Working on the mental aspects of shooting isn’t necessarily as fun as going out and blasting away at reactive targets, but it will help you become a better shooter in a shorter period of time.
In fact, it’s important to realize that your firearm is not your real weapon. Your weapon is your mind. Your firearm simply allows you to use your weapon (your mind) to focus your strike with more force and at a longer distance than you can strike with your hands or feet. Your mind is truly the foundation for a good shooter. Shooting with weak mental skills is like building a house of straw. Shooting with strong mental skills is like building a fortress on top of a mountain.
With that in mind, we’re going to start with the mental aspects of shooting first.
A common saying among firearms trainers is that it takes 3000-5000 rounds to develop a new habit. Fortunately, this popular, often repeated number is specific enough that it’s easy to find out where it came from. It comes from a textbook titled “Motor Learning and Performance” by Richard A. Schmidt that was published in 2004.
In it, what Schmidt actually says is that it takes 300- 500 repetitions to develop a new motor skill and 3000- 5000 repetitions to break a highly ingrained motor skill and replace it with a correct one. The good news is that if you have no ingrained skills or skills that have been practiced inconsistently, it will be easier to replace them with the skills you want to use when your life depends on it.
Just to be clear, most people shoot inconsistently, so you’ll PROBABLY be much closer to the 300-500 range than the 3000- 5000 range—even if you’ve been shooting regularly for years.
The other side of this high repetition argument comes from Ed Head at Gunsite. There is common belief that shooting is a perishable skill that you need to continually train or risk losing it. Ed is a world class instructor and has a different take on shooting being a perishable skill. He maintains that you can turn a perishable skill like shooting into a locked-in reflex after approximately 3000- 5000 rounds of training.
If you carry that logic out, you’d want to run through 5000 rounds with your primary hand, secondary hand, and with both hands with perfect form as quickly as possible. You’d also want to do it with your sidearm, long gun, and shotgun for an ammo count somewhere north of 35,000 rounds. It SOUNDS intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.
SO, WHAT’S THE TRICK TO BREAKING OLD HABITS AND LOCKING IN NEW ONES SO THAT THEY WILL BE YOUR DEFAULT RESPONSE WHEN YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK?
Join a SWAT unit or a Special Operations unit that gets paid to have LOTS of trigger time and free ammo.
Become a professional shooter and get free ammo from your sponsor.
“Cheat” by doing the majority of your training using low cost and free proven tactics that I’m going to share with you and use your range time to reinforce and lock in your skills. This shortcut method is not only the fastest possible way for you to become an expert shot with a firearm, it will also save you thousands of dollars and years of time in the process.