What it means to plan your Range/Training sessions…

Yesterday I finished up a rare Friday/Saturday course working on handgun essential skills and drills with eleven very motivated and experienced students.

On TD1 after getting waivers signed and the scheme of maneuver for the two-day course out of the way we discussed how important it is to have a plan for your practice sessions that gives you some direction as to what you want to work on.

These things should be written down. Personally, I use a good old fashioned piece of paper and clipboard. What this does is documents practice sessions and what you are working on at any one time along with allowing you to make notes for empirical data to be saved in case you ever need it further down the road.

Storyboarding your target can also help you to remember what the course of fire that you shot and how you did during your practice session as well. What I mean by Storyboarding is writing notes and any other empirical data down on your target and taking a photo of it with your smartphone, this is a great way to memorialize your training sessions as well.

The great Ken Hackathorn says, “you are what you practice.” That is spot on, and if you are not practicing essential core skills and the drills that enhance your performance of the essential skills that you need to fight with your handgun then you are missing the point of practice.

Here are a few things that I like to do each practice session.

My first drill is typically a walkback starting at 3 yards and progressing out to 5, 7, 10, 12.5, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50. I always take a break in between the distances longer than 25 yards as my nearly 55 year old eyes are not as good as they once were and, I want to see exactly where I am hitting.

The walkback drill can be done from the ready position of your choice or from a concealment or duty holster. I typically run it from the holster as I have that capability at the ranges that I regularly practice at, if you do not I am sure that a low ready would be acceptable. You can shoot 3 or 5 shots at each position, that’s entirely up to you. Most importantly you need to have a clearly defined target and make sure that to hold yourself accountable to an accuracy standard and focus on achieving your standard.

Another drill I like is a 100 round warm-up that I got from Steve Gilcreast with Sig Sauer. Using a B-8 Bullseye Target the goal is to keep everything in the nine ring or better (The black scoring area) from ten yards. These are ten specific tasks conditions and standards that are very tough to meet.

After the warm-up then it is on to essential core skills drills practicing those for a good hour and if I can get in some movement and work on tracking the dot (Everybody knows that I run a gun with a TV Screen on it) on the move, I do that as well.

The last thing is I try to add in a qualification or two and if I run a qualification I usually shoot those first as it is important to know what you can do cold on demand.

In summary, it is my suggestion that each range session should be a good 400-450 rounds of deliberate practice with a plan, and as mentioned above you should be keeping records on what you are working on during each practice session and make sure that you fit in some dry-fire practice sessions in between your live-fire sessions.

Edited to add: If you can only get in 100 rounds a week or every other week that’s OK, just make sure that it is deliberate practice with a goal to improve in mind.

Thanks for checking in, and until next time, be vigilant be the best, and as always, live life abundantly!

Train hard so you can fight easy!

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