Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Planning to Practice

For most of us time and ammunition are precious commodities, so when you do have the opportunity to practice you want to maximize the return on the time and ammo invested. An afternoon of plinking is great fun, but it does little to prepare you for fighting, unless you’re actually attacked by a mass of crazed aluminum drink cans. So the day before I head to the range to practice, I make a list of the skills I want to focus on for that practice session. This practice schedule does two things. It mentally prepares me for what I want to practice, I’m already thinking about the various skills I need to apply, and it insures I don’t get sidetracked once I start shooting.

For example I’ll normally pick three skills I want to concentrate on. I’ll note these three skills, then list the drills I’m going to perform to practice them. Say I pick movement, malfunctions, and using cover. I can combine all three of these skills into one drill. I’ll set up malfunctions by mixing some dummy ammo in with my live ammo as I load magazines. To begin the drill I draw my pistol, move to cover, engaging the threat, and clearing malfunctions as they occur. Although I’m focusing on three primary skills, I still apply other tactics, such as issuing verbal commands to the threat, concentrating on accurate hits, and scanning my environment for other threats and better cover.

As you practice, keep in mind that round count has nothing to do with the quality of your practice; you can burn through a lot of ammo and not learn anything. These days, especially with the cost and availability of ammo, I do more dry runs of drills than I do live-fire. I’ll run several repetitions of a drill without shooting, and then finally run it live-fire to insure that when I do press the trigger I’m getting the hits needed to stop the threat. To make sure I don’t blast away more ammo than I should the round count per drill is noted on my list of drills.

When planning your practice sessions make it a point to work on the things that you don’t like, which is normally the stuff we don’t do very well. Practicing these skills may not be much fun, but we should constantly be striving to strengthen our weaknesses. During or after your session record your thoughts as to how you performed, and other skills you discovered that need fine-tuning. This reference can help determine the direction of your next practice session.

Learning to fight requires repetition, for both the mind and body. Learning also requires dedication and discipline. Simply going through the motions and shooting targets doesn’t mean you’re improving your combative skills. Planning, preparing, and keeping records of your training sessions will improve following practice sessions. Yes, it requires a little more effort on your part, but you’re preparing for life-or-death confrontations, so practice accordingly.

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September 19, 2010 - Posted by | General Training

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