For the 2014 GUN BUYER’S GUIDE, self-defense expert Massad Ayoob outlined a series of tips to help enhance a shooter’s skills on and off the range. In his detailed advice to everyday shooters, Ayoob covered such topics as electronic shot timers, target types and partaking in competition.

“One of the best investments a shooter can make in self-improvement is an electronic gunshot timer. Go to the range with a reasonable, incremental goal. Instead of burning 200 rounds at random, maybe you can get more out of shooting only 50, but each with a specific purpose,” says Ayoob. “That electronic timer, of course, will also be much more efficient if you’re shooting a fixed-time course of fire, particularly if you don’t have a practice partner.”

Moving on to selecting the proper targets for training purposes, Ayoob insisted that a variety of stationary and reactive targets would help round out a shooter’s skillset. “A good set of shooting skills is best learned on a variety of targets. Paper and cardboard are good because they give you a distinct track of where you’re hitting. Still, you definitely want some reaction targets in the mix, too,” says Ayoob. “Shooting a lot of reaction targets in practice conditions you to watch your front sight once the decision to fire has been made.”

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Ayoob also encouraged shooters to push their skills through competition in local shooting matches. “Colonel Jeff Cooper, one of the great authorities on gunfighting, lamented 
the fact that many people would work harder to win a trophy than they would to save their life. He harnessed that idea, however, when he created our longest-lasting gunfight simulation sport, the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC). These run-and- gun events inculcate positive gun-handling skills, encouraging speed and learning to shoot as you move,” says Ayoob. “The International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) is similar with more emphasis on ‘street guns and holsters,’ use of cover, and drawing from concealment.”

To read the full article on Training Day, check out the 2014 GUN BUYER’S GUIDE, available on newsstands April 29, 2014. To subscribe, go to

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