By Bob Campbell,
The ability to properly handle a firearm, drive a vehicle or operate a machine must be learned. Complex motor skills are not innate in the human physiology. Handgun skills are perishable.
An important point I wish to make is that those that have acclimated to learning how to learn by absorbing knowledge and maintain a good attitude excel in my training classes. Their attention span is adequate and they realize that only by application of study and repetition in the correct manner will they learn.
Others that have taken the path of least resistance in life and simply do what little they may to get by and seldom profit from instruction in any significant manner. They do not realize the skill needed to have a fighting chance against a motivated adversary. The thief motivated by profit may run at the sight of a handgun. The psychopath that assaults for the pure pleasure of causing human suffering and misery will not be dissuaded so easily. Many of these felons have been shot or stabbed and any you are likely to meet have been incarcerated. They are not folks like us that have had a bad day. The average Joe or Jill doesn’t need to be shot.
Recreational shooting is fine for its own sake but individuals think they are engaging in combat shooting because they are firing at the B 27 but they are not. They are shooting the X-ring out of the target at 7 yards. But they are not training for fighting. Some stand on the static range, warm up by stretching, move their arms about in a pantomime, then draw from an open top holster and leisurely fire. Funny, they often fire the first shot slowly then fire a flurry of shots! They are disorganized to say the least. Some have purchased the right books. Others have not. Let the Lord watch over the ones that use television as their guide, because I meet them often. The author that has walked the streets has earned information the hard way. It is difficult to pick up any other way. All will counsel that you cannot rely upon skills that you cannot demonstrate. A certified NRA instructor is just a google search away.
When you are training you must record the results and keep yourself aware of your progress. There is a need for mileposts. In personal development I find that most of us reach a respectable degree of competency within a few months of regular practice. After a year or two you reach a certain plateau and the increments of speed and precision come harder. If you lay off your training you will find that your skills have eroded.
As a martial art handgunning is probably more difficult than boxing or karate because much equipment is required and you are not able to work out at home without visiting the dojo. I have never seen a martial artist that worked with me and did not excel upon application of proper principles in handgunning.
Remember—learn to learn. When you practice the primary motivation is to maintain skill. Next, address skill building exercises. The quantity of ammunition expended is not always the best indicator of the nature of the practice. If you enjoy firing—and most that excel do—that is good, but do not fall into the trap of simply making brass and firing 50 rounds or 100 rounds as the object.
The object is skill maintenance. A professional I know well practices a drill until it cannot be gotten wrong. When addressing a new drill and facing a new tactical problem in competition, this instructor solves the problem and does not waste ammunition pursuing the drill further but moves on to the next drill.
Too many shooters are good at a certain drill and enjoy firing it again and again. Do not do so to the point that your ability to address new skills suffers. Address moving targets and skill building exercises such as rapid reloading as you practice. Self-correction is difficult but possible. Mirror image instruction with the instructor demonstrating the correct technique is best but when firing alone we may manage to address shortcomings. Confidence is built by repeating standard drills, but we must also challenge ourselves. A tight budget works against many of us. So does a crushing work schedule.
You may practice dry fire at home with a triple checked unloaded firearm. Using the triple checked unloaded program the presentation may be practiced. A dozen repetitions a day is a good goal—you will find yourself competent and in control of the trigger. The same goes for the presentation from concealed carry. You will effortlessly be presenting the handgun from concealed carry. What follow are a few drills to keep the edge.
Practice these drills to maintain competence.
Bill Drill: Draw and fire 6 rounds at 7 yards as quickly as you can retain the sight picture. All should be in the X-ring. Work on speed.
Draw from concealed carry and get a center hit on a target at the 7 yard line in 1.5 seconds or less. Work to achieve the same time at 10 yards.
Three bullseyes: Three eight-inch bullseye targets are placed on a target backer at 7 yards. Draw and fire from left to right, re-holster, then draw and fire from right to left, 2 rounds on each target. Then, draw and fire at the center target, and then address either the right or the left hand target. This drill teaches transition between targets, skill, and speed.
Practice moving from side to side of the target with lateral motion. Never cross your legs! Fire while moving.
Fire with two hands at 10 and 15 yards.
Fire from the barricade position at 15 and 25 yards.
Twelve perfect trigger compressions.
Twelve rapid presentations from cover.
Instructor Brittany Caton carries her Glock 9mm all the time, everywhere and does not move to a smaller handgun in different situations. She is competent with other firearms but practices with this handgun as her primary carry. This is a good program to adopt.