Practical Shooting Books and CD Reviews
Below you’ll find details and reviews for practical shooting and mental management books CDs – including Olympic Champion Lanny Bassham’s, With Winning in Mind, Freedom Flight, and Mental Management for Shooting Sports.
- Practical Shooting, Beyond Fundamentals – by Brian Enos
- Perfect Practice – by Saul Kirsch
- Thinking Practical Shooting – by Saul Kirsch
- Refinement & Repetition – by Steve Anderson
- Principles of Performance – by Steve Anderson
- The Glock in Competition – by Robin Taylor
- With Winning in Mind (Book and CD) – by Lanny Bassham
- Freedom Flight (Book and CD) – by Lanny Bassham
- Mental Management for Shooting Sports (CD Only) – by Lanny Bassham
Practical Shooting, Beyond Fundamentals, by Brian Enos
Brian Enos’s Practical Shooting, Beyond Fundamentals – often considered the competitive shooters bible – includes in-depth coverage of the technical and mental aspects of training and competition, and will offer new insights as you continue to improve.
Practical Shooting, Beyond Fundamentals (202 pages, nine chapters):
- Awareness & Focus
- Tools of Shooting
- Creative Shooting
- Specific Challenges
- Shooting Tools
- Revolver Shooting
- Group Shooting
From the Back Cover
This isn’t just another “how to fire a gun” book. This one talks about shooting….
The keys to consistent, high-speed shooting are within you right now. This book will show you ways to bring them out. Through Brian’s advice, you’ll learn how to recognize and break down the barriers that are limiting your performance—you may begin to look at shooting in an entirely different way. You’ll learn to pressure-proof your match performance, how different types of shooting require different focal points, and you’ll see how to develop an attitude that will let you reach beyond what you thought was your potential.
You’ll find a comprehensive set of exercises that will develop and sharpen your skills. You’ll see how it’s possible to drive the gun to wherever your eye can look. You’ll discover that everything you need to know about your technique is told by the gun, if you know how to listen to it. And all the challenges and advanced techniques of practical shooting are covered too: prone, barricade, single-hand shooting, multiple targets, reloading, shooting on the move, and much more. You’ll also get inside tips on IPSC strategies, steel shooting, shootoff tactics, Bianchi, and more.
This book will give you all the fundamentals of practical pistol shooting, but then it will show you ways you can take yourself far, far beyond them…Ya follow?
Review by Duane Thomas
The name Brian Enos will be familiar to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the action shooting sports. In the late 1970s and early ’80s Enos and his good friend Rob Leatham revolutionized competitive shooting forever by developing techniques allowing pistol control – and a level of performance – previously impossible. They did this by questioning everything, throwing out many of the sacred cows like the Weaver Stance espoused by the experts of the day, and embracing anything-no matter how unconventional – that worked. The techniques they developed (for a few years, until the other guys could adopt the same techniques to catch up) didn’t just put Leatham and Enos ahead of the rest of the best in the world – they were in an entirely different CLASS.
Practical Shooting, Beyond Fundamentals has been called by those who’ve read it, “Zen and the Art of Pistol Shooting.” It’s also been called a book written by an IPSC Grandmaster Class shooter that you have to be an IPSC Grandmaster to understand. There is a certain amount of truth to that. Most books on handgun marksmanship will tell you that truly high-level shooting really has very little to do with equipment and technique, and is 95 percent mental… and then spend 95 percent of the rest of the book talking about equipment and technique! Enos tells you shooting is 95 percent mental and then spends 95 percent of the rest of the book talking about mental states of consciousness.
The reason no one had never written a book like this before, and why some people find it impenetrable even today, is because it’s just damn hard to describe a mental state of consciousness in such a way that someone who’s never experienced it can understand what you’re talking about. This is definitely a book that benefits frequent re-reading as your skill level improves. The first time I read Beyond Fundamentals I was lost throughout most of it. “What the hell is this guy talking about?” I thought. A few years later, when I read it again, I found it much more comprehensible because, in the intervening time frame, my skill level had improved to the point where I could just barely brush the edges of a lot of the stuff Enos was describing. Then, I found the book was going by fairly fast, and was absolutely fascinating reading. I was saying to myself, “This is so cool. I’m already 40 pages into this thing and he hasn’t said anything I don’t understand yet.” The foreword to the book was written by Rob Leatham, in which he sums up neatly just what makes this volume special: “Brian was one of the first people to go beyond hold the gun like this, look at the sights, squeeze the trigger, and the same basic line you’ve heard forever. Back when everyone else was experimenting with checkering, Brian was trying to figure exactly what you really should pay attention to and what you shouldn’t pay attention to, what is important and what isn’t important. There are still probably only five or six people in the world who really know how to tell you what is happening while you’re shooting. You can ask Brian and he probably knows exactly how it happens, not just what he thinks makes it happen.” Enos takes ideas from sources as far-flung as bull’s-eye shooting, golf, martial arts, and even motorcycle racing and synthesizes them. His sources are as diverse as John Satterwhite, Bill Blankenship, Ed McGivern, Bruce Lee and “a lot of other people whose names I didn’t catch.” At times this book will impress you as being more a tome on Buddhist philosophy or some Eastern fighting system than a shooting manual.
Not to worry though, for those of you who want instruction in technique it is here in abundance: in-depth discussion on the biomechanics of shooting, written by one of the best shooters in the world. And while reading that may certainly improve your performance, if you really want to excel it’s the “hard to understand” portions of the book – the discussions of mental states – that will over the long term prove the most invaluable, and will eventually take you the farthest. Enos does not discuss self-defense tactics in his book – it’s about pure shooting skill. Some folks of the “martial artist” persuasion might opine, “Well, I don’t have anything to learn from a guy like Enos. I’m a combat shooter and he’s a gamesman.” Frankly, in my opinion, any defensively oriented handgunner who honestly believes he has nothing to learn from an IPSC Grandmaster Class shooter is delusional. I’m a handgun “martial artist” myself, and just smart enough to realize that IPSC Grandmasters have reached the pinnacle of fast and accurate handgunning. No one knows more about how to fire a handgun fast and well than these guys, and that’s definitely a skill that could come in handy in a real-life emergency! This is a classic text that should be part of every serious handgunner’s library.
WA State IDPA Champion
Author of The Truth About Handguns
Review by Travis Tomasie
I felt as if I was spinning my wheels, a class “B” IPSC competitor with a burning desire to become the next Rob Leatham. I was consuming enormous quantities of ammunition in my quest, never obtaining the results I had expected. Then it happened; while viewing Steel Challenge highlights I noticed a tall fellow step into the shooting box. From surrender he drew and shot two plates in nine-tenths of a second! So calm and relaxed, he could have just as easily been reading a book in the park. It was awe-inspiring to say the least. They said his name was Brian Enos, and I just had to have his book.
It was a mere five months from the time I had procured my copy of “Beyond Fundamentals”, to the time I received my USPSA Grand Master classification. From the moment I flipped the cover, I knew this one was special. First there was the Forward, written by the great one himself (worth the price of admission alone). There is no published, instructional material from Robbie that I know of, so this is a rare and truly valuable read. It also reinforces the fact that Brian Enos, the humble author, is not only the sounding board and collaborator of the greatest shooter ever, but also a sparring partner!
Next there was the Preface and Introduction. Here Brian actually suggests an approach to reading his book. To me this was stunningly original, and a revelation. I followed his counsel, never rejecting or accepting what he wrote. I simply read without judgment. I didn’t know what “floating the gun” was, but I drove to the range to see if it happened as he had described. I distinctly recall that particular range session; I set up the familiar “El Presidente” exercise, and shot a time that I had previously thought was impossible. It was as if the gun functioned it self along the targets, while I simply observed. Floating the gun? Yes indeed.
Sure, “Beyond Fundamentals” taught me how to do sub-second draws and reloads, but more importantly it introduced me to the “mental” game and the internal environment. Zen and Eastern philosophy took on a whole new persona with Brian’s writing. It was no longer a dull and boring subject. On the contrary, it was quite exciting! I began making regular trips to the local book stores, hunting for more on the topic. You see, through Brian I realized a definite correlation between these ideals and enhanced performance. In essence, “Beyond Fundamentals” served as an on-ramp to a highway of knowledge.
Brian Enos is the quintessential student of the game. A kind of E.F. Hutton of the shooting sports. When he speaks, shooters listen. He is that rare individual who is blessed with the gift of not only being able to perform, but to articulate in detail how he, and others, do it. He is a veritable Bodhisattva. A person whose underlying motivation is not fame, fortune, or superiority. Rather, his drive is determining how and why a technique (both internal and external) functions, and then sharing that knowledge with you, so that you may obtain your dreams. You can rest assured that Brian has field-stripped every aspect of the game.
If achieving my goals in the shooting sports is comparable to building a house, “Beyond Fundamentals” is my hammer. I may be able to live without my gun, holster, or reloading press, but I couldn’t live without this book. Each time I read it I learn something new. That is the definitive mark of a master piece.
Beyond Fundamentals” taught me how to teach myself. At that point, there are no limits….
U.S. Army professional shooter
Review by Saul Kirsch
It was a pleasure to meet and talk with you at the Desert Classic in Phoenix. You may recall I picked up a copy of your book at the prize ceremony.
Truthfully, I didn’t have such high expectations, and I’d heard from some that this book is a tough read, and they put it down half way… But I figured, why not? Worth a look.
I don’t presume to know all there is to know about shooting a pistol, but I thought I had reached a point that I had enough experience, and knew how to analyze what I was doing well enough, so that anything I still needed to learn—I would be the one to teach myself. I have 10 years experience in Olympic Rifle shooting, prior to ever shooting a pistol, so I’m well familiar with much of the mental side of shooting. I really didn’t believe that a ten-year-old book would give me that much—but I was wrong.
Brian, your book is BRILLIANT!!! I’ve read it once, and have gone right back to the beginning to read again and make notes. You’ve put into words so many points that were kind of floating around in the back of my consciousness when I shoot and think about my shooting. I feel I have a whole new range of things I want to go out to the shooting range and tryout.
I don’t agree with some of the technical points, but all the mental points on focus and driving the gun are “spot on.”
“Point of focus”—Multiple “easy” Type 2 targets (definition from the book), at about 6 yards. In the past, I would just blaze through such targets, and often end up with poor hits. I realized I wasn’t seeing what I had to, and forced myself to learn to see the dot on such targets. My accuracy was good, but I could sense that I was not able to pick up the next target fast enough go really smoothly through the array.
Yesterday, I set up 4 IPSC targets (small European kind) at about 6 yards, spread out and up and down. Shot it a few times, and the best I could run was about 2.6-2.8 seconds for 8 shots, including the draw.
Then, I intentionally changed my point of focus—look at the targets—but not just stare at them, glazed over—but to really focus and SEE the A zone on each one as I drive the gun through them. I told my practice buddy that I wanted to try something new, not what I had been doing. On the first run I went through in 2.18 – and with good hits. His reaction was “what the hell did you just do?!?!”
I played around with it, and was able to shoot it in around 2.2sec, a 20% improvement from my previous technique.
Anyway, I just wanted to say THANKS. Also, put me down for a copy of your next book. You have given me a new sense of enthusiasm about my shooting, and I look forward to my next practice.
Israeli IPSC National Champion
Unsolicited Reviews (received in email)
Dear Mr. Enos,
I have just read your practical shooting book and I just had to drop you a line to tell you it’s the best book on pistol shooting that I have ever come across. It great to know that someone out there can look beyond the mechanics of technique to the underlying principles. I have read a few other books but yours is the only one that I will re-read and still learn more from. As I am just starting shooting I was applying my previous knowledge of Tai Chi to try to find my best technique and I can see that it has already put me on the right track. Your book has filled in many gaps and answered questions I didn’t even know to ask. Not all of the techniques you describe are useful to me as here in England we can only use air pistols (and there’s a good chance that the best of those is to be banned shortly, that will leave me with airsoft!) but I’m beginning to understand the essence of shooting, thanks to your book, and I don’t think it’s too different from martial arts or eastern philosophy.
You wrote a tremendous book – Practical Shooting.
I practiced martial arts off and on for 20+ years. I got my Dan ranking in Aikido and taught a few years. I have a pretty good background in ki and zen mind. As an adjunct to my martial arts, I also read and studied how the mind works. I have studied Silva, Ramana Maharshi, awareness meditation, plus Ken Wilber, Tolle, and others.
Just reading the beginning chapter puts your slim book at or near the top of any other book – even classics like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Yours is a book which transcends shooting. It is absolutely the best explanation of getting into and staying in the moment I have ever found. It beats hands down the esoteric writings of the various martial arts luminaries – Musashi, Ueshiba, etc. It would have been nice to have found your book back in the 80’s when I was much more active.
Thanks. This is a book I will savor.
Joe (Last name witheld by request)
Perfect Practice, by Saul Kirsch
Perfect Practice is Saul Kirsch’s first book and the ideal guide to quality IPSC training. Created from Saul’s own personal practice know-how, over 50 carefully crafted practice drills ensure you acquire all the knowledge, tips and skills necessary to excel.
- Accuracy and recoil control
- Calling your shots
- Improving your draw
- Shooting position transitions
- Shooting on the move
- Swingers, and more…
I recently purchased a copy of Saul Kirsch’s “Perfect Practice” and found myself absolutely surprised at how well it was thought out and put together. There are fantastic drills with advice for every level of competition shooter. Most of the drills take almost no props to practice with and are able to be used on nearly any pistol range. This book brings a new level of professionalism to the products in the competition market. I will be using the book every time I am at the range and will be recommending it to my students as a must buy! Congratulations Saul on an incredible product and I can’t wait to see your next book!
Matt Burkett – Professional Shooter and Instructor
I did finally get the book and I read it the first day. I love it. I think you did a great job making it simple and to the point. I can’t wait to get on the range again and start running some of your drills. It is always fun to do something new and now I can. Only problem is I have to take about 4 months off because of my Army schedule. Oh well. I have something to look forward to though.
Max Michel – US Open National Champion
I could scarcely be more impressed with your training guide – Perfect Practice. I’ve been using the copy I obtained from you in Oparany myself, and have been following a couple of friends to whom I also recommended it. Initial impressions after about 8 good practice sessions are very positive, and I’ve already realized significant improvement in certain skills (such as shooting on the move) that I had previously come to accept were beyond me.
I am developing a new competitive problem now: allowing myself to trust my newly enhanced capabilities. I unthinkingly hit a couple of crucial US poppers on the run at A1 last week, stopped in bemused disbelief to look, and negated the time and extra reload I saved thereby. Pretty funny; that’s a nice problem to have. Thank you.
Thinking Practical Shooting, by Saul Kirsch
Saul Kirsch’s latest book covers a wide range of topics:
Part I: The Basics of Practical Shooting
- Elements of Practical Shooting
- Accuracy in Pistol Shooting
- Recoil Control in High Speed Shooting
- Understanding IPSC Scoring
Part II: Mental Aspects of Practical Shooting
- The Mental Process of Performance
- The Champion’s Attitude
- The Power of Visualization
- Managing Match Stress
- The Mental Games We Play
Part III: Preparation
- Goal Setting
- Building a Training Program for Practical Shooting
- The Shooting Diary
- Perfect Practice
- How to Use Published Stage Designs
- Match Preparation
- Physical Training for Practical Shooters
- Preparing Your Gear for Competition
Part IV: Match Day Performance
- Preparing for a Great Stage Performance
- Chipping Away at Stage Times
- Tactical Stage Analysis
- IPSC Match Tactics
- Match Day Nutrition
- Interacting with Range Officials
Part V: In Closing
- Shooting Swingers (Bobbers)
- The Secret of Successful Practical Shooting
Download Sample Pages: (PDF)
Refinement & Repetition, Dry Fire Drills for Dramatic Improvement
Steve Anderson is a huge believer in the power of dry fire practice. The goal: To make all of the skills required to fire a pistol accurately at high speed subconsciously controlled. According to Steve: When the basic gunhandling skills are subconsciously controlled, you are no longer drawing, aiming, pulling the trigger and firing the gun. You are simply shooting.
Refinement and Repetition is made up of 38 dry fire drills, including the exact drills Steve used to achieve the rank of Grand Master in one year after buying his first IPSC Open Pistol.
If you’ve ever wondered, “Well, what should I practice today?” – then Steve’s book is a must have. His well thought out and organized drills will guide you from beginning presentation skills to advanced multiple target engagement and transition techniques. [Brian Enos]
Principles of Performance, Refinement and Repetition 2
Principles of Performance is the logical continuation of Steve Anderson’s first book, Refinement and Repetition. It follows Steve’s progression from a shooter who was driven to be Ohio’s first USPSA Grand Master to a shooter who wanted better, more consistent match performance.
The new book places a heavy emphasis on match consistency and the mental qualities required for solid USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association) match performance. It is designed to take a good shooter with sound fundamentals and basic skills to a place where he can better utilize those basic skills in the world of high-stress competition.
There are drills designed specifically to improve field course skills, as well as drills designed to isolate the challenges a shooter begins to see at larger matches.
Principles of Performance also covers all the common mistakes seen at every USPSA match, as well as their solutions. Most shooters will recognize themselves in the “Common Mistake” portion of the book, thereby gaining the means to identify a simple solution to every problem.
Also featured is Steve’s interview with Lanny Bassham, on the topic of creating a winning self image in the arena of national competition. He interviewed Lanny for over an hour and transcribed the entire conversation.
He also details his first two experiences on National Championship “Super Squads,” which give the reader a good idea of what it’s like to be squadded with the best shooters in the sport.
In his first book, Refinement and Repetition, Steve helped the shooter achieve the goal of higher class placement based on improving fundamental skills. In Principles of Performance, Steve shows you how to take those skills and put them to work by improving match placement.
Table of Contents
The Fine Print
Dry Fire is Useless
Irons vs. Open
The Conscious and Subconscious mind
The Self Image
Evolution of the Mental Game
Lanny Bassham Interview
Dusting off the Double Deuce
The Super Squad
Winning Stages Sucks
Drills, Props, and Creativity
Dry Drills 1-21
Live Fire Drills L1-L8
The Glock in Competition, by Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor’s The Glock in Competition draws from the experiences of America’s finest shooters to create a comprehensive how-to book for the new competitor or anyone who’s serious about Glocks.
It includes tips from the undisputed master of the Glock, world champion Dave Sevigny, Bobby Carver’s chapter on the GSSF, and Mark Passamaneck chapter on why Glocks have trouble with lead bullets.
It covers not only how to play and win the most popular shooting games, it explains reloading for the Glock, curing jamming problems, tuning the trigger, and fixing the Glock’s achilles’ heels.
Currently out of stock.
With Winning In Mind, by Lanny Bassham (Book & CD)
Olympic gold medalist and world rifle champion Lanny Bassham shares his mental strategies for success in his book, With Winning In Mind.
From the back cover:
- With Winning in Mind is the most authoritative book available on mental training for sports and competitive business environments.
- The most powerful mental tools used by Olympic winners.
- The secrets of mastering the pressure of big competitions.
- The three mental processes that control a winning performance.
- Why ninety-five percent of all winning is accomplished by only five percent of the participants.
- How to turn your deficiencies into strengths.
- The Mental Management System used by Olympic teams from seven nations.
With Winning In Mind is essential for:
- Athletes in training for national or world competitions in all sports.
- Coaches of top-ranked teams and individuals.
- Business trainers and sales professionals.
- Anyone interested in increasing performance while reducing stress.
With Winning in Mind is a fantastic resource for anyone seeking improvement of any kind – I’ve recommended to all my friends. I wish I had known about it when I was competing! [Brian Enos]
Learn the secrets that Olympians use to control the mind under the pressure of competition. The Audio CD version of With Winning in Mind will allow you to listen to the its inspirational lessons on your way to your next challenge.
Four audio CDs read are by the author. Includes a Bonus CD with 40 minutes of new material and commentary not included in the printed version of the book.
Book Price: $12.95 (softbound)
CD Price: $32.95
“Lanny does an outstanding job of boiling down all the mental training mumbo jumbo to a form anyone can understand and benefit from. His book is easy to read and understand and I recommend it at all my seminars.“
Jay Bars Olympic Gold Medalist – Archery
“I was World Champion and world record holder in the 300 meter standard rifle event (1974) when I first heard about Lanny Bassham’s Mental Management course. I was anxious to repeat my win and increase my world record at the next World Shooting Championships to be held in Seoul, Korea in 1978. I was putting it all on the line. I had quit my job in aerospace to practice full-time and prepare for that event and then planned to stick it out for the 1980 Olympic Team tryouts. I was getting help from the Army Reserve International Team, but I needed insurance. That insurance (besides a fine backup rifle): the mental edge that would let my improving practice scores translate to a winning Championship score. Those principles of mental management, positive reinforcement, mental rehearsal, the mental program, visualization, positive expectations, these and other mental skills passed on to me by Lanny in 1977 … all gave me that strong “mental tool box”, empowering me to walk around all the other competitors in my event. That was in addition to improving my scores! The feeling of successfully defending my World Championship and increasing my world record that day in October of 1978 is hard to describe. Lanny, I cannot thank you enough!”
World Champion + World Record Holder- 1974, 1978, Olympic Team, 1980.
PS. I find that these mental skills and techniques have not just benefited me in the shooting sports. I can see their power in all the sports I have observed, as well as in my daily life. In daily life, having positive expectations and positive ways to look at “temporary setbacks” (not failures) in your life, the importance of goal setting; in helping younger athletes look at their performances in a positive way thereby making it easier for them to progress to the next level, these are among the numerous carryovers from Lanny’s course.
Freedom Flight, by Lanny Bassham (Book & CD)
Two people have a conversation on a long plane trip from New York to Cairo Egypt. One is an Olympic Silver Medalist; the other is someone that will offer a truly unforgettable story that will take you, along with the medalist, to a new understanding of the origins of mental power.
Lanny’s new book, inspired by true events and real people, is an unforgettable story of survival and attainment, of becoming and accomplishment, as one man’s experiences empower another man’s future. You will learn 14 principles of attainment in this 96 page book.
According to Lanny’s wife, Helen, “The response that we have received from this book is truly amazing. This has become our most popular gift item and our best selling tool next to the book “With Winning in Mind.”
This book is applicable to any performer, competitor or business professional. Young, old, rich or poor – this story is for you.
BigJoni and I really enjoyed it – good stuff.
The Audio CD version of Freedom Flight will allow you to listen to this inspirational story on your way to your next challenge. It is on 2 CDs and is read by the author.
Book Price: $20.95 (hardback)
CD Price: $27.95
From the back cover:
“Freedom Flight is incredible! I heard if for the first time from Lanny in his own words. This story will grab you within the first few minutes. Freedom Flight and its lessons of mental power can’t help but impact everyone who listens. Enjoy this incredible story and learn that the mind can overcome things you cannot even imagine until you read Freedom Flight.”
-Fred Funk, PGA Tour Golfer
“Lanny does and outstanding job of boiling down all the mental training mumbo jumbo to a form anyone can understand and benefit from. If you need help on your mental game, Lanny is the best! He knows what he’s talking about and has the titles to prove it.
-Jay Barrs, Olympic Gold Medalist – Archery
Mental Management for Shooting Sports (CD only)
Shooters often ask – which product is best for me? After studying the book “With Winning in Mind” and listening to “Freedom Flight” the Mental Management for Shooting Sports Audio CDs is your next step. It has over 6 hours of training on CD for the competitive shooter.
This CD set takes the Mental Management System introduced in the book “With Winning in Mind” and applies it to shooting competition. If you are a competitive shooter of any kind this CD set is for you. Archery, shotgun, SASS, pistol, rifle, handgun – any shooting competitor will be able to gain mental strength from this CD set.
Lanny focuses on mental preparation for tournaments – pressure control, recovery strategies, running a mental program, winning habits and attitudes, and much more.
“The program has one serious defect. It is so good no one will talk about it. I know of many shooters, especially in combat shooting sports who use the program but will not talk about it to anyone. I have used if for over two years and have told very few people about it because I did not want to give up the edge it gave me. It was the last piece of the puzzle for me to get to the top.”
-Evil Roy (Gene Pearcey) Cowboy Action Shooting World Champion