Sometimes I think that we spend too much time focusing on the personal defense side of shooting. Oh, don’t get me wrong, perfecting our defense skills is certainly important and requires practice. But we don’t always have to be so uptight and serious about the whole thing. Besides, as an instructor, I have observed that people seem to learn more when they are having fun.
Now before I get into some fun shooting ideas, let me emphasize the importance of safety any time we are handling guns. Whether you are in a defensive shooting class, going hunting, or just enjoying an afternoon of plinking, the same rules of gun safety always apply. It's particularly important to ensure that you have a proper backstop, and that none of your impromptu or "fun" targets can cause ricochets with the ammunition you're using. However, once you've established that your range, targets and shooters are all safe...it's time to bring back the joy of target shooting for fun.
Instead of concentrating on improving your skills at controlled pairs or timed fire, just relax and think of ways to have a little fun competition with your fellow shooters...or even against yourself. For example, get a roll of those little orange paste-on bullseyes – the ones that are about the size of a quarter will do nicely. Paste one up on the target frame for each shooter. Then, shooting from 15 yards with as many rounds of ammo as needed, see who can be the first to completely obliterate their orange dot.
Charcoal briquettes also make good impromptu targets. And, when hit, they dissolve into a gray cloud that doesn’t create a mess on the shooting range. So line a few up, downrange, and see who can bust the most briquettes with the fewest shots. A variation would be to put up a line of briquettes and have two shooters, one starting at each end of the line, see who can hit the most before the other shooter. If you're on private property outdoors, try old fruit or moldy potatoes as targets. Manky old produce has a way of exploding amusingly when hit...and the local raccoons will take care of any mess you've left behind.
The old-time gunfighters used to use playing cards for targets. They’d shoot a nice, tight group from a given distance and then sign the card – it almost became their calling card. You might stick up several cards and see who can shoot the tightest five-shot group.
Any of these little fun drills that I have mentioned will also improve a shooter’s defensive marksmanship. Give it some thought and see what fun drills you can come up with. Better yet, let us know what fun drills you have come up with in the comments!