A good start is to choose your gun wisely.
While teaching on an almost daily basis clients often ask me what practice can they do to get better? This is a good question generally asked by people with the best of intentions. It could be a somewhat loaded question based on the fact much of the end result rests on how much effort is put forward on their part to get to that end result.
Shooting, I believe, is a perishable skill and no matter how hard you work at it ultimately in the end eyesight changes, age or injuries will alter skill levels even for the best of the best. All this said, a very good level of defensive skills could be acquired and maintained with some effort on the part of the willing shooter ready to work at it. So, like most things in life you gain mental and physical skills appropriate to what effort you are willing to put into it.
It might help to get competent instruction if that instruction is relevant to what your purpose for having and maintaining a firearm skill was from the beginning. Thinking and training beyond the firearm, the acquisition and practice of personal awareness and personal tactical skills in reality are probably as important as the gun itself at the end of the day.
Getting the correct weapon for you might be the first step. Be guarded and don’t buy something purely on the basis of comfort or size. These are of course considerations, but they are by no means the only considerations you need to think of. Be careful not to buy a certain type of gun because someone else has it. Possession on their part doesn’t mean they are necessarily competent with their choice anymore than you acquiring their choice will make it the correct gun for you. Also I think it is important to remember your weapon choice only needs to work for you and to help you save your life or the lives of your family.
I recently had a young person tell me my choice of the 1911 was a bad thing because “it is an old gun.” That of course could be true, then again, I have grown up and old with the 1911 and for me it has served very well in the past and continues to do so today. Are 1911s for everyone? I doubt it. Then again, I don’t think a basket of polymer pistols would serve me personally any better. One additional point of many in this area, most of us buy guns with the concept of personal defense on the street, but in reality, the likelihood of us using a defensive tool at home is just as likely… maybe even more so than on the street.
Probably which or what technique you use to shoot with will be based on many changing factors with a few being your age, personal physical fitness, personal shooting experience, the environment you are forced to work in, whether or not your eye glasses got knocked off when the fight started, whether or not you are injured and so on. Some things will always be important like fundamentals, but they may too also be affected simply by the fact of where they are being applied environmentally.
By Clint Smith
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