The way many people train just seems… wrong. I don’t believe that many of us really train properly when we get out and actually train. Some people don’t even shoot enough to keep their shooting skills up.

What We Do Wrong

How we Stand – We are always standing in one position. After all, you are WP_000231not allowed to move around while you shoot at the range as there are others there, and they sure don’t want you moving around just like you don’t want them moving around.

Walls and Partitions – We have walls or partitions on each side of us. We can’t see to our left and our right.

Benches – We have these nice, often even carpeted, benches where we put our guns.

Targets – Our targets are not lifelike. The targets don’t even have facial features in most cases. They are facing us straight on in most cases, and they are upper body, only. They don’t fall over when we get good hits. They don’t rush us. Sure, there are some exceptions, but they are very minimal.

After Action – We can simulate the steps that we would take after a shooting. We can kind of glance around a bit to the sides to simulate checking the environment around us for other potential threats. However, we really can’t do that on the range.

Distance – We seem to focus on the 3, 5, 7, and 10 yard shooting distances WP_20140326_008 (2)with some people adding 15 yards because we are limited based on the range where we shoot.

Weather – No rain, no snow, no wind, and air conditioning are the norm for our training. We are shooting without coats on, without gloves, and without any distractions that might make us uncomfortable. Even when we train outside, most people refuse to get out in the rain.

Coaching – In most of our training environments, we have friends and family there helping to coach us. They help us fix our problems while shooting and give us advice.

Stress – We can, calmly, aim and take our time in shooting. There is no  stress. If we are lucky, we might have a shot timer that helps us at least introduce a little stress.

What We Need

Instructors always talk about training as we fight, meaning, we should have the same factors included in our training that we would possibly run into if we ever need to fight for our lives or the lives of our loved ones.

Movement – MOVE! MOVE! MOVE! In the time that we are fighting, we won’t be standing still, yet, that is what we do in almost all of our training. We should be moving while we shoot, moving to cover and concealment, and moving away from the threat. Yet, we just don’t get to do that in many cases. Luckily, there are some great opportunities via USPSA, IPSC, and IDPA to get out there and move while engaging targets.

Work from Concealment – Not only should we all work from holsters, we should be working from our concealment holsters. We should practice moving concealment garments out of the way, drawing, engaging our targets, and very carefully re-holstering so we can do it all over again and again.

Malfunctions – We can set up malfunctions, and practice them. We can even do it on the range or in dry practice opportunities, but not enough people do this. It should get to the point of it being reflexive when you have a malfunction.

Moving Targets – Thankfully, we see more moving targets at our ranges than we have had in the past, but we need more. Our potential assailants won’t be standing still. The targets we shoot at on the range just don’t duck, bob, and weave, either.

Multiple Targets – We have found that bad guys have friends that are also bad guys, and that by working together, they are able to get a bigger advantage in an encounter. We should practice engaging multiple targets and transitioning from target to target.

After Action – This should be a part of every one of our training sessions. We need to be able to look behind us, and do a complete 360 degree scan of the environment to make sure we do not have other threats on the scene.

Distance – Get out and shoot at multiple distances, and don’t look for the standard distances. Shooting at 25 yards will also help us with shorter distances, plus, it will encourage us to start thinking outside the 21 foot rule in our day to day training.

Cover and Concealment – We need to learn how to use cover and concealment and how to move into good shooting positions that use cover and concealment. We need to learn how to move from one covered position to another.

Weather – We need to get out in the rain, the snow, the wind, and the general cold weather while wearing the proper coats and gloves. After all, we can’t control what the weather will be like if we have to stop a threat. We need to be ready to act in all sorts of weather conditions. Let’s not forget working in low light environments, too.

Stress – Going back to USPSA, IPSC, and IDPA, we can use these opportunities to move and shoot, and move and shoot, and practice with the physical stress as well as the stress of competition.


It is time that we all look at how we train, and we need to make the changes where we can to improve our training.

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