5 Tips to Help You Improve Your CCW Handgun Skills with the LFDC Practice Toolkit
Here are 5 tips to help you design future practices to quickly move toward your goals and have a lot of fun doing it. For more information on using the LFDC system see How to Use.
1. The Foundation: First learn basic skills and knowledge using proper technique from a professional trainer.
Why practice if you aren’t practicing correctly? This is truly the starting point. If you practice drills using improper techniques you are doing yourself a great disservice. Your trainer will have to work harder with you to undo your bad habits. If you aren’t absolutely sure, get help. The trainers I know, in fact, all I have met, are absolutely passionate about helping people learn how to shoot and how to think in order to defend themselves and their families. Choose a professional trainer and get started on the right foot.
See our Trainers We Like page for opportunities to train with some of the best. Many of them train around the country and may be in your area. So please check their websites for their scheduled training locations. Dave Spaulding for instance, pictured here on left, is one of the best trainers in the country. You can see his extensive credentials and schedule at HandgunCombatives.com.
2. Think about your goals and write them down.
Goals should drive your practice plan. A goal of just having recreational fun shooting is different from competitive shooting or concealed carry. So when setting goals consider what you are trying to accomplish, why you are interested in it and what you want to be good at. These will determine the skills and knowledge you will need and will set your skill building priorities for practice and training.
Try to set and achieve goals in one-month increments. For instance, goal cards are set up for just this approach. They capture your skill building goals and activities, both planned and completed, for the month. Activities include training, live fire practice, and dry fire practice. A rule of thumb I use to challenge myself to stay on track is; Train once a month (one-on-one or group class), practice live fire once or twice a week and dry fire frequently (usually means 3-5 times a week.) The details of each session, like time spent and rounds fired, should be added to your log card. For instance, attending weekly shooting events at your range is a good way to practice as well. But it’s your call to mark it as training or practice depending on the level of instruction received.
3. Configure your log to work for you now.
The log is designed to be configurable for a reason. It is meant to be kept lean and mean to support your short term plan. Change your practice plan? Then just reconfigure your log with the cards that support it. It will only take a few minutes.
- Log Cards – Keep about 2-3 blank and 3-4 completed cards in the log so you can look back a month or two. Take the older ones out and store for future use.
- Drill Cards – Keep about 3-4 in Active Drills and about 10 in Spare Drills.
- Loadout Cards – Keep one per loadout. If you don’t want to completely fill out your loadout cards then just give your handgun a Loadout ID. This way you can still track your performance to the correct loadout.
- Add-in Cards – If you use add-in cards, place them wherever works best for you. Here is where I keep mine.
- Benchmark Cards – Keep these in the back of the Log section or in the Active Drills section.
- Goal Cards – Keep 2 of these on top of the log section. Current and next month.
- Personal Best Cards – Once you know how to use the log you don’t need to keep the instruction cards in the Information section any longer. Just remove them and store them. This turns the section into Information on Personal Bests. (I do keep the AAR Look-up Table card there as well.)
4. Choose the skills to select the drills.
Ideally, guidance on drill selection would come from your trainer, but you may also be able to assess this for yourself. It depends to some degree on your experience and confidence. Keep in mind that the skills should select the drills. You use drills to practice skills and identify the skills that need more work. When you improve the skills and later shoot the same drills you should see your drill performance improve.
Choose a few drills to focus on that best help you work on the skill or skills that are your current priority. Limiting a single practice to 2-3 drills allows you to shoot each of them a few times. Finally, before you move on to the next drill shoot it for the record.
When shooting a drill card where the drill has several distance choices, start at the closest distance and achieve the accuracy standard first. Then speed up or move back after you have hit the time standard. Evaluate your performance for each drill and you can make focused progress in the usual hour or so of range time.
5. Review and adjust, but keep on going.
Review your results each month and assess what is working and what is not. As a result, make the necessary adjustments to your plan and practice approach. Be sure to build off of your successes and progress as well because improving is great fun and very motivating. And on the flip side, there are also a lot of ways to fail and become discouraged. There just is. So use your failures to learn and adjust your plan to create future successes.
- If you fail to practice as often as you intended, try placing appointments in your phone and finding a partner to practice with. It helps a lot.
- Use the LFDC log and targets to make the most of the precious little spare time you have to practice. Stop spending your time searching drills and targets.
- If you are unsure what to do or are frustrated with a lack of progress, please see a trainer to restore your enthusiasm, it is what they do!
Live Fire Drill Cards helps people who choose to carry to protect themselves and their families, a way to practice as effectively as possible with the time they have available.
To do this we partner with handgun trainers across the country to provide great drills and a practice system to help concealed carry students practice to prevail. Get your handgun training log and target set now. Stop shooting and start practicing.