By Ralph Mroz
When it comes to prepping for CCW, it can be overwhelming trying to wrap your head around all the things you need to understand, if not master. Where do you start? What is most important, and how should I focus my energies on mastering them?
I am not going to lie to you — some of these will cost you money, and all of them will cost you time. But, isn’t the investment worth it when we are talking about saving your life or the lives of those you love? And, I have tried to keep the costs down to a minimum with these suggestions as I know we all live on a budget.
Treat this list as a good starting point to get you motivated and working on developing and refining your self-defense skills. When the times comes where you may need them, you will be glad you did this!
First and foremost, you must have enough ammo to be able to practice with and get familiar with your gun’s operation. This is non-negotiable. Yes, you have to practice enough with your gun to be familiar with its operation. You can’t argue that. Just as you should do the same with your car or chainsaw.
Accepting that, here is a list of 10 of the most important practices you can do to ensure you are ready for CCW. Here’s how to do all 10 of them — on a budget — and on restrictive ranges:
1. Zero your gun. This is done with slow, deliberate fire, which is something every practice session should include to reinforce the fundamentals. It consumes few rounds, and all ranges allow it. And once you get it zeroed, make sure you understand proper sight picture. To learn more about this, take a look at the video below:
2. Work from a holster and from concealment. You can practice concealment/holster work with dry-fire at home as much as you like for free. When you get to the range, simply lay your loaded gun down on the platform in front of you, and fire your string by quickly (but safely) snatching it up, maybe with your hand starting from where your holster would be.
3. Carry proper defensive ammo. A box of good street ammo costs about $30. You only need a couple rounds to confirm zero with it and you want to choose carry ammo shooting to the same POA/POI as your cheap practice ammo.
4. Learn the law. What I said before: Andrew Branca’s The Law of Self-Defense is in print with tables for all 50 states. This is the best resource on the market. You are, to be blunt, a fool if you don’t know this material. Hey, it’s a book which might keep you out of prison — figure out how to afford it. It is worth every penny. http://lawofselfdefense.com/shop/
5. Don’t confuse plinking with practice. You’re shooting anyway; it costs nothing to make each round count. There’s plenty of good advice and drills online that can be adapted to almost any range’s rules.
6. Train with a well-regarded tactical instructor. Okay, this is the hardest to do on a budget, but there’s two options. Set aside $10 a week for two years (that’s $1,000, which is what travel, lodging, meals, ammo and tuition will probably cost at many schools). This gives you two years to research what course you most want to go to. If you go to a great course every two years, you’re way, way ahead of most. You could also host a local course from a well-known instructor. Most instructors give one or two free slots to the organizer of the course. This takes initiative, effort and promotional skill, but all of these cost nothing and many local ranges would love to participate.
7. Do judgment training/scenarios. Use blue guns or water pistols and run them in your home. Cost — zip. Don’t use real guns, regardless of how much you’ve “unloaded” them!
8. Use a timer. A smartphone timer app is only a couple bucks. Do a little digging and you will likely find something that will work well. You will find that working against the clock will encourage you increase your speed and be all the better for it — but make sure you do not lose the ability to hit while doing this. Fast misses don’t do anyone any good.
9. Practice at distance. This is free to do on any range. If you increase your skills at distance, you will be well-prepared for most any scenario.
10. Carry! The only gun that will save your life is the one you have on you. This is free, too. But, honestly, if you aren’t willing to do at least some of the above, then you’re right — you shouldn’t carry!
For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/index.