As someone who carries a concealed weapon it is your responsibility to be able to handle that weapon properly. An understanding of firearm safety is critical, but it’s just a start. Being able to use your weapon to accomplish what you are intending is the next step. There are endless degrees of competence–the important part is being able to accomplish what you intend and understanding your personal limits and skill level to help you understand what you can and can not accomplish with a firearm or other weapon. Most of us don’t have as much time as we’d like to train, so here are some tips to help you get started improving your shot:
- Shoot at both indoor and outdoor ranges. The benefits of the indoor range are routine and improvement of your shot. Shooting at paper allows you to see where your shot is going and make improvements to your technique. If you can’t see where your shot is going you will have a very difficult time improving your shot. However, indoor ranges typically do not allow many training methods (such as drawing and firing from a holster). So shooting outdoors usually gives you some flexibility to safely practice moving while firing, drawing from holsters, and shooting at material or items other than paper (fruit, cans, and other items can give you instant feedback as to a hit or miss–as opposed to paper where you can see where your misses are going, but you typically have to pull the paper back to you to see the shots). Both places give you different abilities so use both to gain the most practice and training.
- Practice techniques at home. Drawing from holsters with an unloaded weapon is a great way to increase speed. Snap caps can be used to practice removing malfunctions quickly and instinctively (these can also be used at the range with live fire to mix rounds that fail to fire in with live rounds–having a range buddy load your magazines and periodically put a snap cap will give you a chance to learn to react to your gun not firing).
- Visualize potential threats while you are at home, work, the store, the movies, restaurants, etc. Pay attention to how you might respond to different scenarios. Make sure that you remain aware of your surroundings and circumstances. Pay attention to stories in the news and various scenarios and visualize how you should respond in as many situations as you can. As you think about the scenarios determine if you have the knowledge and skill level to get out of the situations alive. Start making changes to your behavior based upon possible scenarios such as where you sit in a movie theater or restaurant. Park your car in safer places and walk with more awareness of your surroundings.
As someone who carries a weapon, it is your responsibility to know how to use it, but even better if you can stay alive without using your weapon. Once you pull that trigger your life will change. Staying on top of your shooting skills takes regular practice. You can’t shoot a bunch of rounds once and then think that will carry you through forever. Regular shooting combined with various methods and scenarios will help you become proficient in the use of a deadly weapon. If you have some tips that have helped your shooting skills we’d love to hear from you directly or have you leave a comment with the tip(s).