Practicing the First Shot

This really should be #fridayfundamentals but I feel compelled by some recent conversations to send it.

As I mentioned previously https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2021/04/09/the-importance-of-the-first-shot/, the importance of the first shot shouldn’t be underestimated. How to practice that remains a bit of mystery when people are shooting. Shooting multiple shot, often full magazine, strings of fire is the most common way people practice. Unfortunately, that masks the result of the first sight picture and trigger press.

For new shooters, we also need to keep in mind the concept of ‘progression,’ which is a fundamental concept of two of the world’s elite shooting schools, the Rogers Shooting School https://rogersshootingschool.com/ and the Mid-South Institute of Self-Defense Shooting https://weaponstraining.com/ .

The concepts of First Shot Drill and progression can be easily combined. Consider a series of Levels for hitting with the first shot. Start out at the 3 yard distance.

  • Level 1 – hit a silhouette consistently
  • Level 2 – hit a sheet of paper consistently
  • Level 3 – hit a half sheet of paper consistently
  • Level 4 – hit a quarter sheet of paper consistently

Shoot each Level using a progressively difficult start position; Low Ready, Midpoint of the drawstroke, and from the Holster.

You can use any silhouette you like. Having a face, a weapon, and an aiming point is more important than the type of silhouette used.

For those who don’t have access to or don’t wish to purchase a silhouette, a perfectly acceptable substitute can be made out of posterboard.

Start by doing dry practice. Level 1 would look like this.

My colleague Lee Weems https://thatweemsguy.com/ made an incisive comment at the Tactical Conference.

Enough Force used soon enough means less force used later.

Lee Weems

That could also be paraphrased as ‘a good enough hit with the first shot means less shooting later.’

If you would like to purchase my book about actual shootouts that are not a figbar of someone’s imagination, click on the image below.

2 responses

  1. Work on your camera angles Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active, an AT&T 5G Evolution capable smartphone

  2. Hi Claude,

    I have used the attached score sheet and guide to monitor progress of “Practicing the First Shot”.

    Respectively, Bill Hayes, Founder Axiom Training Lebanon, PA 843-384-3204

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