Kathy Jackson uses a swimming lesson metaphor for firearms training, and it’s a good one because both firearms training and swimming lessons help you stay safer when you’re out at the range or in the water, and let’s face it, they’re both really good ideas as well.
But what if we told our new swimmers that the only places they could practice their freshly-taught skills wasn’t in the community swimming pool or school pool, but only in the bathtub in their own home or in large open bodies of water?
Sounds silly, right? There is no way that swimming would be popular if the only place to do it would be in lakes or oceans, and somehow paddling in a tub just isn’t the same as doing laps in a pool.
But that’s what happens in 99% of firearms training classes. The students go the range, get their training on a pistol bay or outdoor range, and then are maybe given some brief instructions about dry fire and that’s it. No advice on how to hone your skills in an indoor, “bowling alley” range, which are far more common and accessible than pistol bays. Most indoor ranges don’t allow movement and drawing from a holster so it’s hard to make a direct correlation between defensive pistol skills and what you can practice on a range, but some practice is better that nothing. Claude Werner, the Tactical Professor, has an e-book of drills that will increase defensive pistol skills but yet can still can be practiced on the indoor range, and to the best of my knowledge, he’s the first one to realize that not everyone hangs out on a pistol bay every weekend.
And that’s a shame.
Getting people to practice, and practice in the context of a fun day at the range (whether that range is indoor or outdoor) should be goal of every trainer, because happy and engaged customers are repeat customers.