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View Poll Results: Endurance vs Frequency
Shooting no less than 500 rounds in one session, once per week. 2 5.13%
Shooting 200/200/200 divided out in three days per week (MWF, for example). 37 94.87%
Voters: 39. You may not vote on this poll

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Old July 7, 2012, 07:53 PM   #1
TimeRegained
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Handgun Training: Endurance or Frequency -- which is better?

I went to the range today and spoke with two LEOs who had different opinions about how to improve/train.

A generic argument.
  • One said he believes in shooting no less than 500 rounds in one session, once per week.

  • The other said he believes in shooting 200/200/200 divided out in three days per week.

Which do you favor and why?

Thank you.
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Old July 7, 2012, 08:03 PM   #2
ScottRiqui
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I'd rather do the "three times a week" routine. On all but the best shooting days, I'd probably be worn out by the time I got to 500 rounds and getting sloppy. If nothing else, my form would start to suffer.

Since I don't see a need in the future to put 500 rounds downrange in a single session, why train for it? I'd rather do 100-200 rounds, concentrating on my form, breathing, target picture, etc., and then just go home afterward.
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Old July 7, 2012, 08:07 PM   #3
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Fewer rounds, more frequently... fatigue does set in after 150-200 rounds for me, and accuracy starts to decline.

What's the rationale for the mega-session anyway?
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Old July 7, 2012, 08:15 PM   #4
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Most of the top guns in USPSA competition don't go past 200-300 rounds per session from what I've been told and no one can argue that they can shoot.
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Old July 7, 2012, 08:42 PM   #5
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No other human endeavor erodes more quickly than proficiency with a handgun. It's perishable, it dies quickly. While the basics may remain, the fine edge is easily lost. Less rounds, more practice sessions. When I'm on top my game I can maintain proficiency with a single box of ammo, shot twice per week.
When I'm off my game, a hundred rounds is tiring. I don't believe that you learn much during the second hundred rounds, except muscle memory.
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Old July 7, 2012, 10:25 PM   #6
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Frequency- no doubt.
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Old July 8, 2012, 02:01 AM   #7
raimius
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Frequency. Two hundred rounds is more than enough to practice/build a variety of skills. Fatigue is another issue as well. By the time you make it through 500+ rounds, you get tired of loading mags! (Although I say that with a 1911 in mind.)
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Old July 8, 2012, 04:39 AM   #8
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I don't think handgun skills degrade so rapidly but in any case, I'd say all of the round counts are way too high, even if you're shooting just .22s. These numbers represent over a hundred dollars a week for one thing and for another, I even think your skills peak rather quickly. In short, I'd say the two choices are both impractical but my suggestion of shooting no more than your normal carry load is probably equally impractical.
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Old July 8, 2012, 04:40 AM   #9
Brit
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Frequency- no doubt also.

Gets hot in Orlando, a couple of mags of 147g rounds, a couple of carry rounds, just to check zero. Done. Glock 19 carry, and IDPA match pistol.

Just had my Wife join the Club, at 5'3" and 120, she gets tired quickly, but her accuracy is great, 30 or 40 rounds, perfect. Couple of times a week.
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Old July 8, 2012, 10:03 AM   #10
geetarman
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Shooting fewer rounds more frequently seems to work better for me.

After a while, fatigue sets in and all I am doing is emptying brass with no real return.

Same as playing music. Play enough to keep your fingers toughened up rather than one long session that makes them bleed.

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Old July 8, 2012, 10:16 AM   #11
Nanuk
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Quote:
I don't think handgun skills degrade so rapidly but in any case, I'd say all of the round counts are way too high, even if you're shooting just .22s. These numbers represent over a hundred dollars a week for one thing and for another, I even think your skills peak rather quickly. In short, I'd say the two choices are both impractical but my suggestion of shooting no more than your normal carry load is probably equally impractical.
What he said. Generally, by the time you shoot several magazines say a box of ammo you are beginning to get fatigued. That causes you to get sloppy, then form suffers. I can really notice the nerve fatigue with my J frame 357, after an IDPA match of about 100 rounds of +P+ 38's my hands start shaking a wee bit.
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Old July 8, 2012, 10:32 AM   #12
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I think it also depends on your general physical condition and current level of expertise. I have shot a couple of "mega-sessions" mostly to test pistol or magazine function in a new or newly repaired pistol. But I find it very tiring. My routine now is to try to shoot under 200 rounds per session, load my magazines 5 rounds each and 10 rounds per target (two mags). Were I to acquire a new pistol from my wish list I would back off on the "new kid" but fill my range time with my Ruger or GSG .22.

I try to get to the range an average of three times per week but am averaging closer to twice per week since I started keeping track of things.
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Old July 8, 2012, 11:08 AM   #13
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It depends what you're shooting, too. You wouldn't dream of shooting 500 rounds of .357 at one session would you? But that many rounds of 9mm wouldn't be so bad, cost not withstanding.

It used to be recommended that you keep up your practice with a similiar model handgun in .22 but I don't think anyone actually does that anymore.
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Old July 8, 2012, 12:40 PM   #14
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I agree with the idea of less shooting more often, but I'd say for me 200 rounds would be "more shooting".
I'm fortunate in that I live in the woods and have my own range, but I find 30-45 rounds (2-3mags) 3-4 times a week is more than enough to both keep me sharp, and burn up my ammo budget.
First mag I usually shoot 5 round groups, and then I use the other 1-2 to shoot faster, at multiple targets, or anything else I'm itching to try.

I rarely shoot 200 rounds in a session, and I don;t know as I've ever shot 500. Maybe one or twice a a gravel pit.
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Old July 8, 2012, 01:25 PM   #15
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As an instructor, I'd rather see the typical student/shooter/user practicing a bit more frequently, versus in one long, round-heavy shooting session.

HOWEVER ...

There's a common issue to be considered whether the person is shooting more rounds in any single session, or fewer rounds spread out over more frequents sessions, and that is WHAT they're practicing, and HOW they're going about doing it.

I see far too many folks "practicing" poor habits, and getting "better" at consistently doing their poor habits. In other words, they're constantly doing and reinforcing "skills" and techniques they shouldn't be doing, continuing to do things that are counter productive to what they should be doing.

This is where some periodic help from an instructor can be a worthwhile investment of time & money.

While there are folks who are naturally gifted with the eye/hand coordination that makes it easier to pick up physical skills like shooting (or other physical pursuits), most of us seem to require some help from an instructor (coach, etc) in order to realize when we're doing something incorrectly and how to best address it. A lifetime of poor or bad habits isn't erased after a single training session, either. All that time spent doing something incorrectly must be "over-written" by a lot of time doing it right.

Bottom line, though, is that once I can get someone to realize they ought to change something in their shooting skillset, and accept the reason for the need to change, I want to make the changeover as easy as possible on them.

I tell them that simply burning 500-700 rounds in one range session isn't usually the best way to go about it. Fatigue and frustration can undermine their intentions, and once that happens they probably won't realize that they've "fallen back" into their bad habit/improper technique. Especially if they're practicing on their own and I can't be there to observe and correct them.

This isn't an endurance test of a skilled shooter. That can come later, if necessary.

I'd much rather a student shooter focus on specific aspects of their new skillset with each round fired, and not become tired or fatigued to the point that they're wasting ammo & their time.

I've applied this to myself, as well. There are times when I'm working some range session and I may shoot 50, 100, 200 (or more rounds), spread out over several hours ... and yet other times when I may only shoot 1-2 mag loads, looking to spot check myself on something (especially looking for that "cold" performance without a "warm up").

It's the quality and intended purpose of each practice/training round fired that's important. Not the sheer number of rounds and the quantity of gunsmoke in the air.

I'd rather someone only fire 10 or 20 rounds ... or 2-3 mag or cylinder loads ... and positively reinforce proper technique, rather than fire a 1-2 boxes of ammo (or more) hoping that sheer exuberance of shooting a lot of rounds might somehow help them achieve their goal of becoming better.

I didn't check either box in your poll. Mostly because shooting 200 rounds each session, spread out over 3 weekly sessions, is probably more shooting than many of the average shooters with whom I've worked could properly & effectively do while developing their skillset foundation and refining their skills. Later on, after they've developed to a certain point (which can vary by the individual), sure, then they can shoot more rounds per session and run the sessions close together.

Of course, that's just me.
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Old July 8, 2012, 04:13 PM   #16
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Frequency.

It supports:
1) muscle memory-- your mechanics degrade less over the course of 200 rounds fired than they do over 500, so you're able to maintain a standard throughout more of your total practice time. You're also having fewer days in between, which reduces erosion.

2) more range sessions = more first shots of the day. When draw a firearm for SD purposes, you're probably doing so from a cold start, rather than getting into an altercation in the parking lot of your range. Higher frequency gets you used to starting cold.



It also stands to reason that you're never going to have or use 500 rounds during an SD situation.
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Old July 8, 2012, 04:29 PM   #17
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Stretch that ammo even more. I stay in tune pretty well at 50-60 rounds a session, maybe twice a week. Work on presentation from the holster 2-3 rounds up close, from the holster and low ready at 7-15 and deliberate, precise fire from 25 yards or farther. Change up when it gets boring but don't stray far from those fundamentals.

Dumping magazines as fast as you can won't get you much except an empty wallet.
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Old July 8, 2012, 04:37 PM   #18
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No matter what I have already said, the practicalities of the thing quickly becomes the overriding consideration, I think. While it may be peachy keen to bring your pistol along on your daily travels and take a few shots now and then, doing something like that has probably gone the way of going to the city dump and shooting rats.

So you go to the range. Even then you can't have it your own way all the time. There may be a time limit if there's a crowd waiting to shoot. You may not be able to do any practice drawing from the holster and shooting. You may not be able to do rapid fire. And there may even be a limitation on the ammunition you can use: no .30 carbine handguns or something like that. So you work with what you can do and go from there.
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Old July 8, 2012, 04:41 PM   #19
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Depends what you are training for. The best test is the one which most closely mimics end use.

That being said, no training is good if it's not good training. Practicing bad habits just drives those bad habits deeper and deeper into muscle memory.
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Old July 8, 2012, 06:21 PM   #20
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Standard learning theory. Distributed practice is better than massed practice.

Also, a continual stream of motor practice can burn in mistakes in your skilled memory over time. You will retain what you did last and being tired, etc - that might drill in errors.
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Old July 8, 2012, 08:11 PM   #21
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I generally do 100 .22LR followed by 50-100 centerfire rounds.
As frequently as i can afford to do so.
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Old July 8, 2012, 08:55 PM   #22
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Dry fire every day, it's free. I shoot outside my house so I shoot 5-20 rds every day. Not massive amount but enough for me to keep in tune. I believe if you hardly ever shoot then shoot alot watch out for enhanced errors. Dry fire is every important as real fire. They both have there place.
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Old July 8, 2012, 11:01 PM   #23
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the role of .22 conversion units to maintain your skills

"It used to be recommended that you keep up your practice with a similiar model handgun in .22 but I don't think anyone actually does that anymore."

Shooting .22s in practice is back in style because of the big increase in ammo prices in the last 5 years -- look at all the companies that make .22 conversion units for various guns, particularly the M1911 platform, the AR-15 platform, and the Glocks . . .

This is a topic near and dear to my heart. I started shooting .22 conversion units about 30 years ago, when I was a poor student. About the same time Jerry Usher had an article in (I think) the American Handgunner ANNUAL advocating the use of what he called "understudy" guns for economical practice.

During my military service I used an M-16 (three different models, actually) and carried (in order) an S&W 15 revolver, an M1911A1 and then an M9. I have personal examples of all of those guns.

Over the years I acquired a S&W 18 (.22 cal combat masterpiece), a Colt Ace (.22 on the o frame) and a Ciener and then later a Beretta “practice kit” for the M9. And a Atchisson and then a Colt conversion unit for the AR-15.

(I also have a S&W 650 in .22 to go with my S&W 60 HB 3 inch, an argentine .22 conversion unit for my Browning P35, a Sig conversion unit I bought in 2008 for my 9mm 226 & 226-DAK in .40 cal, and a Walther PPK/S in .22 that I use as a practice gun for my Walther PPK & Sig 230).

In my military service I was an LE Specialist in the SPs in the ANG, an MP in the ARNG and then finished up back in the ANG as a CATM instructor. Back in the 80s we had access to the 50 foot indoor range at the local ARNG armory, which had a mild steel backstop and was limited to .22s. Shot thousands of rounds in there, and at the ROTC range on campus (I was enlisted, but I had a friend who was in the ROTC and he was able to get me in a few times) which was also limited to .22 because of a soft steel backstop and questionable ventilation . . .

I've done LOTS of shooting with all of them. I find it works best to do accuracy drills with the .22s. They don't have much recoil, but the balance and trigger pull and sight picture are all the same.

For practice with the bigger guns I usually use an IPSC or IDPA target or an NRA B-34 (1/2 scale) target. For the .22s I usually use a B-34 or the 1/3rd scale B-29 or TQ-16 or TQ-20 targets. I basically do my same set of drills at the same distances, but on a much smaller target. It helps a LOT to keep in tune and not spend as much money doing it.

The Ciener unit for the Beretta M9 is serviceable. The Beretta factory unit works better, and does have a hammer de-cocker/safety, just like the original.

The Ciener unit for the Glock is marginally reliable. Mine worked better after I had the chamber and the sides of the extractor where it pivots in the frame polished. If I clean it every 150 rounds or so, use good quality ammo and lube it well, it works reasonably well. But not great. I don't have very much personal experience with the Advantage Arms conversion units, but several of my shooting buddies have them and find them workable.

I bought my Atchisson conversion for the AR-15 in 1982 from Bro-Caliber International in Cincinnati. It was very rough and didn't work very well. Based on a 1985 article in SOLDIER OF FORTUNE I sent my conversion unit off to John Norrell Arms (now in Little Rock, Arkansas) and paid him almost $300 to tune it up so it would work. IT WAS MONEY WELL SPENT! As long as I keep the unit reasonably clean and well lubed and use good ammo, it'll shoot all day every day. (www,johnnorrellarms.com) (I don't know if he still adjusts conversion units like that or not . . . )

I also have a Ciener converter for an AK-47. (I have to confess I haven't shot that much in YEARS. That would probably be a good project for this coming winter)

Of course, the S&W .22 revolvers are a joy to shoot. Particularly the model 18.

The Argentine conversion unit for the Browning HP is pretty good as well. Like all the rest, kept clean, lubed well and fed good quality ammo, it shoots fairly reliably. (I bought mine from Sportsman's Guide about 10 years ago. There was another importer as well, but I haven't seen them advertised for quite a while now)

Peter Stahl in Germany also made conversion units for the Sig P6 (M225) and various of the Smith & Wesson auto pistols. I'm not sure they were ever imported into the US in any numbers. I tried to order a .22 conversion for my S&W 39 about 20 years ago but was unsuccessful.

Years ago you’d see ads in SHOTGUN NEWS for .22 converters for the P38 pistol. I've never seen one and have no idea how well they work.

None of my conversion units for the AR platform are the least ammo sensitive.

The Colt Ace & Beretta factory conversion unit will function with anything. Sig recommends CCI mini-mags in their conversions, and I believe that Advantage Arms recommends Remington Golden Bullets.
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Old July 8, 2012, 11:10 PM   #24
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practice routine

There are LOTS of valid comments in this discussion.

I'm a cop, and currently my duty gun is a Sig 226R-DAK in .40 cal. (A department transition to the Glock 22 after the beginning of the NEXT fiscal year (July 2013) is being evaluated).

My department DOES NOT issue practice ammo on any regular basis.

I shoot 250 rnds a month through my duty gun. Usually in one practice session.

I find right around 200 rnds to be a good amount for a single practice session when shooting centerfire guns -- sometimes if I'm shooting a .22 I'll shoot more than that, up to 250 or 300.

(I buy commercial .40 cal reloads from my local commercial reloader, or Ultramax reloads from Sportsman's Guide, or "Canned Heat" reloads from Georgia Arms.)

I have a whole bunch of different practice courses I use, depending upon what I'm trying to practice, how much time I have, am I on an indoor range or outdoor range, how busy the range is, etc. As one of the others in this discussion has noted, many ranges have some limitations on what you're allowed to do for safety reasons. Just do whatever you can and don't worry about it.

Practice on basic skills with a focus on timely accuracy is ALWAYS a good idea.
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Old July 9, 2012, 08:02 AM   #25
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I like "endurance".
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