If you are a professional, you are required to take firearm training seriously as part of your job. For the civilian gun owner, the matter of training is more open to interpretation. While you might have started out excited with that first concealed carry class or spent a lot of time at the range in the beginning as a new gun owner, you may have become lax about training over time. If you are looking for a few good motivators to get back to the range this weekend, here are the top four benefits of target training tools you need to know.

1. Improved Accuracy

One of the most obvious benefits of target training tools and regular time spent training at the range is the improved accuracy. If you never fire your firearm, your aim will be less than great. This simple fact of life can be changed when you are focusing on hitting an exact spot on a target training tool. Training your eyes to find the mark and hit it with every shot is not only a great way to stay comfortable with your weapon, it also ensures a better chance of accuracy when it really matters in a real-life scenario.

2. Gain Confidence

Another of the biggest benefits of target training tools is that you can gain confidence. Handling a firearm can be intimidating for anyone. While concealed carry classes have you fire a few shots at a target as part of the certification process to allow you to handle the firearm in a safe, monitored setting with an instructor, if you never pick up your firearm again, you won’t be able to yield it with any confidence when the time comes to defend yourself, or your property and family. The more you handle your weapon, the more comfortable you will be handling your weapon.

Aside from handling your weapon on a regular basis, using targets helps your confidence because it gives you a gauge of your abilities and what you need to work on to improve your confidence even further. If you are trying to hit a certain mark on the target, but keep coming off too far to the side instead of dead on, it lets you know what to work on next session. When it comes to firing your weapon, the more precise your marksmanship, the more confidence you will have when it matters.

3. Know Kill Zones

If the idea of kill zones makes you extremely uncomfortable, you aren’t cut out to take your safety in your own hands as a concealed carry gun owner. In most states, the use of a concealed carry weapon is based on the idea of stopping a personal threat to yourself or others. Many instructors will tell you to shoot to kill instead of shooting to wound. The reason for this is because in most states for the use of your firearm to be considered warranted in a situation, you must be in danger of great bodily harm to justify the use of deadly force i.e. a firearm. While the law is more complex than this simple definition, it still stands that if you draw your weapon with the intent of stopping deadly force against yourself or others, you also need to know how to properly execute that same level of deadly force.

The kill zones are located in spots on the body where receiving a direct hit would be catastrophically bad for the health of the attacker. For example, the chest and the head are the two vital targets you need to be able to hit in a life or death scenario. You may be thinking, “Those are two pretty big, obvious targets so I think I can hit them without a problem.” Before you get too cocky, you should keep in mind that a hit to the chest may seem easy, but you need to hit within a small center space to truly use deadly force. It is far too easy to aim for the chest center and due to a lack of work with training targets to hone your skills, hit the shoulder or the abdomen which doesn’t constitute as a blow of deadly force. With target training tools which highlight these areas, as well as exact points on the target that are pretty much guaranteed to be automatic kill shots, you can improve on this crucial skill. If you are a gun owner and you can’t make a kill zone shot, your training is lacking in a big way.

4. Diversity of Situations/Scenarios

Another benefit of working with targets and training tools is that you can get a more specific set of skills over a general understanding of how to fire your weapon usually covered in concealed carry permit classes. When most people think of target training, they think of a paper target with specific marks they need to hit. While that is the foundation of training, there are other training options to help you expand on your skill set beyond that basic foundation. There are training tools and programs which allow you to work with a range of scenarios such as moving targets, limited visibility scenarios, low light scenarios, and more. Being able to hit a still target at the range is great, but there are training tools and programs available to make your firearm mastery more real-world applicable.