It is my studied conviction that, once one is proficient in safely and consistent competent in handling their EDC weapon, and doing do with above average accuracy, there is great wisdom in seeking out and regularly/consistently/frequently training with a competent (preferably certified) instructor who has his/her own training and experience in scenario experiences. They need not be prior law enforcement, though that is preferred in my opinion.
Speed is always secondary to safety and proper procedure. However, real life defensive or protective use of one’s weapon does not include any “time-outs”. Cardboard or paper targets are sufficient, when drills include such skills as up-close-and-personal practice (1 shot at 3-5’ distance and the next two shots taken while stepping back), target discrimination drills, timed presentation of one’s weapon followed by a double tap, and reloading drills. At a point when one’s instructor believes it to be appropriate, using a shot timer and or video taping one’s practice could be helpful.
Having had my life threatened many times by people whom Superior Court in my State has ordered me to evaluate, leisurely making holes in paper is not sufficient to confidently prepare you for a real deal confrontation. Though I have no law enforcement history, I have found sufficient reason to “be prepared” having evaluated nice people on their worst behavior, as well a bad guys on their best behavior.
As an adolescent, my father was murdered a busy street, in a large Midwestern city. This shifted my perspective on the fundamental safety of my environment. I have come to see that a pessimist is likely an optimist with experience.
Having lawfully carried concealed for well over a decade, I have come to believe that effective self-defense is a perishable skill. As Kevin says, “You don’t train ‘till you get it right, you train ‘till you can’t get it wrong.” There is no substitute for realistic scenario training. I am grateful to Kevin, Ed, Mike, Tim, Beth and others at USCCA for the consistent balance of safety an proficiency in their quality presentations.