Training at Extreme Close Range

Is it worthwhile to train accuracy at close range?

The short answer – yes it is. Training accuracy at extremely close range offers many benefits to the shooter. We need to answer this question for both live-fire and dry-fire as the reasoning is different for both forms of training.

In dry-fire, we train at close range normally because most persons don’t have the ability to stretch out to the standard target distance of 7 meters or more inside of their home. We are stuck with the distance that we have, but can make the best of it with scaled targets. Training at close range with scaled targets gives us very similar difficulties of maintaining our sight picture through the trigger press, just as it would at the full distance in live-fire. That being said, if we had the distance inside to train on the full-size targets then this would give us a more accurate representation, as our eyes focus differently at distance.

In live-fire it is very beneficial for us to start at extreme close range for at least two reasons:

1. We get immediate feedback from the target and can form a connection between what we just did on the gun and what it looked like on the target directly in front of us. We can then use this positive or negative feedback to maintain or adjust our technique to ensure that the rounds are meeting our intended point of impact.

2. We don’t have any excuses. At 2 or 3 meters from the target we can be sure that the firearm or ammunition isn’t going to be the reason that we are missing the target.

These are the reasons why our Patch Drill and Metrics Test are run at close range. It is also important to note that these are difficult, scaled down targets to ensure that we are still maintaining a high level of precision even at close range. Remember, the targets are going to get bigger as we are moving backwards to 7-10 meters and then 25 meters… it is simply a mind game. Now, it should be noted that when we get to extreme long range (such as 100 meters or more with a pistol) there are other factors that come into play, such as bullet drop. However, the same principles apply, but the distance will often cause us to lose confidence in our ability to make those shots as our eyes are now seeing a blur downrange instead of a target. 

Maintain an intense focus on your sight picture through the trigger press and ensure that you are entirely focusing on getting that one millisecond right. In that millisecond, your sight picture being simultaneously paired with your trigger break is the only thing that matters.

Now, what about the scenario where a shooter is accurate at close range but when shooting at distant targets they struggle? I think in that scenario it is because the close range targets they are using are not demanding the level of focus and precision like the distance targets are. If a shooter was at the same close range, but instead were shooting a hostage target, tuxedo IPSC target or even a 1″ patch in slow practice, they will likely see that the same stress shows up like it would at long range. This is why the extreme close range is great, because a shooter can induce that level of focus and stress similar to long range shooting but with the added benefit of immediate results and no excuse that their optic/sights weren’t zeroed correctly, etc. Virtual shooting simulators work on this concept of immediate feedback with close range shooting, however also add the benefit of immediate feedback on “long range” targets as well. Point Blank Simulator is one of these simulators that adds ballistic physics to increase the level of realism and perception of distance. 

This perceived difficulty of the shot isn’t always due to distance, but normally the most difficult targets we run into are simply because of the distance, not the target itself. We rarely see a shot at close range that we have to seriously pause for and ensure we get the hit. That’s likely why distance is usually synonymous with difficulty in our minds. 

We can reverse that stress and fear of distance by training at higher difficulty targets at close range. That way, no matter the distance, we are simply identifying a target as hard or easy based on the difficulty of the shot and not letting the distance be the deciding factor for that. Other than putting a lot more time into training at long range and seeing that it is just another difficult shot; increasing our training targets difficulty is a good way to normalize that stress and stop the distance itself from playing mind games on us. 

If you’re interested in getting into training with virtual shooting ranges – you can use our code “SHEPDEV” for 10% off at Point Blank Simulator. Happy shooting!

You may also like

Pistol optics: Yes or no?

Pistol optics: Yes or no?