“Best 100-Round Practice Session” DVD
Presented by Rob Pincus
One of the questions all instructors get frequently is “how should I practice?” In this DVD, Rob Pincus shows what he considers to be a solid practice session even if you only have an hour and 100 rounds of ammunition to spare. It’s an interesting approach to the subject, but just how much valid practice can you do with two boxes of ammunition?
As it turns out, quite a bit!
The first segment on the DVD, appropriately enough, is about the difference between training and practice. Pincus points out that this DVD isn’t so much a training resource as a practice resource: it gives you the information you need to be able to put your existing knowledge to use. He leads this segment off with what I think is a good caution: if you see him do something in this video that you haven’t been trained to do, you should seek competent instruction in those techniques.
Those who’ve been through his Combat Focus Shooting or Advanced Pistol Handling course will recognize the concepts and specific skills he’s demonstrating; in fact, he could change the title to The Official Combat Focus Shooting Practice Session and be completely accurate! Don’t think that this is only for graduates of his classes, however. The exercises are well explained and anyone who’s taken just about any kind of defensive shooting class will be able to come up to speed rapidly.
This DVD isn’t about specific techniques but rather about how to practice in a manner that’s efficient in regards to time and ammunition. If you reload your gun differently than he does, for instance, that’s not going to make any difference in the value you’ll get from his reloading drills.
After those points are made he dives right into the shooting portion with presentation from the holster (I.e., drawing the gun and shooting.) This is probably not how a lot of people are used to starting their practice sessions! Most people I’ve observed will start a range session slowly, shooting controlled groups and working their way into more realistic techniques. Pincus instead starts off cold with multiple rounds on a surprise command. This is more congruent with how you’re likely to use your gun in an actual incident, without prior preparation or “warm up”. He reviews the important parts of the draw and then shows how to practice that skill, integrating his well known counter-ambush methodology along with movement offline as the gun is drawn. Again, depending on your own level of training you can elect to leave out some of the things that he’s doing — and he’s very clear that’s what you should do!
The following segment is about shooting one-handed using the strong hand, which Pincus feels needs occasional practice. This is where he and I diverge just a bit; I’ve come to believe that one-handed shooting is more important than he does, and recommend that at least a third of your shooting be one-handed with the “off” hand doing something realistic (opening a door, holding a flashlight, pulling your child behind you, etc.) He and I are in complete agreement, however, that some one-handed shooting should always be incorporated into your range sessions, and that it be practiced from the holster as opposed to simply dropping one hand. This is more consistent with what you’re likely to need to do when one hand is occupied and you need to access your defensive firearm.
The next segment deals with weak-handed shooting, and here I’m in full agreement with Pincus: this isn’t a skill you should practice more than a few rounds in any given session. Also, this is different than drawing the gun weak-handed; Pincus has a very good explanation of why the weak-hand draw isn’t something you should (or really need) to practice with a live gun, as it simply raises the risk level without a corresponding benefit. This weak-hand-only starts with the worst-case scenario: you’ve dropped your gun because of an injury to your strong hand and therefore need to retrieve the gun and get hits on target.
After that Pincus explains the central tenet of his shooting program: the balance of speed and precision. This is a concept I’ve believed in since long before I met him, and he does a good job of quickly explaining what it is and how it should be practiced. This is probably the first segment that someone should watch if they’ve never been through one of his courses.
This is also where he introduces the random target call and explains why it’s important to realistic skill development. If you’ve followed my work you know that I’m a proponent of random shoot commands in order to build the stimulus-response links so necessary to automating defensive shooting skills. As part of this segment he also explains how to analyze your target in terms of defensive shooting priorities, something that’s missing from a lot of the practice drills you find online.
He treats reloading as a separate section, even though you’ll really be doing reloads as part of all the other drills you shoot. This segment is really more about how to do an emergency reload properly and how to set up any drill to give you good and realistic reloading practice.
One-handed reloads are covered as well, and Pincus gives a very quick overview and explanation of how they should be done efficiently. Personally, I rarely practice this and definitely don’t include it in a normal practice session. Like weak-hand-only shooting, however, you should do it occasionally to at least maintain familiarity with the technique.
One skill that I do think needs to be practiced is malfunction clearing. Pincus includes a segment that deals with how to set up a drill to require malfunction clearing and how the skill is performed. I would have liked him to go into a little more detail about his non-diagnostic linear malfunction concept, but he gave enough information for the careful viewer to do it properly. Be sure to read the end-of-chapter notes on this particular portion of the DVD, as it lays out the procedure very succinctly.
Following that Pincus shows how to practice drawing from a holster while seated. I’m a little surprised to see this in the DVD, not because it’s not important but because very few people would think to include it. Again, he gives a brief overview of the technique then shows the most common application: drawing your gun while in your car. As I said, this is a little unusual to see but since we spend so much time sitting (usually while commuting) I think it’s an important addition to a practice session.
There are also segments on his Flow and Windsprint drills, shooting while in contact, practicing at extended ranges, and a recap of what was covered in all of the drills. I didn’t count up the number of rounds he shot, but it was certainly within 100 rounds. The concept of having a couple of boxes of ammunition and a little time to be able to cover all of the important defensive shooting skills is certainly valid.
All of the Personal Defense Network DVDs have good production values, but this one is just a bit above their norm. They had a good location, good camera people, and most importantly terrific sound. He’s easy to hear and understand at all times, which can be tricky with outdoor video work on a busy shooting range!
As I suggested at the beginning, if you’re a Combat Focus Shooting or Advanced Pistol Handling student this DVD is a “no brainer”; it will give you a practice session using skills you’ll recognize and it’s arranged in a logical way so that you can put your training to work immediately.
Even if you’re not, however, it’s still a very usable guide to practicing solid defensive shooting skills because everything is explained in Pincus’ trademark style: clearly and thoroughly. I think you’ll get a lot out of it regardless of your training background.
– Grant Cunningham
Disclosure: This DVD was supplied by the Personal Defense Network for review. I am affiliated with PDN as a contributor, and have worked with Rob Pincus on many projects over the years, but I receive no compensation should you purchase this DVD.