Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Training – Changes . . .


I gotta admit I’m not a big one for “changes”. As decades – not years – flow by I find that characteristic isn’t “changing” much. TheBoy and I had a chat around camp this past week about “the plan”.

ME: “So where are you two going when you leave tomorrow – what’s your plan?”

TheBoy: Eye rolling, his wife smiling just a bit . . . “No idea Pops!”

And so it went. I’m a big “plan” guy. TheBoy and his lovely wife . . . not so much.

My love of “a plan” should be obvious from my hammering you having a “plan” before you go to the range – why you going, what are you working on, what are your success/fail parameters?

I do vacations the same way – there’s a “plan” – departure times, gear lists, reservations, food, books to read . . . just the way I’m wired. In years gone by as I watch my Avionics shop pack for deployments – it was on me to make sure all gear that was needed went, that we had the right people, parts . . . you get the idea. There was a “plan”.

All this said – which I will continue to do BTW – that does not mean that there doesn’t come a time where a CHANGE is necessary, in some cases just to expand what you have/do/enjoy. In some cases it may well be your survival. I want to chat a bit about how this affects your training, your gun handling, your selection of gun, gear, range, training partners . . . and is it working for you?

Let’s start with “the tool” . . . . your gun. I am going to make the assumption (yeah – I know) that you have been carrying this gun for some time, that you do regular range trips with it. You know it, how it works – you have history to draw from. Is it “working” for you? Obviously its primary job is to save your butt . . . and I pray you have never had to walk that particular path. But – on the range, in your course work, during your training – does it “work” for you?

Can you get a consistent grip as you begin your draw stroke? Does it leave your holster smoothly? Does it fit your hand? Is your grip consistent, trigger press smooth and straight back? Can you acquire sights easily if necessary? Is the recoil manageable? Are your magazines working with your gun? Can you grab them easily? Can you “run the gun” with your hands? Does it all feel “natural” when the beeper “beeps”, the fire command is given, the SHTF?

If not, perhaps it’s time for a change. If you have reservations about any area we just chatted about . . . please, take some time for honest evaluation of your defensive weapon. Your life depends on it.

How’s that holster working for you? Does it secure your defensive weapon? Does it keep it in the same place each and every time you put it on? Is your draw stroke from the holster smooth? If it’s a holster used for concealment – does it? Does it remain open for easy reholstering? Again – setting aside all the “tacticool” reasons for you using that particular holster – please, if it’s not working for you . . . . perhaps it’s time for a change.

Does your choice of defensive ammunition run in your gun? Never checked it?? Change that! NOW!! TODAY!! If you’ve never run a box of your ammunition of choice to save your life – that needs to change now!

What about your belt? Is your holstered defensive weapon secure? And does it still hold your pants/slacks/skirt up? Is it wide enough and thick enough to insure a secure grip on your holster? I firmly believe your belt is one of the most important . . . and most overlooked . . . pieces of gear. If it’s not working . . . perhaps it’s time for a change.

How about your “knowledge base”? Have you added to it? Read any articles specific to personal defense? Watched any videos and they tried what you saw on your next trip to the range? Train with any new training partners? If you’re stagnant . . . you’re skills are diminishing. Please . . . change that today as well.

Have you varied your range work? Is your range work primarily standing is a stall, driving out from the compressed high ready to engage a target directly in front of you? First – there is NOTHING wrong with this particular type of training . . . as a portion of a training program. Just as there is nothing wrong with dry fire, use of a SIRT pistol . . . or any other training tool. The thing I have issues with is when they become your ONLY training regimen. That’s a problem because your chances of meeting a bad guy standing still, directly in front of you, waiting for you to drive out and engage him with an accelerated pair . . . . is slim. Please – take some time to find a local range you can use periodically that will allow draw from a holster, allows movement and multi round engagements. That is the real world and you need to spend some training time in that world.

Been to a course lately? Find a course that will push your boundaries. Take a high volume of fire course. Take a course with multiple target engagements. Take a course that offers a shoot house. Take a course that pushes your skills, allows you to fail and learn.

Take a few steps back . . . take some videos of you on the range . . . work with training partners . . . wear a helmet cam (they can attach pretty easily to your “ears”) . . . and – finally – be honest with yourself.

Is everything “working”?? If not . . . while change can be a bitch . . . to not change can leave you dead.

Change . . . it does a body good!


  1. The one 'change' I need to make is more range time... This year has just sucked for time at the range due to work and travel... Rusty doesn't even begin to describe how lousy my shooting is right now.

  2. The order of things is never a constant, yet I keep trying to change things up. Not enough range time here or shooting of protection ammo. I am taking as many classes as time & money allow.

  3. Jim - yep, your ass has been in the saddle way too much this year . . . you need some quality Iowa time and a little Amana food! :)

    Ms. B - understood, time, money is always an issue for me as well. And I suspect your folks simply consume you . . . I watch that with my mom and her mom. A labor of love. It'll come Ms. B, it'll come . . .

  4. Excellent post! With care for Dad and deaths in the family, there's been little "prep" time, but that does help avoid "panic" time.