WORDS OF WISDOM by Phil W. of Progressive Combat Skills Training
DO YOU HAVE A PLAN?
Do you ever go out to the range with a couple hundred rounds of training ammo with no idea of what skills you are going to work on? If not, you may as well just put that ammo back in the storage locker because not only are you wasting precious ammo, you are probably building in some negative habits as well.
Identify your training goals.
What do you want to be able to do? Defend yourself in your home? Compete in a shooting sport? Be competent and safe with your concealed carry gun? Each one of these goals has the potential to branch into some very different training objectives. If you only want to protect yourself in your home, then some increased physical security measures and proficiency with a tactical shotgun is probably way more important than a new barrel and trigger on your scoped AR platform!
Define your personal performance standards.
Get some qualified advice on what skills you need to be able to perform from a reputable source. Best case, you can get some one-on-one training and get an instructor to help you develop your plan based on your goals and personal capabilities. A couple of hours of diagnostic one-on-one time every so often can be very productive. Or you can attend group courses from reputable schools, and try to adapt the training objectives to your situation and goals. Worst case, you can probably find some of these online, just be sure that you are using a valid and trusted source.
The standards that you select should be relatively hard to achieve, have a defined time and accuracy requirement, and you should strive to perform them on-demand under any condition that you could reasonably expect to encounter - including at night!
Track your advancement.
Get a baseline performance evaluation. Know how your performance capabilities stack up to your performance standards and keep a record of your improvement (or decline) over time. Without a baseline time, you won’t have a good idea of how to prioritize the next item – your training plan. This timeline will let you see if you are developing bad habits, or failing to practice on the fundamental skills that contribute to the execution of your performance standards. When you reach a training plateau, or just hit a wall on improvement, stop and get help.
Have a training plan.
Once you have a set of performance goals and standards, with a validated baseline you can prioritize your training plan.
For example, if one of my performance standards is to be able to make an A-Box hit with my pistol from the high ready at 10 yards in under 1 second, and I am inconsistent with my accuracy, then I have to break down the components of my shooting skills to achieve my accuracy standards before working on my speed, and I definitely wouldn’t focus on drawing from the holster or working on multiple round or multiple target engagement until I had the bugs worked out of my fundamental marksmanship skills. So I could develop my training plan for both live fire and dry fire workouts to hone those skills.
In this situation, I may devote the majority of my range time to fix that fundamental marksmanship skill, and break down the remainder of my time to work on some supporting skills like magazine changes or malfunction drills.
Again – if you hit a plateau, get some help to get past it.
Practice using perfect technique.
Don’t start work on a new skill or performance task based on what you think is good technique. It is much harder and much more expensive to “untrain” bad habits than it is to develop perfect practice habits. Just pretend that your favorite instructor is watching you and talking in your ear about how to perform the task, take notes when you attend courses, and if you forget something, call or email the person you trained with. Most instructors want to help our students improve - we should be approachable or we wouldn’t have chosen to be instructors!
When you progress to the point in your training when you are pretty confident of the correct technique, but are having problems with self-diagnosis, you can also use video to help you see where your issues may lie - again if things just aren’t working out, stop and get some help.
One more note here – every time you pick up your weapon you have a training opportunity. Every time you draw your weapon from the holster, whether it’s to load and make it ready, unload, or perform a weapon status check, it’s a training opportunity. You can use it as a valid training opportunity and draw to the high ready, acquire a good sight picture focused on the front sight, and bring your weapon back into your box to work on it using proper weapons handling techniques, or you can perform the “admin” procedure and “Hope” that you don’t go to the admin mode in a gunfight! Hope is not a valid course of action!
Always strive to learn more.
We are all students of the gun, when we stop learning and stop trying to improve, we start declining. So always devote a few minutes every day to making yourself better. Read, practice, maintain your equipment, and become more knowledgeable about some part of the arts that we find along the warriors path.
Progressive Combat Skills Training's Director of Operations, Phil, is a combat arms and unconventional warfare specialist with over a quarter century of military service. He has had the privilege of serving and training with the best special operations soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines in the world, as well as other government agencies. Phil is a seasoned instructor - in addition to being an NRA Certified Pistol, Rifle, and Shotgun Instructor, and NRA Certified Range Safety Officer, Phil is an FAA Certificated Flight Instructor - Instrument, and Airline Transport Pilot. He is a graduate of the Close Combat Instructor Course; the FBI Basic Observer/Sniper School; the Overseas Personal Security Course, and many others.
It's Never Too Late to Learn to Shoot! by Brandy Jeppesen
Ruby Recoil has gotcha in her sights!
Learning to shoot can open up endless possibilities. Start ‘em out young. Teach them to shoot, and about gun responsibility before they finish grade school. We as adults have to shape their future so that they’re not ignorant. In saying that… this was the opposite of my childhood. We never kept firearms in either house growing up. It simply wasn’t an important value in my mother’s home, and my stepmom did not allow them at my dad’s.
It was only a few years ago that I found myself handling a firearm for the irst time in my life. Truth be told, I enjoyed firing that first day, but all in all, did not have a good time. I learned that my ears are very sensitive. I had brought a pair of electronic ear muffs with me, and my ears felt shell-shocked after about 5 minutes. Next, I tried a pair of foamies. It was worse. So I put the muffs over the top of the foamies. That took care of the sound, but between the earplugs trying to wriggle out and the muffs cramming them back in, I was in tears by the end of the day. I found a pair that did a much better job, and during Shot Show, had custom molds made. What an improvement!
One of the first things I noticed at the range (besides my ear discomfort) was the power of the firearm, and the responsibility now on my shoulders to make sure that it didn’t happen into the wrong hands. Later, I learned components, the Safety Commandments, how to ensure a firearm is unloaded. I learned other things also; how my hands wrap around the grip, how it feels after I’ve fired with the right stance. I love how emotionally empty I feel after I’ve spent my ammo for the day; the old-new retail therapy!
I’m not where I’m going yet, but I’m on my way; soaking up everything I come across. I have done several product reviews, and there are many more to come. There are a few reasons: It’s beneficial to the brand and product, but also to learn. I want to dominate everything I get my hands on; not just to do it, but do it well. The more you experience, the more you learn. I make mistakes sometimes, I may get it wrong, but I’ll most definitely learn from it! You’ll never learn if you’re not willing to admit you had it wrong.
Ruby rocking the range
There are more skilled women shooters now than ever before, and it’s increasing every day. They are so ready to share, and know exactly what they’re doing; eyes open or closed. You may be one of them. Or you may be middle of the road; or still yet, a novice. That’s great- it means that you have started learning. Do that! Learn! Take a class, read everything you get your hands on, and don’t stop. You are never too old to learn. There are 8 year old pro shooters, and women in their 80’s training for the first time in their lives.
I’m raising my son to have a healthy, educated respect for firearms. He knows they’re not toys, but self-defense tools already as a 4 year old. He’s had chronic ear issues since he was a tiny thing. As they stabilize, he’ll be making range trips so that he knows what to do in an emergency. Oh, and my stepmother that didn’t allow firearms in the house? She just purchased her first firearm, and has her concealed carry class scheduled already. The world is changing from what it was 20 years ago. She’s in her forties, and decided that she’s not going to be a victim. It’s NEVER too late to make that decision!
My goal is to be an expert in the industry. I want to educate and motivate other women, and maybe make you laugh in the process. I’m not just a pretty face; you’ll definitely be hearing more from me. With that, I’m off to the range to make up for lost time.
Ruby Recoil is a 2nd Amendment advocate nestled in the heartland of 'Merica. Social media marketing is what she does when she's not chasing her 4-year-old son or spending time at the range. See more of her at www.facebook.com/rubyrecoil