TRAIN. TRAIN MORE. REPEAT.
WHEN THINGS QUICKLY GO SOUTH, YOU WILL REACT IN THE SAME WAY YOU HAVE TRAINED. HOW ARE YOU TRAINING?
Whether you read it in Latin (“Repetitio mater studiorum est”), Russian (“Повторе́ ние— мать уче́нья”) or English (“Repetition is the mother of all learning”), to build a skill, you must repeat something over and over
again to master it. How many repetitions are necessary to build a skill? I guess it depends on how “unnatural” it is for you and the difficulty of the skill, itself.
AT THE RANGE
First, let’s consider what happens at the range. The motor programs you practice build muscle memory. Instead of just going through the motions, make a conscious effort to do everything the way you would want to perform in a fight for your life.
In real life, no one walks around with a magazine in their hand. So, at the range, when you load and make ready, load a magazine from the mag pouch, and do it with authority—don’t load with a magazine you hand-carry downrange and just slap into the pistol.
Another bad habit I see people make: On the firing line, they’ll position their feet just so, maybe even clearing away pebbles and brass or really digging in to get the perfect stance. Then, just before hearing the signal to draw, they place their strong hand in a contrived position—maybe even touching the pistol—and stare at the target the whole time. In a perfect world, all gunfights would start this way. However, we don’t live in a perfect world. When something goes down in the real world, there’s no advanced warning to get yourself ready.
Remember that every opportunity you have to properly manipulate your weapon system or gear is a training opportunity. Not doing so is squandering time and money (read, “ammo”). Take some extra time to build solid skills that go beyond just shooting the gun.
WHEN THERE IS NO TIME TO THINK
When you have no time to think, you’re going to do what you’ve most often done. If what you’ve most often done is not what you would want to do in a self-defense situation, you might want to rethink what and how you are practicing. Here are some ideas for building skills you can rely on when there simply is no time to think:
Make a conscious decision to draw your pistol from the holster every time you get a chance, rather than “taking” it from the holster in a lackadaisical fashion.
Load your pistol positively—as if your life depends on it. Load from your magazine pouch or wherever you regularly carry your spare magazine. Don’t miss an opportunity to practice a reload by using a magazine already in your hand.
Breathe, scan and check your surroundings. Build awareness skills by watching those around you. Create a safer environment by seeing what is going on. Situational awareness breeds safety.
When your gun runs dry, reload it quickly and smoothly and get back to the target. By doing this, you’re building a motor program to react to an empty gun.
Stop worrying about foot placement. If you must have your feet in a certain position before you think you can shoot correctly, you are already a step behind.
Start your drills from any position except a ready position. You have to learn to move to the gun and draw it. For example: arms crossed, hand in your pocket or even a surrender position.
Don’t stare at the target. Be in a relaxed state of awareness. You’re aware the target is there, but it’s not a threat to you until you decide or someone else calls out, “Threat!”
Consider your everyday-carry pistol. Something you might do on a daily basis with that gun is take it out of the holster when you come home, unload it and load it. All these things have training value when done with a purpose.
For many years, my husband, Chris, has been using and teaching solid motor programs for loading and unloading all weapon systems.
ULTIMATELY, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR TRAINING. MAKE CONSCIOUS DECISIONS TO DO THINGS RIGHT WHEN HANDLING WEAPONS AND GEAR.
Whether heading out to begin your day or just coming home, use this time to handle your firearm and gear with purpose. Load your firearm in your “work space.”
Make a conscious decision to draw your pistol from the holster every time you get a chance.