As is normal, at the beginning of each new year I make myself some goals–some shooting skills/practice goals, some informational/conceptual goals, and some self-defense training/practice goals. As part of that, I also print out a copy of my dryfire practice report, to get myself ready to track everything.
For 2018–I failed badly on most of my goals.
- I did GREAT on dryfire for the first half of the year (not only met my goal of at least doing Drill Zero on a daily basis, but did considerably more than that on a weekly basis, including adding variations on Drill Zero plus extended dryfire often every other day) but then something particular happened, I didn’t record any dryfire practice for a week or two, and then I just stopped recording any–and didn’t dryfire much at all. (This was bad, because I could have gotten myself back on track, but I didn’t.)
- 2018 was also going to be the year when I FINALLY managed to make it to Tac Con—and I had to give that up also, due to scheduling issues. And I never quite managed to sign up for any other classes on my own.
- From a self-defense perspective, I DID at least spend some useful time doing research (and practice) into effective techniques for close/entangled range situations, from firearm responses to blade responses to empty-hand. Can’t really show anything regarding that, though, because it was all research I did, and practice I did on my own. But that isn’t really what my goal was. I was useful, but not goal-meeting for this.
In other words—2018 was a training failure for me, for the most part. (I also had a goal of make Master-class in USPSA in Single Stack in one year, and didn’t quite make it. Just ONE more M-level run in SS will get me there, but it is the end of the year so I’m not going to meet that goal. (In my defense, I had a number of great runs killed by gun malfunctions—but it is also true that I blew a number of classifiers all on my own.)
Luckily, this does not mean my life has ended and that I need to put away my guns and self-defense abilities. 🙂
And no matter where you are currently, you don’t have to either.
It is a new year. What are YOUR goals? Make them measurable, within reach, and something that you have concrete items to work on, to help you meet your goals.
Here’s the 2019 Dryfire Report. Read the Drill Zero and Drill Zero Variations post (and watch the videos) to get an idea of some things you can do to help yourself. If you want to do more reps, more dryfire combinations, and so on—go for it! But if you only have 3 minutes, don’t tell yourself you don’t have time—get the gun, check that it is clear, use a safe direction, and run Drill Zero. If you ONLY do that every day for a month, you’ll have practiced 900 perfect trigger pulls, along with that many practice reps changing the focus of your eyes. It WILL make a difference!
Dryfiring every day is one of my practice goals. My two other shooting skills goals are A) being able to manage a 3″ 5-shot groups at 25 yards freestyle on the head of a USPSA target on a consistent basis with my competition gun, and B) having consistent 1.5 second reload times shot-to-shot with A-zone hits at 15 yards. I know that is slow for a lot of people, but my reloads aren’t great, and 15 yards will require my grip to be good after the reload, which is an issue of mine. (I’d also like to make M-class in USPSA in Carry Optics in one year, but the rest of my shooting skills practice is what I’m doing to get there.)
New information/instruction-wise, I’d like to take one self-defense-oriented class and one shooting skills oriented class this year. My goal will be at least ONE of those, but I’d really like to manage both. LHGK, nearby, often hosts a number of excellent instructors, so I have a good shot at managing that. (And travel isn’t bad either, scheduling is normally the problem.) Matter of fact, there is a class about close/entangled range fights coming up in February that I’m thinking about already, with a couple of instructors I respect…
From a general self-defense skill perspective, I want to 1) get my draw-to-headshot-at-10-yards time consistently under 1.5 seconds from concealment. With my normal concealed carry weapon/rig, that won’t be difficult since I’m already pretty much there. But I ALSO want to manage it using my deep concealment gun/rig, and that’s going to be more difficult, especially since I just GOT that gun/holster. As part of this, I want at least 3 days a week of dryfire practice with these two guns. In other words, if I want my competition skills to increase significantly (and I’m shooting a completely different gun this year with a dot, so lots of things are going to be new), I’m going to need to do more than just Drill Zero each day because I’ll be working so much with a new (and very different) deep carry gun. I’m okay with that, though.
Why am I writing out my goals? (And why do you care?) I’m writing them out to keep myself accountable. Why should you care? Well, you probably DON’T care about my goals–but looking at them, maybe you can get some ideas of goals for yourself. Goals are something you need to think about clearly, articulate precisely, and track over time. If the goal is “get better at shooting” you aren’t going to do it well, because you don’t have specifics, you don’t have a measurement, and you don’t have to do much to “get better.” What skill exactly are you going to improve? How are you going to measure it? What level of “better” are you trying to meet?
What are your goals? How do you plan to get better? What sorts of things do you plan to get better AT? (Note: If this sort of thing is new to you, the easiest way to get started is to pick a specific shooting skill like draws, shooting group accuracy, or reload times, and set a goal for yourself. You don’t have to start with a big list like I’ve got. It is perfectly okay to have just ONE goal. After all, if you meet it easily, then you make ANOTHER goal and impress yourself with your ability to meet two goals in a year!)
Print out the 2019 Dryfire Report, write yourself some goals, and get ready for the new year!