VERY good posts in this thread. I'll add mine to it.
Some things I do:
1) I average about 125-150 rounds per session. Each session is about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. If I stay too long, my performance slowly degrades. No point of ingraining tired, bad habits.
2) Focus hard on every draw and every shot fired. Every shot should count. It's not PRACTICE...it's a GUNFIGHT. Mindset.
3) Vary the number of rounds on presentations. Don't get into a double tap rut.
4) If movement is allowed, move after and/or during shooting each time. Get in the habit of not being stationary. You don't have to run across the range, just moving a few steps is beneficial.
5) If possible, use multiple targets. Lateral transitions are important. You may have multiple assailants or the single assailant may move laterally before, while or after he is shot.
6) Take one or two small sections of cardboard and slip them under your primary IDPA/IPSC target so they stick out. Roughly 8" x 16" pieces. Occasionally add them to your center-of-mass shots. Perps move, twitch, bob and weave. Requires you to break focus on the COM and shift to new zone. If you keep shooting COM and perp moves (voluntarily of involuntarily), you may end up shooting follow-up rounds center-of-elbow rather than COM.
7) I start each range session with my stone-cold-gunfight drill. Draw/fire 3-4 rounds at seven yards. If you're ever unfortunate to be in a gunfight, you don't get to tuneup with three practice mags. Obviously, you only get to do this once at each range session.
8) DO NOT get too focused on tiny bullseye groups, or even a flyer. My general standard is hand size groups...regardless of distance. If the groups are too small, I'm taking too long. If the groups are too large, I'm shooting too fast. It's self-regulating. The paper tells me what's happening.
9) DON'T obsess with occasional flyers messing up your picture perfect groups. I see this all the time in our classes. A guy does four fast shots from the holster. Three are hand size and the fourth is a nine o'clock flyer 8" away. Bummer...just did three superb COM hits and only hit him in the lung with a flyer. You get the point.
10) Each time you draw/fire mentally visualize in advance what you are doing and why. Create your own mental scenario. Nowadays, we have video all over the place on nearly every type of violent crime. I trust everybody who carries watches them, analyzes them, learns from them and plunks them in their memory bank. I've been carrying for over 50 years and always study new videos. You never stop learning.
This is on range facilities where I have the range to myself. Fortunate to have two indoor ranges and outdoor range with five separate, concrete wall separated bays. Indoor ranges have controlled low light capabilities. With proper club certifications, we can draw/fire unattended, move while shooting and shoot in low light conditions. Handgun Heaven...
An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less until he knows absolutely everything about nothing. --Nicholas Murray Butler
This^^ I also strongly encourage you to do some dedicated dry firing and gun handling in advance. This will help you identify areas to work on in live fire. You can greatly reduce some expensive range practice through dry fire. When you do this, you can simply verify the results and work on the most pressing performance areas.
With limited time available to me at a live fire range, dry fire has helped tremendously.
When i do go to the range, i take only one or two of my Glocks, and one AR. all mags loaded the night before.
|Sigforum K9 handler|
Dude, lay the ego down, and go to the match.
IIRC, you live somewhere in the I-65 corridor? Or is my memory going on me. Lots of really good places there if I am right. Most of the folks at matches are a wealth of help to guys looking to put a program together.
I break things down into small pieces when I work on dry fire. I really think that you should really have a decent mastery of the static stuff (drawing the gun, multiple targets, reloading/clearing the gun) before you spend a lot of time on movement.
Best of luck to you.
Totally agree. You can do presentations at home until your hands bleed, reloads, etc, for free, and not fire one damn round. Really helps on a new pistol. You marry to the trigger and it loosens up a bit from brand new. A rig and some snap caps. I don't know why more don't do it. Only expense is time.
Got it.....Rough air ahead, we’re in for some chop.
|Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best|
Lol...Guilty as charged! Honestly I need to just stop putting it off, join the local club, and get involved. I'm about 2 hours north of Indy, and about a hour and a half east of I-65. We're kinda in the middle of nowhere, but I have options...I just need to take advantage of them.
In the past, the largest hurdle for me to get to the range was the following:
1) My range sucked. RSO's that were "unpleasent" (and thats being nice), overly strict rules such as no rapid fire, shooting at paper only, no drills, etc..frankly made shooting unfun and boring, to the point where I didn't even bother with it for a couple of years. There was easily a 2-3 year stretch where I'd go out once, realize how boring it is to slow fire at paper targets and I'd pack it in and go home. Solution was to find a range that basically has no restrictions other than not being stupid. New place allows steel and other non paper targets, rapid fire, drills, etc..basically anything except tannerite. added bonus is that 2/3'rds of the time i go there i have the place to myself. In addition i built a backstop in my backyard where I can shoot suppressed 22 rf, 9 mm, and 45.
2) The load up. Another deterrent was the prep work. getting ammo together along with everything else i needed sometimes was enough for me to stop a trip. I ended up buying a couple of range bags that are stocked with range essentials, and I also keep ammo cans filled with ammo ready to go. Now I just spend 5 minutes grabbing this stuff which is all ready to go, instead of 20 minutes or so hunting around for stuff.
3) Have a plan on what you want to accomplish and set yourself up mentally to see it through whether its just blasting or working on marksmanship.
All that said, I don't really worry about maximizing range time. I'm good for spending a solid 2-4 hours at the range on any day...
I do a few things to maximize training time:
1. Load all mags in advance. Full load, especially when working from the holster. No drill I do requires more than a few rounds at a time, but it saves reload time.
2. Have a plan. I have a walk-back drill I do to start every practice. I have a few drills I do a bunch, but also find others I want to try.
3. Document your progress. It doesn't need to be a formal log, but if you were shooting lights out on a drill with a four second par time, what happens if you try at three seconds?
4. Use cheap targets, and a bunch of them. I prefer index cards and paper plates. I can replace them every few rounds and not care. I literally carry hundreds of targets in my range bag this way, I also mix up target size for different drills.
5. Get a feel for how many rounds is too many. For a long time I could see a drop-off in performance after 150 rounds (handgun), so I would call it a day shortly after. Now, my round "ceiling" is a bit higher.
6. Don't be afraid to through in some "just for fun" stuff. One time shooting at he NRA range I was shooting my AR at carbine ranges. I was shooting next to a very good pistol shooter who saw my course of fire and replicated it with his handgun, just for fun. It was Todd Green, and his results with a handgun surpassed mine with a rifle.
7. Take a class. A good class will show you what you need to work on, AND give you tools to work on it.
8. I focus on a single gun, and am trying to rebalance this. I have lots of guns I love, but I find myself only shooting three - my carry gun, my AR, and my clays shotgun. I find myself getting better with each of them, but I have others I should shoot more...not sure how to reconcile this.
|Sigforum K9 handler|
I thought you were closer to Indy. None the less, my story is that I didn't really compete on a routine basis until I got forced into it a couple of years ago.
I always had excuses, and time was the biggest one. Fast forward three years, and I search out every match that I can find on my off time. I went from shooting production in IDPA, to shooting production in IDPA, and USPSA and now looking hard at the carry optics division.
It is addicting that way once you pass the fear of the unknown. Some shooters report that they have had negative experiences with their local clubs, some people being dicks and whatnot, but if you find a good one, I have found shooters to be the most helpful, and supportive of all the people out there. Its kind of like Crossfit minus the cult.
Good thread with some good recommendations. I've owned a number of different handguns in the past 10 years but always just went to the range and shot 100 rounds aiming for the bullseye. Over the last 2 years I've been shooting a lot more frequently and I'm trying to get better. Starting this year a couple buddies and myself have been talking about getting into idpa. We started setting up different drills to practice and also started timing each other here and there just to put some pressure on ourselves. What a difference this has made. It made me realize how much more work I need to do before I am where I want to be. The only problem here in se pa is we don't have any places real close to go watch an event and see what other guys are doing. Just wanted to say thanks for the helpful info and this thread has me itching to get to the range and keep practicing. Thanks!
|Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best|
Well, I did it. I sent in an application to the local rifle and pistol club yesterday. The guy in charge of membership called me back a couple of hours later. I have to do three safety shoots, and a range orientation, and I'm in. Apparently the gentleman who does the safety shoots is also in charge of the competitive shooting at the range, so I plan to pick his brain about that while I'm there for the safety shoots.
The guy I talked to on the phone was really nice and helpful...So if he's any indication of what I can expect from this place, I have a good feeling it's going to work out.
|Sigforum K9 handler|
Great advice in this thread. Thanks all.
I'll chip in a few things:
Bring water and a snack.
Depending on your area, bug spray
Trash bag (some facilities don't have trash pick up)
Even though the range provides them, I bring my own stands, sticks, and cardboard.
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