You purchased a gun and took a basic class. Now what? It’s very important to get comfortable with your firearm, especially if you are new to shooting. If you will be carrying your gun, it will need to become a part of your body. You need to know it, really know it.
When and if that moment comes that you need to use your gun to protect yourself, you will be relying on your instincts, be forced to make decisions under extreme stress, and you will not have the time to get acquainted with your gun. This is why practicing with your gun on an ongoing basis is critical. You do not want to be fumbling with it and trying to remember how to use it when your life is at stake. Your expertise with your gun is critical to your ability to protect yourself and/or others. It is natural, if this is your first gun, to feel awkward, but with practice this feeling will pass.
Part of your training MUST be to always handle your gun, empty or loaded, following The Four Safety Rules:
- Always treat a firearm as if it is loaded.
- Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
- Always keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
- Always know what is beyond your target.
Shooting is a sport and like any sport it is important that you practice. Whether you own a gun for self-defense, home defense, or for the sport of it, you always want to be constantly practicing to improve your skills and become a better shot. Your ability to hit your target may just save your life. If you find yourself defending your life with a gun, aiming should be a higher priority than shooting and practice is the key. There are three forms of practice that should be part of your ongoing relationship with your gun.
Instruction: If you are new to shooting it is important to learn to handle and shoot a gun correctly. The better you are the more confident you will be and the more fun the sport of shooting will be. Finding and attending a good basic shooting class is highly encouraged. It is important to learn more than just how to shoot. If you are a more experienced shooter, learning more advanced skills and fine tuning those you already have is recommended. It is important to learn more than just how to shoot. Make sure you know the laws, how to assess a situation, what will happen if you do shoot to protect yourself, how to draw from a holster safely, etc.
Dry-Fire Practice: Dry-fire is the term for practicing with an UNLOADED firearm. It does not necessarily mean only pulling the trigger. It can refer to practicing reloads, drawing, or most any other skill you need to master with your gun. Dry-fire is an essential component of learning to shoot well because repetition develops proficiency. Practice dry-firing your gun at home at least once a week.
Live Fire: Practicing with your gun at the range will build skill and confidence. Practice shooting live rounds at the range at least once a month with your defensive handgun, for a minimum of 50 rounds each time. If you are looking to make your time at the range meaningful, check out these drills from Shooting Illustrated magazine.
Shooting is like any other skill, you need to practice. Make sure you feel comfortable with your firearm. You should get out to a range at least one a month. At our range we have other opportunities for you to hone your skills such as leagues, competitions, and other special events. Hope to see you soon!