Breaking Through Common Barriers, What Holds us Back

By Travis Johnson

10/27/2017

I know many people that shoot firearms and have grown up around them their entire life. Many believe they are well prepared to handle themselves appropriately in the event they encounter a lethal threat where they may be required use deadly force. It wasn’t that long ago, when I had the same belief. I had my carry permit, I had a few firearms, and I even went to the range now and then to “train”. The problem is, I had no idea what I was training for or what the purpose of my training each day was. I knew I wanted to improve as a shooter, and be competent in my ability to defend myself with a firearm should I ever need to, but I was naive to the fact that what I was doing, although it may have been better than nothing, wasn’t adequate training. I was likely reinforcing poor fundamentals and developing bad habits. Whether this sounds similar to your experiences or not, I hope we can agree on one thing; Adequate (and frequent) training, implemented consistently over time, is essential to becoming a proficient shooter. Many of us watch or read about guys like JJ Racaza, Ron Avery, Travis Haley, and Frank Proctor (or whoever it is you may idolize in the shooting community) and fail to stop and consider how these guys got to where they are now. All of these guys and many others like them have several things in common, they devoted a significant amount of time, money, and energy to get where they are now and they all have a growth focused mindset. Regardless of what your goals are and how proficient you are as a shooter; you will need to be prepared to make similar commitments in order to take your shooting to the next level. As with any major goals there are always going to be barriers standing between you and what you want to accomplish. What do you think some of the barriers you and many others likely encounter that prevent you from taking the actions needed to achieve your goals and improve as shooter? In the following paragraphs, I’d like to discuss a few of the primary barriers I believe are holding many of us back and present a few ideas on how to overcome them. The main barriers that come to mind are time, money, uncertainty of where to begin, and most importantly, Mindset.

As with any major goals there are always going to be barriers standing between you and what you want to accomplish.

Let’s face it, becoming a (more) proficient shooter takes time. It takes a lot of time. Becoming a highly skilled shooter isn’t a race, it’s (at minimum) a marathon, or more appropriately, a series of marathons. We all have 24 hours in a day and we decide how those hours are spent. Yes, I know we all lead different lives and have very different schedules, but to some extent, you still control how you prioritize your time. Everyone has different goals, and only you can determine how much time you need to put in to achieve your goals. I have made the commitment to devote as much time as I can to improving as a shooter. In order to that, I had to assess how I was spending my time now, and determine what changes I could make to devote more time to training. Sure, I had to make some sacrifices, but I made the conscious decision to become the most proficient shooter I am capable of being. This first step for all of us that desire to improve and train to become a more proficient shooter, is to make a personal commitment to train a set amount of time each month, week or even each day based on the goals you want to accomplish. I spend 30-60 minutes each week day training at home by running dry fire drills, practicing various aspects of shooting. On the weekends I spend anywhere from 4-8 hours with live fire training at the range and am constantly pushing myself. As mentioned earlier, the amount of time you spend training will depend on your goals. You may only need to train 15 minutes a day and 2-4 hours and your weekend and that’s fine. The point is to make the commitment to your training and prioritize your time in a manner that sets you up to achieve your goals. Once you have made this commitment, you likely need to determine how much you can afford to spend on your training and set a reasonable budget because we are all aware that shooting costs money, sometimes a lot of money. Shooting isn’t an inexpensive sport to get in to, especially if you desire to become very good at it. Money is usually one of the biggest hurdles to many wanting to become a better shooter. The essentials like a gun, holster, targets, and ammo start to add up quick. I am going to assume however, that you already have a gun and at least one quality holster. There are ways to minimize the cost of shooting and still get in plenty of quality training time. If money is a significant hurdle, my best suggestion is to stick to shooting paper. Steel targets are fun and do have their place, but paper doesn’t lie and you can build a few target stands for pretty cheap. (You can also shoot at an indoor range).

There are ways to minimize the cost of shooting and still get in plenty of quality training time.

There are some great targets to use out there from people like BAER Solutions, pistol-training.com, Haley Strategic and others. These are great training aids that have drills listed on them and the best part is…They are free. All you need to do is print off a few of these targets and your set. If you have been shooting for any length of time, you are likely aware that ammo is probably the most expensive part of shooting, especially over time. You do not need more than one gun right away but you will need to go through A LOT of ammo. Dry firing can help cut down on your ammo costs by running dry fire drills at home in order to work on the fundamentals, but you’re still going to need to put down some money on ammo if you want to truly improve. I currently order 1000 rounds at time for roughly $200 shipped. There are quite a few reputable bulk ammo companies out there. If you need any recommendations just leave a comment below. I shoot at least 2000 rounds a month currently, but only you can determine how much you need (and are able) to shoot in order to improve as a shooter yourself. The key is to shoot and train as much and as often as you reasonably can, based on your budget and goals. When considering your budget also consider how many classes you think you can afford to take throughout the year. Most half or full day classes can run you anywhere from $250 to over $500 so do your due diligence when researching and selecting instructors and classes. Even if you can only afford to take one or two classes in a year, you can walkway leaps ahead of where you would be if you spent that time just shooting on your own. To recap the money hurdle: - Determine what you can reasonably afford and set a budget. - Stick with paper targets if your budget does not allow for more steel targets, and build your own target stands or go to an indoor range. - Work on dry fire practice as much as you often as you feel is needed in order to move toward your goals and balance out the cost of ammo. Regardless of what you can afford, I feel dry fire is an important part of training. - Be prepared to spend money on ammo, the majority of your budget should go to ammo and training. - Invest in at least one or two training classes each year. More if your budget permits and your goals require it.

The key is to shoot and train as much and as often as you reasonably can, based on your budget and goals.

You have made the commitment to prioritize your training, you know what you can afford to spend, but what if you just don’t know how to get started? I have certainly been there. I am strong advocate for constant education. You’re either growing or dying, there is in no in-between. Once I started taking this seriously, the issue of not knowing where to start disappeared. To be very direct, not knowing where to start with anything is a lousy excuse given all the technology and information we have readily available at the click of button. In the last year, I have met and trained with several amazing shooters and all around great people, and all I had to do was reach out and ask. I didn’t have any connections in the shooting industry and didn’t know anybody locally, I just starting connecting with people, and that is when everything starting changing for me, and I became even more serious about my training. If you don’t know where to start, I challenge you to start connecting with others in your local area, or on social media and just start asking questions. How did they get started? What training or instructors do they recommend, etc... I have found most people in the shooting and firearms community to be very willing to share their experience and help out however they can.

I didn’t have any connections in the shooting industry and didn’t know anybody locally, I just starting connecting with people, and that is when everything starting changing for me, and I became even more serious about my training.

If you know how to get started or are well underway in your training, this brings us to what I believe has the most significant impact on your ability to improve as a shooter. For some, it is likely their largest barrier. This is our mindset. I repeatedly hear people mention how they wish they could shoot like this guy, or say they will never be as good as that guy. Many people have spent years developing these limiting beliefs that hold them back from pursuing and achieving their goals. Unfortunately, our society and generation as a whole seems to promote a fixed-mindset. A fixed-mindset will prevent us from doing almost anything necessary to achieve growth any area of our life. A fixed mindset will destroy your chances of becoming a better shooter. Drew Estell, founder of Baer Solutions is a strong advocate for the Growth vs. Fixed Mindset theory. If you haven’t already, go read the book Mindset, by Carol S. Dweck. A growth mindset simply means that those with a growth focused mindset believe that abilities can be developed, as opposed to those with a fixed focused mindset who believe abilities are fixed and you can do little to improve them. If you want to become a better shooter, you need to develop a growth mindset and eliminate any excuses or self-limiting beliefs. Embrace the fact that it is going to take a lot of work, there will always be someone better than you, and make sure to enjoy the process. Learn from your mistakes and let them fuel your desire to grow, not push you into quitting. Focusing on fostering a growth focused mindset has helped me in many areas of my life including my training and I am confident you will see the same results. Understanding what to expect in terms of time, money, just getting started, and developing a growth mindset has prepared me for success as I strive to become the best possible shooter I can be. Whether you want to be able to better defend yourself and your loved ones against a deadly threat, become a champion competitive shooter, or simply learn to shoot great, I believe giving each of these areas consideration and acting accordingly will set you up for success as well.

Article By Travis Johnson
Shooter's Journey
Travis has made the decision to not just be proficient with firearms, but to get as good as possible. His goal is to show you the process and document his journey through training and classes he attends.

Comments

Broseidon
I currently live in NY so worthwhile firearm options are limited. My first and currently only firearm is my G19. While I’d eventually like to purchase both a modern 1911 and an M1 garand, I want to get a rifle so I can get some range time with that in addition to my handgun. That being said, to me the M1 is a bit of a novelty gun, but cmp stocks are running pretty low. So should I get the rifle while the getting is good? Or the 1911, because it feels amazing in hand?
Read More
Posted
SteveO
Great article buddy. I always enjoy watching your progression, keep it up.
Posted
travisjohnson_greyhive
@grimcmv Thanks Bro!
Posted
travisjohnson_greyhive
@MCCREIGHTMB I have been running Blue Lakes Ammo and have been happy with the ammo and customer service. You can also check out Ammoseek.com or maybe what @SHIGGS commented below.
Posted
travisjohnson_greyhive
@IBXTACTICAL You are exactly right! Thanks man!
Posted
travisjohnson_greyhive
@GANNICUS Thanks man! Yeah training and shooting regularly can get expensive. For me it has been a matter of really breaking down how much I can afford to shoot, take classes, etc... Set a budget, identify where you can save, and get the most out whatever time you do spend training. Having a plan every time I go out has helped me accomplish a lot more even when shooting a lot less. For ammo, I have been running Blue Lakes Ammo reman 9mm ammo for awhile now and really like it. I haven't checked out more than a few others, but I have heard of a couple people using Ammoseek.com to find deals on bulk ammo as well. For classes & instructors, where you are located can be a big factor. Determine how far you are willing to drive, and do some research to see which instructors may hold classes within that distance. If you know of a couple instructors you would like to take classes from and can get a small group of guys together and locate a range, you may even be able to get the instructor to come out and do a class. Check the instructor out online and use your judgement to determine if it fits your goals. See if you can find what people have said about their experience with the class online. Baer Solutions (Drew Estell) has been instrumental in my progress this year as a shooter. I have taken a couple classes with him and will be taking more in the future. Appreciate the support!
Read More
Posted
ryanjohnson_greyhive
Great article bro.
Posted
Shiggs
I get my bulk ammo from Widener’s. They may not always be the cheapest but usually have a wide variety of loads available. For me it’s convenience. They are local to me and I order online and pick it up at their location. https://www.wideners.com
Posted
McCreightMB
I need info on better bulk companies. I need a deal on 45, 9, and 5.56 for once.
Posted
Low_Speed_High_Drag
Great write-up... I wish I could convince my shooting buddies to read this and take training seriously.
Posted
IBXTactical
We all have hurdles to overcome but it just depends on how bad you want to get over them. Great read man. Continue rocking it.
Posted
Gannicus
Loved this article. I know for me the money is a big hurdle trying to balance training and providing for the family can be taxing at time. Do you have any suggestions on places to get quality bulk ammo? Any suggestions on which instructors really give you the best bang for your buck? Again great article. Thank you for passing your knowledge.
Read More
Posted