Let’s face it, learning to become a good shooter is expensive, time consuming and cumbersome. Many ranges impose tight restrictions on allowing individuals to draw from the holster, rapid fire, or shoot and move. In addition, it may be weeks to months before you can hit the range again. So how do you improve yourself in between range days? Here are a few ideas.
- Buy a training pistol- There are several training pistols on the market, although we partial to the SIRT Training Pistol by Next Level Training. The pistol will run you about $240 but you will quickly get that back in savings on ammo. The Pistol works by emitting a red laser anytime you squeeze the trigger. The pistol feels very similar to a Glock or M&P in weight and trigger pull and it even comes with a removable weighted magazine. This is a great tool for practicing a wide variety of drills from magazine reloads to target engagement. Not to mention it’s safe to use in the house.
- Dry fire- Dry Fires are the single best method of increasing your skills in between range days. Of course, always ensure the pistol is unloaded before conducting any dry fire. The dry firing will allow you to train a wide variety of skill sets and is as close as you can get to shooting the pistol without actually shooting the pistol. Most competition shooters will dry fire every day as well as prior to going to a match.
- Use a shot timer- You can either download a shot timer app or purchase a professional one for range use. The biggest thing is having something that can give you a time delay and a par time. The time delay allows you to hit the shot timer’s start button and then gives you a 2-4 second delay to prepare for the timer to go off. The par time is a second beep after the first “go” beep that can be set in increments of a tenth of a second. For home use set your shot timer to say a two second par time and practice drawing from the holster, acquiring your target and accurately squeezing the trigger before the par time goes off. This allows you to get used to drawing in a certain amount of time and this is a great way to speed up varying skills.
- Focus on one thing and do it over and over and over and over and…. When you’re at home try honing in on one skill by conducing a high amount of repetitions. This will help build your muscle memory without having to focus on whether or not you hit your target. Typically between range days I will focus on either magazine reloads or draws. Both of these can easily be conducted at home and have huge payoffs come range day. Typically I will set a par time that challenges me and once I can conduct whatever skill I am trying to practice under the par time I will lower it.
- Train with your combat/range gear- When you train, train as you fight. If you don’t “fight” with your gun then train with your gear on as it would be worn at the range or at a match. You want to get your muscles used to going to the same place every time.
- Shoot the TV- Watching TV is a great way to get your skills up. Stand in front of the TV and when something comes up on the screen attempt to draw and engage it before it disappears.
- Put up a target- Find a clean wall to put a target on. Keep your kit by the target and make it easy to put on and take off. When you walk by the target, put your kit on, do a few reps, then move on with your day. It makes getting a few reps in a lot easier than getting it all set up and taking all back down every time.