If you’re a self defense minded shooter, you know there’s no substitute for realistic training. Drawing from the holster, acquiring your target, and placing several rapid, aimed shots to center mass is what we train to do. The problem of course, is that most of us are limited to shooting on public ranges where things like drawing from the holster are often prohibited. So how do we maximize range time and make it more than just punching holes in paper?
Enter the High Compressed Ready position. HCR has a lot of merits as a position in its own right. Unlike the normal high ready or low ready positions, the arms are drawn in, the pistol is tucked to the chest oriented upright and in a proper two handed grasp. HCR is a good retention position, limits the arm fatigue extended ready positions can cause, and allows for rapid “punching out” to the target rather than swinging (and possibly over swinging) to the target as in low ready. Unlike the the low ready position, you can fire from HCR using point shooting techniques and the pistol can’t be ‘checked’ on the way to acquiring your target. In tight quarters like transitioning through doors and hallways HCR keeps your pistol ready to deploy without hindering your ability to navigate.
As a training aid, High Compressed Ready is useful because it is identical to the 4th stage in a 5 stage draw technique. (1. Grip the holstered pistol. 2. Draw the pistol straight up. 3. Rotate the pistol forward. 4. Bring the support hand and the pistol together, acquiring a firing grip. 5. Punch the pistol out to acquire the target.)
While we can practice these draw steps through dry fire practice at home, we hit a roadblock when it comes to actually incorporating the live fire aspect. By utilizing HCR, we build a bridge between our dry practice and our live fire, helping to cement those necessary neural pathways to build muscle memory.
Next time you’re at the range, instead of starting from a normal firing position, begin in high compressed ready. You can add more value to this training with the use of a partner who can give you the command to fire, forcing you to pay attention and adding a level of stress and anticipation. You can also use a par timer to cue you to fire. Several shot timer apps for smartphones also exist that will allow for a randomized delayed start.
A partner can also be useful to call out how many shots you need to take on the target. We don’t want to get in the habit of always training doubles, singles, or any other specific patterns of shots. In a true life scenario we need to continue to shoot until the threat is stopped. That could be one round or it could take a whole magazine. Varying your shots during training helps to break habits of “fire two then look.”
Finally, add another dimension to your training by adding two targets to your target frame. If your frames are not large enough for two full size silhouettes use two smaller targets and bring your frame a little closer to compensate.
5 yds (9 rounds)
From HCR, fire:
Three rapid aimed shots
Return to HCR. Repeat three times.
7 yds. (15-20 rounds)
From HCR, fire:
Two rapid aimed shots
Assess from high ready.
Fire two additional shots to center mass, or one additional shot to the head.
Return to HCR. Repeat 5 times
10 yds. (or 7 if using smaller targets) (25 rounds)
With two targets on the frame, from the HCR, fire:
Two rapid (double tap) shots at the left target, three rapid aimed shots at the right target.
Assess from high ready.
Return to HCR. Repeat 5 times, alternating first shots between left and right.
For approximately one box of ammo you can bring your dry fire and live fire skills training together to simulate a more realistic defensive shooting scenario.
As always if you find your shots consistently settling in to groups you can cover with your fist, speed up your shots. If your groups are larger than what could be covered by a paper plate, slow down some until those groups tighten back up. Remember in defensive shooting we aren’t going for bullseyes, but rather ‘defensive accuracy’ which is making rapid hits to the targets center of mass.