Self-Defense Tip: Train at What You’re Bad At


Most shooters go to a gun range to put lead in the center of a target at a given distance. Some do so using carefully considered form: proper grip, ideal stance and controlled breathing. Most simply load, aim and shoot. Check the target. If they succeed in tightening their groups, it’s mission accomplished—especially if they’re shooting with their Significant Other or Best Friend Forever. Yes, but—if you’re practicing shooting for self-defense you need to get out of that mindset STAT. Unless you’re failing, you’re failing . . .

The marksmanship goal for self-defense target shooting: create a hand-sized group. That’s it. That’s all. If your group is too big, you’re shooting too fast. If it’s too small, you’re shooting too slow. If it’s just right, move the target further away. Done. So . . . then what?

Then you have to do whatever you can (within the bounds of safety) to make it as difficult as possible to create that hand-sized group.

There are plenty of ways to put yourself off your game: move and shoot, move and shoot at moving targets, shoot one-handed, shoot one-handed with your weak hand, take your glasses off (especially if you’re as blind as I am), do push-ups to tire out your arms, have someone yell in your ear, do math problems out loud, etc.

To make yourself a better self-defense shooter you have to practice what you’re bad at. Because you’re already good at what you’re good at. In the pursuit of imperfection, mental and/or physical stress is your friend. The more of it you can create, the better.

Bottom line: when it comes to self-defense, you can’t count on perfect grip, stance or breathing. You can’t count on a static targets. And it won’t be about impressing yourself, your Significant Other, your friends or casual observers. It will about being able to do whatever it takes to stay alive in the most stressful situation of your life.