How to improve your self-defense training
It is absolutely imperative that, once you've picked out your pistol, you actually go to the range with it. As you begin to shoot it more and more, you'll start to realize that your muscle memory takes over and your body almost knows what to do, even when your mind is trying to catch up.
That way, the next time you're confronted with a hostile situation, your body will move on its own, knowing exactly what to do. Here are the top ways to improve your self-defense training:
First and foremost, if you're new to firearms, seek out a qualified instructor to walk you through the basics of that firearm. Have them teach you the basic safety rules that must be followed each time you handle a firearm and how to shoot it safely. Even if you're not new to firearms, seek out an advanced instructor; you can never know too much.
Holster & De-Holster
This may seem counter-intuitive, but practicing the draw and return of your weapon are equally important. The main key to remember is that you need to be able to do both safely. There have been plenty of cases where people have shot themselves, and others, just by simply pulling or replacing their pistol.
The reason, at least some of the time, is because the operator didn't keep everything away from the trigger. This means that something snagged the trigger along the way, or they placed their finger on the trigger too soon after drawing.
When most people think about groups of shots together, they think about shooting a rifle. But, one of the best methods of checking your skills, is by shooting groups with a pistol at various yardages.
The same concept applies, you can tell what you're doing wrong based on where your shots are.
For example, if three out of your five shots are close, but you dropped two of them, low and to the left, you have something that you need to work out (could be a couple of things depending on which hand is your strong hand). Do this a few times to make sure you get a feel for your weak spots.
Scan and Asses
How can you be totally sure that the bad guy you just put out of commission wasn't acting alone? After you put bad guy number 1 down, remove your finger from the trigger, and scan the area for more threats by looking to the left and right.
Please only do so with your head, so you don't accidentally muzzle any innocents. You'll want to return your pistol to the chest-ready position, should you need to begin firing again.
Ball and Snaps
Next time you're at the range, alternate ball ammo and snap caps. Remember to point your weapon in a safe direction. There are two reasons to employ this technique in your training.
First, it can help you realize when you're anticipating a round going off. If you watch your muzzle drop, you're flinching and need to work on your trigger control. Second, whenever you squeeze your trigger on a dummy round, it simulates a malfunction.
Next time you're at the range, alternate ball ammo and snap caps. Remember to point your weapon in a safe direction. There are two reasons to employ this technique in your training. First, it can help you realize when you're anticipating a round going off. If you watch your muzzle drop, you're flinching and need to work on your trigger control. Second, whenever you squeeze your trigger on a dummy round, it simulates a malfunction.
Knowing how to properly clear a malfunction is a must for any defensive situation. Remember this: Tap, Rack, and Assess. To clear it, tap (smack hard) the bottom of the magazine, rack the slide back, and check for danger. If danger is still present, begin firing again.
Get off the Bench
Generally speaking, I don't bench-shoot. I do occasionally, like when I'm trying to get a base group to see how accurate a new gun is. I want to make sure that the new weapon is flawless, so I can make sure that any mistakes aren't the weapon, but something that I'm doing wrong.
Whenever I see people shooting from a bench the entire time they're at the range, I wonder if they're even learning anything, or just going through the motions. In order to grow, and be successful at defending yourself or loved ones, shoot off-hand from different positions. Kneel, sit, and stand without any rest for accuracy. This goes for pistol and rifle shooting.
What's your favorite method for self-defense training? Share in the comments.
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Editor’s Note – This post was originally published on December 12, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.