Training at The Range at Austin (courtesy
Training at The Range at Austin (courtesy
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The idea of being challenged is scary to some people who take firearms training. Many would rather look the part than put in the hard work. Others are what I call “high performers” . . .

I define a high performer as someone who strives for superior results through calm, calculated effort. I have one or more in every firearm training class, and over the years I have been able to recognize them fairly quickly.

While some students associate failing as a negative, a high performer sees it as the key to their success. They recognize the road towards their goal will be littered with failures. [Click here to read more about failure and training.]

They’re okay with failure because they don’t let it define who they are as a person.

Make no mistake: self-doubt is insidious. It can wreck your confidence and destroy your performance.  When a shooter ties their identity to their performance they undermine what’s really important: the process of learning.  

A high performer recognizes that learning how to shoot quickly, efficiently and effectively in a variety of situations requires a high level of dispassionate objectivity.

In other words, they embrace the suck They know they have to suck at a shooting skill before they can become good at it.

Equally important, a high performer doesn’t worry about competing with an other shooter during the learning process. They recognize and accept the fact that people — including themselves — learn how to shoot at different speeds, in different ways.

A high performer also stays “in the moment.” They know there’s a goal: a level of shooting proficiency that they and the instructor want to achieve. They stay calm by focusing on the specific task set out for them and let the chips fall where they may.

We’ve been here before. We’ll be here again. If you want to get the most out of a firearms training class you have to check your ego at the door. Do that and you’re well on your way to being a high performer.

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  1. I think probably not.

    I dont train that much with rifles as i dont carry one every day.

    I shoot what i carry and then I shoot some things for fun.

    I dont do much team training as i dont have a team.

    I do compete sometime but mainly do that to up the adrenaline.

    Still shoot modified weaver, one hand strong, and one hand off side.

    Use a PACT timer when on my own and shoot multiple targets out to 25 yards.

    Dont do the speed-up or slow-down thing based on my group size.

    I shoot as fast as i think i can hit and then try to shoot a little faster with accuracy.

    Hope i never get to find out if i am right.

    • Specialist 38…….. I prefer the weaver stance as well. I have used it more years than I can figure and am only comfortable using it. Using this , I hit what I aim at so I will stick with it. Also practice with 2 hand, 1 hand.

      • Indeed. Shooting that way for 30+ years, it is what I go to.

        Always a little single hand practice as well.

  2. I’m a high performing master of the g un, but what goes on in the privacy of my bedroom is none of your business.

    Simple rule that applies to learning almost anything; if you learn how to do something right you c an later learn to do it fast and right, but if you first learn how to do something fast you’ll never learn how to do it right.

  3. Every trip to the range is both training and enjoyment. I train with the hope of never needing to use it in a self defense scenario. I enjoy the art of shooting as well as honing a skill. I don’t shoot any particular stance. I do what I call instinctive shooting. Simply because every scenario is different and requires a different reaction. I’ve been shooting this way for 50+ years. I’ve always found that you should never tie yourself down to any one style or technique. Being flexible in your technique will allow you to find the balance and timing that works for you. Some people go to the range to just shoot/kill paper targets. Some people train to a higher level. Most importantly do what makes you happy and be safe out there.

  4. I’m not all that competitive, but do try to maximize my learning opportunities. And I do embrace the suck, such as the time that Jeff shot me in the ass with a Simunitions round, because I was so target focused I didn’t see him sneak up behind me.

  5. I just like shooting. Anywhere anytime. Always up to try any platform, style or drill. (where legal/ethical). Just like trigger time as the paycheck allows. No good yet but getting better…

  6. I can whip out my phone and dial 9-1-1 in less then 3seconds, I can have a police officer on seen by the time the perpetrator can steal a car, drive home, reload his weapon, steal another car, stop for gas, get lost, stop for directions drive back and continue the assault.

  7. i practice every way possible,im disabled so dont do a lot of range time,but i train in all different stances,right hand,left hand,1 hand,2 hand,acquire target lose target,re-acquire target,shoot from behind cover,any thing you can think of that will help you improve,keep it fun,keep learning-repetition builds muscle memory.
    If you are just learning to shoot,i suggest a friend that knows gun safety and knows how to shoot to train you in private-easier to concentrate,no one else judging.
    Having a CCW and not having 1 chambered or not having your gun on you (in purse or bag) you will fail the 21′ test-always be prepared,be aware of your surroundings always-be safe and shoot straight.

    • Amra the Lion,

      Even if you have a round chambered and you carry your handgun in an openly visible holster on your hip (no cover garment in the way of your draw), you will still probably fail to put any shots on a young and fit attacker who suddenly draws a knife and charges you from 21 feet away without any prior warning or indication of attack.

      I had an instructor run an interesting drill in a class. He had a student hold a handgun at “low ready” (handgun in your hands, resting against your stomach, pointing forward, arms relaxed). The instructor had a sponge in his hand and stood next to the student. The instructor then told the student to raise their handgun and shoot a paper target that was about 10 feet in front of them when he started running (away from the student for safety). The instructor further explained that the student’s objective was to shoot as fast as possible and still get on paper (e.g. combat accuracy, not precision marksmanship). The instructor ran the drill a few times, dropping the sponge when he heard the student shoot to show how far he got before the shot. His minimum distance was 40 feet and even managed to get 50 feet away one time before the student could shoot.

      That drill made it clear that even 30 feet is not enough distance to allow a victim to recognize that a person is charging them with hostile intent, draw, and get off just ONE shot on their attacker before the attacker is on the victim.

      • thats why you practice and practice-i guarantee if i had my gun in my hand i could drop him in 21 feet,holstered off guard would be close,go on youtube you can see plenty of fails and successes on the 21′ engagement

      • you go by what you are capable of and believe what you want-thats why they use the 21′ for training,but if you need 40-50,with a gun in your hand-thats sad


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