What’s your reason for training with firearms?
Maybe you’re a target shooter who wants to improve accuracy or speed. Maybe you’re a competitor looking win competitions. Maybe you’re someone who carries a gun for self-defense, and you’ve realized that hefty responsibility requires training. Maybe you’re an instructor who realizes that training is never finished, and you actively seek to learn more in all disciplines.
Whatever your reason for wanting to improve as a shooter, you had better have one. Not many successful people have gotten there by accident; successful people have a plan of action, and they work to make it happen. Stop waiting for your skills to magically materialize, and instead do the work to improve. Here’s how you can apply SMART goal-setting to your pistol training and actually become a better shooter.
“Become a better shot” is not a specific training goal. Let’s say you’ve decided that you’re focused on pistol shooting for self-defense purposes. Your goal might be, “shoot 90 percent or better on the Texas LTC qualification test.” Once you’ve determined what your focus is, and you know what it takes to get there, you can more easily set specific, step-wise goals.
Obviously, calculating a percentage of your total rounds which hit their mark is a measurable goal. But, what if you “just want to get faster” at drawing from concealment and accurately hitting your mark? That requires a shot timer, and it wouldn’t hurt to take video so you can critique technique and make sure you’re not sacrificing technique and safety as you work to increase speed.
It’s unlikely that a new shooter will qualify for an Olympic rifle team in their first year, but placing in the top 20 in a local Steel Challenge match might be realistic with adequate training and practice. For the defense-minded, if you’ve already earned your LTC (License to Carry) in Texas, you should have been required to shoot with 70 percent accuracy in the qualification portion of the class. Improving that score to 90 percent could be realistic with a specific plan of action.
Set a goal that’s important to you. Why is improving a qualification score by 20 percent important? Why do you want to increase your target presentation speed from concealment? Both speed and accuracy will benefit anyone interested in carrying a firearm for self-defense. You may (hopefully) never have to employ those skills in real life, but you’ll be more confident and better trained having developed them.
“Someday” isn’t on any calendar I’ve ever seen. Give yourself a hard deadline for meeting your training goals, and stick with it. Write it on the calendar, and then figure out what halfway to your goal looks like. Write that on the calendar halfway to your deadline. We know through research that practicing skills the right way more frequently works better than infrequent marathon practice sessions, so schedule daily or three-times-weekly practice sessions once you’ve trained and learned those skills.
Set a goal today, and if you need training, set it up now. There are ample opportunities to train with firearms in Central Texas, and we’re working every day to bring you more. Whatever your goal, train SMART, and train for real life.