Here are some quick tips on firearms training techniques that you can use to get your mind and body ready to use a firearm in a high-stress defensive situation that won’t cost you a fortune in ammo. This is an excerpt from David Morris author of “Urban Survival Guide”.
One axiom of firearms training is that you will perform half as well under stress as you do on your best day of training.
Another is that if you shoot 8 inch groups (aka: Combat Accurate) in training, you’ll shoot 16-24 inch groups under stress.
They’re both accurate, optimistic, and are based in large part on the fact that most people’s minds/bodies are SO far out of their comfort zone when shooting under stress that shooting performance becomes erratic and unpredictable.
You might fumble with your cover garment, your retention, your grip, your safety, or you might even think that your front sight is so hard to find that you swear it must have fallen off. Then, when you have a malfunction or your slide locks back after emptying a magazine, you feel like you’ve got mittens on as you’re trying to manipulate your firearm and get back in the fight. This can happen even after firing thousands of rounds at the range.
You’re not alone, dozens to hundreds of interviews with with career operators and door kickers and they all say that the best way to prepare for high-stress life or death situations is to repeatedly and successfully go through high-stress life or death situations–which are a little different than target shooting.
Realistically, you’re probably won’t have access to that kind of stress fire course on a regular basis, but what you CAN do is run your current firearms handling skills through some drills that we share with you that can quickly enhance your current proficiency so that you have a MUCH better chance of working in high stress situations.
This refinement process is based on trying to simulate some of the different stresses that you’re likely to experience in a self-defense situation, and do so in your living room without bothering anyone.
Unfortunately, this means that you won’t have anyone screaming at you, shooting near you, or have sirens and flashing lights going, but you can STILL get some stress training in at home.
Stress Fire Training Tools
Combining calisthenics, heavy bag work, Ice Training (more on this later) and weights with dry fire and/or airsoft training will help replicate the fast heartbeat and fatigued muscles. Apply interval training into the workout for 20-60 seconds (wearing my firearm) and switch to firearms training during the “rest” periods. Repeat this cycle for the entire workout.
As a reminder you need to ask your doctor before doing anything strenuous AND to get qualified expert instruction in proper dry fire techniques so that you don’t hurt or kill yourself or someone else.
Here’s an example training session (all with a Glock in an in-waistband holster):
- 4 sets of jumping lunges firing 3-6 rounds (with an airsoft platform or other training platform) between sets while drawing from concealment and moving side to side, changing mags when necessary.
- 4 sets of kettlebell clean & presses engaging 2 targets with 3-6 rounds between sets while drawing from concealment and moving to cover, changing mags when necessary.
- 4 sets of pushups firing 3-6 precision headshots between sets, changing mags when necessary.
- 4 rounds on the heavy bag, (punching & kicking) firing 3-6 rounds at both the heavy bag and a paper target between sets, changing mags when necessary. (The purpose of this is to practice transitioning from fighting with your hands to fighting with firearm.)
- 10 SLOW dry fire repetitions of drawing, acquiring sight picture, trigger press, and follow through with sidearm.
- 10 dry fire repetitions of drawing, acquiring my sight picture, trigger press, and follow through with sidearm.
- 10 dry fire repetitions of drawing, acquiring sight picture, trigger press, and follow through with sidearm, while moving to cover.
- 39 SLOW dry fire repetitions of drawing, acquiring sight picture, trigger press, follow through, (rack the slide) and repeat with sidearm and snap caps. (39 rounds because I have 2 15 round mags and one 8+1 mag set aside for dry fire with snap caps.)
It’s not that long a couple hundred reps with different muscle groups, 50-100 rounds of airsoft, and 69 dry fire repetitions. The key is that if you do something similar every day, it adds up to thousands of repetitions per month. And don’t worry about doing any specific exercise.
Here are some other suggestions
I usually do additional sets of fighting-based calisthenics where the movements focus on the core and recovery after being knocked down, but you can do any kind of exercise you want or none at all. It should go without saying, you should adjust this to fit your fitness level and physical abilities.
When splitting wood, do sets of “interval” splitting where I split at a hectic pace and then switch over to dry firing.
When in a hotel, switching back and forth between exercises with luggage or furniture in the room and dry fire practice.
When doing heavy bag work, alternate between striking and shooting.
Ice Training – This is What You Been Waiting on
Occasionally, I’ll fill 2 bowls with ice water, hold my hands in them until they hurt, then alternate back and forth between doing pushups with my hands in the bowls and practicing dry fire drills.
Why the ice?
Because what happens in a high stress situations is that your fine motor skills disappear and your fingers feel like and respond similarly to when your hands are ice cold.
There are two ways to overcome this…
- First, repeated exposure to stress so that your heart rate doesn’t go out of control when you get into a high stress situation
- Second, practicing techniques that will still work when your body doesn’t want to.
When you go through the ice drill and add a little elevated heart rate and maybe a little light dizziness, you’ll be able to quickly and easily see how well your gun handling is. With practice you’ll get better at handling the pressure.
If you like to share your at-home stress drills that you do, please share them with us.
Source:David Morris author of “Urban Survival Guide
Written & Revised by Jon Hines