By David Morris, Tactical Firearms Training Secrets author
As a responsible firearm owner, you know how important it is to train with your firearm on a regular basis.
It makes it more fun to shoot by yourself, more fun when you’re shooting with others, and it could just make the difference between going home or to the hospital in a lethal force encounter.
Training as much as you know you need to, of course, always runs up against the obstacle of time and money, which is why we’re going to talk about 3 very common firearms training mistakes and what you can do to blow them out of the water.
Mistake #1: Thinking that 8” “Combat accurate” groups are good enough.
There’s a common school of thought that says that if you’re shooting groups looser than 8” during practice, you need to slow down and if you’re shooting groups tighter than 8” during practice, you need to slow down.
Unfortunately, this school of thought is part of the reason why only 15% of shots fired by law enforcement hit their intended target, even though the majority of them are fired at threats less than 15 feet away. Add to that the fact that (depending on which stats you read) you’ve only got a 12% chance of stopping a lethal threat with a single shot from a pistol and you’ve got a serious problem.
You see, unless you’ve trained in such a way that you’ve developed high quality neural pathways in the brain with thick myelin sheaths, your shooting technique is going to “go to crap” in a high stress life-or-death situation and you can expect to have that same 15% hit ratio and a good chance of hitting something or someone that you don’t intend to hit.
So, what do you do? First of all, expect excellence from yourself. If you can’t do it already, find an instructor locally who can teach you to shoot 1 hole groups at close range. If you can shoot marble, golf ball, or even tennis ball sized groups in training and your groups double or triple under stress, you’re much better off than if your goal when you practice is to keep your shots on the paper or shoot 8″ groups.
Second, practice, practice, practice so that you can develop those high quality neural pathways and thick myelin sheaths around them so that your fine motor skills won’t be as affected by high-stress situations.
Mistake #2: Training “slick” and Carrying Concealed
This applies to both responsibly armed citizens and off-duty law enforcement… Training “slick” is training without a lot of extra gear or handicaps and it’s how most people train. It’s understandable, safer for many shooters, but most people train and practice at the range from a bench or with a duty-style, outside the waistband holster and a tight tucked-in shirt, but walk around on a daily basis with a completely different concealment setup.
Granted, most ranges won’t let you draw and engage targets from concealment, and a hot barrel sticking out the bottom of an in-waistband holster has singed my leg hairs more than once, but that doesn’t change the reality of the fact that if you want to walk away from a lethal force encounter, you need to train the way you expect to fight…and that means training with the same holster that you’d normally be wearing and the same encumbrances that you’d normally have, like cover garments, coats, gloves, etc.
Mistake #3: Quantity is not Quality
One thing that I continually see at the range is targets that have a pattern that looks like bird shot at 50 yards—holes distributed across the entire paper and the shooter excited for the number of times that they hit the target.
Another common occurrence at competitions is for me to be talking with someone, not watching the current shooter, only to have my head snap when I hear machinegun-like speed. The only problem is that nine times out of ten, the groups are loose, some rounds completely miss the targets, and usually a “don’t shoot” target has an extra hole or two in it.
In both cases, quantity does not equal quality.
Going back to an average law enforcement hit rate of 15%, that means that if I’m an average shooter with a 6 shot sub-compact .45 pistol, I could feasibly quickly miss you with all 6 shots at close range in the time that you’re able to put one aimed accurate round of .22 in my snot locker. You may have to change your pants when it’s done…and you may even have some powder burns from the impressively big flame that came out the end of my barrel, but you’ll be walking away and I won’t because quality beats quantity.
One of the best ways to have a high quality training/practice is to break the shooting process down into small segments, focus on making each segment perfect, and then stringing the perfect segments together. The great news is that you don’t need to burn through ammunition or even go to the range to accomplish this…you can do it at home with no cleanup, almost no setup and it will take less time and money than traditional training.
To learn the specific drills to do to develop high quality neural pathways that you can depend on under stress, train for engaging targets from concealment, and shooting faster, tighter, more accurate groups that will impress your friends for less than the price of a single box of target ammunition, go >HERE< now.
Editor’s note: I’m pleased to welcome David Morris as a contributor to the Daily Caller. His book “Urban Survival Guide” is a favorite of mine and the book I take with me when I travel. David’s advice is always well tested and actionable. He can take you as far as you want to go for personal preparedness. Take a look at David’s Dry Fire Training Cards – click here.