The other night I had a conversation with a relatively new defensive shooter. He was asking me who I thought was the best group/instructor in the area to train with. He had tried a couple of trainers and they each had their own way of doing things so he wasn’t sure which was best for him. I asked him which trainer’s techniques seemed to make the most sense to him?
Not having much experience, he really didn’t have an answer and I think I might have added to his confusion so I suggested he just pick one and train with that individual until he had a good foundation and understanding of what he was doing. Only after you’ve developed the basic skills can you determine if a particular technique will work for you or not.
Because many people have been “plinking” (casual target shooting) for years they have the misconception that they know how to defend themselves with a firearm. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many people we’ve trained started the class out by telling us “I know how to shoot, I’ve been shooting for years” but when we ran them though some drills they get confused, agitated and just plain lost. Why? Because they have been standing in one place shooting at targets or tin cans for years. That doesn’t prepare you for the real world. When the “you know what” hits the fan, it happens very fast and everyone is moving. You don’t have time to get a perfect sight picture or punch one jagged hole in a target.
Another common error many new defensive shooters make is expecting to learn too quickly. They feel unless they are learning something new they are stagnating, which is untrue. They move from one instructor to another because, in their mind they aren’t being taught quickly enough when in reality the instructors are trying to give them time to perfect what they’ve already shown them.
There are no “secrets” to becoming an advanced level defensive shooter – only practice, practice and more practice. If you watch a master shoot you’ll observe their techniques are smooth and appear effortless. That’s because they’ve done it so many times they can do it without thinking. Their “advanced” techniques are simply the basics performed correctly, smoothly and with very little effort.
So, my suggestion is find an instructor that has a good reputation and one you have confidence in. Learn what you can from that instructor and don’t hop from one to another that will only retard your progress. Practice the basics – drawing, moving, sight alignment and trigger control and you’ll be amazed how quickly you really can advance.