Seven must-have items that will make you a better shooter!

My friend Greg Ellifirtz recently noted what all of us writers have long known: posts about gear get like 10- times the clicks that posts about much more important things get.

Sad.  Don’t know what to say.  But hey, a brother’s gotta move with the times and go with the flow.  KnowwhatImean?

Truth is, there actually is some gear that will make you a better shooter and better fighter.  Without further delay:

  1. Ammo.  OK, suckered you here, but a case of ammo (and practicing with it) is probably a better investment than almost any piece of gear that you are contemplating acquiring.
  2. A proper holster.  You can’t draw reliably with good technique without one.  You can’t throw a spent casing anywhere in this country these days without hitting a half-dozen Kydex folders.  Many are good; some are really good.  Invest in a really good holster.
  3. A proper belt.  You can’t locate and hold that gun in it’s holster on your body effectively, nor conceal it well, without one.  You’ll need to experiment a bit with several to find one that has that Goldilocks stiffness for you – not too stiff and not too floppy.  I’ve used a Wilderness 5-stitch Frequent Flyer belt for almost 20 years, and recently bought another.
  4. A timer.  You can’t improve what you don’t measure.  I have advocated elsewhere here not getting too hung up on tenths of a second, but you still want to know if you are hitting a street-effective window of time with your technique.  With smart-phone timer apps costing a couple bucks, there’s no excuse.
  5. A zeroed gun.  I explain elsewhere here why I zero my handguns at 25 yards, with my practice ammo.  Zero at 25 yields one inch low at 7, which is a good trade-off in that that one inch is irrelevant, while a 25 zero lets me practice at distance, which is a real skill builder.  You have to know if you are missing or your gun is.  Investing in a sight set that gives you a distance zero lets you participate in distance practice, or take a distance shot for real.
  6. Real targets.  You can’t just show up at the range and plink at whatever you find that’s been left behind by someone else.  I often use just large sheets of blank paper (cheap art pads, the reverse side of cheap targets) onto which I staple various sizes of brightly colored paper to work on fundamentals.  Works fine.
  7. A Blue Gun.  You have to actually engage in scenario training to prepare for the street – all the target skill in the world isn’t enough.  As much as I like airsoft, running an airsoft (or Simunations, or whatever) scenario requires that you know what you’re doing.  Very few people know how to run a force-on-force simulation properly.  Repeat: Very few people know how to run a force-on-force simulation properly. Don’t chance it unless you have been actually certified – you simply don’t know what you don’t know.   And of course using real but ostensibly “unloaded” guns is sheer stupidity.  Blue gun scenarios provide about 75% of the value of airsoft training, and can be run much more safely.  Their real advantage over finger guns is that they fit your holster perfectly.  One costs about half of what a 500-round case of practice 9mm rounds cost.  Make the investment…and seek out really good training with it.
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