End-of-Year Shooting Update

By Travis Johnson


Well, it has been about six months since I made firearms training a major focus and priority in my life. In addition to making it to the range almost every week this year, I have attended three great firearms courses and have been able train with and learn from a handful of great shooters. Throughout the past 6 months I have learned a lot about the fundamentals of both pistol and rifle shooting and the importance of being able to self-diagnose issues in my training. After overcoming some of my poor shooting habits developed over past years, learning and applying the proper shooting fundamentals, and finding the techniques that work best for me. I also raised my standard of training by incorporating movement and speed into the mix while making sure my accuracy doesn’t suffer.”Three of the key things I have learned in my first six months of focused training revolve around speed, consistency, and mindset.


My goal is to become the best all-around shooter I am capable of being. Regardless of what your personal shooting goals are, I can bet you have found yourself wishing you could get there quicker. When I started my training this year, I made a big mistake. I was trying to do everything way to fast. Many of us in the shooting community want to shoot fast, and there are many of us that do a damn good job at it too. However, as you may already know, we need to be able to shoot accurately before we can focus on how fast we can shoot. Although it wasn’t always easy, learning to slow down and focus on getting every rep right has helped me improve much faster than I would have if I continued to push through at my original pace. When I slowed down to focus on getting my shooting platform right and build consistency in my execution, the amount of mistakes I made decreased by a wide margin. Over time this has allowed me to gradually push my speed as I saw shooting improve. This is also a result of the consistent training I have committed myself to.


Prior to this year, I would go shooting whenever I “had time”. It wasn’t something I made time for. One month I would shoot two or three times and the next I wouldn’t shoot at all. Obviously, I wasn’t going to get very far following that routine. The first thing I committed to this year was to train consistently and make it a priority. This hasn’t always been easy but it has had a huge impact on my progress over these past six months. I understand that we all have different lives and that you may not get out to the range every week, but if your goal is to improve as a shooter, consistency is your best friend. Dry firing at home between range sessions can help a lot if you cannot get to the range very often. For several months I committed 15 minutes a day to dry fire training and still continue to dry fire 4 to 5 days per week depending on the amount of range time I get that week. Having the right mindset and being clear about my goals has helped a lot with maintaining my consistent training plan.


I have always been a positive growth-focused guy, however, I am pretty impatient. When learning and growing with any skill, our patience will be tested many times. I was fortunate early in my training this year, to have Drew Estell (Baer Solutions) explain to me the importance of a growth focused mindset when it comes to shooting and training. The most important thing I took away from this was to learn from the problems I encountered and not get bent out of shape when I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. Now when my range days aren’t going as planned or I seem to be shooting like crap, I use it as a reminder to slow down and focus on what I am trying to accomplish. I break down what I am doing and fix the problem so I can move on with my training. This mindset has been much more effective for me than if I would complain and make excuses for why I am not shooting well. I think having a growth focused mindset is vital for all shooters looking to improve.

What's Next?

As we move into the 2nd half of the year I am excited to begin my competitive shooting journey. In the next couple months, I will be participating in my first USPSA pistol matches and plan to move into some 3 Gun matches as well this year. For me these competition matches are another way to challenge and push myself toward becoming the best all-around shooter I am capable of being. Outside of getting my start in competition shooting, I plan to continue training every weekend, taking 1-2 more pistol classes this fall, and keep pushing myself to learn and improve.

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.


thanks for the solid advice! ;)