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Book Review: Process and Progress Pistol Training by Drew Estell

This month I read a book titled, Process and Progress Pistol Training: Proven Methods to Structure Your Practice. This book was just published January 25, 2022 by Drew Estell, owner of Baer Solutions. Drew started shooting in the Army, then spent ten years in the Special Forces. Now he owns his own training company called Baer Solutions. In his book, he explains that he didn’t start improving his shooting skills until he understood the intent of what the drills were trying to accomplish. Each chapter of his book introduces a new concept, and in your training, he recommends to go through them in order and don’t move on to the skills in the next chapter until you have mastered the skills from the previous chapter.

Drew begins by covering the four safety rules and recommends developing a safety plan. He then covers the fundamentals and says there is no such thing as an advanced gunfight. Whether you are a new shooter or experienced, mastering the fundamentals is our goal. He has a couple interesting techniques that I had not heard before on grip and trigger press that he says seems to work for many people. He breaks down the firing cycle in order to explain why the gun moves the way that it does. He also covers how to diagnose your own shots, which is very important. If you don’t know why you might be missing the target, you wont have the knowledge to correct that deficiency and put your shots onto the target. He offers some solutions that might work for people to correct the issues they are having when shooting.

Drew is very analytical. In the following chapter, he goes into great detail about what and how you should be visualizing while shooting. He explains his reasoning behind each technique that way you can think for yourself if it might help you or if it is a skill that you would like to develop and use. He covers four different techniques of aligning the sights and covers why you might use each one and what results to expect with each one. He has an appendix in his book that includes some exercises to try in order to work on your visual skills. He also talks about three different locals planes and the benefits and negatives associated with each. He spends half of his training working with red dots and the other half working with iron sights. He is another trainer that is of the belief that training with red dots don’t have any negative impacts on your shooting. He also gives some helpful tips in a couple things to look for when deciding which red dot to use.

The next chapter had some helpful information on what your trigger press should feel like when your finger is properly placed on the trigger. This depends on what style of trigger you are using and what you will feel when the trigger finger is placed properly.

In one of the later chapter Drew covers performance. He recommends writing down what your long-term goals are and your process goals that will help you accomplish these. In your training log he recommends recording down an average of how you performed with ten repetitions of each skill. He says to also record troubles or inconsistencies that you are having that way you will remember to work on them. He is also a believer in going through mental rehearsals of what he is about to do in order to better prepare for the drills. He also explains a few different ways in how to run your mental rehearsals and what you will gain from each of the different mental rehearsals. Before ending the book, he walks the reader through how to put their training program together.

Overall, I thought it is a very good book and am glad that I took the time to read it. There was enough new information to keep me interested and it was great to see some of his analytical thinking that goes into why we might try one technique or another. The only complaint I have is with the electronic Kindle version of this book. The book was easy to read until I got to the appendix that lists the different exercises. If I zoom in far enough to try and read the small writing, the words get blurry enough they are hard to make out. After enough staring, I was able to read through and figure out a few of the exercises. It might be a good idea to purchase a hard copy of the book so that you can use the appendix better.

Have a safe and great weekend!

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