It may be safe to say that none of us get to the range and practice our defensive shooting as often as we should. And, when we do get to go shooting, we spend several hours throwing lead downrange. In fact, it often becomes more of a social event than a practice session. We shoot this drill for a little bit and then someone suggests another one to try so we switch gears and go for it.
We have all heard that it takes several thousand repetitions for a certain thing to become a habit—and some folks try to get all those thousands of repetitions into one practice session.
Good practice is not about how many rounds a person fires, but how many rounds are fired while paying close attention to improving one's skill level. Improving shooting skills takes complete focus. And, quite frankly, it is tiring because of the need for concentration.
A better use of range time might be to pick one particular defensive skill—flash sight picture, pistol presentation, sight recovery and follow-up shots, failure drill—and work on it for about 20 minutes. During this time, avoid any visiting or other social activity, just concentrate and shoot. Then take a break, go sit in the shade, get some water, think about what you’ve done. When rested up, work on the same skill again, or another related one. Again, about 20 minutes of concentration and focus is enough.
Once that is done, and you’ve had another break, it’s a good time to socialize with your buddies. In essence, you have put the work behind you and are now ready to play. Shoot some fun drills, plink at various targets, and just enjoy the shooting sports and your friends.
By working on the serious stuff while you are fresh, you have the best chance of really improving your defensive skills. Then it is time to just enjoy shooting. And, we should never forget that most of us got into shooting because it is fun and enjoyable. The only real mistake is confusing the fun stuff with the need to work at improving our skills. Keep the two separate in your mind. Have a plan for your practice and keep those sessions short and focused. Then reward that concentration with some fun shooting. Plan your practice sessions—it’s the smart thing to do.