Overcoming A Square Range

At least in California, few of us have ready access to a place to shoot that allows drawing from a holster, shooting on the move or any of a number of other perishable shooting skills. However all is not lost—there are some techniques (or portions thereof) that you can practice on a static range that doesn’t permit rapid fire. Keep in mind these tips aren’t perfect, but they’re better than nothing.

1. Start with the pistol at low ready. If simulating holster draw, you can start from compressed ready where both hands grip the pistol directly in front of your chest/stomach. From that position bring the pistol up as quickly as possible and shoot one round at the target. This helps with first shot practice.

2. Aim at an object a yard to the left or right of your target. Pretend you just fired a shot and quickly traverse to and shoot your target. This helps with multiple target transitions. A variant of this has you aim at a point a yard off the target after shooting. This simulates shooting a target in the middle of a string. You can repeat this sequence (aim but don’t shoot off target, shoot on target, aim but don’t shoot off target) as many times as you like.

3. Keep running the gun until dry to add mag change practice. After you change mags continue where you left off. You can also do this for tactical reloads. To combine both, start with two magazines loaded with two rounds each and a third mag that’s empty. Insert one loaded mag into the pistol, rack the slide and you’re ready to begin. Fire one shot, then do a tactical reload with the empty mag. Fire another shot, then do an emergency reload with the last mag and fire again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

4. Take a half-step to one side, then lean over as if there was an imaginary wall in front of you.

5. Practice shooting at a half-crouch. Crouch as low as you can while making sure the pistol is safely above the bench.

6. Don't face off square to your target. Keeping the pistol pointed downrange, square off at your adjacent neighbor's target before starting any drill. Combined with #2 this simulates traversing a wide series of targets as you shoot.

Using a shot timer for the first three will help you track your progress. Free smartphone apps are better than nothing but may not always work. You get what you pay for. Well, these are the techniques I've thought of. Do you have any you'd like to share?

September, 2014