Training doesn't stop because you learned a skill in a class; you must continually practice that skill, add to it, and learn more skills as you progress. The importance of training for any scenario that may arise is comparable to insuring you put gas in your car. Training may make it so you don't have use the shooting skills you have learned; once you have achieved a level of confidence in your training it will show in you posture, your eyes and even your smile. The main focus of training should be to combine the elements of physical fitness, shooting ability, positions and scenarios.
Physical fitness is an over looked aspect of training by some people, where as it may be the most important aspect of shooting. Being physically fit doesn't mean going to the gym, lifting weights and getting on a treadmill. It means that you have looked at everything you do, you need to do and what you want to do. You have trained your mind and body to achieve specific goals. It's not for looks; it's for a better life, better feeling and the ability to accomplish any task. Being in good physical condition might just help you live a little longer as well.
Shooting Ability is an important aspect to training because of what it is, you can be physically fit and as strong as an ox, but if you can't hit where you are aiming, then training is for naught. To improve your shooting ability, concentrate on the fundamentals; breathing, weapon position, grip, trigger squeeze and safety. Breath control is important because not only will each inhale and exhale of your breath change your sight picture, it will also control your heart rate. Weapon position, or aiming, should be steady, front sight fixed on the target with the rear sight cradling it to affirm the firearm is straight. Grip should be gentle, yet firm and trigger squeeze should be a gradual straight back squeeze, not a pull or a jerk. Safety is paramount to everything we do in firearms training; accidentally shooting yourself or others is a No Go at this station.
Shooting from different positions may be one of the most important things you can do for yourself and family. Not many gun fights are fought standing in the open; the Wild West days of gun play are fun to watch on TV, but not very practical for today’s environment. However, learning to shoot from a standing position is a wonderful way to achieve muscle memory and gun control. Start by standing straight and facing your target, control your breathing, evaluate your weapon position and squeeze the trigger. Ensure a slow and steady trigger pull as you inhale and exhale while emptying your weapon. Once you have cleared and ensured your
weapon is safe, you are done with that position for the training day.
Next, try sitting down on the ground and facing your target, start cross legged and follow up with feet out with knees bent. Concentrate on the fundamentals; breathing, aiming, grip, trigger squeeze and safety, Empty a magazine in each position. Continue by lying on your stomach in the prone position, facing the target with your firearm stretched out in front of you. Once again, concentrate on the fundamentals and squeeze the trigger, slow and steady until the weapon is empty. I find this position to be uncomfortable; however, experience has
shown me that mastering this position is quite valuable and required to live through a gun fight. Now get on your feet, starting 15 ft from your original firing line, and walk towards your target firing your weapon as you reach your original firing line. It’s important to hold your weapon steady; the bounce in your walk will magnify any misalignments you may have and create opportunities to shoot off target. Then start over, doing push-ups in between events to induce muscle fatigue and increase heart rate, then do it all over again using the opposite hand, thus allowing you to have confidence to handle your weapon in any situation that may arise.
Adding in obstacles, barriers, hostage targets, cars and more will help build scenarios for training and opportunities to use the practice positions. This is where you put it all together; it could represent your house, a grocery store or gas station. Scenario based training hones every skill you have from shooting laying down in different directions, each side or prone, to using cover and concealment to successfully engage your targets.
Training allows you to modify how you think a situation will go, how to move, how to plan and how to execute. Scenarios will help you become more confident in your ability to handle your weapon mentally and physically. They will give you the confidence to approach every situation with the knowledge you can defend yourself, loved ones and others in any situation that may arise.
Shooting is definitely a part of training and training is part of shooting but they are vastly different concepts. So ask yourself today "Am I trained?" If the answer is no, find someone to help train you, find some place that you can train and go! There is no price too high to pay for the ability to defend yourself and loved ones.