By Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch


Happy New Year.  We’ve enjoyed a wonderful holiday season and probably been given some new, fun gifts (hopefully one or two that make bang noises!).

We’re throwing away the 2017 calendar and tearing the plastic wrap off the 2018 calendar.  So with the new calendar and New Year comes the traditional act of resolutions.  We want to help you with some resolutions we know you can keep throughout the year.  And as an “Oh By The Way” that new tax law should be putting some extra money back in our pocket to help achieve your resolutions; and maybe even buy the present you wanted for Christmas but didn’t get!

As we turn the corner into 2018; let’s focus on getting better… better accuracy, better control, better timing!  And, in order to get better, we have to get to the range and shoot more.  But let’s not just shoot more, let’s practice; and practice more effectively.

If you don’t already, let’s plan to make at least one trip to the range each month as a goal for 2018 (more if possible).  And let’s not just go there for an hour and punch holes in a paper target.  You want to improve your skills; and you can’t do that if you continue to do what you’ve done: take lessons with an experienced instructor.  Challenge yourself with some more difficult presentations and targets.  Add some friendly competition with a fellow shooter; or introduce someone to the joy of shooting.

Plan to meet your instructor every month and get the most out of your training sessions.  Let your instructor know what you want to accomplish; and be specific.  Some examples might include: tighten the spread pattern at a specific distance, improve control with double-taps, more timely response to failures – or just more confidence with your draw and presentation.  Each month review the previous improvements and add a new drill to hone your overall shooting skill.  And ask your instructor for some dry –fire and live-fire drills you can conduct on your own – an excuse for another day at the range.  As if we needed an excuse!

And don’t forget to have your instructor review the various failures and responses.  If you haven’t conducted a “Failure to Fire” or “Failure to Extract” exercise in a while; maybe it’s time for a review and some practice.

Ask a friend join you at the range and run through some basic shooting drills.  When you are both comfortable; add some more complex target presentations and see who’s got the tighter grouping.  Make it a fun, friendly competition.

Additionally, let’s add to our resolutions with at least one basic firearms class and one intermediate firearms class this year.  Find a class, sign up and encourage a friend to sign up with you; it’s always more fund to learn with a friend.

These additional courses, improve your firearm safety, increase your confidence with the firearm and enhance your skill and reaction time.  Our Law Enforcement Officers and military are required to requalify regularly, why shouldn’t we have a similar mindset to continue improving our knowledge, capabilities and confidence…

The high level skills of firearm safety, marksmanship and self-defense are perishable.  You’ve seen it yourself.  You work to get a grouping inside a quarter, take the summer off and the grouping is back to a playing card.  If we don’t continuously work on our safety, marksman and timed skills, they deteriorate.

  1.  You get it; and you’re on board.  What next:  1) Block out an hour each month to visit the range.  2) Get an instructor – call Saddle River Range and discuss which instructor might be the right fit for you.  3) Look at the range training calendar and offered times for Private Instruction (PI) Saddle River Range’s website. 4) Sign up for a PI and basic class that you’d like to attend (even if you’ve taken it before, it’ll be a good refresher to polish up your skills).  Then sign up for an intermediate or advanced class with prerequisites which you meet; book them and put them in the calendar and attend.  5) Buy a bunch of ammo, repack your gun bag and clean/lube your firearm.  And finally, have fun at the range this year.

Shooting; whether pistols, rifles or shotguns require practice to maintain a level of confidence and safe operation.  If it’s been a while since you’ve practiced.  Make that resolution to spend more time practicing; and not just showing up and shooting – make an effort to learn from someone that is trained to help you improve your skills and abilities.

Looking forward to seeing you guys at the range in 2018.

Stay Alert, Stay Safe,


© Copyright 2018 Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch

All rights reserved.