Food isn’t the only thing that’s perishable

When comes to preparing for z-poc, a lot of thought goes into the basics; where will I go, how will I fight the undead, and if I survive the initial outbreak, what will I drink and eat? Canned foods, dehydrated meals, even seed vaults are all staples of the prepper’s pantry because, as we all know, fresh foods are perishable – in other words, after a certain amount of time passes, they go rotten.

So it is with some things other than food. Skills are perishable as well. Some fundamental skills, like reading, writing and simple math are not likely to fade once you’ve mastered them. But advanced math – say, algebra, trig and calculus? If you don’t use these on the reg, you’ll find it hard to pick up a pencil and solve for ‘X’. Not that knowing that the sine of an angle is the opposite over the hypotenuse is critical in z-poc, but you get the drift.

Of greater importance is shooting ability. The ability to aim a steel tube at something, create a controlled explosion and send a lead object down range and have it hit the thing you were pointing that tube at in the first place is a skill. To be able to do so consistently and under different conditions is a very special skill. And if you don’t practice using this skill, it will perish.

I’m going to focus on shooting pistols today. The people I’ve taken instruction from are all pretty consistent in their recommendation that you should hit the range for a minimum of 50 rounds per month to, as one of them put it, ‘keep the saw sharp.’ They’re also pretty consistent about what to do at the range, or rather what not to do. Pushing a target 21 feet down range and shooting two handed at a bulls-eye can make you really proficient at hitting that bulls-eye, but in real life that is not the shooting situation you’re likely to find yourself in. What if the bulls-eye moves? What if you need two shots in quick succession to hit that bulls-eye? What if you have lost the use of your dominant hand but still need to put two rounds on target? These are all situations you can practice, even if your range only allows stationary targets.  I usually start with a couple magazines of standard stance, two-handed shooting just to get warmed up, then I try some different things. Here are a few drills I practice at the range.

  1. 5-spot drill.  For this drill is use 6″ Shoot-n-see stick ons, but you can do the same thing with a blank paper, an unwanted CD and a Sharpie with which to draw a circle around the CD.  Essentially, you just need 5 targets on a sheet of paper. I put them in the standard pattern like you would see on a pair of dice. The upper left is position #1, upper right is position #2, middle is position #3, etc.  Then I pick a random order – say, 2,4,3,1,5. Then you shoot two shots at each circle in that order. The intent is to get you to reacquire the sight picture on your target quickly by double tapping the target, then changing the sigh picture completely by moving to a new target. You can score yourself based on accuracy, speed or a combination. If pressed, I would put a premium on accuracy over speed. It doesn’t matter much how fast you can shoot if you can’t hit anything.
  2. Single-handed shooting. This can be incorporated into any other drill. It’s very basic – you do the same thing as you would two handed, only you do it with one hand. I always do both strong and weak handed drills, because if your dominant arm gets disabled and you have to shoot with your weak side, when Zed is bearing down on you with his rotten teeth would be a bad time to be shooting weak side for the first time. To make things interesting, I start with the slide locked open and an empty magazine in it. With my strong hand (in my case, my left) in my pocket, I drop the empty mag, load a full one, and rack the slide all with my weak (right) hand. Then I commence shooting.

So those are two of my favorite drills. I know right now ammunition is in short supply, but you can’t let that be an excuse to let your skills get rusty.

What are some of your favorite drills? Leave a comment and let us know! Until next time – better dead than Zed!!


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2 Responses to “Food isn’t the only thing that’s perishable”

  1. Bob says:

    I like your analogy to keeping the saw sharp and one thing I do that has helped me more than any other is dry-fire practice in addition to range time. I drop the magazine and put it in another room, then proceed to practice drawing and “shooting” at a variety of objects at a variety of distances. By paying attention to the front sight and it’s movement ( or, hopefully, lack therof)I can tell if I’m pulling down, to the side or whatever. It’s also good practice for follow through and double tap technique. I dry fire nearly every day. It’s free and the benefits are enormous. Range time is icing on the cake.
    Keep up the great writing and flow of pertinent info.


    • ZEDSWORLD says:

      I wanted to let you know that I bought a laser round – you chamber it like a regular round and it projects a laser where the bullet should go. When doing dry fire you can paint the target with the laser when sighting in. Haven’t done much with it yet but I like the concept. Just wanted to share it with you.

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