Maximize Your Training

Guns are expensive, ammo is expensive, and even range time is expensive. If you are getting involved with any of these, you want to make the most of your time and money. With that said, how can you maximize your training? I have a few methods for doing so that I’d love to share with you. 

Train With Reputable Instructors 

It’s completely possible to go to the range every week and do it wrong. If you don’t train correctly, you’re just wasting ammunition. In fact, you could reinforce bad habits. Personally, I do a bit of a tactical turtle where I raise my shoulders in an isosceles position. I’m still trying to break that bad habit. 

training with instructor caleb giddings
Caleb Giddings is a Grandmaster in IDPA and modern day revolver SME. He is also the marketing manager for Taurus and teaches under Citizens Defense Research.

To avoid bad habits, seek some training with reputable instructors. Specifically, instructors with a specialty in the discipline you wish to learn. Concealed carry is different than a tactical pistol class and rifles are different than shotguns; so seek out specific training courses. Training with reputable instructors will teach you how to do it right. 

If you know how to do it right when you hit the range, you’ll keep doing it right. The best place to start is with reputable, high-quality instructors to teach you how to shoot in the first place. 

Have a Training Plan 

When you head to the range or begin your dry fire practice, do it with a plan. Before you even step outside the door, have a plan on how you are going to train. Maybe you’re going to practice your drawing or reloading skills, or maybe cadence, sight picture, distance shooting, or whatever. 

More than knowing what you are going to train, you need to be specific. If you’re training for reloads, you should try and set reps and practice a certain amount. You can practice tactical and speed reloads. Practice reloads that use a slingshot method and slide release techniques. If you’re going for distance, start close and slowly work back. You can take it a step further and use specific drills to train different skills.

man and woman shooting handguns down their lanes at indoor shooting range
Semi-automatics have malfunctions and knowing how to handle these in a way that is resistant to stress failures is an important part of defensive training.

If you’re lost in how exactly you plan to train, then look to established drills. Even better, check out police and military quals. They give you a prewritten training plan that you can follow and build numerous skills. Police and military quals can be an easy button for having a plan. 

Record Your Progress 

How exactly do you know if you’re getting better? How do you know if that new technique for reloading or fixing malfunctions works as well as you think? You need to record your training data. Use it to track progress, and you’ll see trends that you can align with various training styles and techniques. 

gift for prepared citizen Moleskine notebook.
Write your results down!

Just training and letting the results enter the stratosphere will get you nowhere. Recording progress is one part of the process. The second part is reviewing that progress. I won’t lie; I’m terrible at recording my progress and reviewing it. Apps like Range Buddy help a lot with recording data, but sometimes a simple green Oxford notebook can take you far. 

Write it down, review it on occasion, and record what works for you. Maybe an hour at the range works for you, but does two hours see diminishing returns? Who knows? Well, you can if you record it. 

Use Objective Data 

Objective data beats everything. Opinions and subjective data points are nearly useless in the long run. Sure, a gun like the CZ 75 might ‘feel’ better in your hand, but what if you shoot the Glock better regardless of how it feels? Objective data doesn’t lie. If you shoot the Glock better, the data will show it. 

When it comes to guns, there are two primary data points that matter: speed and accuracy. One typically affects the other. When you can shoot straight and fast, you’ll know you’ve reached a high skill level. Your target gives your accuracy data point while a shot timer gives your speed data point. 

training with shot timer and revolver
Don’t forget your shot timer!

The combination of the two allows you to measure your performance in an objective manner. Objective data allows you to measure skill progression and sets a standard for you to work towards. Drills like the 10-10-10 have an accuracy and time standard, and it’s a major reason why they are so valuable. 

Utilize Progressive Overload 

Progressive overload is a term that applies to fitness and muscle growth but, honestly, it’s the best term to describe the concept I’m talking about. Progressive overload means constantly making your training a little more difficult. It’s never a massive jump. You wouldn’t go from benching 135 pounds to 180 pounds overnight. The same goes for achieving something like a sub-second draw. 

drawing gun from bag
The draw from a pack can be difficult and requires practice to master.

If your draw is currently 1.5 seconds, you won’t reach a sub-one second draw overnight. However, you can start chipping away at your time. Aim to go faster and faster with each draw and practice lowering that time. The same goes for drill times. If you can get an all-black 10-10-10 drill in eight seconds, try to shoot just a little faster. You might start out sloppy but, with more and more practice, your time will improve without losing accuracy. 

Progressive overload means taking small steps to get faster and shoot straighter. It’s micro evolutions. It’s seeking to constantly improve and never resting on your laurels. 

Set Realistic Goals 

Finally, set realistic goals. This ties in well with progressive overload. Once you accomplish an eight-second all-black 10-10-10 drill, what time should you shoot for next? I’d say 7.5 seconds. Keep shrinking the time while maintaining your accuracy standards. 

If you’ve only just started practicing your draw and think you have to have a sub-second draw, you’ll be disappointed and frustrated. Set realistic and conservative goals. Every small goal is a step towards being better and, with every accomplished goal, you’ll want to continue shooting. 

Have Some Fun With Training 

At the end of the day, people rarely get good at anything if they hate doing it. Always leave room to have fun. If wrapping up a training session and you want to mag dump one time, just do it. As long as it’s safe, have some fun with it. If your version of fun is reenacting the “Yo Homie” scene from Collateral, then do so. 

Want to try making a smiley face like Riggs from Lethal Weapon? Go for it. Play Battleship with those neat targets from Birchwood Casey or shoot one of those mini polymer target balls and watch them jump and jive. 

training with two targets at the gun range
We’ll need two threats for the Collateral drill.

Everyone likes that surge from being good at something. For instance, I keep a few basic drills in my back pocket that I’m fairly good at like the basic 10-10-10 drill. I know I do pretty well with that drill and it releases a good hit of dopamine from being successful at the drill. 

Have a little fun during your range trips. Do it before or after or, hell, do it before and after. Having fun can be a great warmup and something to look forward to at the end of a range trip. If it’s fun, you’ll keep doing it. 

Keep Training 

Striving to make the most of your time and your ammo while maximizing your efficiency is a noble goal. It can be tough and, if you’re having a hard time doing so, try a few of the techniques listed above. Let us know if you have any ideas to maximize your training efforts. 

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

Sign Up for Newsletter

Let us know what topics you would be interested:
© 2024 GunMag Warehouse. All Rights Reserved.
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap