A recent conversation with a friend leads me to this article. He is a good shot, and incredibly self defense minded, but was encountering struggles while practicing. In particular, he was struggling to hit a small steel spinner at a long distance with his sub compact pistol, his daily carry.
His questions revolved around mechanics. What he might be doing wrong to not be able to hit-why he wasn’t hitting that small target at a long distance with a pistol designed for hitting the vital areas of a human at close range.
This is a common occurrence. We all like to hear the ring of steel or hit that tiny bulls-eye, myself included. But I teach (with the exception of a youth target rifle team I coach), combat shooting. I teach my students to survive an armed confrontation.
A lesson that coaching baseball has taught me is how critical the mental aspect is. And to keep our mental state and confidence in our ability to successfully engage targets with a pistol, we must ensure that our expectations align properly with the equipment and conditions we have placed on our practice.
The target they will encounter in that scenario won’t be a small piece of steel or a bulls-eye at a long distance. It will likely be an average sized human being, and statistics tell us this confrontation will likely occur within 21 feet. It is also likely that this will happen violently fast, probably with a pistol ill suited for precision shooting. It’s probable that speed and the ability to shoot fast and move to cover will outweigh the need to place rounds inside a 1” circle.
Training time is limited and ammo has never been more expensive. Focus on a smooth draw under stress, moving to a safer spot (cover or concealment) during the engagement, and reloading when necessary. Dry fire in a controlled environment to establish the type of muscle memory that is critical to successful combat situations. Practice winning the fight, not hitting a precise target!