Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Cold Weather Training

Alabama winters are usually mild, even in the northern part of the state, but this last week we were blessed with cold weather, down into the ‘teens, and even a little bit of snow, which around here closed everything down for a couple of days. I say we were blessed with this weather because it was a perfect chance to get some practice in under less than ideal conditions.

When it comes to training and practice everyone wants to shoot in nice comfortable weather. Let’s face it, if it’s cold, raining, or both, that sucks all the fun out of shootin’. But there is a world of difference between shooting and fighting. And when it comes time to fight, the weather and surrounding conditions will be whatever it is. By not training in bad weather, and in the appropriate clothing you’re cheating yourself, and kidding yourself about truly being ready to face a threat.

Let’s look at drawing your weapon as an example. If all you do is train with your weapon exposed, but when you carry the pistol is concealed, then when faced with actual trouble and you need your weapon and need it quick, you’re going to fumble the draw, because you haven’t practiced clearing your sweater and jacket to access the pistol.

Manipulations are another factor. The clothing thing pops up again when you go for a spare magazine. To acquire a fresh mag you’ll have to clear your clothing just like you do when drawing your weapon, except using the support hand. Performing reloads and clearing malfunctions will be a completely different thrill when you’ve got cold stiff hands or while wearing thick winter gloves.

What about movement? You cannot fight effectively if you don’t have physical and mental balance. With snow and ice covering the ground, or even water on slick concrete, you’ll want to move carefully to avoid losing your physical balance. Finding yourself flat on your back in the middle of a fight makes it difficult to create distance or gain cover. When you’re moving and your foot slips on the ice it’s going to distract you, physically and mentally. There is practically no way not to be distracted in your mind when this occurs, and in a fight you cannot afford to be diverted from the task of defeating your opponent.

The point of all this is that when the weather makes you want to hit the couch with a good book, it’s time to head to the range. Train and practice under adverse conditions, and then if you do get lucky and fight in great weather you’ll be ahead of the game. Remember we’re talking about skills that will be necessary to defend your life, and when the fight starts is not the time to figuring out something you should have already known.

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September 19, 2010 - Posted by | General Training

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