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Practicing for the unknown. Defensive shooting drills

Practicing for the unknown.  Defensive shooting drills

Defensive shooting drills


As shooters, how do we practice for the unknown?  Some people I know run dry fire scenarios in their house.  Understanding the safe zones and blind spots in your house are crucial to defending it, should the need arise.  Some of the key principles of the Personal Protection inside the home course offered by NRA certified instructors is to know your home, understand the areas of cover and concealment and prepare a safe room.

This is all great and important advice, however, what happens next?  How do you turn corners with your gun without presenting a target for intruders?  How well can you function if you have to defend your family in the dark?  What if you have to shoot while you are moving?  How do you function if you have to make quick shoot/no-shoot decisions? My local range in Colorado Springs has some ideas about that.

Whistling Pines Gun Club in Colorado Springs recently announced their Practical Indoor Pistol Range.

The PIPR is a tactical style, shoot and move firearms training facility. Located in a separate, secure shooting range; the PIPR allows our members to run through live fire scenarios that approximate real life situations.

And that is what it is.  For a couple of days every week, members can sign up and take part in shooting defensive scenarios. Every time I have been there, the scenario is different.

This kind of shooting is more dangerous because it is not your standard target practice.  You are moving, turning corners, drawing from a holster, making quick decisions, shooting in low light and no light scenarios and generally putting yourself into a much more real world scenario. A range officer is always present to ensure that the absolute highest standard of safety is followed.

Last week we had a very interesting scenario in almost complete darkness that I wanted to share.

At first I tried to run it like an IPSC competition, because that is what I wanted to practice for.  I quickly realized that I was cheating myself and not really improving my defensive capabilities or even my competition skills.  At the beginning of every class I take a moment and live the scenario.  I visualize each scenario as if it is my house and my family and once that mindset’s achieved I move through the course of fire.  By setting such a deliberate scenario in my mind, I get the most out of this practice.  On occasion I’ll notice an elevated heart rate and shaky hands from putting myself in that place.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t laugh and have fun, because I do.

The gains I have seen from this are spectacular.  My shooting is getting better every week, my competition scores are improving at an nice rate.  The extra trigger time is great, but these scenarios are giving me a better insight into self defense and helping me learn to relax and process my reactions better.

If your range does anything like this, let me know in the comments what it’s done for your shooting!

About The Author

Shawn Herrin

As a certified NRA instructor, fervent shooter and IPSC competitor, safe, responsible, ethical and legal gun use are my passions. Whether handloading, practicing, studying or reviewing items, I am constantly focused on guns and shooting. Staunch supporter of the Bill of Rights and very proud American.


  1. Jeff_Eckles

    Pretty awesome stuff right there! Thanks for sharing this, looks like a blast (pun fully intended).

    • herrin

      It is seriously a great time. Valuable practice too!

  2. Doug Price

    always a good read on defensive tactics

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