I'm always startled at how quickly skills will degrade if you're not using them. I sang at church just a few days ago and found myself really wishing I'd been keeping up with my vocal calisthenics. Fortunately I was able to pull it out of the hat, but, it's getting harder to do that, the older I get. The same goes for my weapons employment skills. I know that a lot of people reading this are young and will have difficulty relating to where I'm coming from. Don't worry, you'll get there someday – soon. Believe me, “Someday” comes sooner than you think.
Whenever I get out on the range, I choose to be honest with myself and will get the cameras set up, and the targets painted over. I will then pull out my handgun and without even dry firing I will attempt to run the handgun combative, handgun standards. Sometimes I hit all the standards, the first time out. However, quite often I struggle a bit to make all the shots and times. I will admit that things have gotten a bit easier since I have started using an optic on my handgun. Why? Because optics on a handgun allow you to look at the target rather than at your front sight post.
The bigger thing that needs to be considered is the fact that working cold is very important. In the same manner that “the cold bore shot” is so important when you're talking about moderate distances with a rifle, working cold with your handgun is equally important. Why? Because, when skills are demanded of you will not have had a chance to do a dry run or set yourself up in the correct stance for what's about to come. When trouble comes looking for you, it will catch you when you're tired, angry from just having had an argument with a loved one and even potentially fighting a cold. So, when you get out to the range, do yourself a favor and inconvenience yourself by running a standards program without having practiced it first. Believe me, you'll never regret having put the work in.