Ready, Aim, Practice

By Julie Golob

Pointed Pistol

We all know working on fundamentals at the range has benefits beyond hits on target. There’s more to shooting than just sight alignment and trigger pull though. How we train and practice can make all the difference off the range and when it matters the most.

As a pro shooter for Federal who competes in the shooting sports for a living, I know my training must be specific to not only keep me sharp, but to excel. I define clear goals and create plans to achieve them.

I view training as the path for continual improvement. I view practice as the maintenance of learned skills. Training can mean a class, getting lessons from a qualified instructor or following a specific written plan created by an expert. Practice is taking what you’ve learned and putting in the time to maintain a certain level proficiency. Both are valuable and the first step is making the time for them.

1. Plan time to practice.

When you hit the range, it’s important to allot time with your self-defense firearm to simply maintain what you feel is an acceptable skill level. Even a short practice session with a box of ammo can serve the ultimate purpose of helping you maintain your abilities. Shooting, after all, is a perishable skill.

2. Train for improvement.

How you feel about your practice sessions will help identify areas to address. If you do only shoot for accuracy or practice the same drill, you might improve, but you’re missing out. By creating a training plan that incorporates live fire drills along with dry fire, you’ll develop new skills you’ll be able to incorporate into your practice sessions. Examples are working on your draw speed, performing magazine changes efficiently and learning how to shoot while moving.

3. Test and evaluate for progress.

Throughout our lives, we test ourselves. There are so many examples of this, from standardized testing in school and concert performances, to passing a driving test or running a 5K. Training to improve your skills and practicing them to maintain proficiency are important steps, but testing helps you evaluate progress. It aids in documenting and tracking your journey by creating benchmarks for personal performance.

For concealed carry and home defense, such tests can be established CCW drills like the F.A.S.T. Test. You can also develop your own drills that examine your strengths and weaknesses. Using a timer and keeping a shooting log will not only help you improve, they can help you stay invested in the process.

4. Commit to learning.

The final component is education. Taking courses, watching YouTube videos, and following instructors on social media are just some of the ways you can stay invested. These can also help you stay motivated so practicing and training is scheduled and focused.

Borrowing from sport on these four steps will not only improve your personal protection performance, it will also boost your confidence with the tools you use to keep those you love safe. That’s truly a win-win.

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