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When it comes to self defense with a pistol there are a lot of different drills, guides, and strategies that you can follow. Every technique is different, and every shooter performs them differently. Regardless of the method that you train for and use, the basics of defending yourself with a pistol are all the same. These 3 fundamentals of pistol self defense are the core of every technique for defending yourself and your home with a pistol or revolver.


1. Marksmanship

pistol_1Obviously the first fundamental is marksmanship, because if you can’t hit what you’re aiming at then you have no business pulling your weapon out in the first place. Marksmanship is actually the easiest fundamental to improve with drilling, since all you need to practice is taking the shot. There are countless different techniques for improving your marksmanship, but they all boil down to putting lead on the target until you’re confident that you can hit what you’re aiming for every time.

Advanced marksmanship drills focus on extending your range, speeding up target acquisition, and transitioning from one target to the next. Again, there are many different drills for this, but each one essentially delivers the same thing: Improved accuracy. These drills can also get extremely specialized, for instance when you have a large suppressor can obscuring the front iron sights of your weapon or using aftermarket optics.


2. Gun Handling

pistol_2Gun handling covers everything from being familiar with your firearm and ammunition, to the nuts and bolts of how to safely use it.Gun handling skills take just as much practice to improve as marksmanship does, but it covers a much larger skill-set so drilling to improve handling isn’t always as easy to do. In general you’ll want to focus on common activities, like reloading a spent mag, racking the slide, and operating the safety all without taking the time to actively think about what your hands are doing. Advanced gun handling drills often involve care and maintenance procedures like field-stripping, clearing jams, and tactical reloading.


3. Mindset

The last fundamental, mindset, is actually the very hardest one to train. In fact, the military spends just as much time getting enlistees into the proper frame of mind as it does teaching the recruits how to operate their weapons effectively. Mindset drills are often very specialized and sometimes require runs through a course or training with an expert. You can train your mindset through a whole range of drills, but mainly they focus on keeping your situational awareness, positioning yourself in such a way that you can engage targets as safely as possible by seeking and utilizing cover, and overcoming the surge of adrenaline that comes with firing a weapon in anger.