Do You Know How To Shoot?
Keeping in the spirit of the theme of The Tactical Sumo and all things that are just flat out badassery. In this article we are going to discuss shooting, knowing how to shoot and even to become proficient. Now, as we all know sometimes these two are a mile apart and becoming efficient at it is all together an entirely new concept to some. So what makes a great shooter, operator, and just one that encompasses the skill set to get the job done when SHTF? Well we are going to discuss a little of what it take in this article. Ready? Then here we go.
Let’s Start Off With Definitions!!
So there are a lot of people out there- some good, some bad, and some that are just exceptionally skilled. Most are recreational shooters or just the casual enthusiasts; competitive shooter, hunters, and military, law enforcement personnel, you get the point, basically an array of different shooters. And all these great shooters know or should know the fundamentals of marksmanship: Stance, grip, site alignment, site picture, trigger control, breathing and the follow through.
Now that we have established the groups, among these groups of shooters there are very few that have embraced this skill set and have mastered it. Why? Well most just don’t take the time in my opinion. Or some cannot just simple grasp the concept and apply the skills and fundamentals it takes to become a good shooter. Now it doesn’t take someone to enlist or adopt muli-cam or kryptek as their signature color to learn the specific skill set it takes to be efficient at shooting. For example, a single woman who takes the time to train and use her carry concealed weapon and takes the time to develop situational awareness, the mindset, and or the physical and functional skills that it takes that is required to employ her sidearm in a dark parking lot or garage as she walks to her car after work, is just as much a marksmen and as skilled as a soldier on the battle field in an operational environment. While each person has a different level of experience and training under their belt, everyone must train the skills that are necessary to employ and use their weapon within a particular environment, even with their lives on the line.
Now whether you own a weapon for you job, or home defense, and use it in the military, or are just a CWC who just simply wants to defend himself/herself and those around you when things go south, just simply put you need the fundamental skills to be proficient and have to train like it is going to happen.
What, Wait, Concepts?
Just remember some key concepts and they will help along the way at becoming the best shooter you can possibly be.
You have to master the fundamentals and sidearm manipulation. It is key that you run thru “Dry Drills” when you are not on the range (and of course always unloaded and still employing the safety rules.) These drills will keep your muscle memory honed and will allow you to spend more time on your practical applications when you are at the range.
Remember to also practice you movements (your footwork, stance, changing up your positions, moving to and from cover/concealment, shooting stressed) while you train. Remember to hone those skills under physical stress as well, as well as from various positions and platforms.
Pay attention to your surroundings, always scan and conduct mental checks and physically conduct walk-throughs. Also refine your weapon set ups. Be familiar with every attachment and only use those that are required for what you are setting out to do or are required.
And the rage is good don’t get me wrong, but get out of the habit of just shooting on that flat range. Train in environments that are like what you will be in or could be in. I.E. driving in the car? Practice dry skills in the car.
So we have gone over some concepts above and talked about a couple things. So by now you basically get the point right? Like you have been hearing your entire life, practice, practice, practice!!
So you sitting here asking yourself, Sumo what do you mean by principles, you have already went over concepts, and aren’t those principles as well, just a different name? Ok, tomato, tomato..LOL Let’s look at this. Thorough out my career, Tac Teams, Breaching Teams, SWAT Schools, instructor schools, military, and law enforcement, you all always here basically the same things just varied. Well yes and no. There was a concept that holds true though, you have to be good at one thing when shooting with others or just remember general safety when shooting with others and that is Shoot, Move, and Communication. Now this is more of a team concept and in a tactical situation but it is still situational awareness, hell even if it’s a home invader and your teammate is your wife. My wife is on a tactical team and employing shoot, move and communicate is already a concept in our house hold as well as about 5 firearms in reach of our bed, sorry bad guy, wife is surgical with a shotgun.
So let’s look at those.
Shoot: Pull the trigger right? Ok sounds good, but not really, weapons manipulation if you are trying to hone your skills honestly should be addressed on a daily basis, ok or nearly on a daily basis. LOL I get it now come the excuses, I am busy, I can’t shoot every day, ok it is not as bad as you think, relax you can do this at home, remember those dry skills I was telling you about? That’s right, conducting those dry practice drills in my opinion are the best ways to develop and maintain a great grasp on the fundamentals, as well confidently manipulating your weapon. Hell while you sit and watch your favorite T.V. show you could be practicing, running thru drills, getting into shooting positions, or just mentally running thru various scenarios that you might encounter. Now the wife might make fun of you but hey it’s a small price to pay.
Now it is sad to say that when we talk about the “flat range” that it is usually both the beginning and the end of training for most. Most just go out, burn powder, even put up their weapon without cleaning and store it away for their next range day. Sad really, hell I even know LEO’s that the only time they shoot is when they have yearly in-service, and they actually do this for a living!! Scary I know. Now don’t get me wrong the range day is great for teaching and training the basic marksmanship, weapons manipulation and individual’s movements. But I am a strong believer that once these three things can be safely executed, it is time to move off the range, or “flat range”.
Move: So this right here is going to be affected greatly by a lot of things, and let’s be real, eagerness, interest, passion, or whatever you case maybe is by no means a substitute for physical conditioning – lol or lack of!! So moving past the shoot part and you think you have it down? Now comes the eye opener, shooting and performing at an elevated heart rate and under physical duress. Now I am not saying that you have to go out and run a Spartan race to be a good shooter, I am just saying that you know your fitness level and that you understand how physical exertion, elevated heart rate and or adrenalin will affect you shooting your weapon. I promise you that your trigger control will be greatly affected after you 40 pushups or sprinting 50 yards to reach cover. But you will know only when you do it. See the key to it is training, if you want to be a good shooter you cannot confine yourself to just shooting at a target 25 yards down range. Whatever or whenever you expect to deploy you weapon you need to train that way. You need to train with you environment outside the range physically and mentally, train for any scenario where you are likely to use your firearm. As an instructor, movement is always a concept in courses. Students who arrive with a ton of range time under their belts quickly realize that adding movement and the elevation of heart rate makes performing even the basic fundamentals a lot more challenging, as well as adding these concepts to the mix benefits them tremendously and makes them a better shooter as well. Instead of making them go over a particular shooting stance, training concepts such as stability, balance and positioning seems to teach and employ a more effective means at employing their weapons safely and effectively. And the great thing as well is that it applies to any daily activity, whether it’s behind concealment, sitting in your car or even just reaching your night stand to retrieve your sidearm while lying in bed.
Communicate: So communication, how do we communicate? Five senses, correct. So with that you automatically think talking, right? Well there is an old jarhead saying “Too much talking gets you killed.” The communication term I am referring to is interacting with one’s environment, you and those around you.
Situation awareness, you mindset, your prep, your teams prep, all these fall under the precept of communication. Now all these things I consider to make up over 80% of our training; but; the sad part is it is hard to even find training with at least 20% of this concept in the syllabus. What I don’t get is when a person is proficient with their weapon in a controlled environment, they should be moved and used in a concept that is practically used and not just looked over.
Now if my goal is to defend myself and my family in or out of my home, there should be communication exercises that should be especially important to insure safety and to ensure that your family knows what to do. For example, conducting walk-throughs with your wife and even kids in your home. What would the they include? Where are your weapons located in the home, discuss what should/shouldn’t happened if they hear a gunshot or person breaking into their home. Practing low-light scenarios-these are essential and need to be part of the training if we want to raise the odds of fending off any type of intruder, with the main priority on the safety of our families.
Just Remember How to Act
So we have covered a lot, just remember, no matter who or what you are, be it law enforcement officer, home owner, armed citizen, or just simply training yourself how to be aware of your surroundings. Know what to look for in your own environment, knowing this will allow you to act, rather than react when faced with a threat.Take everything we have talked about thus far and combine them with your training and you will adapt and overcome and be on your way to great shooter.