8 questions to measure a quality shooting technique

Those that are serious about self protection and training know that the only reason to train is to 1) avoid gun fights, if possible, and 2) win lethal confrontations. When it comes to gun handling skills, it is essential to consider that every technique used ought to contain certain elements that mimic these real world lethal confrontations.

Therefore, when considering a tactic or technique (i.e., specific methods to accomplish a desired result), we should ask ourselves the following questions:

1. Will the technique work well under stress?

When the body’s Sympathetic Nervous System kicks into full survival mode, things happen that challenge our physical and psychological senses. Our cognitive abilities diminish and our fine and complex motor skills deteriorate. Specific movements are needed to incorporate gross motor skills that take advantage of repetition through practice.

2. Will the technique work well without regular training?

Such techniques ought to work well for the moderately trained individual. Constant and continual training is important, but the truth of the matter is most people don’t train all the time. You can go to a few shooting schools, or even hit the static range a couple times each month but that is still only moderate training. Under such conditions, remember the rule to keep things simple.

3. Will the technique work well in low-light or the dark?

A large majority of lethal confrontations occur in limited light situations. Will the technique you employ work well in low-light or no-light conditions? Should you scan or search or should you have a weapon-mounted light, a handheld light or both? What technique will work best in limited light situations? These are things you must consider and practice.

4. Will the technique work well on the move?

Gun fights are not static; they’re mobile. Movement by both the attacker and the person defending himself or a third party from an attack is inevitable. Whether it’s moving than shooting, shooting than moving or shooting on the move, you need to know how to do that and what technique works best on the move. You also need to know that your assailant won’t stand still either, so you must learn what works best for shooting moving targets.

5. Will the technique work for the majority of guns on the market?

Some techniques are specific to the bells and whistles placed on guns. I’m a fan of training more and keeping certain gun parts off guns. Additionally, some guns don’t operate like others. For instance, on certain brands of pistols the magazine release is different. Keeping with the majority of guns on the market allows shooters to switch to most any gun and perform well with it, even in a gun fight.

6. Will the technique work well for multiple assailants?

When it comes to battles and firefights, one good yardstick to measure these by is simply this: If there’s none (meaning no threats), there’s one; where there’s one threat, there’s two; where there’s two threats, there’s really three, and so on. If we have this mindset, we won’t be surprised by additional evil people lurking in the shadows.

7. Will the technique work well in a crowd?

Creating simulated situations that mimic real world lethal encounters is important. This training and mindset will help us react in confidence. If we’re in a crowded movie theater or a mall, will the tactics we employ be appropriate and helpful?  Will we be able to be legally justified?  Will we be able to account for every round, or will we be able to properly identify your target and not hit or negligently shoot any innocent people?

8. Will the technique allow you to keep your sight?

You should never shoot blindfolded. Likewise, you should keep your eyes where you can see a threat coming or attacking. Whether you’re reloading or fixing a malfunction, where are your eyes and how will you be able to see a threat?

In short, when considering which technique and which tactic to employ or to train on, it’s important to keep these eight steps in mind.

Until next time, continue to hone your skills and keep adding to your tactical toolbox.

Safety warning: Jeffrey Denning is a long time self-defense professional and any training methods or information he describes in his articles are intended to be put into practice only by serious shooters with proper training.  Please read, but do not attempt anything posted here without first seeking out proper training.