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I love these knuckleheads. And not just because Erika has the same first name as the ultimate Baywatch babe. Or that Cory . . . uh . . . knows what he’s talking about. Except, like all of us, when he doesn’t. And yes, I’m going to take exception here. Because I reckon self-defense training is all about shooting out of your comfort zone. Shooting to the point of [non-safety-related] failure. In other words, why train at something you’re good at? If you’re getting nice tight groups, you’re not shooting fast enough. If your groups are all over the place, excellent! Slow down and practice that thing at which you suck. Then, if you’re getting nice tight groups, shoot faster! Add movement! Shoot with your support hand! Do something until you suck again. By the same token, when you start training, go, go, go! Do you think you’ll get a warm-up before a defensive gun use? Well exactly. Shoot “cold” then slow down. Wash, rinse, repeat.

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  1. There are two sides to this. Starting a session by warming up is a bad idea, you only have a brief period where you are ‘cold’ to work on testing and improving your real response to a threat.

    Once past the cold stage working drills to improve the raw skills and ‘warm up’ is good to help improve your fundamentals before working on the more complicated skills again.

    And this is yet another argument for many short but frequent sessions to maximize the time spent shooting cold.

  2. I’ve always felt the same way about martial arts training. Start out hard, doing what you’re supposed to do. Find out what isn’t working for you right out of the gate, then slow down and work on that, or work around it. If you ever need it, you won’t get a chance to say “Uh, mister bad guy, can you wait a minute while I stretch before I lay my favorite round-house kick up the side of your head?”

    For armed self-defense, I think it’s a good idea to practice as follows. Use a BB pistol (cheap) or airsoft gun modeled after your carry gun, or use your *unloaded* carry weapon if you’re confident of yourself. Make sure it’s unloaded, and check three times. Go down in the basement when you’re all alone in the house. Relax, go about your business. Clear your mind. Clean the place up, or write a letter, or move the furniture around, or just pace around thinking about hot Israeli models. Then everytime you accidentally ‘think’ of a threat, draw, locate the target and fire. Repeat as needed.

    Be absolutely certain that you change your mindset back to normal when you resume carrying a real weapon. I always repeat out loud to myself when I gun up for real “Paul, this weapon is loaded, and there’s a round in the chamber. Don’t do anything stupid.”

    You can work out a lot of annoying problems like clothes getting in the way (I *hate* it when I try to draw and aim a pistol while my shirt-tail is still wrapped around the grip), and you’ll get a better feel for how quickly and reliably you can present your weapon from different postures (seated, standing, kneeling, or lying with your back on the ground (a la Zimmerman)) and different holsters/carry options. As Nick says, many frequent short sessions are better than one long one.

    I keep a target on the wall in my basement workshop, which is surrounded on four sides by concrete walls (guaranteed BB-proof). As I’m working or puttering around down there, I do the exercise above and see how quickly and smoothly I can shoot, find cover, and shoot again. The biggest hazard I have (other than foolishly forgetting to use the BB gun instead of my S&W 1911 E-Series) is slipping on the combination of BBs and sawdust. It adds a new dimension to working with power tools 😉

    • I do the same thing, but I added a wrinkle. I went to the Dollar store and picked up 4 timers, the kind with the twist knob. I set them around the space I’m working in with a target next to it. Twist the knob back and forth a couple of times so you don’t know how long you’ve got and turn the face away from you. Go about your day. You only know it will ring in the next hour. Whats real fun is when 3 of them go off within 20 sec.

  3. I agree, Robert. Warming up is ridiculous. All you are doing is getting set up to look like a crack shot at the range – nothing more. Force on force training is the only way to train for self defense shooting in my opinion. That and hunting. Who here thinks hunters in the cold fall in Canada get a chance to warm up before a duck zooms twenty feet over head? Or that moose that crosses that 100 foot gap in the trees half a mile away at full steam (which is about 35 miles an hour)?

    I’d want a good hunting partner next to me in a SHTF scenario. They will have proven reaction/aggression times.

  4. When Dustin Hoffman was on the set of “Marathon Man,” he got into his “method” as a man on the run by exhausting himself and going without sleep because he was partying all night. Laurence Olivier, his co-star, seeing Hoffman looking like the dog’s lunch, told him, “Try acting, dear boy. It’s so much easier.”

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with training like Spetsnaz. But, try shooting. It’s so much easier.

  5. In my estimation, we should define “range shooting” and “defensive shooting” as two entirely different activities. The comparison can be made to autocross versus drag racing-what is good for one discipline isn’t suitable for the other.

    In defensive shooting, your target WILL NOT be stationary at 20 yards. They’re going to be bobbing and weaving 6 feet in front of your face. Shooting a nice 1″ group at the static firing line only proves what you can do for bragging rights.

    If you’re shooting for kicks on a static line, nothing wrong with doing warm ups. If you’re training for a defensive encounter you’ll may have time to draw the gun-if you’re lucky. If you’re not the bad guy will be an 1″ away with your hand on the piece, and at that distance even Stevie Wonder’s making a hit. Group shooters who assume they’re ready to defend themselves are akin to Martial Arts members who think because they hold a certain belt they can curb stomp anyone. Just because you look good at the Dojo doesn’t mean squat at 2AM on MLK drive.

    • +1 I LOL’d @ “If you’re not the bad guy will be an 1″ away with your hand on the piece, and at that distance even Stevie Wonder’s making a hit. ”

      My regular / Joe average 2 cents:

      I think the analogies some TTAG members have drawn with martial arts is pretty accurate – when training with a firearm, shooting at a range versus active/defensive shooting versus force-on-force exercises are all different things. Yes, there are common skills sets and mental attributes, but there’s important differences. To make use of any kind of train, you understand the limitations and you work within and through those limitations.

      For example, modern MMA / cage fighting training might give you training in techniques that have value in a real world situation such as striking / blocking / limb locks / positioning. However, even the best MMA fighter realizes that in a real-life, down and dirty street fight, your opponent isn’t going to play nice – there are no “rules” about striking your opponent in the eyes, throats, crotch, or back of the head, there’s no “rounds” where you get to rest after 2-3 minutes of brawling. If you get jumped by a group of 3-5 assailants, you think the guy’s buddies are gonna stand around and watch you roll around with their friend just so you can get a perfect “top mount” to ground and pound? Is some ref gonna cry “foul” if some fool decides bite your arm, or knee you in the balls? Hell no.

      On the flipside, most regular folks don’t have the unlimited time / money to run detailed simulations every single time we hit the range. I still think there’s value in practicing any aspect of firearm use, whether it’s safety, stance, tap/rack drills, or yes, even shooting a stationary target (basic skills shouldn’t be neglected right). Being able to practice at 75-100% realism for 100% of the time isn’t feasible, or dare I say, even desirable.

  6. I have to disagree with what some on here have said about warming up for martial arts. Part of warming up is reducing the chance of injuring yourself while practicing. Tearing muscles while training makes it harder to defend yourself in a fight. Stretching and muscle-strengthening do the same, but they also help develop the flexibility, resiliency, and strength in muscles and connective tissue so that you can throw that roundhouse when you need to without tearing the hell out of yourself and putting yourself out of the fight. Warming up and stretching help both while training and when you need those abilities right the hell now.

    • I agree that warming up for a prolonged period of high-intensity physical stress is a good idea (althought I rarely do it myself), and is in keeping with what experts in exercise physiology recommend. And keeping limber and flexible is an excellent goal in general. My point is that it’s a good idea to start out sometimes by finding out what your limitations are when you’re not warmed up. Defensive confrontations are rarely, if ever, going to last for more than 30 seconds. Quick, decisive overwhelming force wins the day 9 times out of 10.

  7. While this is a good premise, I think it depends on your skill level. I don’t think you should use this approach if you are a marginal shooter because you have things you should work on to get better. Rushing shots encourages bad habits and bad habits are hard to overcome for less experienced shooters.

  8. You can argue over practicing before a match or class. But you must keep your skills on what firearms you carry up as much as possible. So practice is a yeas.

  9. Thanks for this post.

    I have to admit I’d never really considered the whole “warming up vs. going right at it” and thinking about it now going straight at it for practice makes more sense if you’re goal is to get more realistic practice. Even showing up at the range you already have a “shooting” mindset that you won’t have if you get jumped on the street. Unless you have a real way with words and can convince a bad guy to wait while you squeeze of a few warm ups I have to agree that starting cold has real benefits.

    • Don’t have the edit option but wanted to say that starting cold with no warm could highlight areas you need to work on when you do get to regular practice.

  10. this channel is popular for 1 reason only and 1 reason only….Erika! if she was not in the videos nobody would watch any of them. NONE! Cory might know a thing or 2 about shooting because he’s taken 1 or 2 classes and he is just regurgitating the information that has been told him by people such as James Yeager, who does know his stuff. Cory acts like he is a hard ass ex-military so he dresses the part, but what it all comes down to is he is just a tattoo artist. Also you can tell he his a dumb ass. Either he is gay or he has tried to put a ring on her finger and she’s said no.

    Do not take what Cory says to heart. Go out and get REAL training from a PRO, not some you tuber who has a hot tie there just to bring in viewers. Do enjoy Erika shooting, her nice rear, and lovely giggly laugh that is not only cute, but sexy as hell.

    Challenge to Cory…. if you think you know so much and are as big of a hotshot that you think you are, start a new channel with just YOU giving instructions and just you shooting. No Erika, and we/you will see who people are really coming to watch!

  11. I’m still wondering how in the Hell she manages to get into those “Daisy Dukes” she’s wearing in most of those videos….

  12. I agree don’t warm up.. while at a range recently one of the instructors did something different… put up bad guy targets and told us what to shoot specifically on command.. i.e glasses, gun, knife, etc. 3 seconds to draw shoot and reholster..
    after shooting we used remaining practice rounds to warm up prior to the qualification. It was insightful and refreshing as a part of training.. I wish more agencies or private instructors did the same.
    The next year the private instruction range we used had the simulators.. we started on those cold as well.
    It’s the best way to train.. you learn what you are likely to do when suddenly confronted with a shoot situation.


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