Going to the range is not nearly enough to prepare you for a deadly encounter. You need a way to test your marksmanship and decision making skills in a stressful environment. Qualifications are a great way to test your skills with some timed pressure. It may even be a good idea to persuade your favorite instructor to come out with you and document your success. I hear instructors can be persuaded with ammo and magazines, I’m not saying, I’m just saying.
With so many different qualifications out there, where should you start? Personally, I think it would be a good test of skill to see how you hold up to your local police department’s qualification. It is always a good eye opener to see what kind marksmanship expectations we place on our law enforcement officers. If you find this a little easy, do not be surprised, as some departments do not have high requirements for regular firearm training. You may be interested in stepping it up a bit and look into some of the military qualifications.
I will list a few of the qualifiers below as downloadable .pdf files. Most of the individuals I train are concealed carry holders so I recommend all drills be done from the concealed position. If anything is off with these qualifiers please feel free to message me so I can correct them. As always, be safe, be comfortable, be confident!
I took a 2 day rifle class last year and of course, learned a lot about how to live and work with my rifle. Something I always look forward to in a training course is the information and stories that the instructors will share to help get their point across. One of the instructors was telling a story about a relative that happened to be present during a large mass shooting. One of the biggest regrets he had was not taking the opportunity to train this relative with emergency medical knowledge so that she could go forward and save as many lives as possible. Keep that last sentence in mind as we continue.
I see a lot of people purchasing firearms and ammunition right now out of fear of what might happen. When asking them why, I will hear examples of the riots, civil unrest, general availability or non-availability of firearms and ammunition, amongst other reasons. Now, all of these reasons are valid of course. Given the current climate, you can cite almost every large metropolitan city as your source. But, there is an overall underlying theme with these reasons that we really need to place the focus on. So I will say this. Don’t train out of fear but train out of love.
You might be saying, “what kind of hippie crap is that!?”. But hear me out. For me, my training motivations have changed dramatically over the years. From defense of myself, to defense of myself and my wife, to defense of myself and my family. Yes, I enjoy shooting, so taking classes is an enjoyable experience. But my motivations are rooted in love. I love my family so much that I am willing to sacrifice my time and money to learn the most effective skills possible to defend their lives.
I took this another step. I became so comfortable and confident with these skills that I wanted to teach them out. I wanted to expand that love I have for my family to others. To help provide them with the skills and confidence to protect the ones they love. I may not be able to be there when bad shit happens to you, but I can do my best to share out these skills I’ve learned so you can use them and pass them on to others to use as well. I can tell you the feelings I would have if something happened to a friend that has been putting off their Concealed Carry class for months, or the family member that just doesn’t take me up on my offer to teach them how to throw a tourniquet on. So all I can do is offer. I will put the knowledge out there and it is up to you to pick it up. Do not put yourself in that position of regret. Learn everything you can so you can be in a useful position if the need arises.
That is why I say, don’t train out of fear but train out of love. Whatever your reason may be for learning or teaching, embrace that shit. Always keep it in the back of your mind. When you are out running drills in below 0 weather, remember why you are there. Remember what rides on it. Stay safe, be comfortable, be confident!
If the past years of panic buying have taught us anything it’s that ammo is one of the first things to go. People see the writing on the wall and start buying up everything they can find. Most will sit on this and never use it. Leaving those of us that train leery of spending our precious metals. Unless of course we have prepared accordingly.
So what can we do to keep our skills fresh and not spend any ammunition? We can dry fire. If you have not been doing this already, dry firing is an EXCELLENT way to keep your skills up to date without actually shooting. The idea here is to take the skills that you obtained through training and use them without live ammunition. Write down what you want to focus on each session, shooting with both eyes open, strong hand only, support hand only, trigger reset, something specific.
You may have heard that dry firing is bad for your firearm. While this may be true for certain older model, rimfire, and 1911 firearms, almost all of your modern day striker fired pistols are fine to dry fire. I like to get a set of snap caps for all my calibers. These are used as training tools and aid in my dry fire drills. I am 100% confident in my daily carry firearm’s ability to dry fire without issue.
So here is how you get started. Find a location in your home that would be considered a safe direction if something bad were to happen. Meaning you don’t clear your firearm correctly and put a round through your wall. I like to use the foundation wall in my basement as my safe direction. Take ALL the live ammunition out of your firearm and remove it from the room. I like to hang my target up on the wall and practice my drills. I suggest working on drawing from the holster, move and present the firearm, and pull the trigger on your target in a safe direction. From here you would navigate to any specifics you wanted to focus on. I like to go through the same drills I would in a live fire session.
This is a great way to work out kinks in your setup or try new things. Change up the position where you carry. Find out what works and what doesn’t. Use different clothing. Try your summer clothes, winter clothes, or maybe a heavy coat. Have you ever practiced drawing your firearm from inside your vehicle? You could park in the garage but this may be an issue for some who don’t have a safe direction there. You could always grab a chair and bring it to your designated safe location. This is a great way to safely workout the mechanics of drawing from inside your vehicle.
Dry firing is a great way for everyone to become more familiar with their firearm. This is something that everyone should be doing. From your everyday carrier, your weekend target shooter, to your seasoned police officer.
I hope you all have a great day. Be safe, be comfortable, be confident!
I cut my teeth on indoor ranges. After I bought my first pistol, I spent almost all my free time, and money, at the local indoor range. I learned a lot about marksmanship and had fun learning the trigger of my firearms. When I say learning your trigger, I mean getting a feel for the pull and the reset. Indoor ranges are a solid place to start for beginners, those looking to brush up on some skills, and a great way to have fun while exercising your second amendment rights.
As I became more interested in defensive use and concealed carry, I started to look for training. This is where I learned that indoor ranges suck. Now I say that with a little tongue in cheek but if I am being honest there are a ton of limitations at an indoor range. Most ranges in my area, and I know this will be different depending on where you go, have a lot of restrictions. Not permitting shooters to draw from the holster is at the top of the list, seconded by the dreaded no double taps or rapid shooting. Now I get it, we need to keep safety at the forefront and there are A LOT of new shooters out there right now. But these skills need to be practiced, especially by those that plan to carry.
After taking my first defensive pistol class, which was outdoors, I realized that things just work differently. It is a complete shift of environment so let me touch on a few big benefits of shooting outdoors.
Weather: We don’t get to pick the weather conditions when we are attacked so I suggest that you train in the shittiest weather you can stand. Shoot in the rain, snow, cold, and heat. Figure out where your downfalls are. Manipulating your firearm in these conditions is not the same as a temperature controlled range.
Drawing: Drawing from the holster is THE baseline in defensive firearm shooting. If you can’t manage to get your firearm out of the holster, you are out of the fight. This is something that can be done during your dry fire practice at home. But you need to be getting some live fire draw and shoot practice.
Moving: I don’t know about you, but my local indoor ranges don’t allow for much movement. You are going to want to move when learning to shoot to save your life or the lives of those around you.
Shooting: A defensive shooting will happen fast, and you will need to learn how to shoot as fast as accurately possible. Learning your limits of speed and accuracy as well as distance is huge.
Now these are just a handful of reasons to get outside and shoot. Lucky for you, all these things are possible by taking a reliable defensive pistol training course.
As always, please reach out to me if you have questions or would like to get some training. Be comfortable and confident!
Everyone has to start somewhere. This applies to any skill based activity. Some of us are lucky to have a parent or relative to guide us in the great endevor of firearms. I was not one of those people. Growing up my Dad had a shotgun that I never touched. I didn’t even get into firearms until later in life. There is nothing that says you cannot become a great shooter if you were not born with a pistol in your hand. Like any skill, with enough proper training and dedication, you can become good at it, but you have to start.
Start with a friend taking you to the range. Or even better look around your area and see what formal training is available. The firearm community is very welcoming to new comers. I remember shooting my first IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) match and feeling very overwhelmed beforehand. I told them it was my first match and they seemed very excited to steer me in the right direction. Your first class should be the same way. Your instructor should be eager to have you there and eager to point you in the right direction. Do not accept anything less. Vet your instructors. Ask them what they do, what training they have, what motivates them, get a comfortable feeling with them.
Don’t think that a basic pistol or concealed carry class is enough. I look at firearm training as a martial art, as should you. It is a defensive skill that that is always changing with the times. I suggest that you continue your training and always look for ways to get better. You have to start somewhere, so please, for the safety of yourselves and your famlies, START!