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SHOT Show 2012: Don't shoot your TV!

Be creative in developing drills that enable you to practice technically- and tactically-sound skills, while simultaneously “mixing things up and keeping things interesting”

During SHOT Show 2012, I ran into John “Tony” Mayer of JM Custom Kydex. . Regular readers of this space will recall that for Christmas, a great friend of mine — who had apparently taken pity on me for my well-worn, level-two leather holster — gave me a beautiful new concealed-carry rig from JM Custom Kydex. I was telling Tony how much I love his holster — the only problem being that it’s definitely different from the holster I’ve had for several years (and drawn from quite literally about 10,000 times). I knew I had to quickly get used to the new one if I was going to begin using it in the near future, so that first evening after I got it, I began repetitions with my Blue Gun, doing about 100 draws.

A couple of evenings later, I did another set of 100 draws.

A couple evenings later, I loaded a couple mags with dummy rounds and started doing some of my typical drill regimen using my personal-protection pistol that new holster.

Shoot Zombie. Don't shoot Heidi. (PoliceOne Image)
Shoot Zombie. Don't shoot Heidi. (PoliceOne Image)

Shoot, Don’t Shoot!
As we all know, that sort of thing — hundreds upon hundreds of reps — can get pretty old, pretty fast, so I began contemplating how I could mix things up a bit. Then I remembered a tip someone had submitted to PoliceOne a while back — perhaps three years ago — involving shoot-don’t-shoot dry-fire drills with your TV. Here’s the thing. I love my TV, so — despite the bumper stickers imploring me to do so — there’s no chance in the world I’d ever point my pistol at that beautiful HD screen (never point at anything you’re unwilling to lose forever!).

But I spend 10-12 hours a day in front of a computer monitor, and the thought of shooting that thing occurs to me roughly once every three or four hours (at a minimum!).

So I set up a PowerPoint slideshow with 42 shoot-don’t-shoot slides consisting of 21 shoot targets, and 21 don’t-shoot targets (if you must know, I chose to use images of three famously nice-looking bikini-clad supermodels, three famously-evil terrorist dirtbags, and one of a famously-gnarly movie zombie).

I created a random number of each image as well as randomizing (as best I could) the order in which they appear. I set the transitions such that a blank slide comes up in between each image, allowing me to practice scanning, breathing, and reholstering, as well as giving me time to get ready for the next decision-making cycle before the next image is revealed.

This is, quite admittedly, a very (very) poor man’s Hogan’s Alley, but I’ve found it to be a pretty interesting way to do lots and lots of repetitions with my awesome new holster. Hell, every few slides I even get to see a really attractive woman in a bikini.

The whole point of this little column is twofold:

1.) When you get a new piece of gear, it is imperative you go well out of your way to consciously practice repetitions with it so you get to a place you’re comfortable — at least as comfortable with it as the gear you’re replacing, if not more so.

2.) Be creative in developing drills that enable you to practice technically- and tactically-sound skills, while simultaneously “mixing things up and keeping things interesting” within a safe training environment.

One Final Thought
En route to “Media Day” at the range on Monday, I was telling my good friend Lindsey Bertomen about this new drill, and he said that he does, in fact, practice draws and pistol manipulations with his TV. He simply inserts a training barrel into his sidearm, and selects a character on the show to whom he will respond “and solve the problem” as they say. I’m going to get myself a similar barrel — perhaps this one from 5.11 Tactical.

Stay safe out there my friends.

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