Firearms Training Doesn’t Have to Be Madness
Article Written By; Ed Santos,
Well maybe not madness but trying to get better at shooting a firearm can be maddening. After all, everyone you talk to is an expert. Advice is never far away. But what value is the advice as it pertains to your particular shooting challenges. Like troubleshooting a faulty piece of machinery, getting back to basics and the overall process of the operation is often the best starting place.
You must first determine what type of shooting you’re trying to improve upon. Is it bulls-eye? Is it 3 gun competition? How about defensive shooting under duress? Whatever your shooting interest or challenge, directed practice that is organized and accomplished with a measurable purpose is the solution. Before you can establish an appropriate training regimen however, you must identify the weaknesses. Once the weaknesses are identified you must set in motion a plan that is well defined.
As I mentioned above, I just finished teaching another 5 Day Comprehensive Handgun Course at the range and this article came to me as I watched the students working through their drills. A defined training program has proven to be very effective in improving one’s shooting. One of our students this week improved her day one baseline score by 204 points and another improved hers by 194 points.
As you develop your defined training program try to follow some basic principles as listed below. Right from the start don’t try to shoot beyond your ability. I often see students placing targets too far away to get an immediate recognition of their performance. Without an immediate recognition of your efforts, your subconscious mind can’t recognize the good behavior to then repeat it and likewise it can’t recognize bad behavior to prohibit a repeat. The main thing is to keep your goals measurable and attainable.
Figure out what you’re doing wrong and correct it. Don’t keep making the same mistake until you frustrate yourself and start making more. Pay close attention to the target. The targets can be a great tell-all. Never look at a target and not understand why the bullets are hitting where they are. Your ultimate goal should be to know where your shot went without looking at the target, but this takes time.
Stick to proven drills. Shooting at a hole in paper will only get you so far. Definable practice drills are not only beneficial to your shooting but also provide you with quantifiable feedback and allow you to track your progress. Take a class if you haven’t already. A basic handgun course never hurt anybody. It’s not about what you do or don’t know, it’s about having someone give you a proven method rather than collecting information from the guys at the range. It also gives you the opportunity to have someone knowledgeable watch you shoot and provide you with feedback.
So how do you develop a definable plan. Start by keeping records of your shooting drills and their outcome. Records such as these benefit your shooting by giving you structure and goals, allowing you to develop programs to regulate and improve the efficiency of your practice and simplify the tracking of rounds, and progress over time.
Before practice you should take note of which drills you plan to perform based on the specific goal for that training session. You will find that this process allows your range session to go more smoothly and will provide a measurable result. By evaluating your results and tweaking your drills you will see improvement much faster that you could have imagined.
About the Author
Ed Santos is author of the books “Rule the Night Win the Fight” published 2008 and his latest “Low-Light Combatives” published 2013. He is the Owner/Founder of Center Target Sports, Inc. and Tactical Services Group. He teaches advanced firearm skills and Low-light training around the world and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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