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Practice Makes Perfect with Concealed Carry

When you and I were in school we always had those subjects that we had to learn by memorizing. The only way that we could learn them was to do a lot of repetitions. Like when we learned the multiplication tables. At first, before we could do some mental math in our heads to find out how much 5 multiplied by 9 was, we had to just memorize the fact that 5 times 9 was 45. And that was true of all the tables, we just had to memorize them. To accomplish this we had to perform repetitions to get the facts into our heads. Over and over we would have our parents or sister, if she was willing, to ask us the tables, so we could memorize them. Once we had built our memory banks up with all the right answers we would recite any of them back to our teacher when she asked us to. Some kids did not do enough repetitions to get the tables in their heads. They would struggle and end up guessing at the answers. Extra work for them. It was always better to just go ahead and do the reps before you got caught not knowing the answers.

You can translate this situation to your training to use your concealed carry pistol. What has to occur is you need to move away from a logical approach to drawing and firing your pistol. When the situation warrants you need to use an approach that comes from muscle reaction to fire your pistol. In training you need to have done your reps in drawing your pistol so that you can perform the action needed from muscle memory, like knowing the multiplication tables. When you are at the range practicing with your pistol, you will think logically about each move that you need to make so that you can make an accurate shot at the target. Are your feet position right? How are you gripping the pistol? What is the sight picture in relation to the target? These are all the questions that you run through your head to get ready to make the shot. And you answer all the questions from your logical memory. This is the starting point for anyone who is learning to carry a concealed pistol for protection. You need to move way past this to be effective.

Using these starting steps is not going to get you to the point where you can accurately protect yourself in a sudden attack. You need to be able to repeat the actions of recognizing an immediate danger, reach to grip your pistol, draw your pistol, obtain a sight picture on the danger, and fire your pistol without even thinking about the steps of the process. You have to do it from muscle memory. It should be a continuous reaction. You may not think that this type of action is necessary from quick reaction muscle memory when an attack occurs, but statistics say that you are wrong. You only have a second or two to get this job done fast and with accuracy. It's the same as that memorization in school. You need to practice enough to be able to do this without thinking about it. You might be put off by having to go the range and fire thousands of rounds through your concealed carry pistol to get this into muscle memory. And truly that can be expensive. There is a better and cheaper way to get there.

Fortunately you can do this at home. In fact it is the best way to start to build muscle memory for firing a concealed carry pistol. You should begin building muscle memory by dry firing your unloaded pistol. To do this you will perform all the steps of meeting an attack. You will recognize an oncoming attack, draw your pistol, acquire the sight picture of the target, and fire your unloaded pistol. Each of these steps builds your muscle memory. A very important part of dry firing is your ability to recognize whether or not you anticipate the shot and flinch when you pull the trigger pull. If you have the slightest movement in the muzzle of your pistol when you pull the trigger, you should make note of it, so you can correct it. Your main purpose in dry fire is to make all the steps seem less and especially be able to get a good sight picture of your target and pull the trigger without anticipating the shot and flinching.

You have to be aware that it will take at least 2500 to 3500 reps for you to get the steps into you muscle memory. Don't short change yourself, you have to repeat the process so many times that you can “do it in your sleep”. When the situation happens that you need to use your pistol for defense, you won't have to think about it, your muscles perform all the steps that you have drilled into them with thousands of iterations. It is like riding a bike, once you learn you will never forget. It will become part of your permanent muscle memory. 

Having drilled the steps into your muscle memory by performing many iterations of dry fire at home, it will be much easier for you to live fire at the range from your developed muscle memory. If you start out with live fire in the beginning you may anticipate the shot and develop a trigger flinch that will be hard to correct. Normally when you begin to live fire a pistol you may anticipate the shot and have a natural flinch reaction before the shot happens. This causes you to move the pistol or flinch and may make your shot miss the intended target. It will be easier for you to correct that flinch with dry fire because you do not have to deal with anticipation and the reaction to the sound of a shot when you are building your muscle memory. With dry fire you can keep the gun steady and avoid the anticipation and flinch. Start with dry fire to build muscle memory and make your approach to concealed carry successful!