I see it every time I go to the range. People just show up, throw a target up, set it out to a predetermined distance (within their abilities) and then throw lead downrange (shoot their guns). With no rhyme or reason. Nothing measurable to show they are improving their skill. Because that is exactly what shooting is... A skill.
Workouts should have a purpose behind them to achieve your specific goals... So should your range time.
Your range time should be similar to a planned workout at the gym. It should have a goal/purpose. Warm-up, then workout… or in this case, work on a couple of predetermined skills to improve upon.
What should your warm-up look like? First, refresh your mind of firearms and range safety rules. Followed by Five to eight minutes of Plain and simple dry firing. Dry fire the skills, movement patterns, and or distance you are intending to improve upon. Dry firing allows you to slow things down and really focus.
Indoor ranges are most accessible to the Charlotte area. One downside to that is they limit shooters to what they can and can not do. But focus on what you can do.
Skills you can work on at an indoor range include:
Presentation drills. (working from the center of your chest with the pistol pointed at the target and pressing it out while aligning your sights and engaging the targets). Fire 2-5 shots in between presentation.
Single hand shooting. Life isn’t perfect. You may need to shoot one-handed and there is no guarantee it will be your primary hand.
Challenge your distance. Most people will only shoot within their comfort levels. But if you have no problem shooting the bullseye out every time then push that envelope a little further. Considering most indoor ranges don’t allow rapid fire (for good reason). Move that target back 5 more yards outside of your comfort zone and work to make that your new comfort zone.
Outdoor ranges allow you more freedom. Most outdoor ranges involve a 45 min drive near Charlotte. It is even more important to dry fire your course of fire with outdoor drills.
Skills you can work on at an outdoor range include:
Presentation drills from your concealed holster. Build up to rapidly firing 2-5 rounds once your sights are aligned to the target. (Then work on getting faster AND more accurate)
Reloading drills. If you carry an extra magazine.
Malfunction drills. Working on Type-1 and Type-2 malfunctions (dummy rounds are also great to include in this training).
Pivoting drills. I would only recommend this if you have received training on pivoting drills and are the only person there.
High-Intensity shooting. Have the pistol on a shooting bench then perform a certain set of high-intensity movements like burpees, jumping air squats, a max effort set of push-ups, or a 50-yard sprint to your pistol. After you complete the movements pick up the pistol, align your sights to the target, and engage. Rest for a certain amount of time then repeat 4-5 times.
There are more skills to work on. But this is a great start. Focus on two or three skills to work on every time at the range. When you have completed working on one skill, dry fire the next skill you will work on before going live again. Don’t just waste your time blasting away at the target and getting your IG post to show your friends the great time you had.
The truth is that a concealed carry class is not enough training. Even in the military and during my time in the private security sector we would discuss the safety rules and dry fire/run the course of fire for hours before going live. The best shooters in the world are the best at the fundamentals.