More than practicing at the range, it is particularly important that if the need to use your firearm should arise, you are as comfortable with it as you are getting dressed every day.

Practice Shooting:
Practice at a range or gun club to hone your skills at shooting. You will become more comfortable with the sound of the explosion and the movement of the gun as it kicks back.When practicing at home, always make sure your firearm is unloaded and no rounds are in the chamber.

Practice Holding Your Firearm
It sounds so simple, and yet it is especially important. Practice picking up your firearm and holding it with a proper grip. The grip you use should be the exact same every time. By keeping the same grip, you will become familiar with the weight and feel of your firearm and when you use it, will be much more accurate. This should become second nature and begin to build "muscle memory". (Muscle Memory is the development of something so natural you naturally do the same action without thinking. For example, when sneezing most of you have been taught from the time you were a child, when you sneeze, cover your mouth. Now when you sneeze, you do not even consciously think "oh I have to cover my mouth" you have the muscle memory to just do so).

Practice Retrieving Your Firearm
Practice retrieving your firearm and pointing at a potential intruder. Stand in different parts of your home and rush to where you keep your firearm, retrieve it and take aim.
• If you keep the firearm stored without a round in the chamber, practice "racking the slide" when you retrieve it and removing the safety.
• If you keep the firearm with a round in the chamber, retrieve the firearm, aim and take off the safety.
• Practice this until you can do it all without looking at the firearm.

Practice Retrieving Your Firearm in The Dark
Set an alarm in the middle of the night, to simulate waking up to an intruder in your home. Making sure even though you might be startled awake, once again, retrieving the firearm, racking it (should you need to), removing the safety and aiming is second nature.

Practice Carrying Your Firearm
Will you be getting your license to carry your firearm? Is it a conceal carry state? Practice with the firearm unloaded. Get used to the feel of it, the actual nervousness you will feel the first few times you are out in public and know you have a firearm concealed. You will not really know the feel of it or your holster until you have worn them for a while. You may find that the holster you are using is not as comfortable as you thought. Or the place in your purse is not a good place for your firearm because you are not able to access it easily. Here is a story sharing why practicing is so important:

Someone I know received his carry permit in the state of PA. He decided to go to the mall and "get the feel" for carrying his firearm. He was wearing a pair of sweatpants, tucked the firearm in the backside of his waist band and off he went. He was walking through the mall when the gun slipped out of the band and down his leg. Now, imagine walking around the mall with a gun floating around your ankle. What is going through your mind? Is the safety on? Will it fail? How am I going to retrieve the gun and secure it again without anyone seeing me? He decided the restroom would be the best place to fix his dilemma. He then walked and dragged his leg as he made his way to the restroom.

Practicing with your firearm is important to build muscle memory. Retrieving your firearm should become so natural to you that (should you need it), the adrenaline, nervousness and fear of someone intruding into your home, or trying to attack you, will not keep you from being able to effectively using it.