So. How do you get this sought after and elusive accuracy everybody is looking for. In a word: PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE! Ok, so that’s three words but it’s really important. Not only is shooting a perishable skill it’s also a skill with a lifetime of learning. New tactics and techniques are always being developed so there will always be something new to learn. Before you hop in your vehicle and hightail it to the range there is something you should do each and every time you go and no it’s not sneak out the back door!! Have a goal. It does little good to go and shoot off 500 rounds and not have an end result in mind.
How do you decide on goals for training? Write down all the skills you want to achieve be they mechanical, physical or time related. Take the ones you are good at and set them aside. What you have left is your starting list for training. This goes not just for firearms training but any task in life you want to become good at. Humans love to do things they are good at because, they are good at them, and they can have more enjoyment doing them. People who work hard on the things they are bad at eventually become good at them. Yes it’s hard work. Yes there will be setbacks, but eventually with the right attitude you’ll succeed. That brings a sense of accomplishment, pride and a measure of trust in your skills.
When you decide that you are going to learn find a course or an instructor to learn from. Don’t try and teach yourself. Don’t just sit and watch You Tube videos. And don’t just and read blogs, even mines! Do all three but get some professional training and use those venues as adjunct to your instruction. Avoid the common mistake of going to somebody who was or is a police officer or in the military. Just because they wear a badge or they are in the Armed Forces does not mean they know how to shoot properly and most importantly it doesn’t mean they know how to teach and impart knowledge. Instructing is an art and unfortunately not everybody who wears the title Instructor can do it properly. Again, this is the time to do some research and if possible talk to the instructors face to face for a few minutes. There are some instructors who are full of good knowledge but suck at trying to convey it to others.
Always remember that training doesn’t stop when you leave the range. It’s an ongoing process that you should do daily. One of the best things that any instructor will tell you to do is Dry Fire exercises. Dry Fire practice can be done anywhere and anytime you have a few minutes. We get better with practice as it hones and conditions our muscles to a specific action until we achieve a level of “muscle memory” The reason why some people seem to be so fast at a certain task is because their muscles have “learned” the movements and can perform them almost instinctively. Experts have said it can take anywhere from 300 to 8,000 “reps” to ingrain something. That’s a wide variation because there is a wide variation between people and their learning curve. You will know when you start reaching your curve when you find that you can consistently achieve the same results with less mental concentration.
Below are few things to get you started:
SAFETY is always first and last. Life isn’t a video game and there is no reset button. Once you pull that rigger and the gun goes bang, that bullet can NEVER be recalled.
- Every gun is loaded until YOU verify it is unloaded. Don’t take somebody else’s word for it. Ensure the status for yourself. When you look in the chamber or cylinder LOOK!! Don’t glance, but actually stop and look and let your brain process what your eyes actually see. Your brain is powerful but needs to be trained. If you glance expecting to see an empty chamber that is exactly what you may see. Your brain will tell your eyes “it’s empty” and “sir, yes sir it’s empty sir!” and the eyes will report back that the chamber is indeed empty. There have been many negligent discharges due to this.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you verify the background behind your target and you are ready to fire. Your trigger finger should be along side the frame until you are ready to fire.
There should be no exceptions to these two rules. There are no accidental discharges, there are negligent discharges that could have been avoided if the above rules were followed.
Training is as much mental as it is physical. There is an old saying “Train As You Fight” Before you can do that though you have to know where you expect to fight. Your bedroom or hallway is different from having to fight cover to cover in an open environment and both are different from fighting inside a car. This is not to say just train for one area, on the contrary. You train for all areas but not at the same time. Decide where is most important to you and start there. When you are ready move on to the next area.
Things that you do physically you should visualize in your mind to help with the reinforcement. Everyday I walk the halls of the Pentagon I picture myself drawing my Glock from concealment punching out and bringing the sights up into my line of sight and squeezing the trigger. In my mind I know what a good sight picture looks like and I push the firearm into it.
Everything from houses to Thanksgiving turkey gravy start with a solid base and shooting is no different. Shooting and managing recoil is a balancing act.
Look at these pictures. In the picture on the left the young lady is standing straight up and down. What’s worse, she is actually arched backwards some. When a gun fires Sir Newton takes over and reminds use that “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction” The power of the cartridge will determine how much of that reaction is transfered to you and when it happens you want to be in a good base position to absorb it. Standing straight up will allow most of that force to travel straight through your arms and up pushing you backwards. Hopefully you’ll just fall and not have a pistol planted on your forehead. In the second picture you can see the shooters are leaning forward and have rolled their shoulders forward a bit also. What this does is let your arms, shoulders and body absorb the recoil not just your arms alone.
Lastly, to go with your good base you need a good grip. When you grip a firearm you are essentially trying to control minor explosions. Your first point of attachment is your hands on the firearm itself. When you fire, the recoil is going to turn your wrists into pivot points which can be a bad day for your forehead. To help prevent that hold the pistol as high up on the grip as possible (called choking-up sometimes) to help create a more linear path for the recoil to travel through. Any significant bend is an avenue for recoil to travel someplace other than where we want it to go.
Mastering these few techniques will not make you a Jedi Master at firearms handling but it gives you a starting point. Remember to seek out reputable trainers when you start as bad habits can be hell to get rid off. And always PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE until you gain muscle memory. Then keep practicing because it’s a perishable skill.
Remember you can always reach out to us here at Delaine and Lee for any questions you have.
Products and equipment are only one third of the solution to survival. Training and Awareness complete the triad to help you keep safe. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for information on products, or training at firstname.lastname@example.org.