You need to schedule range days, as many as possible, every month – including winter. Then, you need to keep the schedule – rain, shine, sunny, cloudy, calm, windy, hot, cold or butt-assed cold, dry, wet, rain, snow, ice. The guy/gal that picks you as a target, that intends to rob you, beat you, kill you will not wait for a gorgeous summer day (ok, he/she might) so your range time needs to cover all the bases. Once scheduled, what do you bring? I’m going to split this up into three sections – Clothing and your Range Bag and Miscellaneous stuff.
- Dress for the weather – although I routinely recommend long pants that are a loose fit rather than shorts. If it’s cold – a solid layering system that allows you to shed some clothing if your range work heats you up. But, in general, here’s the list:
- Hat (I prefer a baseball cap so the bill covers my face over my shooting glasses)
- Comfortable shirt
- Comfortable pants
- Sturdy shoes and hiking socks (once had a lady show up in January wearing high-heel boots)
- Rain gear – rain pants and coat, not a poncho (you shoot, regardless if it’s pouring or not)
- You may want knee pads depending on the drills you intend on running.
- Strong side holster
- Minimum of two magazine holders or speed-loader holders
- Sturdy pistol belt
- Shooting gloves if your drills call for them
- Your weapon (no, really, double check!!!)
- Minimum of 3 magazines or speed loaders – more is better
- Ammunition for your drills (also, really, double check!!!)
- Hearing protection
- Eye protection
- A small set of tools
- Cleaning Kit
- Stapler with extra staples
- First Aide Kit – primarily for cuts and nicks
- Note book for shooting notes on your drills
- Targets specific to any drills that you may need
- Timer if needed for your drills
- Sun screen (you burn, sunny or cloudy)
- Chap stick
- Something to eat (jerky, food bars – I usually skip the sandwiches)
- Something to drink (water, soda, juice – more than you think you should bring)
- Sweat towel – a standard hand towel, I always carry an OD towel – shooting, hiking, canoeing or just riding in my Jeep
Your plan should include a number of different drills ( see http://pistol-training.com for some ideas) and also the inclusion of snap-caps to simulate weapon malfunctions.
Limit your time to an hour. After an hour people naturally loose their ability to focus and concentrate. Speed is NOT your goal – being smooth and accurate is. Do each step – extension, safety release, target acquisition, target engagement, engaging the safety, returning to the compressed high-ready – PERFECTLY. Slow down if you are sloppy. Speed up until you get sloppy. You are training muscle memory during these sessions so when the fellow with the gun, knife, ax, machete is getting ready to send you to your Maker, you can change the situation without having to think through the steps. Speed comes with time as do holster draws. For now, for your first few trips, lets work on these basics first; we’ll talk about the rest later.
A look at what’s in my bag: