Happy New Year! I’m not one for resolutions, but I thought now would be as good a time as any to outline some personal goals for 2016. I’ve always found it helpful, in general, to make “to-do” lists and such. For me, there’s no feeling in the world like crossing things off my list. I thought it would be neat to share my goals for 2016 with our readers. The idea is to serve two purposes: give me extra incentive to achieve the goals, and give our readership a chance to see how I go about setting and, hopefully, achieving them.
Formal Training Goals
In terms of formal training, my goals this year will echo those of last year. As always, I will take at least one “classic” pistol skills class. I feel this is mandatory every year. This is the weapon I’m most likely to use to defend my life and/or the lives of my loved ones, and so it stands to reason that I should keep it as my primary focus.
As in 2015, I would like to gain new knowledge in tactics, and I have already signed up for one class in this area, and will add at least one more. The one class I’ve already signed up for deals with low-light and structures, something in which I’ve only received a smattering of training so far.
Also echoing 2015, I would like to continue to improve in edged-weapon skills. I have signed up for one class so far, and may add as many as two more.
I would love to add some unarmed combatives classes as well. As with so many people in my shoes, this is an area of relative weakness, and people hate to train in things that are tough for them. Couple that with an assortment of athletic injuries that I incurred as a youth that recur from time to time, and I’m just plain hesitant to delve too deeply into this field. In addition, as I have mentioned before on the blog, knife and unarmed combatives are “lost” more quickly than firearms skills (“use it or lose it”), and so the time I would have to dedicate to get to a level of proficiency is just not available to me right now. If any of our readers would like to provide some encouragement for me in the comments section, have at it, please!
Informal Training Goals/Practice
All the classes in the world will only be of limited utility without subsequent practice, and I was very guilty this past year of inadequate amounts of practice. Accordingly, my goal is to get to the pistol range at least once per month (more would be better, of course!), where I will put into practice some new drills I’ve learned. I recently acquired the same Shotmaxx timer as John (based on his review, here), so that should assist me. To help me along, I plan to post the results of some of my range trips here on the blog.
Though difficult to quantify, I plan to make a renewed focus on the fundamentals of pistol marksmanship this year. I really need to put into practice all that I’ve learned in classes, in readings, in videos, etc. To assist me in this endeavor, I plan to do more dedicated dry-fire work (rather than just “shooting” light switches and people on the television randomly), again with maximum focus on the fundamentals. Some new hardware acquisitions should assist me with this (more on those items at a later date).
As another form of practice, I plan to at least explore competitive shooting, most likely IDPA. There is a guy local to me who is introducing local shooters to IDPA for a nominal fee, and I am on his list to train with him the next time our schedules mesh. Depending on how well that goes, I may or may not choose to shoot in one or more matches. The key here, of course, is to remember that these competitive shooting sports should not be confused with tactical training. They can, however, be a good venue to practice marksmanship and weapon-manipulation skills under the pressure of time constraints.
In this new year, I plan to continue to read more formally published works in this field, read more useful articles on some really informative blogs I’ve learned of, and listen to more relevant podcasts (thanks to John for his article!). I’ve found my workouts are an ideal time to listen to podcasts (I don’t have as long of a commute as John), as I can kill two birds with one stone (and a good podcast is way more interesting than ESPN!).
On a related note, one way I hope to achieve these goals is to spend a little less time thinking and writing about such things and more time DOING them.
That’s really about it. As the year continues, I’ll refer back to this post in my writings so as to “cross things off the list”. Of course, some of the things on the list aren’t the most quantifiable, but we can at least see if they get addressed, even if their achievement may prove to be more nebulous.
So, I welcome you to join me again on my training/new knowledge journey. If you would like to share some of your goals for the new year, by all means do so in our comments section. I look forward to taking this journey with you, and we will see where it all leads.