Sunday, September 9, 2012

Concealed Carry Practical Practice

I don't know about the rest of you, but for me punching holes in bulls eye targets lost its charm a long time ago.  Don't get me wrong, it's an excellent way to learn the basics of how to properly use your sights and proper trigger control, but you may find yourself starting to get bored doing the same shooting exercises at the range week after week and month after month.  I hit that wall several years ago so I expanded my horizons and shot a little NRA Rimfire Silhouette competition for about a year.  Then I started getting pretty heavily into clay target shooting so I packed up the pistols and rifles and chased Trap targets at registered shoots from NJ to Oklahoma.

After 4 life changing events (job change, marriage, building a house, having a child) in the early 2000's, I was finally ready to pick up center fire shooting again.  A local range offered league IDPA matches that looked like fun so I attended those for about a year.  For me personally, the fastest way to stop enjoying a hobby is to start doing it competitively.  I took what I wanted and needed from IDPA, but stopped short of going through the competition qualification process.  I learned a ton about practical shooting during that year.  There was so much more to shooting than just hanging a target at a specific range and then commencing to fill it full of holes.  If you've never participated in IDPA shooting, I would encourage you to do so if you would like to learn more about practical shooting than simply going out to practice shooting.

I was working on another project at the range yesterday and when I was done I had some targets, a case full of great concealed carry pistols, a bunch of ammo, and some free time left over.  Rather than just pack things up and head back to the house, I decided to stay for a bit and run myself through what I think were some practical practice drills.  They are incredibly basic, but they do have some key IDPA Rule concepts in them.

1)  Drawing from concealment.  How much of that do most of us practice?  Do we draw to fire or do we practice at home and stop at presentation?  I discovered that I'm slow to the first shot.  Way too slow.

2)  Engaging targets from near to far.

3)  Engaging targets while moving.  I discovered that I need some help in this area too.

4)  Scoring "hits" in a consistent manner.

In the video below, I set up and ran two different drills using the same three targets.  I used two different pistols and set up two different scenarios to match the ammo capacity of each pistol.  I have yet to purchase a shot-timer, and it's needed badly to gauge my improvement with repetitive practice.  I apologize in advance for the excessive wind noise in the video.  It was very windy, and I managed to get quite a bit of the noise out in video editing.  

The upside to this is that I actually enjoyed myself when I was running the drills.  I was a bit sad when I had shot the last of my .380 ammo, but I'm looking forward to getting back out on the range again soon to set up some additional drills for myself.  Maybe I'll have a shot timer next time.  Or perhaps I can work a reload into one of the drills.  The opportunities are endless.

If you have a drill or two of your own that you would like to share with me, please feel free to do so.  I'd love to hear about them.


  1. Shot Timer

    Bruce, thanks for sharing all your great work and your unpretentious, practical approach.

    A cheap or free shot timer can be had as an app if you have a smart phone. I haven't used one yet , but it's probably worth a try.

    P in SoCal

  2. I tried the Taurus and Surefire Iphone apps with mixed results. Wife gave me some gift certificates for Midway USA for Father's Day so I got the Competition Electronics Pocket Pro II. Works great. Thanks for the comment.