Lanterns: Self-Defense Safety When Visually Impaired

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Self-Defense Safety When Visually Impaired

We plan, and we practice and know what we are going to do when everything is in the controlled parameters of our plan.  But have you ever thought about what would happen to your plan if something like your vision was ever compromised?  All it would take is someone to knock off your glasses or lose a contact lens, and even a hard blow to the back of the head is enough to affect your vision.

I know that I never thought about it until one day when I was attacked, and my glasses were knocked off and broken.  I could not see anything in front of me that was more than three feet away.  Thankfully, I was not hurt really bad, and my glasses were repaired, but that was a real eye opener for me.  This made think.  As some of us get older, our vision is not as good as in our twenties, and some of us, like me did not have good vision in the first place and had to wear glasses in order to see anything.

Now I have a plan for when my vision is compromised.  I practice everything with my glasses on, and then I run the drill again with my glasses off.  

So how do I complete my loss of vision drill without shooting myself or someone else?  The best way is to use the range when no one else is there.  I always have a person with me for safety, and their job is to stand behind me where it is the safest place and make sure I do not point the firearm in a dangerous manner.  If I do, then the person is going to stop me and tell me it is unsafe.  Also, before I shoot at the target, I am going to ask my safety person if it's safe to fire and I'll wait for their "go ahead."

Now, for my carry gun and home defense weapons:  first, my wife and I both have vision issues, and they are both different. What we did was put a red laser on the firearm. The dot is bright enough for her to see and large enough for me to pick up at a longer distance.  For my carry gun, (which is now a Glock 19), I went to the gun store and looked at several models of handguns and their sights.  The three white dots that many of the handguns have were hard for me to see and to align.  The Glock 19’s sights were the best that I could see and the easiest to pick up even without my glasses.  The rear sight is a large u-shape with a white outline around the window, and the front is a large white dot.  

Now for the training-- I started by dividing it up into different distances.  "A" zone is seven feet and under.  In this zone, the target is close enough that I can see the threat, but it is blurry.  I can make an effective shot on the target just by looking at the back of the slide and not the sights at all.  I call this point shooting; it is just like pointing your finger at an object that is close. The same is true with the handgun.  If you point the handgun at the target, you should just be able to see the back of the slide and not any of the sides of the slide.  

"B" zone is eight to fifteen feet.  In this zone, I am going to be able to see the threat, but it is harder, so now I am going to look at the sights and try to align them.  In other words, the sights may be aligned, but they may not be perfect. This is what I call a combat effective shot.    

"C" zone is the distance of 16 to 21 feet, and this is my maximum distance that I can shoot at the target without my glasses and make effective, safe shots.  For this range, I am going to focus on the front sight because I am nearsighted.  I will align the sights as perfectly possible and press the trigger to the rear.  Like I said before, this is my maximum range I will shoot from.  I could be endangering innocent bystanders anything beyond this distance without my glasses.

If you are a person who doesn't have vision problems, you should still practice, in case your vision suddenly becomes impaired.  Take a pair of shooting glasses and either put clear tape or a thin coat of vaseline over the lens. Wear them and see how it would look if your vision was impaired and now try to shoot at the target safely, using some of the techniques I mentioned.  

Vision impairment drills are something that every person who carries a handgun for defense needs to practice.  Just remember, when you practice vision impairment drills, please be safe. Try doing them dry fire or use an airsoft gun first, before you try them at a live fire range.  

Curt Andrews
A Second Amendment Advocate

Written by Curt Andrews

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