Using a Ladder In Your Firearms Training

If you’re like me, you follow lots of reputable firearm instructors, schools, and competition shooters on social media. It’s one of the best ways to curate your social media and get something out of it. If you follow high-level shooters on social media, they often share tidbits of valuable information. It can be firearm-based, gear-based, or training-based. An excellent follow on Facebook is Sentinel Concepts. One of his latest posts showed him using a ladder with a simple comment that ladders are a simple range item that offers a lot of options. 

Sentinel Concepts is run by Steve Fisher, one of the premier firearm instructors with a multi-discipline focus. After seeing his post, I grabbed a ladder and headed to the range to give it a try and see how useful a ladder can be for training purposes. 

Why The Ladder 

Logistics win wars, and that includes your war on training. Most of us have a ladder already. It’s not exactly an item that’s tough to find or borrow. It can be tossed in your truck, and you aren’t risking breaking something like a VTAC Barrier on your way to the range. They stand up by themselves and are often quite tall. Ladders simplify logistics for many of us, and it’s easy to see why they are a great selection for range use. 

Using the Ladder 

How do we use a ladder? I imagine there are numerous ways to use a ladder in your firearm’s training. It comes down to how much you know about firearm training and how far your imagination can take you! If we start from the basics, a ladder makes a pretty decent stabilized shooting position. Add a bag, and you have what’s basically a tripod for standing long-range shots. 

Shooters can look at the ladder as a simulated barrier. This includes something as simple as practicing shooting around the ladder. You can also use the various steps to simulate various levels of cover. You can practice shooting ‘over’ cover by aiming through the various step slots. This is a good bit of fun and can be quite challenging. 

A six-foot ladder is perfect for this role. If you practice shooting through various slots, you can practice at a variety of heights. 

Some levels will be easy, namely levels that allow you to stand tall and form a good kneeling position, but middle and lower-level slots force you into uncomfortable positions. Shooting through the lower level creates a fairly interesting situation in finding the right position to get it done, especially if you treat the width of the ladder as a limit to your cover. 

The Best Way To Get To The Top 

If you need the best way to climb a ladder, then maybe check out a class with Sentinel Concepts. Steve Fisher’s classes vary quite a bit, with rifle, shotgun, and handgun classes available. Heck, there is even a defensive PCC class. I don’t know if ladders are included in every class, but you’re still bound to get some great training. If you want to follow his Facebook for more tactical tips, check it out here, and for classes, check out the website. 

[Editor’s Note: It’s also way safer and cheaper to hit a ladder if you mess up your bore height than something like your car hood or truck bed. Just saying.]

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.