If you show up for a Firearms Qualification (FAQ) and haven't put in the practice time, you may be leaving your success up to chance. The common misconception is that unless opportunities to shoot the entire course of fire are provided to the shooter ("ICE-nights", pre-qualifications, etc.), the shooter is destined to fail. The truth is, there are a plethora of methods to prepare oneself for a Firearms Qualification that have nothing to do with actually shooting. Here are just a few:
1. Practice the mechanical fundamentals - There are plenty of inexpensive simulated offerings (BB-guns, air-soft pistols, etc.) available to work on basic marksmanship skills such as un-holstering, grip and trigger control. No ammo needed.
2. Develop mindset - If you report to a FAQ with a negative outlook or lacking the mental focus on success, you may be already defeating yourself. Shooting is fun. During and FAQ, there's no room for being scared or frustrated at the idea of having to test your skills.
3. Get plenty of rest - Since your FAQ is scheduled well in advance, consider making adjustments to your schedule to avoid loss of sleep, whenever possible. If you know your FAQ is scheduled immediately following your shift, ask your supervisor if any changes can be made to afford more down-time preceding your FAQ. Even a "cat-nap" before shooting can help in some cases!
4. Unplug - Keep issues and problems off the range. In other words, wrap up your personal business and leave the cell phone in the car! Persistently checking your text messages or Facebook posts before the FAQ can be detrimental, should you suddenly become emotionally effected by something read just before attempting to qualify.
Remember: Success is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.