New Year’s Resolution: “Don’t Be A Plinker” – Foreman’s Forum

By: Paul ForemanMany of us make New Year’s resolutions about now. Some of us want to lose weight, some of us want to quit smoking. I want to be a better shooter. I hate to admit it, but I have NOT done much shooting this past year. Those of you who know me, know that I have had a heck of a battle with this horrible and evil cancer. Now, if you are going to make a New Year’s resolution to be a better shooter, make it good self-defense shooting. Do NOT practice being a “plinker.” I define “plinking” as walking around the woods, picking out a stump, and using an old tin can, anything, and then taking a few shots just to see if you can hit it. Plinking may be kinda fun. BUT: it doesn’t do much if anything to improve your self-defense abilities.

i am assuming you already have the basic fundamentals of gun safety totally ingrained into your mind. If you do not, then and I repeat, DO NOT go to the range until you have taken a “Basic Handgun Class” by a NRA Certified Firearms Instructor.

To be proficient, we all should shoot at least once a month. Practice drawing and shooting until you have locked in what I like to call “Muscle Memory.” Your hands will do exactly what they have done hundreds, or even thousands, of times before.

Most indoor gun ranges will NOT allow drawing and shooting from a holster. They believe it to be far safer to lay your gun on the table then pick it up to shoot.

You can always practice “dry fire” drawing and shooting from a holster at home. Dry fire is of course done with an EMPTY gun. TRIPLE CHECK to make absolutely sure your gun is empty. If somebody is with you, have them also check to make sure it is empty. First, just draw from your holster, slowly at first then picking up a little speed after a dozen or more times. Then, practice with your gun concealed, pulling your “cover” garment out of the way before drawing your gun several dozen times. If this is your first time practicing this way, do it with an UNLOADED gun, until you have mastered the skill of drawing your gun safely.

Now we get to finally do some shooting! Get some target ammo, at least one box of fifty. Every round fired should have a “training value” attached. So, forget about shooting nice, tight, three-, five-, and seven-yard groups. Let’s do some serious training. You’ve got 50 rounds; here is a great way to use them so you get training value from each round you fire.

Suggested one-box training protocol:
Two handed grip, from the holster, at 5 yards: Draw and fire one round as quickly as you can; safely and accurately hit the target. Repeat 10 times. Remember to establish the proper two-handed grip, acquiring the target and firing the shot. Get your finger off the trigger, re-engage the safety if your gun has one, re-holster. Total shots fired: 10
One-handed grip, from the holster, at 5 yards: Just like above, but fire with one hand, keeping your OFF hand away from your gun. Repeat 10 times. Total shots fired: 20
Transition to one-handed grip, other strong hand: Draw from the holster with your strong hand. Transition to your other hand and fire two rounds as quickly as you can; safely and accurately hit the target. Return the gun to your holster; repeat, drawing and firing three rounds. Do this twice. Total shots fired: 30
Drive the gun, fire from “low ready” position: Your instructor should have taught you high and low ready. I like low ready the best. Hold the gun in a two-handed grip with your elbows against your ribs. Make sure of your target, and fire at the target as fast as you can; safely and accurately hit the target. Fire two rounds. Then fire three rounds. Repeat four times.
Total shots now fired: 50

There you have it. You have fired a box of ammo, 50 rounds, with four easy drills that will build your self-defense shooting skills. As always, observe all firearms safety rules; never let your gun point at anything you are not willing to destroy, and keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target and have made a conscious decision to shoot.

Paul Foreman is a retired deputy sheriff from Lee County Florida, now living in Athens. Paul is an NRA Certified Firearms Instructor. “As many of you may already know, due to my current battle with cancer, I am NOT doing firearms classes. Prayers are welcome. As for the classes, I have a gentleman whom I am referring people to, who is also an NRA certified Firearms Instructor.” E-Mail me at:
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By: Paul Foreman