Her Concealed Carry Journey: Part 4

By Michelle Cerino
Posted in #Skills
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Her Concealed Carry Journey: Part 4

June 28th, 2020

4 minute read

With so many new people recently purchasing firearms, we are sure to see an increase in concealed carry license (CCL) holders for those not living in constitutional carry states. In the past, I wrote about Elizabeth Buerling’s journey to getting her CCL. I’ve decided to continue my “Concealed Carry Journey” series to help educate new firearm owners and those wanting to carry concealed, with a fourth installment to the series: “First Trip to the Range.”

Elizabeth selected a Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2 9mm for her CCW needs.

The first three parts of this series began with Elizabeth’s — who is a college student — background in part one. In part two, we talked grip, trigger press and sight picture. Then, in the third part of the series, Elizabeth learned the importance of proper gear for training and how to draw a pistol from a holster. Now, in this fourth part, we head to the range to begin live-fire training with her Springfield XD-S.

First Trip to the Range

Being an accomplished college competitive pistol shooter, Elizabeth is already familiar with range etiquette and safety rules. However, if this is your first trip to the range, make sure you are aware of the following:

So, how would the XD-S Mod.2 perform on the range for Elizabeth?

Four Firearms Safety Rules

1. Treat all guns as if they are always loaded.

2. Never let the muzzle cover anything that you are not willing to destroy.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target and you have made the decision to shoot.

4. Be sure of your target and what lies beyond it.

Safety is a priority when handling firearms.

Look for range rules posted somewhere near the shooting stalls or handed to you when you sign a safety waiver. Every range has specific procedures; read them thoroughly. If you have any questions, make sure to get them answered before you begin shooting.

Elizabeth perfected her stance and trigger pull with some dry-fire practice on the range.

Dry Fire on the Range

Just like any trip to the range, we started with dry fire. Using an empty gun, that we checked and double checked, Elizabeth practiced drawing from the holster and taking her first shots about 10-feet from the target. Just like when dry firing at home, this gave her the opportunity to practice the fundamentals and manipulation skills without recoil and the noise of shooting.

Dry-firing let her perfect the fundamentals without any noise and recoil.

Once she felt confident in her movements and I confirmed she had the proper grip, she loaded the magazine into the gun. If this were a brand new firearm owner shooting a handgun for the first time, I would only prep the magazine with two rounds. This is a little safety precaution, in case the shooter panics. Once the shooter is comfortable shooting, add more ammo to the magazine.

This Gum Ball Oval Target is downloadable at the end of the article.

Since this was my first time on the range with Elizabeth, we began with the same drills I would do for any class. By watching her shoot the following drills I assessed her ability, determined what needed correction and then helped her to make the corrections.

The author ran Elizabeth through the fundamentals.


Use the gum ball target, linked below, at a distance of 10-feet.

1. Do single shots from the high ready each time.

2. Do controlled pairs, which are two aimed shots from the high ready each time.

3. Do single shots and draw from the holster each time.

4. Do controlled pairs and draw from the holster each time.

While Elizabeth shot, I watched her trigger press and grip. When she shot competitively in college, she used a very light trigger. The Springfield XD-S’s heavier trigger pull took a little getting used to, but she figured it out. I offered constructive corrections to her, since shooting with two hands is completely new to her. Plus, it’s been a long time since she’s had a trip to the range.

Her results downrange were quite impressive and showed she had a solid grasp of running the pistol.

What’s Next in the Series?

In the next installment and our session, I’ll analyze Elizabeth’s targets (as well as other targets as examples) and explain what adjustments to make to correct them. Plus, Elizabeth and I will head back to the range for some new drills.

Read part one of the series here, part two of the series here, part three of the series here, and part five of the series here.

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Michelle Cerino and shared with us by Women’s Outdoor News. You can see it here. Also, be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in!

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

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Michelle Cerino

Michelle Cerino

Michelle Cerino is the managing editor at Women’s Outdoor News and author of Gear Up, sponsored by Springfield Armory and Princess Gunslinger. She also freelances for other industry magazines including Combat Handguns, Person Defense World and New Pioneer Magazine. Michelle is the president of Cerino Consulting and Training Group LLC, a firearms training company she built with her husband Chris in 2011. They instruct both civilians and law enforcement. Her path in the firearms and outdoors industries is ever progressing. She is writing, hunting, competing and doing contract work for major manufacturers. Michelle is a proud Life Member of the NRA, and also belongs to NSSF, AG&AG and ILEETA.

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