Owning a gun is one thing, but no one automatically knows how to shoot just because they purchased one. Like with any skill, it takes practice to, at minimum, understand the basics (such as how to hold the gun, or how to anticipate and account for the recoil). Luckily, some guides and drills exist to help anyone work their way to proficiency. These two drills, in particular, will continue to help you even when you become a professional rather than an amateur.


The First Shot Drill


This drill works exactly how it sounds: you take a loaded pistol, assume your shooting stance, and fire one shot at the target you’re aiming for. Though simple, practicing this drill will improve your defensive shooting, as it works on your pace between going from being at rest to shooting your target. After all, if you’re going to carry a weapon (concealed or otherwise), you might as well know what to do with it if a situation where you need to fire arises.


Don’t focus on speed when you first start working on this drill. Practice doing it slowly and smoothly, then work on increasing the amount of time it takes for you to draw and shoot. This way, you know how to do it right from the start. If you want to practice without being at a firing range, clear all ammunition from your handgun and try dry firing with snap-caps instead.


The Double Tap Drill


The double tap is the most widely practiced drill that exists, and like the first shot drill, it’s very simple and sounds exactly like the title suggests: this drill will have you firing two shots instead of one. The intent behind this is to get you used to firing a follow-up shot, since, with some people, one shot may not be enough to slow them down. 


Some critique this drill with examples of times both civilians and officers have emptied entire magazines into a target to no avail, so to accommodate for that, using a double tap is a good starting point for beginners to work up from. As you grow in proficiency, you can train with more than two shots while firing.