Simply taking a permit class, does not make one a skilled shooter. Neither does spending time at your local range shooting paper targets while standing completely still in the perfect shooting stance. While taking a quality concealed carry permit class and spending time practicing marksmanship fundamentals are certainly things you should do to build a proper foundation, there is a great deal more to preparing an individual to be a responsibly armed citizen.
Pistol Handling 101 – Taking a class beyond your permit class
Physical skills, and mechanical manipulations of the firearm are an obvious focus area the armed citizen should seek out. There are many classes available that will teach foundational skills necessary for utilizing the handgun for defensive purposes.
An in-depth description and application of marksmanship fundamentals (stance, grip, sight picture, trigger press) will be a mainstay of any beginning level handgun class. While this content is also taught
n the typical permit class, in a beginning handgun class, much of this will be taught on the range, with gun in hand and the shooter will be sending many more rounds down range. This class will be a foundation in building proper “muscle-memory”, allowing the shooter to more naturally, accurately and quickly perform basic marksmanship tasks.
Another crucial skill to learn during a handgun class, is drawing the handgun from the holster. This should be done with and without a concealment garment. The draw stroke will be broken down to simple steps allow th
e shooter to efficiently draw the handgun, starting out with a proper grip, and then presenting the handgun to the target with a proper sight picture in place at the end of the draw stroke.
Balance of speed and accuracy is important to any shooter. “You can never miss fast enough to make up for poor accuracy”, is a phrase commonly said in firearms instruction circles. The shooter should learn to shoot only as fast as they can in order to make effective “hits” on the target they are shooting at. This means depending on the distance and size of the target, the shooter will fire in faster or slower succession. Given same size targets, the shooter will typically shoot slower at a longer distance in order to maintain the same level of accuracy as they would have if they were shooting faster at a close distance.
One of the more important concepts in defensive shooting is minimizing the chances of being shot by the assailant. How to approach shooting around a barrier should be a mainstay of any introductory pistol class. The instructor will use the language, “shooting from behind cover and concealment”. While both are barriers from vision typically, the difference between the two is that cover will stop a bullet, while concealment only blocks the line of sight of the assailant.
Towards the end of a basic pistol course, and definitely in an intermediate pistol course, shooting while moving will be addressed. Obviously, this topic is only addressed once the instructor has established good safety practices amongst the students. Every time you bring in more complexity to the shooting situation, more safety considerations need to be made. The basic techniques for shooting while moving are structured around minimizing the deviation of the sight picture while the shooter is in motion. Shooters will start off slow, maybe only taking one step, then as the course of fire progresses, more steps, and maybe change in direction will be introduced and the student will learn how to adapt to amore dynamic environment.