In continuation of last month’s lesson, we can take that muscle-memory to the next level and start the “cool guy” double tap.

If you missed last month’s article read it first here:  The double-tap is actually a useful tool in competitions and for self-defense.  Competitors are scored on a mix of time and accuracy with the option in many divisions to either land one great shot or two good shots.  When ammo conservation is of no concern it’s often quicker to fire two rapid shots and move on than to slow down for a perfectly-aimed shot.  In self-defense ammo conservation is often more important, but multiple hits offer better insurance of neutralizing the threat.


Now that we understand the why let’s get to the how.  There are actually two types of double-taps.  The first is what we see in all of the movies and is faster, but less accurate.  We’ll refer to is as a “hammer”.  The second takes a bit more time but offers better accuracy and is referred to as a “controlled pair”.  The difference is in aiming.  With a Hammer, we aim once and squeeze the trigger twice quickly.  For a Controlled Pair, we trap the trigger to the rear while getting back on target and fire again as soon as we have a flash of a good sight picture.  As the name implies the controlled pair offers us a lot more control and so is usable at longer ranges and offer the chance to not fire a second shot should the need arise.

In competition, in self-defense, or having fun on the range these are practical skills to develop and practicing them will increase your skills as a shooter regardless of what you use them for.  After getting comfortable with the basics challenge yourself by testing your skills at different ranges.  Begin at 5 yards and work the target farther and farther away in two-yard increments.  Find your natural limit to the effectiveness of hammering and try to push that limit while maintain what you consider acceptable accuracy for your application.  Remember “aim small, miss small!”  Double-taps are not a race but rather a specific skill set.  Firearms with shorter, crisper resets make it easier, but this can be performed with any semi-automatic firearm.

“Graham Baates” is a pen name used by a 15-year active Army veteran who spent most of his time in the tactical side of the Intelligence community including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Post-Army Graham spent some time in the 3-Gun circuit before becoming a full-time NRA Certified defensive handgun instructor and now works as an industry writer while curating a YouTube channel and blog on the side. Visit Graham on Youtube .