trigger time is good and it's true, but only if you aren't practicing bad habits or those that will get you killed.  I have known some people, including instructors, who feel that you need to wipe the smile off your face when you enter a shooting range because this is serious business

In my view, that's taking things to an extreme but people do need to approach self-defense training from a more serious point of view than when they are causally putting a few rounds down range with the family or friends. As with most things in life, balance is the key, especially if you are trying to get someone dear to you to learn to shoot for self-defense.  If you hope to succeed, then don't make a trip to the range unpleasant, hard work, boring, or physically and/or mentally exahusting.  If you do, then you'll have no one but yourself to blame when  the mention of guns or shooting provokes a frown and a fight.  Enough of this, let's get back to training v. having fun.

Notice I said training, not practicing; every time you pull the trigger you are practicing.  The key is to be sure you are practicing good habits even when you are just having fun "plinking."  Since a trip to the range should be fun, make sure you do something you enjoy, but leave some time and ammo for training.  Have a training plan before you leave home.  While it can be detailed, it doesn't have to be a step by step program.  A training plan can be as simple as I'm going to work on drawing and engaging one round and do that several times.  It's important to make the mental transition from fun shooting to training for self-defense.  You are training for an event you pray will never occur, so approach it seriously.  In fact, approach training like your life depends upon it -- it just might!

%PM, %25 %810 %2015 %13:%May is part of The Cotton Group, L.L.C.  Classes offered include the Texas Concealed Handgun License Class, NRA rifle, pistol and personal protection classes, as well as the popular Handgun Skills Series of classes.  CLICK HERE for more information.

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PSC Shooting Club, Inc. - Friendswood

PSC Shooting Club, Inc.
3121 W. Parkwood Ave.
Friendswood, TX  77546

CLICK HERE for our Club page on

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PSC Shooting Club, Inc.

This is just a placeholder "article" for the club ad for PSC Shooting Club.  There will be no link to this article; the link will be to the PSC page on

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Welcome to!

Make the your go-to website for all things shooting-related in Texas.  We’re not only going to be a great online magazine, we going to be your best resource for everything you want to know about guns, shooting, matches, events, training and much much more! is also an online community for people who want have a presence in the Texas shooting community.  It’s almost like having a Facebook page that’s dedicated to shooting in Texas.  Post your own articles, photos, videos, or simply keep up with your fellow gun/shooting enthusiasts. 

Check back often to see what is going on and what’s on the horizon, whether your interest is informal plinking, match shooting, serious self-defense training and equipment, or a combination of all of these activities.  In the coming weeks and months, we plan to add additional resources to help you find everything from shooting clubs and matches that interest you, to the best deals in town on guns, ammo, reloading supplies and more.

Range owners, club officers and match directors should read the article Get Involved” and see what can do to help you grow by publicizing your events, and to streamline event/match registration. 

Welcome to the new and thanks for dropping by.

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