Training on a Budget

I get it, I understand and after a short break decided it was time to make my own training a priority. I do believe the worst of the ammunition shortage is over, but we’ll still be negotiating higher prices for some time to come. Acknowledging these truths, how do we train in this era of high ammunition costs and limited availability? The answer is meaningful training.

Instructors say it all the time.   Make your shots count, make yourself accountable for each shot, but what does this mean?

Many shooting enthusiast approach shooting as a recreational past time quite happy to fling precious rounds downrange, make a big noise, and beat their chests in some sophomoric victory.   However, as some one with a CCW permit, you need to take your shooting as a serious subject and work at it like it is a business or math problem to solve.   Shooting is far more mental than most shooters understand.   As with any new activity there are techniques to learn, fundamentals to apply, develop, and sharpen, and these are usually thought of as physical tasks.  But to really sharpen this blade, you have to engage your mind.

In every Basic Pistol class a set of fundamentals are taught.  Among these fundamentals are grip, stance, sighting, breathing, etc…  A review of these fundamentals is always a good idea, because rarely can the lesson of the shooting fundamentals be learned, and fully comprehended, in a single class.  The amount of information being taught in an 8 hour class to a novice, or new shooter is staggering to receive.

You know what’s wrong with Dry Fire?  No instant feedback, no instant gratification.  It’s a simple activity, so it must not pay off right?  Wrong.  Dry fire is a complex activity that, when performed correctly, is used to cement the lessons learned from classes, books, or videos.  1. Obtain, a master grip on your firearm, and 2. draw straight up out of the holster and high.  3.  Drive your elbow to your side which drives the gun perpendicular to the body, 4. Marry the support hand to the grip, 5, present, or press out to full extension.  6. See your front sight clearly, while obtaining sight picture on a 4 inch target taped to your wall.  7. Good finger placement across the trigger face.  8. Grab a breath and hold.  9. Press the trigger to the rear keeping the sights on your target, but your focus on the front blade.  10.  focus on  your front blade just a moment longer and exhale.  11.  Evaluate.  What did I do well, what did I do less well?  10 Steps doesn’t seem like a simple process to me, like swinging a golf club is not a simple process.    No single step is complex, but putting forward 10 simple steps makes the process complex.   No shots fired, no drive time to the range.   Follow this exercise for 4 days.

During one of these days, locate a Dot Torture target, they are easy to find…Google, Bing, or Duck, Duck Go can find it.  Print out 10.  Next, head over to Dave Spaulding’s web page.   Click on classes, or courses, and scroll to the bottom.  Here you’ll find Free to print, meaningful, targets.  The Chest Cavity, and either the 3X5 Circle, or triangle/rectangle links and print a few out.  Bookmark the site, or save the PDFs local.

On Thursday, get a good night sleep, and on Friday go to the Range.   No heavy upper body workouts on Friday.  Go to the range.  Be in the moment, don’t go angry, don’t go thinking about the things you gotta do, go to be in that moment and focus on every shot.

If you’re cheap, take a used target from the trash can and tape one of the Spaulding 3X5 targets to it.   Run it out to 15 feet.  Work your fundamentals slowly, thinking of every step.  Work at this range until you can keep your first 10 shots in the 3X5 card.   When you have kept all shots in that zone, push the target further out – say 3 feet further out, and try again.  I’d even suggest that you run 5 Dry Fire shots at the target before you start using your live rounds.  10 shots fired is all you should spend on this.   Grade your target.  Each hit on target, or breaking the line of the target is worth 10 pts.    Hang the Chest Cavity Target, and run it to 21 feet.   If your range allows it, draw from holster slowly and work through each step of the draw sequence.  If your range does not allow holster work, start from a compressed ready.  take 10 slow, deliberate shots.  Score your target.   Lastly, hang your Dot Torture target, and run it out to 3 yards, and just follow the instructions on the target.   Remember, the only shot that counts is the one you are making at that moment, and nothing else matters.

Three exercises, 70 shots, meaningful training.  Single hand, weak hand, draw, reloads, transitions, pairs, sight alignment, grip, finger placement, breath control, it’s all here.  When this is comfortable, add a side step as you draw or present your firearm, perform a scan after completing the string.   If you do add the scan, look at something specific, and see it.

Devote the time to dry fire practice, it pays dividends, saves your money and improves your shooting.