Beyond the Basics

Updated: Jun 5, 2019

We are creatures of habit. We find comfort in regularity. When something out of the ordinary comes along and, forces us to turn instead of keep going straight we are jarred.

All of a sudden the comfort and familiarity are gone and we’re not quite sure what to do.

Target shooting is a straight forward and familiar process to those in the gun community, but shooting a gun in a tactical or self-defense scenario is a very unpredictable and variable process.

In this day and age there are too many shooters who carry their weapons daily but do not push themselves beyond shooting a couple hundred rounds at the range and call it a day. It is not enough to only practice static target shooting when one chooses to carry a weapon for protection; consistent and variable training needs to be done to prepare for the worst – that moment when a gun is needed for personal protection.

Make the rounds sent down the range worth the financial and time commitment by going beyond the basics.

As I grew up, I viewed guns as a source of entertainment; that school of thought quickly changed after I enlisted into the United States Marine Corps.

The Corps began my career of treating guns as a tool and not just a source of entertainment. Throughout my time in the Marines both stateside and overseas I was given opportunities to train on defense and how to better use my gun as a tool.

Most of my peers dodged these opportunities because these courses would place them outside of their comfort zone; high stress scenarios with movement were created and the Marine would be challenged to use their gun as good as when they are static shooting.

These training courses went beyond the classroom and provided practical application. I chose to take these courses because it taught new tactics and techniques to mastering the tools given to us, getting paid while taking the courses did not hurt either.

I’ll be the first to admit I didn't enjoy every minute of every course but I learned that you have to be forced out of your comfort zone to find the flaws. Once those flaws are identified, correction is the next step.

Fast forward six years, I have changed careers but the tactical and self-defense training remain relevant so I can effectively protect myself if needed.

I love talking to other gun enthusiasts, hobby shooters or gun professionals alike. Going to the range with someone for the first time is always an experience because I’ll either walk away learning something new from them or walk away knowing I taught them something that will help their shooting.

That being said, the biggest problem with the shooting community is the amount of shooters who carry to protect themselves and their loved ones but can’t hit a two inch bulls eye at five yards. These shooters have taken the first step at defending themselves by being armed with a gun but the defense goes deeper than that – advanced training and skill refinement make a gun more effective. It all goes back to training and forcing yourself to step outside your comfort zone.

My intentions for this article are for readers to go out and do something you haven't done before or do something you aren't comfortable with. It can be as simple as moving yourself through a DOT torture target at the local indoor range.

This training will familiarize your eyes, muscles, and fingers to what they need to do to hit your point of aim.

Yes, you may miss every time, but given the amount of repetitions you do you’re bound to identify your flaws and adjust accordingly.

Next up, get out and MOVE. Take a course that forces you to get your heart rate up or setup a drill that makes you become dynamic. Static shooting is great for working on fundamentals like sight picture, recoil management, stance, and trigger pull but it can only help so much.

Do you think every encounter with a criminal is going to happen when you're perfectly rested with your gun at the low ready? Absolutely not.

It’s amazing how much harder it is to focus on your front sight once you've completed a dead sprint to your shooting point.

Lastly, ask questions and read. There is a vast amount of information on the internet today that can help everyone in their shooting. I can spend hours watching videos of -Travis Haley or Frank Proctor and walk away knowing something I didn't know before. You don't always have to take a $400 dollar course from someone. Yes it’s going to help you, but you would be surprised how far research and practice can take your shooting abilities.

Get out, train hard, and push yourself to do something you haven't done before. It can only better you as person and shooter. That’s it for now folks. Stay frosty.


Scott is a former Marine with the United States Marine Corps. Since transitioning from the military Scott has moved into law enforcement while continuing to progress his training and knowledge of shooting and self-defense tactics.

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