Establishing A Concealed Carry Practice Routine
If you're going to concealed carry, a certain amount of concealed carry shooting practice is going to be necessary. The reason is that if a person is going to carry a gun, they should know how to use it if needs be as well as carry safely.
However, concealed carry shooting practice is necessarily different than mere target shooting, just as good CCW training is different than mere cursory firearms training.
What Makes Concealed Carry Practice Different From Other Types Of Shooting
Concealed carry practice is necessarily different from the various types of recreational shooting as the focus is different. In most recreational shooting, the goal is to hit a target. Concealed carry practice is also concerned with hitting a target, of course, but that isn't the sole focus.
Since a person who carries concealed is carrying a firearm for the purposes of possibly having to defend themselves, practice is done to improve on the skills for the kind of shooting that works in that scenario. Put differently, concealed carry training is focused on improving and maintaining shooting skills that are applicable in a defensive scenario.
Granted, some types of recreational shooting are fantastic for practical applications. Nothing is better for the upland bird hunter or waterfowler than skeet or trap. Long-range target shooting is vital for the big-game hunter. However, the concealed carrier needs something a little different.
Normal target practice just doesn't do it alone. Plinking at 20 to 30 yards at a relaxed pace and with perfect sight alignment is great for basic marksmanship, but that's not how defensive shootings occur.
Good concealed carry or defensive shooting practice will establish, build on and maintain those types of shooting skills over the years, ensuring that the concealed carrier is able to defend themselves with their firearm and do so competently, should they ever need to.
Why Defensive Shooting Practice Is Necessary
There are a number of skills needed for competent defensive shooting, and good defensive shooting practice is the only proven method of getting them. To name a few, the concealed carrier needs to be able to draw from concealment, then fire quickly and accurately.
A number of famous lawmen who had to face a suspect or opponent in armed combat have indicated some common themes when it comes to defensive shooting: it's not the first hit, but the first accurate hit that wins the engagement, and to do that, you need to take your time in a hurry.
In other words, you need to do everything right, but also as quickly as possible if you mean to survive a defensive encounter. Speed alone isn't enough, accuracy alone isn't enough. You need both in order to be competent with a concealed carry gun.
First is learning to draw. Even open carrying doesn't ensure a fast draw; only practice can do that. Some of the fastest quick-draw lawmen like Bill Jordan and Jelly Bryce had to put in thousands of hours of practice before they could draw and fire as quickly as they could. (Bryce was said to practice the draw upward of 8 hours a day.) It's not something that you're born with.
Combat accuracy is different than target accuracy. While all the same principles are at work, traditional aimed fire takes too long for close-in shooting. Flash-sight and point shooting techniques are better at combat distances, which is why those are the techniques that are taught to military and police personnel.
In regards to shooting, what's needed is putting rounds in vital areas quickly. Shooting a clover leaf isn't necessary; if you can shoot a 3-inch group using a flash sight picture or point shooting technique, then you've about got it down.
However, getting to that kind of proficiency...is easier said than done. Once achieved, it then has to be maintained. After all, you might not have time for more than one or two shots.
Establishing A CCW Shooting Routine
One of the first steps is to establish a baseline of your defensive shooting capabilities. Just like strength training or any other skill that you aim to improve at, one of the best things to do is to get some help from a qualified instructor.
Look for instruction that's beyond the mere base concealed carry training requirements imposed by the state. You need to get evaluated on how well you can draw, shoot and hit targets at combat distances using combat techniques. Once this is established, a good course of instruction should also give you drills that will help you enhance and maintain these techniques.
This should include practice routines for the draw, including draw-and-fire drills. You should also receive instruction in dry-fire drills to improve trigger control, and shooting drills to improve combat accuracy.
It's like getting with a personal trainer; the trainer shows you what you need to do to improve and gives you some exercises to perform to achieve those goals. From there, you hit the range as often as reasonably able and perform those exercises. The more repetition, the better you will become. Just remember - slow is smooth and smooth is fast, so perform the action slow and perfect. Speed will come.
At minimum, a few drills that help you maintain core competency are a great practice routine. You can add others if you desire. It's also good to take a concealed carry course at least once per year to help you stay on top of your skills.
As far as range time, you need enough to stay competent but spread out so you can still have a life. Every few weeks (ideally once or twice a month) is a good frequency for trips to the gun range...though more is always good!
About The Author
Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.