Be Better When it Counts: Training Tips for the Budding Defender

Il Ling New demonstrates the proper Weaver stance to her Gunsite students. On The Wild Side

Longtime firearm instructor Il Ling New has provided her top 10 tips on becoming a better marksman.

It’s no secret that, to improve any skill, you’ve got to practice, practice and practice some more. So, if you want to be a better gunfighter, you’ve got to dedicate yourself to practicing with your sidearm—and yes, there’s a right way to go about it. Here are 10 suggestions that can help focus your practice.

1. Learn and understand the safety rules. I recommend the Four Safety Rules. Adhere to them without fail, and be able to do so without fear. This is the foundation of being in control of yourself, and thus, your firearm. With these, you control your situation.

2. Learn how your firearm works—inside and out, backward and forward. You don’t have to learn every part, or every function, but you should understand it well enough to be able to explain the main buttons and levers, and the basic mechanics of how it fires.

3. Get aggressive. Now that you get it—the firearm, that is (see No. 1 and No. 2, above), there’s no reason to be afraid of it in your hands. Yes, there will be some recoil—especially if you need to fire more than once—which is something you always should be prepared for. So get strong on the gun. Understand that your body position can help or hinder your ability to manage it, and learn to use your entire body properly.

4. Focus on the job at hand. As Jeff Cooper used to say, “The purpose of shooting is hitting.” Be in the present (you never knew that yoga and meditation practice would help, did you?). Don’t worry about the noise, don’t think about the recoil. And, to keep your eye properly on your sights, don’t look for the holes! As much as is humanly possible, imagine that target out there is a bad person intent on harming your most beloved. You need to stop it, and you have the power to do it. Apply the mechanics you were taught, and get it done.

5. Take breaks when you want to. Throughout your shooting session, give yourself time to process the mental and physical efforts you’re exerting—these can be considerable if you’re training properly. Don’t be in a rush to finish a sequence or a session.

Read the rest of the tips at American Rifleman

 


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