My first post of this year briefly discussed my goal of doing 3,660 minutes of dry practice in 2019. These posts are mostly for my own accountability, but there are also some good training lessons contained here. Here are my results to this point in the year.
January 16: 10 minutes presentation w/ lateral side-step
January 17: 10 minutes presentation from sitting position
January 18: 10 minutes presentation w/ lateral side-step
January 19: 10 minutes presentation during forward/rearward movement
January 20: 10 minutes presentation w/ lateral side-step
January 21: 10 presentation w/ “empty hands” drill
January 22: 10 minutes presentation w/ lateral side-step
January 23: 10 minutes presentation from vehicle driver seat
January 24: 10 minutes presentation w/ lateral side-step
January 25: 10 presentation from from sitting position
January 26: 10 minutes presentation w/ lateral side-step
January 27: 10 minutes presentation from vehicle passenger seat
January 28: 10 minutes presentation w/ lateral side-step
January 29: 10 minutes shooting from the ground
January 30: 10 minutes presentation w/ lateral side-step
January 31: 10 minutes presentation during forward/rearward movement
Monthly Target: 310 minutes
Monthly Actual: 310 minutes
Cumulative Target to date: 310 minutes
Cumulative Actual to Date: 310 minutes
Tobacco Free: YES
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This year is off to a strong start – 31 unbroken days in a row. One of my goals this year is to reduce the number of missed days. Last year I missed 41 days. This year I hope to get that below 30. Also, last year my longest uninterrupted streak was 46 days; this year I definitely want to improve upon that. I’d like to see a 90 or 120-day streak. Slow and steady wins this race, though.
This two-week period saw me expanding on the presentation. Again, presenting the gun is an incredibly important skill and one that I want to be able to do regardless of what disposition I may find myself in. So, I worked presentation from a bunch of novel situations – namely not standing flat-footed and stationary in front of my target.
I spent a lot of time working the presentation with a lateral side-step, as advocated by Tom Givens. To be honest, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this technique when I began this training period. After spending the bulk of this period using it, I realized how slow the flat-footed, stationary draw stroke actually seems. I may be working this into my routine a lot more in the future.
I also worked drawing while moving forward and backward. Note that this isn’t a “shooting while moving” drill, just just getting the gun out of the holster and up on target. Again, this is in the interest of making sure I can get the gun out from a variety of positions, dispositions, and situations.
The “empty hands” drill involves starting with hands full, dropping everything, and drawing. For this I worked various combinations of grocery bags in both hands, grocery bags in one hand and something else in the other, a travel coffee mug, and my phone. Yes, I actually dropped my phone repeatedly. . . admittedly maybe not the smartest move.
I worked drawing from the sitting position. I have no numbers whatsoever to back this up, but I doubt many concealed carriers ever practice this. This seems to be one of the more plausible skills to practice. How much time do you spend sitting at your office, in waiting rooms, restaurants, your home? I’d guess a lot. Ideally you might want to stand up before drawing, but it might be advantageous not to, or (if you’re in a booth, for instance) you simply might not be able to. Your draw might be no different than it is when you’re standing, but if you haven’t practiced, you really have no idea.
Drawing From my Vehicle
I also worked drawing my handgun while seated and buckled into a car. I don’t think I’m at the highest risk for a car-jacking, and I don’t think this is the skill I’m most likely to need. I’ve never practiced it though. If I did need it I would hate for it be to my first time trying it out. I did learn a couple major thing: clearing my cover garment is tough. I had a t-shirt on with a sweatshirt over it. Buckled in as I normally am the sweatshirt was pinned to my body by the seat belt. It took some force to pull it up and out of the way. In the future when I get in the car, I’ll make sure my sweatshirt/sweater is over the seat belt.
One other thing I learned: when belted into the passenger seat it’s very hard to get the gun on target with my right hand (assuming the target is 90 degrees to the passenger window). I found good results transitioning the gun to my left hand and shooting left-handed (left-handed with a two-hand grasp, not WHO). While buckled into the passenger seat I also practiced extending the gun in front of the driver to the drivers’ side window. Importantly, part of my technique is using my left arm to “pin” the driver in place against the seat. This prevents him or her from leaning forward in front of my muzzle.
I’m still not 100% on these techniques. This is an area where I have a LOT of room for improvement. I need to do some more study and much more practice. How many of you have ever practiced drawing while buckled into your vehicle? If you haven’t, I’d recommend it.
Drawing From the Ground
I also worked drawing from the ground. This is a skill that I worked last year, but not very much. To be honest, it sucks. If you do it outside you’re rolling around on cold and/or ground (at least for me, during this time of year). If you do it indoors you’re banging your elbows and knees on hard wood. That has discouraged me from doing more of this, especially the hardest one: drawing from prone. Drawing from supine and lateral positions isn’t that difficult. I think you should practice it, but it isn’t that hard. In a belly-down prone position, however, it’s tough. It requires getting off the gun somehow. Rolling over, lifting up, or shifting weight – some are more efficient than others.
I also worked the draw from prone, supine, left lateral and right lateral. I also worked it with my head oriented at various clock positions from the target. This added a whole ‘nother layer of difficultly. In the prone position, having my head directly into the target was the easiest. In the supine position the easiest position was with my head away from the target at 6 o’clock. In the lateral positions the easiest as at 3 and 9 depending on which side I was on. If you haven’t spent any time with this, now is the time.
This is the last “dry practice report” that will be in this format. There is valuable information in these reports. I am going to do my best to drum up some more interest for them, as well as reporting my own progress. Expect the look and title of these to change, but not the content.
During my next two-week block of training I am going to shift focus from presentation to my secondary skills: clearing malfunctions and reloading the gun.
If you carry a gun, you do so because you believe you might be in a gunfight. If you knew you were going to be in a gunfight tomorrow, would you spend some time dry practicing today? We all waste countless minutes per day mindlessly scrolling social media or watching TV. Take just ten of those minutes each day and better yourself.