Isolation is one of the most important principles of training anything. With shooting, that means focusing on individual fundamentals and mechanics, separating one thing from another. While some people think doing full tactical drills is the best way to train shooting skills, it's not an efficient way to build proficiency, true mastery of the fundamentals. To master individual mechanics efficiently, it's best to eliminate as many distractions as possible to focus most effectively on the task at hand. This is why isolation is important. My name is Lucas Botkin. One of my goals is to find the most efficient ways to build firearm proficiency. The most efficient way is to build effective subconscious weapon control.
Isolating Sight Aligment (00:49)
So what does isolation look like? Well, it can be any number of things, but I'd like to take a few minutes and show some of the fundamentals that I isolate. If I wanna focus on my fast sight alignment, I'm gonna take out everything that I possibly can that could possibly distract from working on that fundamental. So I'm not gonna be working from the holster. I'm just gonna be at compressed ready. And I'm going to drive the pistol out, find my sight, take my shot, reset. I'll fire one round, maybe two rounds, I'll start slow and then I'll start working my speed up. But I'm not gonna draw from the holster on this particular drill if I'm focusing on my sights, cuz that is adding another fundamental that can distract from this. Trying to isolate down as much as I can so that I can have maximum focus on the task at hand.
Isolating Holster Draw (01:31)
If I wanna work on my holster draws, I'm gonna be separating out as much as I can, so I can just focus on the draw itself. I'll typically go slow, go like 50% speed. And I'm paying attention to everything that I'm doing. What my left hand is doing, how I'm defeating my garment, where I'm indexing my pistol, where my grip begins to meet, how my grip builds as I present the pistol on target, and I'm also getting that sight alignment rep in there as well. But I'm not so much focusing on that. I'm focusing more on what's going on with the draw. And then I'll start speeding up. So I may start at 50%. I then may go to like 90%, 80%. And then I may hit 120% and see where the training wheels fall apart. So right there, I had a bad grip, went a little too quick. So that's something I may need to focus on and work on. And I'll isolate out everything else just to the draw so I can start working on my grip, start going a little bit faster. And the only way you're gonna get that is if you isolate down. So I may shoot a drill where it's just one round, draw, one round, follow through, reset the pistol. Start again, work my speed up and make sure I get those good reps in. So I'm isolating everything out and just working the holster draw.
Isolating Pistol Reload (02:35)
So if I wanna work on something like my pistol reloads, I'm gonna do the exact same thing that I just talked about with the holster draw. I've got my pistol here. It's empty. I have magazine with one round. So when I'm set, I have an empty magazine, one round in the gun. I then have a loaded magazine and whatever mag carrier that I'm currently using—might be outside the waistband on a war belt or competition belt or concealed in a holster like our Sidecar, which is typically what I conceal. I'm gonna present the pistol. I'm not worrying about a holster draw, holster rep if I'm just focusing on the reload itself. I'm gonna go like 50%. Fire that shot, feel that slide lock, bring gun back, mag release, index my new magazine. I'm paying attention to how I'm clearing my garment, where I'm indexing the magazine, how far I've brought the pistol back, how I'm rotating, how I insert the pistol. When I drop slide lock, how I build my grip, going back to target. One more round, good follow-through. And then I reset. Take my empty magazine, tack mag it into the pistol, stow my full magazine. And I'll do this rep, this particular reload rep, I may go 50%. I may go a little bit faster. And then I'll pick up the speed a little bit.
Training Efficiency vs. "Realistic" (04:06)
So there's people out there, that'll say this type of drill, this isolation of a reload—one round in the gun and then go to reload—is completely unrealistic and it's not practical for real life defensive or tactical application. And the fact of the matter is, they're absolutely correct. This is not realistic. I don't wanna be running around just one round in the gun and then working a reload. But if I want maximum reps for training efficiency, this is what I'm going to do to build those good habits. If I'm loading all my mags full to 15 rounds, and I only have a hundred rounds to train with, for example, I'm only gonna get six reload reps in. But if I load my mags with one round and then execute that reload, I'm gonna be able to do 99 reps. So that's something to think about.
Isolating Target Transitions (04:43)
So another fundamental that I isolate out is target transitions. That's something that I think is really important when it comes down to overall shooting skill. So I'll take generally two targets, two IPSCs, and I'll put 'em somewhere within 180 degrees of each other. I may literally do 180 and 180. So I have three right here. I have it closed down quite a bit. So the transition angle and distance is very short. The targets are also pretty close to me. I may vary the distances of each target, add other targets and whatnot. But for this, I'm just isolating out the movement, what my waist is doing, what my hips are doing, how my eyes are leading, how my gun is following. It's going to look something like this. I start with the gun presented on the target already, or I may drive from compressed ready getting that sight alignment rep and then getting that transition rep. But for this, I'm gonna start with the gun already on the target and then on the buzzer, on the initiator, I'm gonna drive the pistol and fire another round into the next target.
So this is what it looks like. That was a 0.28. That's pretty slow. Real slow. 0.20. That was 0.20. So that's one way that I've found is very effective for isolating out target transitions, and getting in those good reps. There's obviously a few other ways out there. This is just something that I work on so I can work those skills. I'm not worrying about holster draws, re-loads, moving. I'm just focusing on what my hips are doing, how my eyes are leading, how my gun is following. And I can just focus on those key aspects to target transitioning, get those good reps in, and be much more effective at this particular skill.
Putting It All Together (06:34)
In addition to isolating out individual skills of shooting, it's important to put everything all together every once in a while and see where you're at and see how you can put everything together. Sight alignment, draws, reloads, target transitioning, and then eventually shooting on the move and other things that go along with these things. So what I do is every once in a while, I'll shoot a drill just like this one.
Making the Best Use of Time (07:01)
Many of us have limited time to train. It's important that we make the best use of our time. And we do that by exercising good training efficiency. And we could do that through isolation, through focusing on individual fundamentals, building those good habits so that we have solid subconscious weapon manipulation. I'm Lucas with T.REX ARMS. Train hard, stay safe.