Some folks buy a bunch of cool guy gear and throw it in their closet, only pulling it out to go to the range. Even worse- many folks don’t even wear their gear to the range in order to appear normal to the other recreational shooters, or they aren’t allowed to because it’s an indoor range that may have restrictions. This is problematic, as one should always do their best to train how they would fight. Range time is still good trigger time and can dial in the dynamics of accuracy, recoil control, belt reloads, et cetera. However, if one wishes to be prepared for SHTF or battlefield conditions it behooves them to take some time out of their day to familiarize themselves with the kit they’ll be working with. Below will be some videos of some simple drills I do at home to keep an edge. If you don’t use it you’ll lose it!
Speed reloads are just as the name implies. They are meant to hone your ability to reload with tactical expedience. This is meant for when cover is not available to conduct a more proper reload. In most cases it is better to retain your magazines, as resupply in a non military context would be difficult. When reacting to ambushes or chance contact you may not have time to keep your mags, this is why honing your speed reloads is important. Take it slow and repeat the process over and over again until it is one seamless process for you. You can enhance this training by going Instructor Zero style with it and using a beep timer if you want to become really high speed.
For the reasons previously stated, magazine retention is important. Practice different methods to retain your magazine. Some folks use drop leg dump pouches, some just stuff the magazine in an empty mag pouch, some use a pocket. I use the J-method for mag changes, where I tilt the new magazine forward of the one I’m pulling out, then when I drop my mag I simply twist the new mag up into the mag well. This gives me the ability to have rounds back in my weapon while I’m still manipulating the old mag into the dump pouch. Some people also practice taking a knee when reloading, which is the standard SOP of the Infantry. However, I find it to be unnecessary in many cases. You should still be familiar with the idea, though.
While I am of the belief that should you need your pistol in a firefight you’re probably going to die, it’s still important to train on that transition. Sometimes you just don’t have time to reload or have run out of ammo for your primary. This is when the secondary should come in. Side note- don’t switch to your secondary for CQB. That may work well in video games but in real life you’re trading some serious accuracy and stopping power for something just slightly more comfortable. Notice I have the bad habit of simulating recoil when I aim my weapons. This is something I’ve tried to dial in over the years but comes from a life full of playing with toy guns. Derp.
-Speed Reload Secondary-
Once again the speed reload is about dropping your mag and slapping in the new one without retaining your empty magazine in a pouch. You must familiarize yourself with all of your magazine pouches so they are easy to access. You should dial in your speed reloads to be under two seconds. Preferably around one second.
-Tactical Reload Secondary-
The same principal applies to all tac reloads. Insert empty magazines in a pouch to keep them on your person so you can refill them later. If you are part of a team it is a good SOP to practice taking a knee when you reload, and in CQB situations keeping down on that knee until a team mate picks you up. That will minimize the chances of friendly fire while your buddies move around you.
Placing your magazines in an accessible portion of your kit is of high importance. Also of import is having all of your magazines face the same direction. Some people face them to the right, most face them to the left. Your hand will become used to one placement over the other, so keeping them all in the same direction will prevent you from fumbling around, flipping the magazine in your hand trying to figure out how to get it into your mag well.
-Belt Rig Mag Placement-
Belt rigs are perfect for pistol magazines and those few extra mags you just can’t fit on your chest rig. The same exact rule applies to these magazines. Your hand should be able to comfortably manipulate the magazines from their pouches and they should feel the exact same way as they do when you’re pulling them out of your chest rig. Side note- I keep a bunch of extra utility stuff in a pouch on my belt rig. Batteries, drivers, allen wrenches, etc. A belt is the perfect place to put that kind of stuff so that more mission essential equipment like ammunition, medical equipment, and radios can be kept on your chest rig.
These are but a few simple drills one can practice at home, however there is so much more you can do. Don’t let difficulty accessing the range prevent you from keeping your edge sharp. Do these drills every once in awhile to simply keep that edge and you won’t regret it next time you’re at the range. More importantly you won’t regret it should the range become hot two ways!
“Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum”– Tommy