- Ian T. Mena-Wieland
When practicing skills on the range, it is best to have a specific goal for your range session. Much like weightlifters and runners, we must have a metric against which to measure our progress. These metrics are TIME and ACCURACY.
The tools for success are very simple: a way to show accuracy and a way to show time. Paper targets will show your accuracy, but need to be used properly. When using a paper target, use or create a standard for your group size. Make it difficult, and force yourself to excel. Using a shot timer or a par timer (many options are available for smart phones, including IPSC Shot Timer and Splits), you can hold yourself to a time standard by setting a start and finish beep (par time) for your time constraints, or by using a shot timer to tell you how fast you are going. Either way, it is important to keep track of your progress and endeavor to improve.
We must remain efficient in our practice. It is easy to drift away from the skills we intended to improve and instead practice things at which we are already proficient. For instance, if you want to work on reload speed and efficiency, don't load your magazines to full capacity. If you do, you will have to wait longer to to work your skill and limit the number of repetitions you perform. The same goes for draw practice. If you draw and fire a full magazine, how long before you are out of ammunition and packing up to go home? Be disciplined, and get the most out of your range session.