It must become second nature. That’s where practice comes in. But sometimes, yes, using live ammunition can get expensive. Getting to the range can be difficult. If you live in an apartment you can’t just shoot whenever you want to be able to practice. There are ways around that though, and that way is dry fire practice.
The seemingly simple act of taking your weapon off the safe position, squeezing the trigger at a smooth even pace, allowing the breaking point to come as a surprise while holding the front site on target isn’t actually so simple or easy for that matter. Now imagine that all has to be accomplished with the added stress of the health and welfare of you or your family at stake. Not simple at all.
It doesn’t come naturally to be good at this highly specific skill set. Not for anyone, soldiers and law enforcement included. You must practice, there’s no way around it. The good news is modern firearms are not damaged at ALL by dry fire drills in fact it probably helps to break in the trigger mechanism and smooth out the draw. Only firing live rounds can wear out a gun, or more specifically, the barrel rifling.
Like all things that require practice, I suggest a little practice daily rather than hours of it every couple of months. It keeps you in touch and doesn’t burn you out. Since you are reading this I will assume you already carry or will be soon. The rule is if you carry, always carry. So when you are getting dressed to go out into world everyday take 3 minutes to do the following:
1. Clear and unload your weapon.
2. Make sure you have a safe place to aim your gun (I use a shot correction target on the door of my safe. These here are good ones.)
3. Practice presenting and dry firing your weapon starting with your gun in the way you carry it or intend to. Do this 5-10 times.
You’re not trying for a world record, just smooth, efficient, methodical practice so if it ever is a much more serious situation you will know exactly what to do and know you can do it.
The choice to use a gun to stop a violent encounter should never be taken lightly. But the ability to do so if you have no other choice should never feel like you’re doing it for the first time. It must become second nature.