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Load When You Can

Load When You Can

In the process of searching for an early reference to combat shooting techniques, I had cause to take down my copy of William L. Cassidy’s fine survey, Quick or Dead. This is a minor classic among handgunning books. Now 35 years old, it is still the best book to address the several schools of thought that have guided the development of close-quarters shooting over the years. Cassidy quotes from a great many different sources, among them a guy named Hugh Pollard.

Pollard was an Englishman who wrote in pre- and post-World War I times. In his major work, “The Book of the Pistol,” he has this cryptic advice for the combat handgunner who has just dropped a violent adversary: “Do not advance cheerfully upon your late opponent without reloading. You may have used your last round and he may not be properly dead and still spiteful.”

Properly dead?  Spiteful?  Indeed. Today’s Gunsite says: “Load when you can, not when you have to.”

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