Honing Your Shooting Skills

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Most of us are guilty of allowing our shooting skills to deteriorate. I am guilty of it. Too often I’ll go to the range for a quick sight-in or to wring out a test gun and not take the time to hone my basic field shooting skills. My epiphany to this came a couple of weeks ago while actually taking the time to practice the El Presidente drill. For those not familiar with it, El Presidente is disarmingly simple. Start with your back to three silhouette targets 10 yards downrange. On signal, turn, draw and engage each target with a controlled pair, reload and engage each target with two more rounds. I will not divulge the dirty details except to say my performance was depressingly terrible.


Unless you are working up a handload or sighting in a gun, 90 percent of your shooting should be done from field or concealed-carry positions, depending on the firearm you are practicing with on a particular day. Better still, invest in a shot timer and start clocking your times. It is only by pressuring yourself to be better that you will be able to, not only improve but even maintain, your shooting skills.


Practice sessions should have three drills. A basic shooting skill drill that you have mastered will help loosen you up for bigger challenges and provide some confidence. An intermediate drill should be on skills that you are working on to enhance your shooting performance. These skills—such as shooting from a barricade for self defense or perhaps shooting a rifle from sticks for hunters—are ones that you have developed to some degree but could use improvement. Finally, an advanced drill like weak-hand shooting for self defense or quickly getting off a pair of shots from your big-game rifle into a 6-inch circle at 100 yards in less than five seconds will put additional stress on you to foster improvement.


Drills should not be the same from one session to another, lest you start training for the drill and not the skill. Mix it up to keep it interesting. If you can, finding a like-minded shooting partner will add a degree of competition, as well as someone to help brainstorm new drills.


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