It’s really no mystery to anyone that skills fade over time, particularly when it comes to firearms, and without regular practice we may or may not be ready to protect ourselves. I was reading a related article by Reflex Handgun on this concept and it really hit home for me as I was unable to fire even a small caliber handgun for 4 months and rifles even longer. I have to admit that when I did finally get to use the range I was mortified at how bad I was. To add insult to injury, as a firearms instructor, everyone expects you to be perfect with every shot and by this point I was no where close to that. I needed to practice more than I was allowed to, and hopefully without embarrassing myself!
There is far more to firearm skills than just punching a few holes in paper, and prior to my health scare I had just completed (that day!) a 4 part series of advanced pistol classes. I had just added some new skills a lots of tactics to work on, but no longer fresh in my mind I struggled to remember much of that training. Total frustration. I had to take some of my own advice, get back to the basics, slow it down, and check the old ego at the door.
- Stance or platform
- Grip or hold control
- Sight alignment/sight picture
- Breath control
- Trigger control
- Follow through and recovery
You may see different versions of this list, but it’s just different ways of saying the same thing. Once you’ve built or rebuilt those basic skills it’s on to drawing and presentation from a holster, proper concealment, shooting on the move, tactical reloads, and the list goes on. The bottom line is, regardless of the skill, no matter how much you know there’s always more you can learn and there simply is no substitute for practice.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.