Here are a few things that people never truly learn. All of these could be said about all of us; these are skills you never master. But some of us never put in nearly enough time for any learning to occur.
The majority of people never learn how to press the trigger. Triggers are all the same – apply steady pressure till the weapon fires. Some have slack or take-up, which must be removed before the actual “press” begins. The trigger pressure required to break the shot varies from one to another, and some triggers are crunchy or gritty. But ultimately they all do the same thing.
I often hear shooters complaining about one pistol or another. “I can shoot this one really well, but I can’t hit a barn with my ____________ (Fill in the blank.)”
Once you’ve actually learned how to press the trigger properly you can shoot every firearm well. Some are easier than others for sure, but you should be able to get good results with anything you pick up.
It’s rare to see a shooter who has learned how to manipulate their firearm. Even among students who have been to multiple classes. The repetitions required to learn the manipulations can get boring; repetition by definition is “monotonous, tedious or boring.” But that’s what it takes if you want to learn how to manipulate your weapon, and if you do it right it’s never boring.
“Learned” means you can load, unload, reload or clear malfunctions on demand, under any type conditions. In order to operate that weapon safely and efficiently you have to learn how to manipulate it properly.
The majority people never learn how to draw their weapon efficiently. Sure, they can pull off a clean presentation on the range when stationary and from open carry. The problem is you carry concealed, and will most likely need to be moving while drawing and it’s going to be a stressful situation. If you can’t draw on demand - under stress from concealment and unusual body positions - you need more practice. The draw must occur without conscious thought, without making mistakes and safely. This is mandatory.
Most people who carry never think about, study or practice responding to an attack. Yes, they practice shooting, but shooting is a small part of the whole response. The fundamentals of responding to a threat are: move, communicate, Use cover, shooting (if necessary) and thinking. None of these responses are natural or instinctive. It’s going to take plenty of practice to formulate and initiate a timely response.
In other words, the majority of people never learn how to use the weapon they have. The key is focus and consistency. Focus on learning how to use what you have. Consistency – training, carrying and practicing with one weapon provides greater returns on your dedication and time invested. The lessons learned with “your” weapon apply to all weapons.
Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of The Book of Two Guns, AR-15 Skills and Drills, featured on GunTalk’s DVD, “Fighting With The 1911 and has regular columns in Gun Digest and American Handgunner.