One shot, in the dark, at 312 feet, single-handed, while holding the reigns of two horses

I’m sure you’ve heard about the crazy guy that shot up downtown Austin a few days ago.

What I think is the bigger story is APD Sgt. Adam Johnson’s response that stopped the shooting spree before anyone could be hurt.

Quoting APD Police Chief Art Acevedo from the press conference:

this man [Sgt. Johnson] took 1 shot, from approximately 312 feet away, in the dark, single-handed, while holding the reigns of 2 horses

That 1 shot dropped the crazy (found its mark quite perfectly), and stopped everything. Good job Sgt. Johnson.

I would love to know some things, like if the Sgt. actually trained for this (i.e. took 100 yard shots with his pistol in training), or if he got lucky, or what. But, that’s not what’s important.

What is important is to look at some things:

  • Long distance (much longer than 15 yards)
  • In the dark (well, low-light because downtown Austin at 2:30 AM isn’t pitch black)
  • One handed
  • While managing other things (reigns of two horses)

Yeah, on the spectrum of skills to work on, these skills aren’t as vital as some things (see: Minimum Competency for Defensive Pistol). But that doesn’t mean they aren’t important.

No, you can’t practice 100 yard pistol shots at Red’s Indoor Range, but how well can you handle 15 yards? 25 yards? They may not be the ranges of a typical gunfight, but in Tom Givens‘ student data set, he did have a couple incidents that happened in that 15-25 yard range. It happens, and you don’t get to choose if you get to have a typical or anomalous incident.

How good is your one-handed shooting? Weak-hand too? I know this is always a place I need more practice.

And how about being able to manage something else, like maybe your child is in your hands? Claude Werner elaborates on this:

In the age of two-handed shooting, one-handed shooting has become severely neglected. However, any parent could be carrying a child or grandchild when an incident occurs. To practice for this, consider using a large bag of cat litter to simulate having to access your firearm and shoot while encumbered with a child. At the very least, devoting a substantial portion of your live-fire and dry-fire practice to one-handed work is appropriate for all armed parents of small children.

Give some thought to Sgt. Johnson’s performance. See what you can do to improve your own.

5 thoughts on “One shot, in the dark, at 312 feet, single-handed, while holding the reigns of two horses

  1. I was thinking the same thing. It sounds like exactly what a Bullseye shooter would do.

    104 yards is a shot that is makable if you can stay calm and steady. Hell, Jerry Miculek could do it with the gun upside down. But it takes practice and confidence.

    • Indeed, but you gotta know the holdover, etc. So I wonder if he just got damn lucky, or if he actually practiced such a thing — I’m more apt to believe the latter than the former.

      • He was also shooting downhill: the stables by APD are towards Red River, and the report indicates the bad guy was over by I-35 – he had to “scientific wild ass guess” on the holdover.

        Or the wind was “just right,” the cosmos blew on the bullet, Lady Luck was by his side, he invoked Wild Bill, etc. Awesome shot.

  2. Sgt. Adam Johnson, one of those officers, was holding the reins of two horses when he returned fire with one single-handed shot which struck McQuilliams in the heart, killing him, from about 312 feet away.

    Ho. ly. crap Batman! Just wow.

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