Category: Practice

New: Concealed Carry Prep Class

New: Concealed Carry Prep Class

A New Class: A Concealed Carry Preparatory Class

We begin a new “Concealed Carry Prep” class in March. It is short, and available through our scheduling portal, here.

Why A Concealed Carry Prep Class?

In our experience, there are people who want to obtain a concealed carry permit, but who never (or seldom) handled or fired a handgun. We recommend beginners take a preparatory course before taking the NC Concealed Carry Handgun Training (CCHGT) since there are gun handling expectations in it beginners do not have. This class prepares the applicant to meet that expectation.

This is NOT a concealed carry class! It is a only preparatory class for those who have little to no experience handling or firing a handgun. The purpose of this class is to give the student the gun handling experience necessary for a Concealed Carry Handgun Training course.

How Long Is The Class?

This class is very manageable. It takes two hours, only, and is by appointment, so you can take the class at your convenience.

What Does The Class Cover?

Topics in this non-shooting class include safety rules for firearms, parts of a handgun, shooting positions, field stripping, cleaning, preparation for firing, and clearing minor malfunctions. Also included is a session with laser training devices to introduce you to the fundamentals of sight alignment, sight picture, and trigger press.

What Do I Need For The Class?

All books, training material, and equipment are provided by LNPDSA. Applicants have the option of purchasing a “Basics of Pistol Shooting” handbook on the registration page.

How Much Does It Cost?

The cost of the class is $40. Payment is due at the beginning of class, and may be paid by cash, check, or credit card.

How Do I Sign Up For It?

You can sign up for the Concealed Carry Prep Class, here. Sign up more than one person by increasing the “Quantity” button on the registration page.

Want More Information?

If you desire more information, use the “Contact Us” link at the top of the page, or call us at 252.497.2965.

 

Training? I don’t need no stinkin’ training

Training? I don’t need no stinkin’ training

What is the difference between training and practice?

As a firearms trainer, one of the first tasks I ask of students is to describe their experience with firearms. Most of them answer something like, “I’ve been shooting since I was X years old,” or “I’ve been shooting for ‘X’ years.” Fill in the “X” with any number you choose. Only rarely do I see references to formal training.

Don’t get me wrong–learning the fundamentals of shooting while relatively young is a great thing. Most of the time, we learned something variation of “Always keep your gun pointed in a safe direction,” quickly followed by actually shooting whatever was at hand with a short lesson on how to aim. Very likely, that first experience focused around hunting. For some of us, this is the extent of our “formal” firearms training, other than the hunter safety course required before getting a hunting license.

For some of us, the first formal training we received happened after we joined the military. Most often, training there included safe handling, operation and maintenance, and sighting fundamentals, followed by dry and live fire. Others of us may have sought out formal firearm training for beginners. I suspect most of us tried to apply our training with varying degrees of success. This brings me to the point of the differences between training and practice, and the importance of training. Training is usually where a new skill is introduced, although we may also seek out refresher training, simply to get back to basics. Practice is the continued application of that skill.

The Importance of Training

As stated earlier, training is most often where new skills are introduced. However, training also can be environments for correction of bad habits. In training environments, you have (at least) another pair of eyes watching your technique.

As trainers, we do not watch the target, we watch the shooter. Most often we watch the shooter’s hands. By watching you as you move through your shooting exercises, we often can detect issues of stance, presentation, and shot release, and offer immediate correction that will improve your shooting skills. Another benefit of training is that we may remind you of concepts or techniques you may have forgotten.

Concealed carry training is arguably the firearm training presently in demand the most. However, going through a concealed carry class to satisfy whatever requirements your jurisdiction may have is like graduating from elementary school–it’s an achievement that marks a beginning, not an end. Defensive firearm classes build on the elementary skills that may have been introduced in your concealed carry class.

Defense training often includes presentation drills that concentrate on getting the handgun out of the holster quickly to deliver an accurate shot. Your training may also include situational (should I shoot?) training to help you to correlate your immediate environment, the threat, and your response. Training frequently includes movement drills that help you develop your shooting skills where movement may be required to effectively defend yourself. Whatever the defensive firearm training may include, think of more training as acquiring more advanced skill sets that will aid in your ability to defend yourself.

The Importance of Practice

As we stated earlier, training is where new skills are introduced along with reminders of other factors we may have forgotten. Practice, on the other hand, is trying to replicate the lessons learned in training. However, practice brings on its own challenges–one of which is how to measure, or gauge, our performance.

And, as we stated in an another post, it is also important to practice with a purpose. For example: Suppose your brand new, super duper, Never-Fail handgun has replaceable backstraps. How do you know which backstrap works best for you without quantitatively working that out through practice? Developing a practice session where your purpose is to assess which backstrap gives you the ability to place shots on target most accurately, and most consistently in the least amount of time would probably be a profitable practice. You may be surprised that the most effective backstrap is not necessarily the one you would have picked out of the box.

Skill drills are an excellent way to improve your practices. Nearly all the top competitors have developed skill drills to address and improve shooting weaknesses. Some drills concentrate on first shot delivery, others concentrate on multi-shot delivery, while still others concentrate or magazine changes, or changing shooting hands. One source for skill drills is Burnett Live Fire Drill Cards®.

The Cheapest Practice on the Market

Practicing our shooting skills costs money. Even if we hand load, rounds still cost money. The absolute cheapest, and arguably the most profitable practice in terms of ROI, is dry fire. Virtually every aspect of shooting can be practiced in dry fire: sight alignment, sight picture, trigger control, presentation speed and techniques. All without the flash, bang, and recoil that instinctively induce reactions. Adding a shot-activated, light emitting device, such as a LaserLyte®, simply adds to the effectiveness of our dry fire practice. Here again, the most profitable practice is one done with a purpose.

The most important aspect of dry fire is to do it safely. Make certain no live ammunition is in the room where you practice. Make certain your firearm is unloaded. Announce to yourself–out loud–that your firearm is unloaded. A tool that may be useful, especially for handguns that require an inserted magazine to fire, is a BarrelBlok®, a combination empty chamber indicator and dummy round device with magazine adapters that allow slides to be racked without locking them back.

Bottom Line

Shooting well is a perishable skill. That means unless we practice and train consistently, our ability to defend ourselves, and those we care for, quickly, and most importantly, accurately will deteriorate.

Practice with Purpose

Practice with Purpose

Infuse Your Practice with Purpose

Shooters often go to a range because we haven’t shot in a while, and simply want to “snap some caps.” I’ve done it. However, while shooting recreationally with no clear objective may satisfy our immediate penchant to shoot, why not combine that with focused practice. Why not infuse your practice with purpose?

Defensive shooting is a complex combination of skills that must be practiced to retain even a modicum of proficiency. Practice, correct practice, helps develop the neural pathways, aka “muscle memory,” necessary when traumatic events stun our higher level thinking into inaction.

Dry Fire Practice: Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast

An effective practice technique is to break your larger movements into smaller discrete events. One of the discrete events when drawing from a holster is ensuring you grip the handgun firmly prior to drawing it from your holster. Depending on the position of the holster, that may involve making sure your thumb presses into your body to get a firm handhold on the pistol’s grip. Another example may be one where you may have a thumb-break holster, that discrete movement may be to position your hand so that the thumb-break is opened at the same time the web of your hand hits the back of the pistol’s grip.

In the beginning you may have many small events, perhaps as many as eight. Keep it basic. Don’t add cover garments in the beginning. Concentrate on a proper grip, drawing the handgun straight up from the holster, rotating the muzzle from vertical to horizontal, adding your support hand, and moving the handgun to a shooting position, all while ensuring you do not sweep yourself or someone who could be standing next to you with the muzzle. It helps to number each step, and count them off, cadence-like, as you practice them. It’s fine if your beginning practice is somewhat disjointed, like a robot whose timing is off. Slow is OK. You’re building new neural pathways-it’s identical repetitions that count, not speed. Don’t rush. With continued practice, some steps will merge, your movements will become smoother, and the numbers in your cadence will decrease.

When dry firing, do NOT practice in the same room where you keep your ammunition, and triple check your firearm to ensure it’s empty before starting your practice session. You may also consider using dummy rounds, barrel blocks, or laser emitting simulators in your practices.

Range Practice: Keep Records

It’s important to infuse your practice with purpose while on the range, as well. Have a clear goal in mind. For example, part of your range practice may be to concentrate on holding proper sight alignment and sight picture through the moment of firing. It’s helpful in this sequence to shoot at a target with no images or bulls eyes, just blank paper. Remember to follow-through, that is after the recoil, bring the sights back on target, and keep them there for a moment. Later, in defensive pistol exercises, the follow-through becomes part of your scanning for other threats.

Another approach may be to practice specific drills, such as double taps (shooting twice in quick succession). Start slowly, striving for accuracy. Once you are consistently hitting the same spot, only then increase your speed by decreasing the interval between shots.

When practicing with purpose, keep records of your practice sessions. Recording your practice sessions gives you two advantages: The first is that your records hold you accountable for improvement. The second is that your practice sessions are recorded so that improvements are measurable. Don’t worry if some sessions don’t go as well as you had hoped. Some days of shooting are better than others–what you are looking for is improvement trends. Are you improving over the relative long term?

Two items that you may want to acquire for practicing with a purpose are a shot timer and drill cards. Both are available from a variety of sources. Avoid using your cell phone with a shot timer app by itself. Cell phones don’t have the audio discrimination required to accurately track your activity. However, there are attachments available that plug into the headset jack of most phone that do improve the phone’s ability to track shots.

Wrapping Up

Practicing with purpose hones your defensive pistol skills by giving you measurable steps and goals, and by building on the neural pathways (“muscle memory”) that may be needed in a defensive situation.