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Where to Start in Practice

Been thinking a bit about practice, and where I should be spending my time in practice since I haven’t shot a match in about 4 months. What are the areas that I need to work on? Probably everything, and if that’s a thing, starting can seem overwhelming.

I mentioned on the podcast last week that I suck at lifting weights, but because I suck at it, I’m seeing tons and tons of progress, and that’s really motivating to keep lifting weights. I can deal with the sore muscles and trouble walking up stairs because I’m seeing lots of progress.

So, back to practice:

Things that I suck really bad at, are the things that are motivating to practice. Hammering on table starts, and reloads from my rearmost couple pouches, etc, are things that I’m not good at, and I can spend 10 minutes practicing these things and see a LOT of progress.

However, Is spending a bunch of time working on table starts, when I only see one every few months really the best way to spend my time?

I got to thinking about this while listening to the most recent episode of the American Warrior Show this morning, where Mike Seeklander is interviewing John Correia from Active Self Protection. John watches videos of self defense scenarios. Thousands upon thousands of them.

In the interview he talked about how there are a lot of things that people talk about needing for concealed carry, that he’s NEVER seen in one of the videos he’s watched: things like a CCWer actually doing a reload in a gunfight. Things like a CCWer needing to use some sort of flashlight or weapon mounted light in a gunfight.

But yet, when we consult the tactical corners of the internet, there are tons and tons of people practicing and training on these sorts of things, so they will be more effective in a gunfight. That’s not necessarily bad, but how much more effective would they be if they were to spend their time on the things that are most likely to happen and not the things that are the most fun or the sexiest, or the best for Instagram.

It was a great interview, and I think if you’re at all interested in carrying a gun for self defense it should be high on your list to listen to this week.

What are the things that most stages require you to do:

  • Shoot accurately – so if you suck at shooting accurately, you should remedy that immediately. I think if this is an area that you’re really struggling in, you should get instruction from someone locally who can shoot really accurately. In my opinion, it’s not worth it to blast thousands of rounds trying to learn accuracy. It’ll be cheaper to spend a hundred bucks on a session with someone local to you who can give you the adjustment you need to shoot accurately.

    Thing is, shooting accurately isn’t particularly sexy of fun to practice, but it’s necessary to scoring well. You can do everything else lighting fast, but if you’re hits aren’t there, you’re gonna lose.

  • Movement – Almost every stage, USPSA, IDPA, 3-Gun, outlaw matches, etc require you to do some movement. So, being able to move efficiently, into and out of positions, keeping the gun up where it needs to be, is a HUGE part in being able to place well in matches. Movement can be fun to practice, but I’ll tell you as someone who walks 20,000+ steps in an average day, a hefty movement practice still makes me legs hurt like crazy the next day. So, that might not be the sexiest thing to practice, but it’s one of the things that you need in order to shoot well.
  • Reloads – I can’t tell you how often I see dudes with legit 2+ second reloads, and it’s clear that they’ve never really put any thought into what they’re doing.If you don’t have any idea where to start with reloads, go on YouTube and look at what the really good guys are doing, then emulate it in front of a mirror or something. You might make some tweaks to make things work better for you, but it should get you in a good starting place.

Obviously there’s a LOT more to practical shooting than these three things, but if we’re talking about the handful of things that you can pretty easily work on and get really good at, and see the most result from, these are three pillars that should give you a good starting point.

Thing is though: They’re not sexy. They’re not necessarily fun to work on like some other things you can do, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, these are three things that will give you a lot of improvement in your game if you push hard on them.

So, the next time you catch yourself dryfiring 4-aces for 30 minutes straight because it’s fun, maybe pause it, and work on some other things.



I have developed a strong interest in competitive shooting over the last year. I’m still working up to shooting my first match (Hope to have you a first match voicemail early in 2018). I’ve went and watched the November uspsa match at cggr and just this weekend went and watched the carbine only match there as well. I was wondering if you could maybe cover some of the terminology used so some of use newbies won’t be so lost in the lingo. One I’ve heard a lot is the on deck, in the hole, and in the deep hole. What exactly does that mean? Other newbie things I think people would benefit from is the definitions of comstock and Virginia count. I know some of these can be found in the rule books but thought there may be other listeners who might benefit from a good explanation. Thanks for all that you do with the podcast and hopefully one day soon we might see each other at a local match.

On Deck: That means you’re the next shooter

In the hole: That means you’re the 2nd shooter

In the deep hole: means you’re the 3rd shooter

Official definition from the USPSA Rulebook:

“Comstock” Rule number 9.2.2

“Unlimited time stops on the last shot, unlimited number of shots to be fired, stipulated number of hits per target to count for score.”

Basically, shoot as much as you want.

“Virginia Count” Rule number: 9.2.3

“Unlimited time stops on the last shot, limited number of shots to be fired, stipulated number of hits per target to count for score.”

Shoot only the exact number of rounds that you’re told you can shoot. Shooting more will incur penalties for extra shots and extra hits.

I want to do a Q&A show next week, but to do it, I need your questions, I only have a few. So, if you’ve got a question like Thurmon, head over to triangletactical.net/question to submit your questions for next weeks Q&A show.

About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.

One comment

  1. In regards to losing motivation when the pars stopped improving I found two things work really well for me: 1- have a major match scheduled to keep you hungry for practice and 2- don’t use the par function! I was getting really anxious to wrap up the season in about September of last year. I still had NC Section and Nationals to shoot but was getting tired of setting a par and trying over and over to beat it. So I stopped setting pars and kept working on mini stages in dry fire, only using the timer as a start beep. Having a committed major match schedule for the season also helped to get through times when I wasn’t seeing huge improvements on pars. Major match performance is a bigger motivation than a par time!!

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