Shooting is a perishable skill.
Don’t ask me where I heard this, but it is one of the greatest truths out there. We can be dumb enough to spend a bunch of money in a class and then turn around and figure we don’t need to do anything else. Hell, we have a cute diploma proudly displayed in our wall which indicates we are certified in whatever shooting skill we chose to pay and we don’t need anything else. I am A Bad Hombre now. Rubbish!
If you are one of those, I ask you to go to the range, set up a target at 7 yards, set up your rig as a normally do for every day carry and draw and shoot the one perfect shot. The one perfect shot is defined as the one that will stop a Bad Guy for good. It is the shot that will save your husband/wife/kid from imminent death, it will save YOU. And you don’t have all the time in the world to do it! Now, if you make that shot, cold bore without a fuss, great you can either be frank and admit it was the luckiest shot in the world and know that you did not account for the crapload of adrenalin that should be running through your veins during a Lethal Force confrontation plus other goodies that will affect you. You will also admit that you have been lax in your practice and shame yourself in retaking those basic drills and even look for some extra instruction. Or you can delude yourself and go back to the couch to watch your favorite TV show or playing the latest version of HALO in your video magic box… which contrary to wishful thinking, it is not gun practice.
So practicing on your own is boring as hell. True but it usually means we do not have a well defined system to practice acquired skills. There are many guides out there in the net on practice drills, but I am particular fond of CCW Handgun Drills because it gives you a wide variety of shooting exercises to select. Some are very quick and simple others more involved and with a higher round count. I would recommend to download, save and print a copy to keep in your range bag so you don’t have to figure out with a thumb doing a self-proctological examination what will you do next time you go to your local shooting house. Pass it along to your shooting friends, I am sure they will appreciate it.
Practice is not good if we do not improve the areas of our shooting that need improving. You can be good at accuracy, but you are having troubles drawing your weapon from your regular concealment location. Or maybe it is your reloading process that needs work. Give yourself an honest examination, determine your weaknesses and then work on improving them. Some will be just simply repetition of drills you already know and might not even include firing a gun but others will escape you lever of knowledge and may require the use of an instructor. You can look for a local Certified NRA Instructor on line or ask other shooters about instructors they know. Call, fax, email the instructor and tell him about your problem. I am sure he will be able to come up with a suite of training plus exercises to fix that problem you are having.
And yes! Dare to learn more. Many great instructors and schools are out there for you to take b asic and advance defensive shooting classes. Valhala, Thunder Ranch, Gunsite, Blackawter, U.S Shooting Academy…. the list goes on and on and their instruction is first class. They are not cheap, but then again you are not taking classes on advanced funnel cake cooking but life saving skills. A trip to one of these places will be worth your money plus it would be a great vacation project.
And if attending an advanced school seems a bit far right now, try your hand at shooting sports like IDPA, IPSC, etc. Yes, I keep beating this drum, but it is more fun than just standing there and it is a great way to improve on your basic skills plus learn a few more for an immodest amount of money.