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Practice does not make perfect—perfect practice makes perfect. How often do we stop and take a good look at our practice sessions? Are we practicing the right concepts? Have we gotten sloppy over the years? Have we begun to “train” ourselves to do the wrong thing?

One of the most important concepts that any shooter should practice is using their “work zone.” Imagine a 12-inch box directly in front of you, which starts approximately at the bottom of your sternum and comes up to eye level. This is the region where 90 percent of all gun manipulation should take place. It is high above the waistline, almost directly between your face and your target (threat area).

This is the area where you should do a press check to see if your gun is loaded. It is the area where reloads should be conducted. It is the area where “immediate action” drills to clear jams or stoppages should take place, and it is the zone where you can rest your weapon at a “high ready” whenever there is a lull in the fight or you are moving with the weapon drawn.

Using this work zone for gun manipulation has a number of advantages. It allows you to look over or through your weapon and keep your eyes on your threat. If you have to look down at waist level when you reload or do a press check, your eyes are off of your threat area. You cannot see if someone is pulling a gun, ducking behind cover or charging you. You lose sight of your adversary and you put yourself at a serious disadvantage.

Having the ability to manipulate the weapon in the work zone allows you to glance at your weapon if you need to. If the gun is at eye level, the only requirement is to shift your focus for a split second to find the magazine well and slide the magazine into it. If you are doing a visual press check, you can see the round in the chamber and keep the threat area in your periphery at the same time. If you have a stoppage, you can glance at it to see if there is a stove-piped round or double feed.

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