No matter what your designed use for your firearm one fact remains ever present. Practice equals proficiency! No matter what your interests may be, Hunting, Target shooting, Sport shooting, or Self defense no one can deny practice is your best friend. Now what’s rule number 1? That’s right safety. Now the best way to practice safety is just that “practice”. Know how your firearms operates, know how to load it, unload it, disassemble it, clean it, reassemble it, know if your firearm has a safety or not. Knowledge of the firearm in use it important. Intended use for your firearm will determine much of what kind of significant practice it will take to be confident, consistent, and proficient with you forearm.
Think about the game you are after. Are you hunting big game? Small game? Birds? Waterfowl? Know your target and it will help you better chose what caliber or gauge will help you best in your goal. Let’s look at deer hunting for an example. Know your area, what is the furthest ethical shot you plan to take? Sight your firearm in to be accurate at that distance. Weather your using a scope or using your old reliable iron sights could have an impact on your effective distance. Now practice at intervals starting at 25 yards and moving out to your farthest distance. I like to shoot 3 rounds per interval. Make sure to fine tune your sights while practicing out to your farthest point. I like to use this method when I’m sighting in a firearm for the first time as well. Use the same calm calculated method you will when shooting that you will in the field. You can call this your shooting Cadence. Do everything you can to mentally simulate taking a shot at that big buck you have been dreaming about all year because when you see that buck when out hunting your going to need all the help you can get keeping your heart rate down. Through repetition you will gain confidence and muscle memory significantly raising that proficiency factor.
There are many shooting sports out there. Skeet shooting, trap shooting, bullseye shooting, 3-gun competitions, and that’s just naming a few. There is no one fits all practice routine here. Your practice routine is going to be individualized based on what sport you intend on participating in. Now some skills gain will definitely carry over to similar events. Different sports tend to have a different rhythm to them. Again through repetition you will begin to develop a shooting cadence. Now I keep using this word “Cadence” to me and to many it means something to the effect of balanced / rythmatic flow. It’s a sequence or series of small events or movements. For example, when I trap shoot, I try to do the same exact steps 25 time for all 25 clays. Pull a shell out, load a shell in, close my shotgun, shoulder my shotgun, verify god head positioning on my stock, call the bird, shoot the bird, un-shoulder my shotgun, eject the empty shell. This sequence of events starts over at the beginning and continues to be used for all 25 rounds. This series become a kind of harmonious rhythm of its own and I would call this my trap shooting cadence. Sure, there are some small intricate details I didn’t state like my thumbs and finger placements but that’s all individual preference. At its base it is a rhythm or timing to be followed. What ever your shooting sport of choice is, find your rhythm and you will find that your proficiency grows with it.
The age-old scenario. Its better to have one and not need it then need one and not have it. Its even better to be prepared and know how to use your firearm well if the time ever comes where you need to defend yourself or your loved ones. Now there is no way for me to help prepare you for every situation you will find out in the world. However, I can present some tools to you that may give you the power to prepare yourselves.
The Draw – You can use your unloaded firearm to practice drawing the gun from the holster before you even load up at your range session. Aggressively plant the web of the thumb and forefinger onto the backstrap of the pistol or firearm. Pull the gun out of your holster straight up along your side.
Point Shooting – Perfect sight alignment and sight picture can come at the cost of time in a defensive shooting situation. Within 5 to 7 yards perfect sight alignment isn’t necessary to repeatedly and accurately hit center on a target. As long as your indexing correctly your gun points were your eyes are looking. So, practice this shooting style to speed up your sight alignment and picture at close range.
Reloading – When your firearm runs out of rounds quickly release and drop then mag while retrieving the second with your off hand. Insert the new mag, chamber the round and begin to fire again. Practice rapid reloading will help you train muscle memory if you ever need it. This is also a good time to practice the occurrence of a failure to feed.
No matter what your firearm use is one thing is certain. Practice = Proficiency