Splitting A Card In Half

Posted: December 19, 2013 in Shooting
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I just finished my third day of level III security training at Texas Handgun Academy, near 635 and Plano.  We all had a chance to shoot under the tutelage of Fred Harkins, aka Pai Mei 🙂 (Google Kill Bill if you don’t get it).  THA teaches to a very high standard and one of the cool aspects of the course is the shooting instruction everyone receives before qualification.

I was shooting while recovering from a pretty severe rib injury, so I had some recoil anticipation issues going on.  Fred worked with me to demonstrate that it was more in my head than my ribs and he pointed out that I had let my trigger finger position slip too far towards the knuckle on my new Sig.  May not sound like much, but it adds up in results.

After the session, he asked three of us to attempt a shot that he made the prior day.  The goal was to split a playing card from the side at a distance of 3 yards … with a .22LR pistol.  THA supplied the pistol, so none of us had any familiarity with its operation.

The ‘tricks’ behind the shot are that you must use a hollow point round and you must aim absolutely side on.  If you sight even a slight glimpse of either side of the card, you get a graze like I experienced on my first shot.  Ah, but you can’t see the card, so how do you get a sight picture?  That’s the whole idea of the exercise.  Fred explained that the card is placed in a slot cut in the middle of a post.  You align the front sight with the middle of the post and then move slowly upward until the post disappears.  Then, hold the sight picture – this means you must TRUST the sight picture.  A perfect trigger squeeze completes the shot.

Fred constantly insisted during instruction that if he could do something, then he could train you to do it.  He proved the claim today as all three people made the shot.  I took three tries.  A lady who was an eagle eye with a 9mm did it in three shots.  One guy stepped up to the line and did it on his very first shot!

I think this is the first time I really experienced what it means to truly focus on the front sight and trust your sight picture.  It was a really rewarding exercise and I want to throw some props to THA for going well beyond the standard curriculum.  They take a great level of pride in the art of instruction.

Here is a photo of the card I took after we returned to the classroom.


Fred autographed everyone’s card as a witness after the fact.


Now, I’m no top shot and my ribs hurt to the point that I had trouble holding any gun up for more than five shots.  It was worth the discomfort though to experience such an extreme focus on fundamentals.  So, once again, I need to throw some serious props to THA.

– Diligencia, Vis, Celeritas


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