How often should you be training? How about every day?
While going to the range and doing some good old fashioned live fire training is always a good idea, there are other things that you can be doing in the comfort of your own home to really kick your skills up a notch.
Dry Fire Training —
What am I talking about here? I'm talking about dry fire training. You can practice the fundamentals of marksmanship right in the comfort of your own home with nothing more than an empty gun and your hands.
Of course, there are some training tools that we like to recommend to help you out even more, but you don't need any of them. I asked our resident Director of Training, Riley, what the number one thing to getting better at shooting is, and he said dry fire.
He said, and I'm paraphrasing here, all you need to do is 15 minutes of dry fire each day, really practicing the fundamentals of shooting, and you'll get better at the range.
What you're looking for is sight picture, grip, trigger press, etc. You can practice all of these things from the comfort of your own home, even sitting at your desk like I am right now.
This isn't an article designed to teach you how to dry fire, but to tell you how you can up your skills as a shooter. If you don't know how to dry fire, check out these resources.
Dry Fire Primer (this book was written by a good friend of mine and is an excellent resource, although not free)
All of those are excellent resources explaining the ins and outs of dry fire. Trust me when I say that dry firing your gun is one of the most important things you can do to up your skills to the next level before you even make it to the live fire range the next time.
While dry firing without any tools is great and will suffice, there are some things out there to help you out even more, if you're willing to spend some money on your self-defense training. Here are some of the paid tools we recommend.
Again, none of those tools are a necessity, but the pros swear by them and they do work well. I own a couple and can strongly recommend any of the tools on this list, especially the Mantis X.
Here's my take on the tools, in a very broad sense. They pay for themselves over time because you save on other expenses, like ammo, and still get better at shooting.
Live Fire —
This is a no-brainer, hopefully. And, it was not my intention to discount live fire in any way in what I said above.
Here's the thing though, just going to the range and shooting from a static position at paper targets isn't really self-defense training.
That's called target practice.
And, while there is nothing inherently wrong with that, it's unrealistic to think that it'll prepare you in some way for a self-defense scenario.
Some ranges are very restrictive on what you can/cannot do, so you obviously have to abide by the rules and not break them, or you could get banned.
Here is an excellent podcast episode dedicated to this, to help you think outside the box:
But what if you can't draw from the holster and shoot? I'm not going to get into it here, but the above podcast goes into some good alternatives you can focus on to help you out in this scenario.
There are also drills you can do to help you get better that qualify as training, like the ones found in our Drill Cards Book.
Finally, you may only be able to get real training at your local range if you take a class from an instructor. I like to recommend that you take at least one advanced training class each year, anyway, because it'll only help up your skills.
What tips do you have to up your skills? Let us know in the comments below.