Nine easy-peasy, no-cost ways to make your practice street-relevant

I don’t teach hardly at all anymore, but for a few years I considered teaching a seminar titled “Moving From IDPA to Survival Shooting”.  The idea being that if you shoot IDPA (or almost any competitive venue) you were already good enough at pure shooting, but that you needed to work on more than just accurate fast fire to have street skills.  So assuming that you can shoot the IDPA qualifier half-way OK, here’s a nine things you can do at your practice – not necessarily even range – sessions to build on that shooting foundation in order to make that shooting skill useful on the street.

  1. Draw from your actual concealing garment, the one you wear on the street, not that 5.11 vest you use to shoot IDPA (and if you shoot IPSC you probably have almost no time drawing from any type of concealment).  Accept that you’ll be slower and that you’ll be learning a new skill.  Drawing from concealment is, like shooting, a perishable skill.  I spent most of this year working on fundamentals, and only last week started to practice from concealment again.  I used to have a flawless and fast draw from concealment but last week I flubbed a few of the initial draws…simply because I hadn’t done it enough recently at speed.  Lesson learned.
  2. Use your actual carry gun and holster.  In an earlier post (below) I recommend developing skill with a service-size handgun even if you carry a smaller one.  But I also said that you have to get in some periodic time with your actual carry gear.  Accept that you’ll be slower and probably less accurate with your smaller gun and actual carry holster.  In addition to simply getting in practice with your real kit you need to learn where the limits of the shots you can make with it are.
  3. Re-acquaint yourself with your street ammo a few times a year.  Know it’s accuracy, recoil, and POI.
  4. Shoot one-handed if you don’t.  You will seriously suck at it compared to two-hand shooting, but you need to build skill and know your limitations.
  5. Shoot one-handed with a light.  Tom Givens’ data on real-world civilian self-defense (see post below) contradicts the conventional wisdom that you’ll need a light in a real encounter…on average.  But you may not be an average person in an average encounter, in Memphis (where Tom teaches).
  6. Move laterally while drawing.  This should be your default street response.
  7. Leave the ammo at home and do scenario training with blue guns or just finger pistols.  Keep it realistic (meaning simple).  Reenact  actual events that you read about.  Learn to discriminate real deadly threats from non-threats and not-yet-deadly-threats.  This will help to keep you outta the big house.
  8. Practice threat management with blue guns or finger pistols.  Learn how to interact with a (realistic) role-playing BG, how to effectively verbalize, how to manage innocents, and how to manage the aftermath.  You must know the law well to do this — see the sticky at the top of this blog on that subject.
  9. Draw from unconventional positions – seated in a car, etc.  Do this with a dummy gun at first, then with a real but unloaded gun – very slowly, then only slightly faster, working your way up to real speed; there’s no need to use a loaded gun here – you already know how to shoot.

2 thoughts on “Nine easy-peasy, no-cost ways to make your practice street-relevant

  1. Wise words. Uncluttered and free from Tacti-Kewl gibberish.

    Fights will be won using fundamentals. Well rehearsed fundamentals. I submit that defenders train & practice far too little.

    Although I have lost most interest in the NFL, the quarterback practices all week for Sunday’s game. During the game while the QB is on the sidelines, he is often shown throwing practice balls. Too bad we won’t get a few practice shots to warm up!


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