Monday, December 5, 2016
Tuning Your Shooting Skills
Sensible Self Defense, Inc. recently held this year’s first Shooting Skills Tune-up session at Cedar Ridge Range in San Antonio, Texas. The concept behind the tune-up is providing shooters an opportunity to practice IDPA and practical defensive pistol skills outside of a match environment. Many (most) commercial ranges will not permit shooters the freedom to practice these skills due to safety/liability concerns. The Shooting Skills Tune-up is a structured practice session with Safety Officers supervising all of the range activity. Shooters have the opportunity to learn and practice efficient pistol handling skills, drawing from concealment, shooting while moving, use of cover, shooting a double tap, and other skills.
The sold out tune-up was a resounding success with beginner and more advanced shooters attending. We started with a review of the fundamentals of pistol marksmanship including stance, grip, sight alignment/picture, and trigger control. My reasoning for reviewing the fundamentals was that during matches (as a Safety Officer) I have noted many shooters performing reasonably well, but who have developed bad habits or who may never have learned efficient pistol manipulation. Many of the more advanced shooters praised this approach and indicated that it is easy to forget how important periodically practicing the fundamentals was too fast and accurate shooting.
We then moved on to shooting while moving forward and backward. Once again, many had never been exposed to the proper way of maintaining your upper body relatively stable while walking. Of course, this is a match skill—if you are actually under fire you just move out as quickly as possible.
We finally did some moving to cover exercises discussing the proper way to get into and leave cover positions. If you are only moving a few feet, then keeping the pistol in a firing position (i.e. mounted) is fine. If you must move more than a few feet then dismount the pistol (muzzle awareness at all times) and run normally to the next position mounting the pistol as you cover the last few yards. This enables you to enter the position with the pistol ready to fire an accurate shot without the additional time spent if you had waited until you came to a complete stop to bring the pistol onto the target.
We ended the session shooting at some steel targets. Shooters who have never shot steel targets either love them or find them very frustrating. Steel teaches you to apply shooting fundamentals because they are binary targets—you either hit it or miss it. Unlike paper targets, on steel you get no partial credit for a miss.