Is “Missing In Practice” the key to “Hitting In Combat?”


What if missing more in practice could help you hit more in combat or self-defense?

It can…but only if you do it right.

First off, we’ve got to define what a “hit” and “miss” is…

If your standard is “hitting the paper” then all of these holes would be “hits.”

None would be misses.

And, if you’re shooting 100%, there’s not much room for improvement, is there?  Not much need to improve.

What’s this mean?

It means that if your standard is so low that you always succeed, or if you always do the same drills that you’re good at and comfortable with, you’re not going to improve and your going to have worse performance in the real world than you could.

So, what do you do?

In many cases, the old “Aim small, miss small” adage will do the trick.

In the case of this picture, it looks like there are probably some fundamental issues with both muzzle alignment and trigger press.  I would guess that they’re a lefty or that the image is reversed.  I’ve seen plenty of targets like this at 15-21 feet at ranges that only allow 1 round per second.

Raising the standard from “hitting paper” to “hitting the x” is going to mean going from zero misses to a very high percentage of misses…initially.

And it may be discouraging to the point of slowing down learning speed.

So, why don’t we take it in steps…

First, we move the target to about 10 feet and we aim at the x but change the standard for success from hitting the paper to hitting the head/torso, but not the arms.

We’d keep working on our muzzle alignment/sight alignment and trigger press until we’re putting 90% or more of our rounds on target…but we don’t want to wait until we’re hitting 100% to move on.

Then, we’d increase our standard so that we were aiming for the next smaller zone on the target.


The hit percentage would probably drop, but we’d work on that size target until we were back up into the 90% range…but not waiting until we’re perfect.

Then, we’d increase our standard to the center circle…increasing our misses initially, but gradually improving our performance until we were in the circle 90% of the time…but not waiting until we were at 100%.

Next, we’d put a 1 or 2″ circle on the “X” and that would be our new standard.  This is where we’d really dial in our muzzle alignment and trigger press–the core of ALL shooting.  If it was too difficult standing, we’d switch to sitting-supported, then sitting-unsupported, then standing-supported, and finally standing-unsupported again.

Those are big opportunities for improvement, and when they get dialed in and the shooter is stacking them all on the X, then what?

Well, hitting 100% is great in a testing environment, but it’s not good in a learning/skill building environment.  100% performance generally means that you’re under-challenged and not stretching, growing, or learning.

In order to optimize learning and skill building speed, you need enough challenge that you’re missing some of the time.

Why is missing SO important?

While missing A LOT is discouraging, missing a little activates the error-correction parts of our cerebellum.

Error correction, when you’re so-close-to-100% that you can taste it, increases attention levels, maximizes learning speed, and causes adaptation in the brain.  It allows you to build more skill in less time and with less effort.  And it causes skills to “stick” for a longer period of time after you’re done training.  And it makes your skill more resilient and adaptable to real-world situations.

So, the answer to the question of “what do we do next” is that we add variety and challenge to our training so that we’re building skill as quickly as possible.  In the science world, Professor Robert A. Bjork termed this “desirable difficulty” back in 1994 and it has positively impacted performance levels in every professional sport since.  Ironically, it’s rarely applied in the firearms training world.  Instead, people generally choose to grind out reps and work harder rather than taking advantage of training methods that make skill building easier.

But, if you’re like me, you don’t just want to train hard…you want to train smarter than the other guy.

So, instead of doing the same drill 20 times in a row in an attempt to do the drill better, it would be better to change up something about how you do the drill each time…foot position, body angle, 1 hand vs. 2, glasses vs. no glasses, leans, lunges, twists, turns, movement, shooting around cover, etc. so you only did the same drill the same way a couple of times in a single practice session.

By doing this, we are taking our brain from only knowing how to line up the muzzle and press the trigger in specific situations to having a brain that can line up the muzzle and press the trigger in as many situations as possible with as little drop-off in performance as possible.  And that gets us better real-world results…in less time than what’s possible with traditional training methods.

How do you put it into action?

You can put together a training plan yourself, if you’ve got a few dozen extra hours to figure it all out, but we’ve got done-for-you, step-by-step programs that have taken care of all of the hard work so all you need to do is focus on getting results.

Here are two that I’d suggest you check out…

The current best-of-the-best firearms training today is the Praxis Dynamic Gunfight Training.  Proven by more than 1,500 shooters like you who weren’t content with old, slow, ineffective training methods, it is designed specifically to address the factors common in self-defense shooting and incorporates accelerated learning techniques into the drills so you can build the most skill in the least time.  Check out our free presentation on training for real-world shooting situations using Praxis >HERE< and start training tonight.

Now, Praxis is the best of the best…but not every budget can jump on it without a little planning.  But for less than the cost of a box of practice ammo, you can get the smartest dry fire target available today and 50+ drills to add variety, fun, and real-world value to your dry fire training.  Learn more by going >HERE< now.

Do one…do both…but whatever you do, take action.

Questions?  Comments?  Fire away by commenting below.

“Don’t just train hard…train smarter than the other guy.”  -Ox


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