We’re going to quickly cover some fundamentals and then we’ll move into the actual strategies. I will be primarily using pistols for the examples, but it will work with pistols, revolvers, rifles, and shotguns. The techniques will also work with whatever particular shooting style you have learned. That being said, you’d better be VERY confident that your technique is the one that you want to learn, because after going through this series, that technique will be imprinted deeply in your subconscious mind and it will become your new “default” when you need to operate under stress.
THERE ARE 5 FACTORS that will determine just how quickly your skill improves and how locked in the skill becomes:
1. THE QUALITY OF THE TECHNIQUE YOU PRACTICE.
The old saying, “Garbage In Garbage Out” applies. If you practice bad technique enough times, you’ll revert to it when you’re under stress. If, on the other hand, you focus on practicing good technique, your default response under stress will be much better.
2. THE CONSISTENCY OF THE TECHNIQUE.
I’m going to refer to this example frequently, so you might want to read it twice. I want you to envision two quarterbacks throwing 100 passes. The first quarterback focuses on speed and how fast he can get through his 100 throws. He ends up changing something with every throw…his stance, his balance, his grip, what he does with his off hand, the angle of his body to the target, his release, and his follow-through, etc. In looking at his 100 passes, you see that he threw 100 different ways…but he did it really fast. Impressively fast.
The second quarterback takes his time and focuses on doing absolutely everything the same with every throw so that, at the end of 100 passes, the video looks like the same footage spliced end-toend 100 times. (or 99 times for you fellow geeks reading this)
At the end of the 100 throws, whose mind do you think has a more ingrained image of what a perfect throw feels like? Who do you think has developed more consistent muscle memory? Which one of them has a more solid base to unconsciously revert to under stress when there’s barely enough time to react? This second quarterback is the model that we want to copy by deciding on proper technique and using it every single time you practice. When the first quarterback’s mind gets under stress and trys to throw a pass, it’s going to be confused and it won’t know which muscle sequence to fire.
3. NUMBER OF REPETITIONS
This is simple. Practice makes Perfect.
3. FREQUENCY OF TRAINING:
If you have the option of doing 5000 repetitions over one month or one year, you’ll lock in the technique better if you do the repetitions in as little time as possible without sacrificing quality. While it’s important to get the repetitions done quickly, the goal isn’t to blast through them…the goal is to imprint perfect technique into your subconscious mind.
5. SPEED OF TRAINING:
One of the experts that I consulted for this, Tim Larkin, had a career in Naval Intelligence and went through BUD/S (SEAL) training. Near the end of the training, he had a catastrophic eardrum rupture that prevented him from wearing the Trident. He told me about how SEALs were taught high speed firearms skills.
Surprisingly, they weren’t given live ammo for the first two weeks. All they did was draw an empty firearm from their holster, aim it at their target, and squeeze until they heard the gun go “click.” Then, they’d rack the slide, reholster, and repeat. And repeat. And repeat. As Tim said, he’d been shooting all of his life, and felt like he was being treated like a child rather than the expert that he already was.
To make it worse, they made him go S L O W. And they made him do it perfectly every time. By the time they actually gave him ammo, he’d dry fired thousands of times…and he’d ingrained perfect technique deeply into his mind. His mind knew the exact sequence of micro movements necessary to perform a perfect shot and his mind was able to fire the sequence at any speed…slow OR fast.
This is the interesting part about how the training played out. Since the mind remembers the specific sequence of muscles to fire without remembering the speed. Saying it in a slightly different way, that means that once the technique is locked in by training at slow speed, it can be used at high speed under stress.
Back to the football example, if he would have trained fast, he would have had dozens, perhaps hundreds of sequences that his brain could have played back, leading to inconsistent results. But since he went slowly and focused on consistency, the sequence that he played back was the same every time. Quality, Consistency, Volume, Frequency & Speed. Remember them. They’re going to be the keys to the kingdom of firearms accuracy.