Range shooting

Tips For Time At The Range

Live the Legend |

Let’s face it, everyone’s resources are limited in some fashion whether it be in time or money, or sometimes even access to your favorite range. But it’s important to keep skills sharp, particularly when it comes to being properly prepared for self-defense, so leading firearms trainer and self-defense consultant Rob Pincus offers these insights into how to make the most of your time when on the range:

1. Prioritize Your Training List

Identify the biggest deficiencies you suffer as a shooter and work on drills that will help correct them.

“If you aren’t doing the big things right, there’s no point in obsessing over minutiae,” says Pincus. “Working on the major issues often will help you correct the minor ones as well. By working from large problems to small ones, you streamline your skill development.” He recommends working from the core of your body outward when making corrections to major issues like position.

“Imagine that you have a problem with your grip and your arm position. If you try to fix your grip first and feel like you’ve got it perfect, and then you change your arm position, you may be right back to square one with your grip,” Pincus says. “If you get your body, your stance and your arms right first, tweaking your grip should be an easy task and the grip you settle on will be on line with the rest of your body while shooting.”

2. Shoot With a Training Partner or Video Your Practice Sessions

If you have a training partner invested in your success, you can make improvements much faster, but not just anyone should be considered a training partner. Pincus recommends working with someone who has taken the same course(s) you have, and who understands your training goals – and vice versa.

“There are many opinions in the shooting world, and you don’t want just anyone from the next lane over giving you advice when you’re practicing,” says Pincus. Of course, part of that dynamic is returning the favor to your shooting partner. In fact, you’ll probably discover you will learn almost as much watching someone else shoot, as you will by actually shooting.

If you don’t have a training partner, at least video yourself practicing. Move the camera to different angles as you repeat practice drills. If you are on private property and time is not an issue, Pincus suggests stopping periodically and reviewing the video. If you’re paying for lane time on a range, however, don’t waste it looking at the camera. You can check the video out later when done.

3. Train to Apply Your Skills

When it comes to defensive shooting, it isn’t enough to just train to do well at the range. When developing defensive shooting skills, you need to be training to apply those skills in a chaotic and uncontrolled event. It’s a lot different than practicing to shoot a paper target in a match. Don’t sweat getting a better score on a predetermined drill.

Instead, focus on working with solid concepts and principles behind all of your drills. Meet the performance requirements of getting your technique executed properly and as efficiently as you can, and then run evaluation drills that are relatively unpredictable. Pincus says a training partner is the best way to make this happen, though smart phone applications and other options do exist.

The best way to train for a defensive situation is to not choreograph things. Unpredictability is the key. These things include specific foot placement; the angle, size or distance of the target outside of established norms; and the number of shots you will need to fire. You want to make sure that you are practicing to deal with reloads and fixing malfunctions as well.

“This will help you form stimulus response patterns and allow you to use the power of recognition when you need it during a defensive incident, and to respond as efficiently as possible,” he says.