5 Disruptions to Help You Practice for the Unpredictable and Unknown

by | Mar 24, 2019 | Concealed Carry, Practice to Prevail | 0 comments

Practicing for concealed carry to a large extent is practicing for the unpredictable and unknown. There are certainly a lot of things that you can know and practice, but what I am suggesting is to build in an element of disruption or surprise into your normal practice.  Routine has its advantages but disruption is a good way to learn how prepared you are (or aren’t) to adapt.

I have learned some very surprising and useful things with these disruptions to my normal practice of shooting drills and I hope you will too.


1. Extended Repetition

Repeat the same action over and over for a long time. Of course repetition is a sound basic approach for improving. But what I’m talking about is going a little bit past that. This gives me a chance to observe the decline of my technique as I get fatigued. Trouble maintaining mental focus and other aspects of performance will also appear.  I am not recommending practicing poor technique especially if you don’t know it’s poor.

At the gym, my personal trainer would have a cow when I broke proper form and kept doing the exercise anyway. This is because improper form could injure me. At the range, I look for what degrades my technique so I can work on that capability.  But I am careful to make sure my technique always remains safe. For me, maintaining concentration is my number one offender.

Try this:

Run D-030 the 10-20-30 drill 5-10 times and you will quickly see the effect of being winded and a higher heart rate. Also run D-036 the Casino drill several times and see if you are able to maintain concentration; counting shots, sequencing targets and reloading without error.

2. Slow Motion

This one is really fun and amazingly informative. Just like a replay at a football game – really useful. Use your camera in slow motion and see what you are really doing. Use a tripod or a friend to take short video clips like a draw, draw to first shot, a short drill, moving with footwork or whatever skill you want. I like to use it to check that skills are still up to par as well as look for issues or just evaluate my form for improvement. Slow motion has the advantage of showing you each individual step in the process of executing the skill, which the blur of normal speed can’t always do. With certain angles and the right background, you can sometimes see the bullet traveling in the frame. Like I said, really fun.

Try this:

Take a slow-motion video of your draw to first shot from the side and watch it. Does it look smooth? Are the hand and arm positions right at each step. Is the muzzle coming up properly? Is your posture right? There are a lot of things you can observe so it is one of my favorite uses of slow motion video. Another good use is to put a dummy round in your mag and watch what happens to the muzzle when you pull the trigger on the dummy. Great way to see if you are jerking the trigger or anticipating the shot. Watch the videos and make adjustments then see if you improve during a later practice on video.


3. Surprise

Add an element of surprise to your drill so you have to think on your feet. This is a form of decision-making practice as it requires you to do something different in response to the disruption. It helps to know what you should do when it occurs.

Try this:

Set-up to shoot a multi-target drill like D-020 El Presidente.  During the drill have a partner use a SIRT to randomly laser mark a target that is next, to create a temporary no shoot condition. When you see the laser dot, skip that target and continue the drill and either come back or finish on another target. You can make up the adjustment that you want to impose. The only rule is you can’t shoot the target while the dot is on it. Before or after is fine.

As a verbal surprise, you can have someone randomly shout at you while you shoot. Just agree ahead of time that you are going to do it so you aren’t startled into an unsafe condition.

 4. Variation (Isolation)

Change something about a drill you normally shoot that creates a different challenge. This will broaden the skills that you practice with the drill. I like to add variation because it puts things in a different order and under different conditions. The idea here is to take one of your go-to drills that you are pretty good at and change it in one way. Then observe the impact of that change directly. This is a way of attributing a change in performance to a single factor and allow you to isolate it for improvement.

Try this:

There are a lot of things that can be varied and some examples are; starting position, adding movement or changing direction, changing the order of shots, wearing different concealment clothing or low light conditions.


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    Here, you can see a test of technique in the form of a snap cap/dummy round added into the magazine – this is a great exercise to ensure that you’re not anticipating the shot!

    5. Sub-optimal Technique

    Proper technique is important to know and practice. As a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do I learned proper kicking, punching, blocking, turning and stances to name a few required skills. And I had to perform them hundreds of times during each practice. Then we would free fight. I never remember having the time to set-up a perfect stance, obtain perfect body position and send off a perfect kick.  My opponent just wouldn’t cooperate and kept moving and attacking. But I did know the proper technique. So as I developed my free-fighting skills I improved towards proper technique in sub-optimal circumstances.

    So my takeaway for concealed carry practice is this; if you know proper technique, occasionally practice it under sub-optimal conditions like you will encounter in the real world.

    Try this:

    Shoot from body positions that are not well balanced or from a poor stance. Shoot with variations of an imperfect grip. Try this in really hot or really cold weather. Make things up. You don’t have to do these often, just experience something once or twice and take it from there.

    These are ways I like to change my practice experience up to learn new things about myself and my skills in less than perfect conditions. The change-up is enjoyable and ultimately it broadens my skills. Of course, I don’t do these at every practice but just let my curiosity and sense of adventure guide me. Remember, practice takes skills of its own. For concealed carry practice, adding the unexpected and uncomfortable to your practice is a way to become better prepared for the unknown. Be sure to do these disruptions safely.

    Try adding some of these disruptions to your next few practices, but safely, and let us know about your experience at steve@livefiredrillcards.com.


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