Training With a Purpose

Jun 2nd, 2010No Comments

When I go to the shooting range and watch the other shooters, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  Most of their targets look like someone took a shotgun to them with shots scattered over every square inch.  These people aren’t practicing, they are just throwing money downrange.  If you are like me, you don’t get to shoot as often as you would like.  On top of that, ammunition isn’t cheap and, depending on the caliber, can be hard to find.  So when you train, it is important that you train with a purpose.

Identify the Skills You Want to Build

You can’t practice everything during every shooting session, but it is a good idea to identify the core skills that you want to improve.  Over the course of several sessions you can spend time on each skill.  Core skills may include:

  • Marksmanship
  • One handed shooting (both strong and support hand)
  • Shooting from a holster
  • Engaging multiple targets
  • Using cover and concealment
  • Shooting from different positions, such as kneeling or from your back (if permitted by your range)
  • Pop-up or moving targets

Quality over Quantity

You don’t need to fire off hundreds of rounds every session.  In fact, long training sessions with no goal and poor technique are counter productive.  Focus on precision and technique, and limit your individual sessions to 50-100 rounds.  Don’t worry about speed, that will come as you practice.

Structure Your Shooting Session

Have a plan before you hit the range.  Know how many rounds you plan to dedicate for each skill.  A sample shoot might look like:

  • Precision marksmanship, 24 rounds (6 rounds each at 3, 5, 10, & 15 yards)
  • Strong hand only, 12 rounds (4 rounds each at 3, 5, & 10 yards)
  • Support hand only, 12 rounds (4 rounds each at 3, 5, & 10 yards)
  • Shooting from a holster, 24 rounds (3 x 2 round groups at 3, 5, 10, & 15 yards)
  • Multiple target drills, 22 rounds
  • Precision marksmanship, 6 rounds (at 3-5 yards)

I like to start with basic marksmanship to get my mind and body in sync, and like to end with a short range precision group so I can wrap it up on a positive note.

Get Your Mind Right

The goal is to train your subconscious to operate in a mode of “focused detachment”.  For beginners especially, this requires intense concentration, repetition, and precise technique.  When you are distracted by work, family, or illness, you are likely to reinforce poor habits.  So, if you can’t focus don’t be afraid to end the training session.

Have Fun

Change things up so your training doesn’t get stale and boring.  Search the internet for new training drills.  Go with a buddy and stage a little friendly competition for lunch.  Self defense is a serious business, but that doesn’t mean that shooting can’t be fun!

I’d love to hear your thoughts about training with a purpose, so don’t forget to leave a comment.

© 2010 – 2012, mjshozda. All rights reserved.

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