How do you practice your handgun, rifle, or shotgun?
Do you do it at the shooting range?
Most people do.
It’s a relaxing, recreational atmosphere where people punch holes in paper, trying to get the holes close together while hitting bulls-eyes..
That’s great for trigger time and marksmanship… but it leaves out a LOT of what you need to know to fire a gun when someone is trying to KILL you.
I talked with Garrett Machine about this recently, and here's what he had to tell me about improving your gun handling under stress.
Three Tips To Prepare For A Close-Quarters Ambush
Do you “enjoy” shooting?
You might like target shooting… but what about learning to fire a gun under threat?
Shooting becomes a whole different ballgame when a trainer says to you, “Okay, sprint 50 meters as fast as you can, do 10 burpees, then draw your gun from cover, hit this target as fast as you can, change magazines, hit a second target as fast as you can, and when it pops back up, shoot it again.”
When under stress, your shooting skills go to HELL.
Scenario-based firearms training addresses things like physical exertion (the closest way to simulate stress) and rapid fire to center of mass.
Adding in these layers of complexity catapults the shooter much closer to the conditions he or she will face in reality.
It also reveals, very quickly, the need to have hand-to-hand training to back you up when you are clearing your home with a weapon.
Here are three things to keep in mind when shooting under the stress of a real attack, when somebody ambushes you at close quarters.
1. Weapons And Empty Hands Are Both Necessary
Shooting or hand-to-hand skills alone are not enough; you must have both.
Too many shooters just buy a gun and think they've got self-defense covered.
Some of these shooters even train in lots of different armed self-defense methods, including force on force scenarios, so they think they're well prepared.
If you're not actually training to fight WITHOUT a weapon, though, you're leaving dangerous gaps in your training.
How can you possibly shoot under the stress of a real altercation if you have to first fight off an ambush attack to draw your gun in the first place?
Integrating empty hand fighting with armed self-defense is therefore absolutely critical.
2. You Had Better Work On Your Physical Fitness
You also need to work on your physical fitness.
You can't afford to be out of shape and still consider yourself prepared for a real-life altercation.
How can you shoot and run and fight off an attacker if you don’t have cardiovascular conditioning and muscular strength?
The hand-to-hand training is arguably the more important of the two simply because you cannot be focused on the weapon.
The pistol, the rifle, the shotgun… these are just tools.
The real weapon is YOU, and you must excel at using whatever is at hand.
That means you can't afford to “gas out” and be completely out of breath when your family needs you, or when somebody is on top of you beating your brains out.
3. Drill Constantly
Training is perishable.
That means that the longer you don't practice, the more “rusty” you become.
You should always be training and drilling to keep your level of skill up.
Here’s a simple exercise you can do.
- Stand somebody in front of a door.
- Give them an airsoft gun or some other firearm simulator.
- Put the gun in a holster and just stand in front of that door.
- Then tell them you want them simply to react when the door opens.
- Maybe the first time the door opens, somebody is standing there with a rubber knife, and the second the door opens, they try to stab the defender.
Now in that scenario, if you try to go for your gun, you WILL be “killed” before your gun can clear its holster.
On the other hand, if you block and strike, take them down with hand-to-hand skills, THEN draw your weapon, you have a much better chance of controlling the situation.
See what I mean?
It's all about challenging yourself and constantly improving your skills, under realistic stress.
That way, when it happens for real, you'll be prepared to face it.