Do you practice or do you train? Pretty straightforward question. But how many consider the two words interchangeable? Lets look at a couple of definitions.
Practice- A method of learning by repetition. Conventional, traditional or standardized method.
Target Practice- Any exercise in which projectiles are fired at a specific target.
Practice by definition is merely a method of learning a traditional method of something by repetition. Now in no way, shape or form am I saying that practice is not important, what I am saying is do not mistake it for training.
We all need to practice things. Draw stroke, reloads, malfunction drills. We all need to target practice to develop and confirm these things but going to the range and firing 100 rounds slow fire into the X ring of a round target at three yards is not training it is what is called "range masturbation" and you are setting yourself up for failure.
By definition training is the "Acquisition of knowledge, skills and competencies as a result of teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to a specific useful competencies".
Now what does that fancy definition mean? You have to put the skills that you practice into realistic, challenging, stressful and varied scenarios that you can use to increase your skill level and your chances of survival.
I know everyone cannot afford the cost or time of going to a big time shooting school there are to many life needs that take precedence over it but you don't have to go somewhere to train to increase your skill level you and your shooting friends can use each other to train.
Pool resources buy a set of quality videos and watch them more than once then in a safe enviroment with unloaded weapons practice, to gain basic skills through repetition, and critique each other. Invest in a stopwatch and a whistle if you cant afford an electronic timer. Push yourself to get off fast, accurate shots in a very short time period.
Got kids? Great! With a safe and unloaded weapon in a safe area let them blow the whistle for you. No kid will pass up the chance to make noise. If old enough to go the range take them and if allowed let them time you and give the start whistle. You would be surprised how many other shooters would want to participate. Again if they are old enough and able switch roles with the kids even if they use there trusty .22 rifle shape the rules and time limits to them.
No kids, no spouse, no problem record a start signal on a CD or computer or put it on your IPOD. Set it at different time intervals and while wearing your yogi bear pajama pants in the comfort and security of your living room, with an unloaded and safe weapon, practice your reload drills or whatever else under time constraints.
Read and discuss magazine articles, books anything you can get your hands on then get together with friends and practice those skills.
Use family to help and critique you then put that practice into motion, that is training.
Run drills wherever you go. If this happened right now I would/could use this tactic or technique to solve the problem. If the guy who just walked in the door of the restaurant you are seated in and produced a gun I would respond by doing this or that. You can start this at home. Can you clear your own house with a flashlight? Try it sometime and see what works or doesn't
When you do live fire, if allowed at your range, shoot, scan and move or move and scan depending on what school of thought you are in. Go out in the country somewhere if you can and shoot at a 3D target of some kind. Gallon milk jugs filled with colored water are good targets and you condition yourself that something happens when you shoot a target instead of just punching a hole in paper. Make or buy your own pepper poppers or cardboard drop targets. Use balloons to simulate head shots use your imagination.
Well hopefully this will put some ideas and thoughts in your head. Share what you come up with on the forum, what worked, what didn't. Any new ideas are welcome. Have fun with it.
A man named Charles Darwin, yep the we came from monkey guy, gave a quote that I saw online the other day and seemed to fit here.
"It is not the strongest or smartest of us that survive. It's the one that's willing to evolve and adapt". Now I do not agree with his other theories but this one works. Practice your skills, train to improve those skills, adapt them to everyday life, survive to a ripe old age.
I have never made the commitment to devote the necessary time and effort to real self defense skills, for several reasons. I do manage to practice marksmanship enough to shoot reasonably well, and I seem to have a kind of natural ability to notice things 'out of the ordinary.' If I should I ever need to defend myself or others with a gun, I'm obviously going to need a good bit of luck. But at least I maintain an option to fight, rather than simply handing over the decision about whether I live or die to some low-life predator. I do hope, at some point, to elevate my practice routine to something approaching actual 'training,' but it isn't do-able, at the present time.
I train. If Im out just shooting its not really practice, but it is trigger time (fundamentals are still in place.) I like to train, it is good stress release for me. Even when me a my buddies go out, we run drills. The 360 range is the best.
I love to both practice and train. I have a shooting range on my property, and reclaim all of my lead from my sand trap for casting my own bullets. I do a pretty fair amount of the fundamentals for accuracy, but I do far more "training" for combat accuracy using different, untried, what-if, and surprise scenarios requiring movement, cover and concealment, reloads, clearing malfunctions, multiple bad-guys, hostages, bystanders, etc. I use to compete (IPSC), but to old for that now (almost 67). But still love the sport of shooting. I practice a lot of "point and shoot" without using the sights out to 25 feet. I shoot my compound bow "instinctively" (no sights) out to 40 yards. It just takes practice to acquire good hand/eye coordination. Start very close (5 feet) and go VERY slow at first. Just point and shoot. (DON'T USE THOSE SIGHTS!). Don't slow down and take even a split second to try to make the shot any better, as you're just training yourself to slow down just before the shot breaks. You want combat accuracy, not target accuracy. Analyze each shot after you take it and make any necessary adjustments. Remember, you're doing this in "slow motion" at first. Start by holding the gun at your side. Focus on a spot on the target. Bring the gun up. Once the gun is on the target, squeeze the trigger, all in one fluid motion. DON'T LOOK AT OR FOR THOSE SIGHTS! Just point and shoot. When you feel comfortable, start practicing from the draw. Be smooth, deliberate and fluid. Little by little, move back a bit. Starting with the gun on the target, on a good day I can put all 9+1 rounds from my Ruger SR40C on a 9" pie plate at 10 feet in just over 2 seconds. But I practice this A LOT. And I mean A LOT! From the draw (no concealment), 2 shot in under 2 seconds is a good challenge. From concealment, now that takes even more practice. But it's all fun, and I have the time, place, ammo, inclination, and desire to do it. Bowling pin shoots are a good way to put some pressure on your shooting skills, and they're fun ! Then there's IPSC, IDPA and other types of competition. Regardless of how good a shot you are, you'll be amazed at how poorly you do at first. I was a good shoot, but my first competition (over 30 years ago) was humbling (and enlightening) to say the least. But over the years, I've won my fair share of events.
Like some of you, playing with my guns is my hobby. I do have and use a concealed carry permit. But the funny thing is I never think I will actually need any of these skills. I.E. I don't wake up each morning worrying about what might happen today. It's much like driving a car and not worrying about getting in an accident. It may happen, but probably won't, so we don't give it much thought. Yet we're (hopefully) alert, and pay attention to our surroundings while driving. I just practice and train because IT'S FUN! And without becoming paranoid, I do pay attention to "situational awareness" which simply means being alert and aware, and I play a little "what if" game in my head.