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"Modern Handgun Fundamentals"

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"Modern Handgun Fundamentals" by Brad Engmann is a book that claims to be able to take someone "from beginner to pro". Naturally I am the skeptical type so I thought I would take a look and put that claim to the test.

"Modern Handgun Fundamentals" starts off with all the obligatory safety stuff and then handgun terminology. The author first explains what a cartridge is and different action types of handguns are. All of the boring things that someone needs to know but never wants to learn are covered. For the first few pages I was worried that I had stumbled into "Shoot 2" or something. Things very quickly improved with the very detailed breakdown of handgun selection and purchase. There was an interesting comparison of different platforms for USPSA shooting. Not everyone will agree with the analysis presented in the book, but it was at least well thought out.

By the third chapter things are really looking up. Proper technique is not only explained but there are many demonstrations of the "why" in the book. For example, with a golf club and a partner you can learn the reasoning behind a high hand grip by performing a simple exercise. Engmann doesn't just explain what to do. He explains it, shows you a picture, then gives you a demonstration, then gives you pictures of someone doing it wrong. It feels like a war of attrition against bad technique.

The rest of the book primarily focuses on developing yourself as a shooter. Often times there are little "tests" that you need to be able to pass before you are supposed to move on to the next thing. For example, the final accuracy test before you move on to shooting quickly is being able to hit a standard sized piece of paper at 25 yards. Once you can do that you move to the next chapter.

Once a shooter can pass all the basic tests then there is a section of drills with explanations and target performance levels. This isn't a specific day by day breakdown, but just a loose plan pulled together for a shooter to work with.

Predictably though, everything is not perfect with this book. There is a bit on defensive shooting that seemed tacked on and out of place. There are occasionally explanations for shooting a revolver but the goal times and such in the drills don't really reflect anything for a revolver. The effect being that all the wheel gun stuff seems tacked on and unnecessary. The book is published "on demand" making it expensive to get and meaning you need to wait awhile to get it. In a nutshell, "Modern Handgun Fundamentals" lacks polish.

All of that being said, in the right hands this book is an absolute phenomenon. For a new shooter just getting into competitive pistol shooting, this is the book to buy. Forget about "Shooting from Within". Forget about "Shoot". Forget about "Thinking Practical Shooting". This is THE book to get for the newbie. There are even a few nuggets for the more experienced shooters.

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