Train How You Are

Training with handgun

I see signage everywhere at gun ranges, training academies, and in firearms forums/social media groups that say something like this: wear appropriate range attire. I wonder, though, what is proper “range attire,” and why would I want to wear it to the range if I'm not always walking around the town wearing it?

Sure, there is a time and a place for everything. Most times, I do wear closed-toe shoes, hearing protection, eye protection, jeans, and whatever else I'm blanking on at the moment when I go practice my shooting and self-defense skills.

However, I'd be lying to you if I said that's all I do.

I've shown up to the range wearing inappropriate range attire as well–on purpose. The looks I get when I walk up to the firing line wearing a t-shirt, cargo shorts, and flip-flops are a little disturbing.

But, here's the thing … that's who I am. I wear flip flops because that's when I'm most comfortable. I wear them nearly year round, about 9 months out of the year. Does it suck when a hot brass shell lands on my big toe? Well, yeah kinda.

But, I hate wearing real shoes.

And because I hate shoes and don't wear them on a regular basis, I need to know what it's like to defend myself without them on my feet.

I try to train how I am whenever I think about it, because, here's a newsflash for you, the bad guys won't wait for you. They won't wait for you to put your steel toe boots on, they won't wait for you to put your hearing protection on, and they won't wait for you to chamber a round. Their main goal in life when they start to attack you is to finish their job–whatever it may be.

They either want you dead, want your stuff, or want to hurt you in other ways. So while I don't always go to the gun range with my flip flops on, I do from time to time because it's better for me to know how it feels to shoot with them on.

If you're tactical in your clothing, or wear the same thing everyday that you go to the range with, this doesn't apply to you as much. But if you're like me and value comfort to the point of, “who cares what everyone else thinks” then you need to take what I'm saying to heart.

Train how you are. Don't adjust yourself to standards just because someone is telling you to. Otherwise, how will you know that your methods work? How will you know that you can actually maneuver while shooting a gun wearing flip flops?

As always, follow range rules so you don't get kicked out, but try to train properly so you'll be more effective at your self-defense.

Train how you are, and don't let the naysayers fool you into thinking you're doing something bad. You're the one who has to be comfortable with your training. Are you training how you are? Let us know in the comments below.

I mentioned training a lot in this article. You can train in your house with Dry Fire Training. Push on the link to enroll in a FREE course called the Ultimate Dryfire Training Program. 

About Joshua Gillem

Josh is a lifelong practitioner and student of the gun. He grew up shooting/hunting with his dad, and was given his first gun, a 12 gauge shotgun, when just a small boy. After high school, he joined the Marines where his love for firearms blossomed as he qualified with an M16A2, an M9, and a 240G. Josh has been writing about firearms and tactics for several years, owns the blog Gunners Den, is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, and believes that each individual person has the right to self-defense by any means necessary. Currently residing in gun-friendly NC, he carries a concealed gun on a daily basis, even in his own house.


  1. Mike on October 14, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    This is exactly what my martial arts instructor would have his students do on an occasional basis. Yes, we had the usual clothing that we would wear in the dojo; however, we would also go out into the parking lot and practice out there in our normal everyday wear. Practicing in bare feet on a mat is very different than training in cowboy boots, a suit, high heels, skirt, or whatever.

    One other training tip is to run around the parking lot to get your heart rate up, get to your shooting lane, draw and fire. You will not be calm and relaxed if/when you get into a self-defense situation. Think of other ways of putting yourself into real world situations.

Leave a Comment