Variation helps develop Defensive Shooting Skills

I’ve long advised against practicing the same choreographed timer drills over and over again as a means to developing applicable defensive shooting skills. This position isn’t just based on years of watching people on the range, my own personal experiences or some kind of gut feeling. There is much scientific research that gives us insight into WHY we want variety in our practice. Ultimately, you want to learn to APPLY skills, not just perform them in isolation during a drill you’ve been obsessing over.

The value of choreographed timer drills for people interested in Personal Defense isn't actually Zero,  but it probably isn't nearly as high as many shooters think.

The value of choreographed timer drills for people interested in Personal Defense isn’t actually Zero, but it probably isn’t nearly as high as many shooters think.

Timer Drills have long been staple of the traditional approach to shooting skills development, but Convention and Complacency shouldn’t be held up as touchstones for any training program, much less one that deals with life & death skill development. While timer drills are fun and allow people to see linear progression over short time periods, I believe their value to someone really interested in defensive shooting skills has been far over-rated. Timer Drills play to the ego and give us reasons to celebrate the very best shooters among us, but they probably aren’t worth investing a lot of time in for those who are only looking for skills to protect themselves and those they care about in typical defensive situations. Remember, the marksmanship problem of the most likely events don’t require the highest of shooting skills. There are plenty of other issues to take into account and other skill sets that any person should be interested in developing before they become obsessed with reaching their ultimate shooting skill potential.

Earlier today, I read another article that backs up our theory. This Article reveals some of the latest science backing up the theory that we’ve put behind much of our advice at PDN in regard to developing applicable shooting skills.

“The received wisdom on learning motor skills goes something like this: You need to build up “muscle memory” in order to perform mechanical tasks, like playing musical instruments or sports, quickly and efficiently. And the way you do that is via rote repetition… The wisdom on this isn’t necessarily wrong, but the Hopkins research suggests it’s incomplete. Rather than doing the same thing over and over, you might be able to learn things even faster — like, twice as fast — if you change up your routine.”

DSSDDrills with variety like BoS&P, Figure 8, Wind Sprint and others force you to adapt your skill development constantly and can’t be stuck in a “timer box”…. they also help you develop your skills faster in a way that you can use.

If you’re looking for a great way to evaluate your defensive shooting skills on the range, check out the Defensive Shooting Standards Drill video here at PDN! -RJP

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