Once upon a time…

On a chilly range in Connecticut many moons ago, Kyle Defoor was talking to the class in his typical conversational tone. He was responding to a question from a student that was about the difference he sees in open enrollment classes vs mil classes. Kyle said something that has been thought provoking ever since. The exact words escape me but the message was clear.

His basic words were, “ looking at spilt times and groups I see no difference. You guys are printing just as well and shooting just as fast. The difference is manipulations and movement speeds. Those guys are athletes who are so used to striving to be the best and do it quickly that the put in the work for fast reloads, transitions, and moving. That’s where I see the difference” 

Now, that is a memory and probably only 70% correct but if you have trained with high level people and high performers who put in the dry fire and practice you see where they are beating you. Their draws are fast, target transitions faster, and movement from firing position to position are fast

If you get nothing from the rest of the article, remember this… Go faster.
Do what needs to be done, when its time, as fast as possible.

In combat or competition, time is what separates a win and a loss. When it is time to run, RUN. When it is time to shoot, SHOOT. When it is time to reload, RELOAD. Take some time and watch the videos of masters shoot matches. Their movement to the firing point is as fast as they can go while still being in control when they get there. They make all the movements efficient and measured. Rarely will you see them overswing a target yet the gun is getting there very quickly. Magazines are passing one another on reloads and positions are built quickly. 

Nobody ever said high performance was going to be easy. It takes work and practice. Just like with anything else, it has to be planned and proper practice. It sucks. It is frustrating and is worth it. During one match a few years ago, a friend asked me what percent I thought I was working at on the stage. My answer was 100%. I was floor boarding it every stage and it showed. It was all tire smoke and noise. Instead of looking like a seasoned shooter, I looked like a 16 year old with Dad’s hot rod the first time. 

The reason why, I had no idea what to practice so I practiced the wrong stuff for too long and was really good at the wrong things. My reloads were on point though. The problem was we were shooting stages that guys were cleaning with single stack 1911’s. I was doing three reloads of 17 round mags on a 21 round stage. But boy was I flying. I placed mid pack in a match that had 200 people attend. 
That was my lesson to learn. 

I was not in the moment and paying attention to my shot process. I was going fast by doing a short circuit of the system and fired twice as much as everyone else and getting beat. I applied this lesson to my Gas gun season and worked hard to be doing the right thing at the right time. I pushed the thing I could control as fast as I could and stayed in my shot process for every shot.

This isn’t to say my frustration didn’t flare and I didn’t lose traction on several occasions. I did, but I would grab myself and think back to that match and my friend asking what I was running at. If it was all smoke and noise I reoriented and got back to work. 
Those mil guys that Kyle was talking about learned that lesson in other ways in other places and applied it to their firearms. Shooting well is just one piece of this thing we are all doing. It doesn’t matter if it gun fightin’ or gun slingin’  
Unfortunately, it is the thing we get hung up on the most.

Ash Hess