View Full Version : How do you train with your pistol?

February 17, 2000, 02:50 AM
How do you train with your pistol in a tactical method? Multiple targets at different ranges? Speed training? Use a timer? Tactical mag change? Any and all input is welcome. Thanks.

February 17, 2000, 09:09 AM
Most of my personal train consists of "taking over the range". I go at times when there is less chance that I have to share.

Strong hand supported and not, weak hand supported and not, one handed reloads,
multiple targets, variable distances, lots of movement, lots of reloads and variable positions. Oh ya, weapon transitions as well. Strangely enough two to three years later I shoot my first IDPA Match.

"Train as you fight....Fight as you train"
"People won't rise to the occassion....they will default to their level of training"

Be Safe, Be Trained

Life is tough...it's alot tougher if you don't know how to shoot.

February 17, 2000, 09:44 AM

Gabe Suarez
February 17, 2000, 09:54 AM
Train 80% Dry Practice and 20% Live Fire. Much of skill-at-arms with firearms deals with conditioned reflex development in its handling. This you can do every day in your garage. Live Fire once or twice a week to verify that your regular dry drills are going well (200- 300 rounds total).
Drill all of the basics in about a 30 minute session everyday. Practice Presenting from the various ready positions, present from holster, move as you present from holster, present to targets at various angles along a 360 degree area, and gunhandling drills such as tactical reloads, emergency reloads, malfunction clearing, and so on.
Make your dry practice as perfect as you can, and at a reasonable speed. Write down an itinerary of practice and follow it as you practice (not only for dry, but also in live fire). That's my suggestion.

Gabe Suarez
HALO Group http://www.thehalogroup.com

Jake 98c/11b
February 17, 2000, 09:12 PM
Gabe, read a few of your books, good stuff. If your modesty prohibits you from hawking your own stuff, I will do it for you. Any of Mr. Suarez's books are well worth looking at, they will address your question nicely.

How about a brief biography Gabe?

As to how I practice, I dry fire about three times a week for about 40 minutes each and one or two trips to the range in any given range. I am lucky in that I have an indoor range right next door from work but I can't practice anything but one and two hand firing when other customers are there. I have been able to persuade the owner of the range to allow me some latitude when I am the only one there but I am afraid to push the limits if you know what I mean. All one hand reloads, weak hand drawing and the like are limited to dry fire for now.

February 17, 2000, 11:53 PM
Won't argue with anything above this. Dry fire is excellent.

My other personal "secret" is a good quality air pistol, like a Beeman P-2. You can set up a range in your basement or house quite easily. These pistols are more accurate than any of us will ever be. You can practice both group shooting and also drawing from a holster and taking your first shot. It's REAL tough to shoot pairs, unless you're a lot faster than me!

The sights are good, and the movement of the piston creates a little recoil, about like shooting a .22 rimfire. You put about 2000 rounds through one of these and you learn to watch your sights and call your shots. For me, it has all the benefit of dry fire, with the added plus of being able to check a target. The paper never lies.

I recommend a Nemesis or P-2. The pistol shape, sights, and grip angle are quite similar to a real pistol. I don't imagine that the full "race-gun" air pistol would be quite as similar. The pistols run $100-$300 new, and pellets are $5 for 500.

[This message has been edited by Hawkeye (edited February 17, 2000).]

February 18, 2000, 10:33 AM
I happen to have the luxury of an ad hoc outdoor range with plenty of space and backstop, in addition to an indoor range nearby.

I usually dry-fire practice two or three times a week for 15-20 minutes. When I shoot, I practice with weak hand, strong hand, both hand -- standing, kneeling, and prone. I also practice speed draw and fire at short range from hip. I fire from Weaver and Isosoles stance, also occassionally practice with a Mag-Lite in weak hand. Have also incorporated practice drills with weak hand only gun operation -- shooting and reloading.

I usually set up multiple targets (most has been 4) at different angles to me, typically over a 60-100 degree arc of fire. I also like to stagger ranges from 7 to 25 yards. I have incorporated target stands behind trees that would simulate an attacker using cover. I have also placed targets into junked cars to simulate possible automotive scenarios.

I take my target shooting fairly seriously and try to incorporate possible scenarios that I might have to face.

There are four types of men in this world. Know how to deal with each of them and you will prosper.
He who knows not and knows not he knows not is a fool, shun him.
He who knows and knows not he knows is asleep, awaken him.
He who knows not and knows he knows not is a child, teach him.
He who knows and knows he knows is a wise man, learn from him

Jeff Thomas
February 19, 2000, 02:25 PM
When dry firing with a semi-auto, do you simply ignore trigger reset? And, then practice dry fire mainly for presentation, rapid sight picture, etc? I had one instructor tell me to rack the slide after each dry fire 'shot', but that seems like a bad idea - seems possible I'd instinctively try to rack the slide in an actual confrontation, due to training.

Excuse the dumb questions ... ;)

Art Eatman
February 19, 2000, 11:51 PM
Jeff: Not dumb questions. I'm agin racking the slide, exactly for the "as you train..." idea.

I thumb-cock for practice at trigger and sight control, more of a precision-in-aiming deal. I'll the cocked-and-locked when coming out of a holster, belt or pocket at speed with my 1911.

One routine which worked well for me in IPSC was to stand behind my couch, aiming at a talking head on the TV. Beginning with cocked hammer, empty chamber (check twice!) and one or two rounds in the mag, I'd say "Bang!", do a speed-reload, and then drop the hammer. Over and over. Your target time is one second from "Bang" to "click".

For live fire, I work on multiple targets at different ranges. I'll stand and shoot, or walk and draw and crouch and shoot, whatever. I'll reverse the order and mix it all up. Out of the holster. Off the table. Sometimes all singles, sometimes double-tap and reload.

My only constant is "Front sight, Bang!" In real life, what else could be constant?


Jeff Thomas
February 20, 2000, 12:33 AM
Thanks, Art. I appreciate the assist.

February 20, 2000, 04:09 AM
GABE said: "Train 80% Dry Practice and 20% Live Fire. Much of skill-at-arms with firearms deals with conditioned reflex development in its handling. This you can do every day in your garage. Live Fire once or twice a week to verify that your regular dry drills are going well (200- 300 rounds total)".

I am getting convinced with Gabe's explanations. It is only now that I see or heard having more dry practice than live fire. The mentioning of "conditioned reflexes development" is interrelated to martial arts, that constant simulation of an imagined way of hitting blocking, or shooting if in pistol can be translated into actual or live fire proficiency. That is also one way of spending unnecessary bullets to be fired on.

Mr. Suarez, it seems that some of the techniques in your school is being given free now in TFL forums. It really looks practical that giving more emphasis on dry fire can give good training.

I am reading and learning new methods.


Chuck Ames
February 22, 2000, 11:21 AM
Amen Gabe,

I've fixed most of my shooting errors with dry-fire, definitely more for less.

Jeff, with a double action trigger I like to dry-fire from the hammer down position. I've found that it builds trigger control, since you really have to concentrate on the trigger press and front sight. This is especially true if you carry your weapon in the hammer down position. I wouldn't worry about a DA/SA transition, at least for me, it's never been an issue. We carry the M-11 (SIG P-228), and it's never been an issue for me.


February 22, 2000, 07:56 PM
I just purchased a BeamHit system. This is a laser device that is inserted into the barrel of the gun. When the gun is dry fired it emits a pulse of laser light that shows up momentarily on the special target. The latter can be programmed to beep when hit and to be active for only a pre-determined period of time (i.e. you have X secs to make the hit). This system makes a lot of difference to a dry fire session because you can see your hits. It's amazing how much a less-than-perfect trigger pull shows up..... :)

John Francis