You’ve gotten past the basics . . . or you’ve just finished your first (or second or third) advanced shooter course . . . . or you’ve started to integrate a defensive shotgun into your range work . . . . or . . . .
My point is to have you take a bit of time and ask yourself – “What’s next” for you to work on and to integrate into your defensive skill set or into your training.
Honestly, pure range work can get boring . . . that DOES NOT MEAN you should just skip it – but it can get boring. What can you do to “spice things up” while honing your defensive shooting skills? Some thoughts . . .
Rob Pincus has introduced the idea of “FitShot” – a series of physical fitness exercises integrated into various shooting drills. Google “rob pincus fitshot” under “videos” and you will find a number of examples. Excellent idea!! I’ve added simple squats, sit-ups and some Kettle bell work to my SIRT range work in the office – there is some real benefit there!
Speaking of fitness – anything you can do on the range –AND DO SAFELY – that helps you physically, increases stress on your body and allows you to work on your shooting skills with elevated heart rate and perhaps more winded than you normally are will benefit you as a shooter.
Something as simple as :
- Doing a simple squat between each shot
- On our range – jogging between the firing line and the rear of the range between each shot
- Taking a kettle bell with you and doing a simple lift between each shot
- Doing a sit up (WATCH YOUR FEET AND KNEES) between each shot
You get the point – stress yourself, work on your physical fitness and learn how to handle the added physical stress while shooting.
Malfunctions – have you worked on malfunctions lately? I mean other than having them come up in your normal course of range work? Buy some GOOD dummy ammo, mix it in with your magazine loads and work on clearing malfunctions. Yes, I know it’s a pain in the butt – do it anyway. My last steel shoot I was shooting my range bag gun – a .22/45 and had a double feed. I locked the bolt, stripped the mag, cleared the double feed and got a new mag in – finished the last plate in just over 17 seconds. Nothing to write home about but I kept my head in the game, cleared the malfunction and got the last round off without “thinking” about it. Clearing malfunctions is the type of process that really only matters “when it matters” – work on it.
Speed Reloads – from where you typically carry your spare magazine. I carry mine in my rear-left pocket. It does me no good to be able to easily do a speed reload from a mag carrier mounded on my belt on my support side . . . that’s not how I carry. Practice from the carry position.
Tactical Reloads – honestly, I don’t practice them much. I’d only do one if I was in a prolonged engagement and behind SOLID COVER – I’ll have time then to do it. Otherwise, in a fight, I’ll shoot my weapon dry and rely on a speed reload to get me up and running.
Shooting from cover/concealment – Most ranges will have barricades of one type or another. If not, work up something out of cardboard and take it to the range with you. Practice rolling out - left and right, shooting kneeling, laying on your side . . . be creative. And, cement it in your mind that if what you’re behind can’t stop a pistol round – it’s CONCEALMENT, not cover.
Plan your next trip to a training company – there’s a broad range of truly good training companies on the market today. Find a skill set you would like to work on – find a company with good credentials and solid references – and then save some cash up and go. Expensive? – yep. Worth every dime? – It will be if you do your research. I know money is tight, I know ammo is scarce – still there is a course out there that is close, cost effective and won’t break the bank – I promise. Find it and take a little “shootie” vacation.
Review the DVD Market – yes, I watch shooting videos. And no, it’s NOT the same as actually taking the course. Still, it’s a good way to be introduced to some new concepts. I will typically try them in dry fire or on the SIRT range and then, if these new ideas “fit” me, I’ll work on integrating them. And, when I find I watch the same instructor frequently, I’ll do my best to take some course work from him/her.
My bottom line with this post is to prod you to choose what you will do on your next range trip. Have a plan. Push your comfort zone. Don’t just go to the range and make holes – make the trip count.