Changing up your training can help you improve
One thing I often get at the range, is strange looks. And I don’t think it’s because I go to the range with a lot of various kinds of guns that people have never seen in person before. Though, I guess that could be it, too. No, most of the time I get strange looks because I’ve been known to drop to the ground and give myself 20 push-ups before I start shooting.
I don’t stop there, though. Nope. Because I also drink coffee like a crackhead trying to get his next fix. Why? Because I want my hands to shake. And I want my blood to pump—hard. I want my vision blurry. (hey, I’m a fat ass and 20 push-ups these days is like a 20 mile run through the back woods of Camp Lejeune on a black flag day.)
Why do I do all of this? To make it as realistic as possible. I don’t hit tight groups. But, I do hit the target at center mass and every shot is a kill shot.
I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say that they don’t drink caffeine before going to the range because they want to make sure that they can hit tight groups.
Really? Because, if you drink coffee every other day of the week, the time you spend at the range should be no different.
Don’t worry about someone judging you based on how tight your groups are. That person won’t be there to save your life if you need to defend yourself with your gun.
Listen folks, tight groups are great when you’re in competition shooting. But, if you’re training for self-defense, and let’s face it, you should be, you need to train like it’s the real world—not some made up fantasy world where you don’t have 3-cups of coffee each day of the week.
Why do I sometimes do push-ups before shooting? Because I want to mimic, to the greatest degree possible, the effects of adrenaline and quickly flowing blood running through my body. Granted, it isn’t going to be perfect—far from it. But, it’s closer than shooting from a bench or not drinking coffee on my way to the range. It’s more realistic.
Heck, even in writing this, I’m working on my second 12 ounce cup of coffee in my Yeti Rambler, complete with the Talon Grips Gripster at the bottom. Seriously, if you don’t own a Yeti, and you value keeping your drinks hot or cold, get one. There is no better cup. And, the Gripster is great, too, simply because you don’t have to worry about your cup slipping or damaging your tables. It’s like having your own personal little coaster permanently attached to your cup.
Anyway, this is what I recommend: Get a good base for how you shoot without caffeine and without getting your blood pumping. Then, drink as much coffee as you regularly would on any given day and see how you perform. I can all but guarantee that your hands will shake a bit more. That’s fine, because if you ever need to defend yourself with your firearm, something similar will happen. That’s the point.
Then, the next time you go the range, try doing some exercises to get your heart pumping. Your hands will shake even more than when you just had coffee. You may even find that the firearm feels different in your hands than it usually does.
It may not feel different, but if this happens, it is good thing because when you’re in a critical incident everything feels different. Everything is surreal. Nothing is how it usually seems. Trying to mimic this before your life depends upon it is ideal.
How did I come to the conclusion that training under stress is better than training in a predicted environment? Well, I can say that in the Marine Corps., static shooting at known distances is a totally different animal than any other, more realistic shooting. I am an expert rifleman. I can hit a target from 200 yards in the standing position with steel sights. I can also hit a target at 500 yards in the prone position with steel sights. I’m a good shot.
However, during my first live-fire training in a movement course—like running up to cover, and shooting at a target, I sucked. I learned very quickly that shooting while having your heart about to jump out of your chest is totally different than it is when you’re relaxed enough to actually concentrate on breathing techniques, front sight post, sight alignment, wind, etc.
You’ll also notice, that if you’ve properly trained up until this point, those techniques will become second nature, anyway, so you won’t have to concentrate on them much, if at all.
Am I saying that you should shoot like this all of the time? Not really, no. Well, I always drink my coffee. However, I don’t always do the exercises before shooting. Guess I gotta draw the line somewhere.
For some reason, I feel like I need to add a disclaimer here. Okay, I’m not a medical doctor, nor should what is mentioned here be taken as medical advice. If you’re not healthy enough, please don’t do any strenuous exercises and then put a gun in your hand. Use your common sense. The last thing anyone needs is for you to do push-ups, put a gun in your hand, pass out and pull the trigger on the way down. That’s just bad ju-ju, man.
Sound Off Gun Carriers! How do you change up your training regimen to get better? Is there anything special that you do before you start shooting? If so, let us know in the comments below. Then, make sure you sign up for Gun Carrier’s FREE Newsletter.
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