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Training, Practice and Testing

April 23, 2009 has a piece up defining learning to shoot as being split up between training, practice and testing.  Tam had this to add in response to the testing phase:

The only way you’re really going to get to use skills under pressure and in a measurable environment is competition. In the May ’09 issue of SWAT magazine, there was a writeup of a three-day Carbine/Pistol Course from TigerSwan by Victor Wong. In the closing paragraphs of the piece, they had some interesting comments from TigerSwan’s head honcho, a former senior NCO in a very high-speed, low-drag unit. According to the writer

Having shot almost every type of competetive [sic] sport from skeet to bull’s-eye to Service Rifle and IPSC, Searcy believes it is impossible to improve without shooting in competition, as you will inevitably plateau if shooting only on a square range by yourself. The stress of being against the clock, against other shooters and having an audience watch you forces you to develop the mental management necessary to execute the correct subconscious weapons handling skills under pressure.

Shooting IDPA allows you to test your handgun skills with adrenaline cruising through your veins, identifying areas for further training and practice. Rapidly establishing acceptable sight alignment, proper trigger control under stress, fast reloads, clearing malfunctions, and thinking on your feet to solve the problem when your plan falls apart are all skills that will serve you well in IDPA as well as in the real world.

Finally, Tam adds:

When your gun pukes, do you just stand there staring at it like a duck in thunder, or do you reduce the malf without pausing and drive on? (If your gun doesn’t puke, you’re not shooting enough. Go shoot more.)

The Glock is one of the most reliable handgun designs made, but even a Glock can’t make a bad primer go off. Anyone carrying a semi-automatic for self-defense should train and practice clearing malfunctions. You will know your training and practice have been successful when you finally get that “click” that should have been a “bang” and you automatically do a tap-rack-assess drill.

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