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5 Reasons You Don’t Shoot Well

This is a guest post by Scott Sylvester.shoot well

What’s your excuse? Why don’t you shoot well as you should?

As a firearms instructor it is always frustrating when you schedule a class, reserve range time, gather resources, and then cancel. While this is financially detrimental as an instructor, it makes me ponder a bit about why more people do not take classes or think firearms training is necessary or important. While listening to the HandgunWorld Podcast recently, Bob Mayne and Jon Hodoway discussed a few reason why people don’t train and why these “reasons,” are more like “excuses.”

First excuse is: I can’t find any ammunition…

During the 2013 ammo crisis this was probably the only legitimate excuse out there. Now that the ammo economy has recovered and we are able to find all the common calibers again, not being able to find ammo means you are not trying very hard. Even .22LR has been seen on the shelves! With the resurgence of production and the decrease in the tendency to hoard ammo, all the common calibers are readily available at near the same cost as before. Sure, you are going to pay $2 a box more than you did in 2012, but times have changed and the overall price increase is not so overly prohibitive that you should avoid using that ammo to build skills.

Now, when talking about ammo, also look at what you already have in stock at home. Every gun owner I know keeps a couple hundred rounds on the shelf, “just in case.” If those boxes of “just in case,” ammo have been sitting there for years now, and if it has been years since you last went to the range or went to a class, then shame on you! Buy some new ammo for the “just in case” pile and take that old ammo with you to a local trainer and practice your fundamentals.

Also when looking at your ammo supply, ask yourself how much did you shoot last year? If you fired 100 rounds at the range last year, and you have 500 rounds in your, “just in case” pile, that means you have a 5 year supply of ammo on hand. Take your 5 year supply and shoot a box or two every month and replace it as you go. It does you no good to have a stockpile of ammo if you can’t remember how to load, unload, shoot accurately, and handle a firearm safely.

When buying ammo I always encourage people to buy 2 boxes… 1 to keep and 1 to train with. Make ammo buying a habit, just like going to the store for milk. When you pick up some toothpaste and razors at Walmart, get a box of ammo too. Buy ammo on the odd months and go shooting on the even ones. Over time you’ll have a nice stockpile built up, you’ll have a rotating stock you can practice with, and when you want to take a class with a high round count or when money is tight, you’ll have a supply to continue to train with. Start a habit and stick to it.

Second excuse: It cost too much…

Jon Hodoway asked this question: If I gave you the class for free, would you come? You would be surprised at the number of people that would say no to a free training class. Firearms training is not a priority to this person. They are under the delusion that simply owning a firearm is enough to protect themselves, and their loved ones. They believe their gun is a magical wand they will wave about and make all the bad things in life go away and it requires no practice… mere possession is enough. They believe their money is better spent on acquiring more tools rather than train with the one they already have.

You don’t stay home from Disneyland because it is too expensive, you save, work overtime, scrimp and buy your tickets. Just like training, you save, plan and budget so you can attend at least one training class a year. I recommend at least one course per year in each weapons platform you wish to be proficient in, taking a course a year will be well worth your time and hard earned money.

When you spend money on something it becomes valuable to you. If it costs you something, you will have a tendency to take the training seriously and practice what you are taught so your short term investment will have long term value.

I’ve also had someone tell me the training course cost too much, yet showed me several (very) expensive firearms in their collection. While I support the collection of fine weapons, merely owning them, or having the most tricked out pistol with a Pyramid Trigger and an RMR won’t make you a gunfighter. When I asked how often my friend went to the range with his tricked Glock he stuttered for a moment… Again, it is not a magic wand you can wave around when bad things are happening. It is a tool you need to be proficient with. Instead of buying the latest and most tricked out custom 1911, maybe you should master your stock Glock first.

So is it really the cost of the class, or how you spend your money?

Excuse #3: I don’t have time…

This excuse is my favorite one because it really is the dumbest of the group. I know everyone has a busy schedule these days, but time, like money is a priority. You have to allocate it the same way.

Tell me, honestly, how much time did you spend watching TV last week? How much time did you spend on the internet or on social media? Could you have taken a couple of those hours and gone to the range? You can make time to go to the gym 6 days a week, but would it serve you better to spend 5 days on your physique and 1 day on your fundamentals of survival?

You have time, make time, and please stop using this excuse.

Excuse #4: They can’t teach me anything…

Finding a quality instructor is important. I addressed this in my previous article Why Train, How Often and With Who. What I want to point out in this excuse is that no one wants to admit they may be deficient in a skill. We all laud our strengths, and hide or diminish our weaknesses, it is human nature to do so. A true Warrior though, will take the time to analyze their skill set and seek out the training to be proficient.

Every good trainer has something to offer. It could be a new skill, a new way of explaining a skill you didn’t comprehend before, or a new drill. Sometimes just a refresher of the basics is all you need to re-spark your interest. This excuse boils down to a five letter word: Pride.

Pride will stop you from admitting you need training. Some people are embarrassed to admit they are not as good as they boast. When thinking about your skills are you a mall ninja or trained in personal protection. Are you playing Call of Duty or are you prepared when Duty Calls You?

It is okay to be embarrassed while learning. Humility is the hallmark of a gunfighter.

Excuse #4 is closely tied to #5: I grew up shooting a gun…

Jon Hodoway killed this excuse when he asked:

– Then why aren’t you better at it?

I grew up shooting as well, but it wasn’t until a couple hundred hours under the tutelage of a master level instructor that I felt confident enough to defend myself with a firearm in almost every situation. I embarrassed myself often. I thought I was good at a skill only to have to eat a big slice of humble pie, knuckle down, bust out the basics and train a skill over again until I couldn’t get it wrong.

When I fall to the lowest level of my training, I want to be fast, unpredictable, and deadly!

Now, stop making excuses, book a course and start training like your life depends on it!

Special thanks to Bob and Jon for the inspiration for this article. If you enjoy Podcasts, I recommend the HandgunWorld Podcast. Bob is an instructor for Suarez International and Jon Hodoway teaches for Nighthawk Custom Training.

You can find me at: www.oneweaponanytool.com or on Facebook at One Weapon, Any Tool.

Stay safe, Godspeed!

Scott S

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