How can I maximize my range time?

This is a discussion on How can I maximize my range time? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Been shooting seriously, more or less, for about a year. At my indoor range I typically rotate between two of three guns: a (carry) 1911 ...

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Thread: How can I maximize my range time?

  1. #1
    Member Array Skippys's Avatar
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    How can I maximize my range time?

    Been shooting seriously, more or less, for about a year. At my indoor range I typically rotate between two of three guns: a (carry) 1911 Commander, (carry) S&W m60-2 .357 and 5" SA Loaded (50/50 with .45/.22 conversion). At a friend's farm outdoors I include some Mossberg 590 time.

    I tend to average shooting about once every three weeks.

    Problem is, I have no real "system" in place. Indoors I can't practice drawing, and moving/random distances/elevations is nearly nonexistent. Outdoors is limited by Kansas weather.

    So, let's say, in one - one and a half hour range time, what should I concentrate on other than punching holes in paper plates at 7-25 yards? It's getting sorta boring....

    How do you manage your range time?
    I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.

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  3. #2
    Member Array chasbo00's Avatar
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    I started shooting action pistol competition with my carry setup. It will reveal your weak areas and then you can focus on them with a structured practice plan. Also, you will find that the good shooters with tons of experience are more than happy to share tips and techniques with you and for free to boot. I recommend you start shooting IDPA matches; you will have fun and improve rapidly.

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    Yours is an excellent question!

    I mentally separate "practice" from sheer shooting fun. The former has the goal of improving my skills, and the latter is just to hear the guns go bang, watch the cans jump, and smell the gunsmoke. Not that I don't enjoy "practice"!

    The trap that I see a lot of folks at the range fall into is thinking that the number of rounds downrange equates to real skill improvement. Face it, ammo is expensive. Make every practice round you fire count for something. A couple of years back, Clint Smith's column in American Handgunner dealt with the same thing: making range time and ammo count. The column was called "One Hundred Rounds." I took it to heart, and in general I don't bring more than 100 rounds of serious centerfire handgun ammo with me when I shoot. Since it's copyright protected I won't post it here, but if you PM me I'll be happy to forward my transcript of the article.

    I've never been to a public range that allowed shooting on the move or even drawing from the holster, except in limited classes. But you can start with your gun on the bench - pick it up and quickly acquire a firing grip and fire two rounds. Not quite the same muscle memory, but you're practicing bringing the gun up to a firing stance and acquiring a sight picture, and that has value. Likewise, practice running the gun. Don't start with full mags; put 2 or 3 rounds each into a few, and practice your reloads, speed or tactical. The bigger your magazine, the more important this is, and if you shoot wheelguns it's absolutely necssary (I still can't reload my revolvers smoothly, and I make a point to practice).

    Try hanging two or four small targets and put one shot into each, reload, and do it again. Each time you repeat, change the sequence. Or past small targets onto different parts of a silhouette. All sorts of things you can do to mix it up and keep from getting bored. You might acquire a timer and work to improve your skills under the pressure of time.

    The other thing I do fairly consistently is to shoot a standard silhouette from 15 yards with X rounds, not rapid fire but not 1 shot a minute, either. I bring the target home and score it, and record my score as a percentage based on the number of rounds vs. possible score. I'm a real numbers geek so sometimes I even photograph the target as part of the record keeping. Periodically I review my scores over time to make sure my skills are not going downhill.
    Smitty
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    Member Array Cattus Vir's Avatar
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    Just a suggestion:

    As for drawing and moving you can use an empty weapon in your garage, living room are backyard for practice. Draw move repeat. You do not have to be live to practice drawing and going to ready gun (even though its more fun).
    At the farm you can "play cards" 18 index cards (2 sets numbered 1-9) hang one set and suffle the other. Draw 3 and place face down on a table. Flip the three place 2 shots in each matching hanging card.
    There are several things like that you can do that keep you thinking while your shooting, that one was jsut easy to explain.

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    Distinguished Member Array INccwchris's Avatar
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    dry fire at home, this enables you to get your trigger control in check, then 50 rounds of training a time. its not quantity, its quality
    "The value you put on the lost will be determined by the sacrifice you are willing to make to seek them until they are found."

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    Member Array BigBaddaBoom's Avatar
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    I highly suggest this for expanding your skill set and keeping proficient. New and inexperienced shooters are warmly welcomed.

    International Defensive Pistol Association
    Si vis pacem, para bellum
    "If you wish for peace, prepare for war"

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    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    Metal Spinning Targets - More On Targets: Metal Shooting Targets

    reactionary targets are fun....way more fun than punching paper.
    though many forms of practice will help in different ways, dueling trees translate
    to IDPA type shooting and help make friends also.
    Be aware, be deliberate in your actions and be accurate.
    -------------------
    Why do those elected to positions of power than work so hard
    to deny those same opportunities to the same people who empowered them

  9. #8
    TVJ
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    Senior Member Array TVJ's Avatar
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    find Airsoft FoF in your area with a qualified instructor doing Suarez, AMOK/Mark Human style gunfight training.

    Simple drills

    There is nothing like it except the Real Deal.

    You get to train everything else that is absolutely critical in a SD gunfight against a target that moves, thinks, shoots back, and is three dimensional.

    Just did another FoF this weekend.

    Most Excellent.

    Cheers
    Last edited by TVJ; June 19th, 2011 at 10:54 AM.
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    Senior Member Array TSiWRX's Avatar
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    Airsoft 1911s - quality ones - are *very* accurate replicas of their real-steel cousins. Spend a good $300 and import one from Hong Kong or Japan. You'll really get to maximize your "garage training" time.

    At the range, I've found gasmitty's advice to be spot-on. Time does not equal round-count. I found out about that the hard way, after dumping downrange way too much money. I now spend "quality time," instead of "quantity time," unless I'm looking to prove a firearm's functionality/reliability with a certain ammo.

    I'm lucky in that my indoor range actually allows drawing, but moving is, of-course, a no-no, simply given physical constraints. I really like Rob Pincus's drill, where you move your pistol in a small circle or figure-of-eight to simulate movement - and you can also pick-and-choose among Pistol-Training.com's drills (adapting them to you needs, again per gasmitty's suggestions: i.e. setting the firearm in front of you and picking it up off the table), which I've found helped tremendously, too.

    Mainly, this is the reason why I like to take training classes. I tend to focus on the fundamentals when I'm in the shooting stalls, and let that play as it will when I'm out training, where I instead focus more on movement, etc.

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    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    ....and lots of mags so that you are not wasting raange time re-loading.

    uplula may be less expensive than 10 mags, but practice with it 1st.
    there's only 1 trick to using it, but till your hands remember it, its slow going.
    Be aware, be deliberate in your actions and be accurate.
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    to deny those same opportunities to the same people who empowered them

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    The first thing I would suggest is a shot timer. It is a tool that gives you a fact based feedback as to whether you're faster today than yesterday (drawing and shooting). Once you have a baseline time of how fast you are then you can try new things to better your time.
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and Ió
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array TSiWRX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by claude clay View Post
    ....and lots of mags so that you are not wasting raange time re-loading.

    uplula may be less expensive than 10 mags, but practice with it 1st.
    there's only 1 trick to using it, but till your hands remember it, its slow going.
    ^ For those who cannot pre-load magazines before going to the range, I completely agree.

    Also, for other beginners like me:

    Keep your "range/class/training" magazines separate from your SD/HD magazines.

    Certainly, you'll want to "prove" your SD/HD magazines feed well and work well - but look after them and care for them.

    A magazine that's used for range/class/training-work gets dropped on all sorts of surfaces, gets dirty, and may be routinely disassembled and cleaned. You don't really want to be taking a chance with a malfunction that could have otherwise been avoided, when in a life-or-death situation.


    -----


    Quote Originally Posted by atctimmy View Post
    The first thing I would suggest is a shot timer. It is a tool that gives you a fact based feedback as to whether you're faster today than yesterday (drawing and shooting). Once you have a baseline time of how fast you are then you can try new things to better your time.
    ^ I really need one - not only for that, but also to add time pressure to one's drills.

  14. #13
    Distinguished Member Array Jason Storm's Avatar
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    I incorporate combat firing positions for any gun. But for handguns, I also incorporate shooting one-handed with either hand. Regarding shooting from a rifle rest or a table, I see it as a waste of time unless I am sighting in my AR-15 rifle. It's just my opinion when it comes to making my range time a little more realistic as much as the range rules allow me to.

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