Training and practice . . how do you do it?

I’ve written before about training. The importance of learning what you need to do so you can go practice that skill. Part of the problem we see is that people do not really either have a place to practice OR they don’t know what or how to practice. And in this sense I am referring specifically to Concealed Carry.DSC00210

Recognizing this a few years ago we looked at how we practiced and thought why not offer it as a class for people with CCW Permits. It gives people who do not have that place to practice somewhere to go so they can shoot in near real life situation. It gives people structure to their practice so they can focus on the areas that need improvement. Finally it gives them tactics, how to get off the mark, move and shoot and think about what they are going to do next.

DSC00211Our Advanced CCW Class we call Skills, Drills and Scenarios is simply a series of routines that when committed to memory will allow us to function in a violent encounter in a manner that can save our lives and in a manner that we will not have to consciously think about what to do next.

We start slow with just presenting the gun from 7 yards and placing rounds from the holster into a 9″ target. After we are feeling pretty efficient at this we move on to being able to quickly reload and reengage a threat.DSC00212

So now it is time to test our level of accomplishment with a simple 19 round drill from 7 and 25 yards that will measure our speed, accuracy and test our understanding of the Fundamentals all using widely recognized standards.

We started off the day with simple exercises like learning how to present the gun quickly but now will move on to shooting both from extended low ready and from retention ready which of course leads into how to get the gun out fast, on target and fire multiple shots on the threat against a known standard.DSC00213

By this time we have loosened the cobwebs, calmed down a bit from shooting with a group on the line under time and accuracy pressures so let’s see how well we measure up using our LFT Drill. The 25 round drill is shot with a time limit from 25, 15, 10, 7, 5 and 3 yards. At each position there are requirements like shooting from the kneeling position, correcting misfires, emergency reloads, shooting while moving forward and back and shooting with one hand on both sides. The scoring is pretty simple, on the LFT – PH1 target there is a 9″ scoring ring center of mass and a 4″ scoring ring on the head. If your round is inside the scoring ring it is one point, on the line or outside is zero points. The LFT Drill is designed to stretch your abilities and it is not designed to swell your head with how great a shot you are, in fact it can be pretty humbling. Often when our shooters are asked beforehand what percent of hits they will get most say 75%, which is 19 rounds counting . . . in reality most start with less than 50%. Expert shooters should be able to score 80% to 90%. But do not be too discouraged, we will shoot this again before calling it a day to see how we have improved.DSC00218

Now it’s time to move on to rapid fire. I know it is a lot of fun but what do you really learn from it except that misses don’t count. So we do the Bill Drill a couple of times from the holster at 5 yards with the objective time of 3.5 seconds for six hits in the 9″ scoring circle. Again like most of these drills, it is not easy and most fail but they learn a ton about seeing their sights on target and working the trigger correctly.DSC00219

We are all getting a little warmed up so it’s time to do the Room Scenario. We do the same one each time because again this one is designed to have you perform effectively in all of the skills you have worked on during the morning. The shooter starts outside the room about 10 yards away from the target line, on the buzzer the student runs to the corner of the room turns right down the hall and engages a threat with three rounds while moving towards the doorway to the room. Once entering the room there are three threats three yards away that must be engaged with two rounds each and then you exit the room near the rear 10 yards away where you started. After leaving the room you make two left turns and proceed down the hall on the right side of the room while engaging another threat with three rounds. On your left will be another door to the room where you will enter and engage the same three threats as before with two rounds each. Your run is timed and your hits are counted. If you noticed, there were 18 rounds fired or more if you choose however making magazine changes in the open can be hazardous and facing three threats face to face and running empty can also shorten your life span. Tactics play an important role in how well you perform, thinking through your actions before you start can greatly improve your run . . . again, don’t get too down on yourself, we will run this again before we leave for the day.Room Drill

To lighten things up we have next a short version of a Steel Challenge. Each person takes one shot at a 8″ steel plate from 10 yards. Each person who makes that one hit moves on to the next round at 15 yards. This continues until only one shooter is left standing.DSC00220

So now we know who is shooting pretty well so it’s time for the gunfight. Two shooters line up at 15 yards, on the buzzer they draw; first round on steel is the winner and moves on. This is repeated until there is only one gunfight champion.

DSC00221We are now approaching 200 rounds for the day and will finish up our practice session with the Tueller Drill with each shooter timed for two rounds on target at 5 yards. As we have all had a pretty good day, everyone gets it done in UNDER 1.5 seconds . . . WTG Shooters! That is not an easy task.

Once more through the Room Scenario and one more try at the LFT Drill and we call it a day. It was nice to note that everyone participating this day improved on both of these the second time around.DSC00222

And my personal times/scores went into my shooting notebook, with notes about time, score and gun used so I can monitor my progress over time. We have completed a very effective and beneficial practice session in four hours, have fired over 250 rounds and have measured our skills in a series of tests that will stretch even the best competitive shooters.

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