Sunday, March 29, 2015

Training - Being Deliberate when you shoot


I have a couple of words and phrases that I am fond of when talking and teaching defensive shooting. If you read my posts at all I suspect you can bring a couple to mind: Foundational . . . Fundamental . . . Just the Basics . . . Practice with purpose . . . I find that a new one is creeping into my vocabulary . . . deliberate.


1. Done with or marked by full consciousness of the nature and effects; intentional 2. Arising from or marked by careful consideration

3. Unhurried and careful

I’ll want to say more about that word over time, but for today, I will apply it to my range trip. I had two purposes in going. First – I wanted to shoot a “Dot Torture” drill with my new sights. During my last range trip I thought I might have to move the rear sight to the right a bit and the Dot Torture drill is a great way to push the limits of your sights and your ability to use them. Before I actually moved the sights though, I wanted a few more rounds down range to confirm that the sights needed adjustment . . . and not the shooter. (After this trip I suspect it’s more the shooter than the sights . . . )

Second, I’ve let my Blackhawk leather IWB go and replaced it with a Blade Tech Kydex Nano. A friend noticed while he watched me shoot a drill at Rangemaster’s Tactical Conference that it simply didn’t remain in place very well. This was affecting both my draw and my ability to holster reliably after the completion of the drill. So, I went looking and the Nano is what bubbled out. Today was my first time working on the range from that holster. I’ll put up a separate review post in a few weeks but my preliminary impression is very good.

Dot torture incorporates all the fundamentals of shooting . . . two hand engagements, draw from concealment, multiple targets, accelerated pairs, dominant hand only engagements, support hand only and shooting to slide lock with a magazine change. Your time limit is under 5 minutes with 100% accuracy. Your beginning distance is 3 yards and you only move back once you can consistently shoot 100% from your current distance. Please take a moment and review the drill or print out a copy for a reference.

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To successfully complete the drill – each and every shot must be “deliberate” in its execution. For example, Dot 1 is 5 rounds, slow fire. You draw and engage the dot with a string of 5 rounds. Each shot is a separate and complete shot in and of itself. Proper sight picture, proper sight alignment, firm grip, smooth trigger press straight to the rear . . . repeated 5 times. I recommend you shoot this drill “cold” . . . make it your first drill on the range at least once a month. As you can see I was -1 on Dot 1, my last shot. And I knew it, I felt the “hurry” in the trigger press . . . I wasn’t deliberate for that specific round.

Dot 2 is five single round engagements from concealment. There are a number of “deliberate” acts to make these shots . . . clear your concealment garment from your defensive weapon, drive to a solid grip, draw, drive straight to the target, move to the front sight, get a proper sight alignment, sight picture, press the trigger smoothly to the rear. If each action is deliberate . . . you get 100%.

Dots 3 and 4 adds in the requirement to change targets. You draw from concealment place 1 round on 3 and 1 round on 4. This is repeated 4 times. All the deliberate acts you performed on Dot 2 are performed for each and every shot going forward.

Dot 5 is your dominant hand only. You draw and fire a string of 5 rounds. My mind momentarily separated from my body on this one. You’ll notice a reasonable group of 3 just below and slightly to the left of the dot. It took until round 3 for me to realize I had too much finger on the trigger. Once I noticed that rounds 4 and 5 dropped in. It is also an example of loss of focus – I was having a fairly heated discussion with myself in my head while sending rounds down range . . . and it’s obvious that it took a toll on my accuracy.

Dots 6 and 7 are similar to 3 and 4 but accelerated pairs on each. Again ALL the deliberate actions must be completed successfully for a 100% on these dots.

Dot 8 is support hand only with a 5 round string being fired. I had a real squeaker at 2 o’clock but I’ll take it. I always notice I shoot better with my support hand only than I do with my dominant hand only and I suspect it’s due to the fact that I am much more deliberate with the engagement because it is my support hand. Obviously stuff to work on here.

Finally Dots 9 and 10 are two mags, each loaded with 1 round. Send the first round to Dot 9, do an emergency reload and send the second round to Dot 10. You repeat this 3 times.

I gotta say, Todd Green’s Dot Torture drill is probably the best use of 50 rounds on the range in the shooting community today.

Here is my challenge to you . . . I want you to shoot this drill during the first week of every month and post it so your shooting friends can see it. Challenge them to do the same. When you have shot 100% a couple of times from a distance . . . move back. Start at 3 yards, then 5 yards, then 7 yards, then 10 . . . until you’re happy. I suspect that if you are doing range work in between, you are going to be quite surprised with your progress.

Finally, I sent 45 rounds down range from 21 feet with a timer. 1 to 4 round engagements with recorded split times. This was primarily to begin to wring out the Blade Tech Nano holster. Like I said up top, I was pretty happy with the holster. The rounds were all within the 9 ring with the exception of 2 flyers. And that’s why we all go to the range . . . to eliminate the damn flyers.

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Speed without accuracy is of little value . . . in fact it may well be a true liability. Being deliberate from clearing your garment out of the way to your follow through for a 2nd or 3rd or 4th shot is what will win the day.

Work on it . . . then share your progress!

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