Let's go shooting!

by Instruction
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So, the weather isn't ideal for going to a range and shooting.  The cost of an indoor range isn't ideal and neither is the cost of ammunition. Don't let this stop you from practicing.

Most experts will tell you that dry fire practice is a critical part of honing your shooting skills. Dry practice should be done often enough that your dry fire to live fire should be about 70/30, where 70% of the time you are dry firing.  It allows you to gain muscle memory in accessing your firearm, griping your firearm, extending, getting proper sight picture and alignment.  Dry fire practice also allows you to work on your breath control, trigger control, hold control and follow-though. Furthermore, dry fire practice give you an opportunity to work on your scenario based training.  

Here are some tips to help you get started.


Safety must always come first.  Most accidental shootings take place while the shooter is handling an "unloaded" gun.  

1)  Always make sure your firearm is unloaded.  Check and double check this. Visually check the chamber and magazine.  Physically place your little finger inside the action and ensure there is no ammunition inside.  This step can not be stressed enough. When possible you should use snap caps or dummy rounds for dry fire practice.

2)  Ensure that there is no ammunition in the same room as your dry firing practice will take place.  

3)  Find a wall to be considered a safe zone, or "down range".  Keep the gun pointed in THAT direction at all times.  This will help enforce safe practices while you are on a range or other place where you will be using your gun.

4) Close your drapes and blinds.  You don't want a neighbor calling the police because they see a man pointing a gun around the house.  This could be all bad!

Slow is fast!

When practicing dry fire you should focus on technique rather than speed.  Just as Japanese martial artists practice with Katas so they can execute and adapt fighting techniques without thought or hesitation, so too, should you practice drawing, griping, extending, pointing/aiming, firing your firearm. By doing this you will be able to smoothly exhibit and use your firearm with confidence and skill.

Scenario training

Time to put all of those years of childhood "cowboys and indians" training to good use.  How often do you ask yourself, "what would I do if.....?"  If you answer seldom or never, you should consider changing your thought process. The God of war hates those who hesitate.  Hesitating will get you killed.  One way to be sure that you don't freeze in a bad situation is to have already practiced that scenario several times in your head and with your body.  There is a very popular video on youtube that shows an officer being gunned down my a man with a rifle.  The reason he was successful in killing this officer is because the officer likely never, or rarely practiced his scenario training involving a man with a gun.  His mind knew that he should shoot but his body wasn't responding.  This is a common occurrence in a life or death situation.  One that can easily be overcome by practice. 

Grip and trigger

Of the most important parts in firing a gun is proper grip and finger placement on the trigger. Be sure that you have a good grip on your gun by placing the webbing of your thumb and index finger as high onto the backstrap of the handgun as possible without going over the top of it.  Wrap your fingers around the grip and overlay your other hand on top of your grip hand.  Grasp firmly but not hard.  A firm "handshake" grip is all that is needed to properly control most guns.

Use the tip of your finger to slowly and smoothly draw the trigger straight back towards the grip.  The fall of the firearms hammer should be a surprise to you.  If you notice the gun is moving while you pull the trigger, adjust how far into the trigger guard your finger is.  For a right-handed shooter, if the gun moves to the left, try putting your finger deeper into the trigger guard.  If the gun moves to the right, try reducing how much finger is inside the trigger guard.  If you are a left-handed shooter, reverse this theory.

Weak hand practice

The ability to shoot from the weak-side can not be understated.  For some, the thought of having to continue on in a gun battle after being shot, stabbed or otherwise wounded on your stongside just isn't enough to get you to practice this technique.  I would ask those people to think about this.  I will be undergoing surgery on my right arm soon.  I will be in a cast and sling for several weeks, followed by several months of rehabilitation.  Luckily I practice weak-side shooting often and feel comfortable carrying my gun and using my gun on my weak-side. 

Most people that will ever have to shoot weak-side are going to do it because of an injury that occurred prior to any gun battle or knife attack.  It will be due to an accident that occurred at some point prior to it.   And remember, criminals are very much like any other animal. They will attack the weakest of prey.  When you're injured, you are the weaker prey.

Please pass this on to the friends you care about.  Also, rate it above so I know what articles interest my readers.  Feel free to leave comments below.  Have a happy New Year and God Bless.

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