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Blog #029: 3 Benefits of Drilling For Skills at the Gun Range




Should you drill for skills when you practice at the gun range? Let's keep it honest (and accurate). Your firearm skills are perishable. If you don't use it, you will lose it. Owning a gun is not just a huge responsibility. It also requires a complete knowledge of firearm safety, the law, and your ability to use good judgment. Lastly, here are a few pointers to help you understand why you should drill for skills at the gun range.


1. Reinforce Your Tactile Learning

Have you ever seen a new shooter or someone who hadn't been to the range in a few months or years feel uncomfortable picking up a firearm at the gun range? As a gun owner, you must practice regularly to reinforce your tactile learning.


Tactile (or kinesthetic) learning is different from visual learning. Rather tactile learning involves physically touching, doing, or trying something. For example, when you hang up your target, pull your gun out of the case, lock open the handgun, and slide to the rear while pointing it in a safe direction.


Essentially you are acquiring and reinforcing tactile information when holding, gripping, and manipulating the texture and weight of your gun, trigger, slide, etc.


Tactile learning consists of motor, cognitive, and sensory skills. Drilling for skills can help you develop and integrate your abilities in all three areas. In other words, when you reinforce your tactile learning through drills for skills, you create a deeper level of proficiency, comfort, and confidence by interacting and being in immediate proximity to the object in hand, your firearm.


2. Develop Motor Skills

Developing motor skills (mechanical skills & hand development) is one of the most critical components of your tactile skills. Motor skills relate to muscles and movement, including crawling, walking, running, handwriting, and speaking.


Do you remember when you were taught by your firearm instructor how to load ammunition into your magazine? You may have ended up loading your ammunition backward. Or what about when your firearm instructor taught you how to hold and shoot your firearm? What happens when you try it on your own your hand grip and placement change even after acknowledging all the corrections.


Examples of gross motor skills as it pertains to practicing at the gun range:


  • Hand and finger strength

  • Racking the slide forward and back

  • Dropping the slide forward from a slingshot grip

  • Finger isolation onto the frame of the handgun

  • Finger movement and placement onto the trigger of the pistol

  • Two hands gripping the handle of the firearm

  • Proper finger position while grabbing the gun


With this in mind, when you practice your firearm skills at a range that involves movements that rely on large muscle groups, you are essentially exercising your gross motor skills. When you practice your firearm skills that involve small activities that are less energetic, you are working on your fine motor skills. Ultimately, motor skills lead to knowing how to do things without having to use thinking, and that builds confidence.


3. Enhance Your Cognitive Skills

Cognitive skills can be considered tools for learning, and it is another critical component of tactile learning. Cognitive abilities, or cognitive capabilities, are mental skills used in acquiring knowledge, manipulating information, reasoning, and problem-solving.


Your cognitive skills consist of 4 core elements: 1) Perception (interpreting what is sensed)

2) Attention (filtering incoming stimuli), 3) Memory (encoding, storing, and retrieving knowledge), 4) Logical Reasoning (concluding).


Drilling for skills primarily through aftermath scenario work helps strengthen your cognitive skills. When your cognitive skills are strong, it makes your learning fast and easy. Likewise, when your cognitive skills are weak, learning becomes difficult.


4. Improve Sensory Skills


Sensory-motor skills are the basic foundation for learning, such as vision, hearing, touch, smell, taste, vestibular (for balance and head position in space), and proprioception (information from the muscles and joints). Physical activities promote dual brain processing, which is the integrated use of both hemispheres of the brain, a critical component for learning. In short, sensory-motor skills express the information our senses receive and process.


Examples of sensory skills as it pertains to practicing at the gun range:

  • Knowing where your body is in space (while you shoot)

  • Learning right from the left eye while crossing your body laterally (while you focus or switch targets)

  • Developing your sense of balance through the use of your vestibular system (inner ear)

  • Centering or coordinating yourself from the mid-line of your body from top to bottom

Conclusion

Again, should you drill for skills when you practice at the range? Yes, especially when you incorporate dry and live fire into your training coupled with before, during, and after math scenarios. When you train with intention and purpose, as we do at Dragun Defense, you will build your firearm skills, and our unique drill for skills will deeply develop your tactile skills.


Written by Hasan Harnett






Hasan teaches people how to protect themselves, loved ones, and others. He is a leader and holistic self-defense coach who has integrated fitness, fighting arts, and firearms into a comprehensive system for the everyday person seeking superior defense training and intelligence.












Hasan teaches people how to protect themselves, loved ones, and others. He is a leader and holistic self-defense coach who has integrated fitness, fighting arts, and firearms into a comprehensive system for the everyday person seeking superior defense training and intelligence.

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