By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
Shooting for pleasure is fine, and it’s always good to work on your fundamentals. Trigger control, accuracy, these are all valuable skills in case you have to use them in defense of yourself. After all, you have to be able to run the gun you carry.
However, your concealed carry practice? That needs to be done differently. The skills that need to be worked for that purpose – drawing from concealment, controlling the gun under recoil, combat sighting – is much different than punching paper for its own sake.
One tool you should invest in is a shot timer.
Granted, there are plenty of exercises out there that one can learn from to work on.
Bill Jordan, the legendary lawman, quick-draw shooter, gun writer and US Marine, recommended that about 90 percent of a police officer’s pistol practice should be drawing, firing and landing the first shot as accurately as possible in as little time as possible.
Ken Hackathorn, Bill Wilson and others have invented some incredible shooting challenges that are good for the concealed carrier. Exercises like the “Bill Drill” – six shots from the holster – and so many more push skills even further. There are too many to list, so we won’t go further.
How to measure how well you shoot? Accuracy is one measure, obviously, but time is another. This becomes even more critical for defensive shooting skills. If the Tueller drill is to be believed (and the evidence indicates it is) then you need to be able to get the gun out, on target and the first shot landed quickly, ideally in under 2 seconds.
By measuring what you do, you can identify how to improve upon it. Accuracy is easily measured by the targets you use, so that’s easy, but speed – of course – is measured with a timer.
How to get one? Well, you can purchase a shot timer from your local gun store or over the internet. There are many models out there but you can expect to part with at least $100 in most cases. Some will be better than others, but that isn’t too bad for a valuable training tool. For those who participate in or plan to participate in competitive shooting events, it will be valuable as well.
Or do you need to spend that much?
Alongside those, you can easily download one of a number of shot timer applications onto your smartphone. Many are free, and actually work pretty well. Granted, you’ll have to find a way to rig it to you (a phone holster works, or take a TV tray to the range) but you can get the analytic data you need to see where you need work.
Train how you carry. If you conceal under a shirt, then practice drawing from IWB concealment rather than with a range holster. This way, you practice the skills you’ll actually use at the moment of truth.
Remember, slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Try to develop efficiency and consistency first, and speed will come.
Stay safe, keep calm and carry on.
Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.