JUNE 9, 2016

Motion vs. Action

On the range I often see people going through the motions required for a specific task, as opposed to performing the actions necessary to accomplish that task. But, you ask, isn't this the same thing? No. You go through the motions required to load the pistol, but that doesn't mean you've performed that action properly. Motion and action are not the same things. A prime example, as mentioned above, is loading the pistol. It starts by inserting and seating the magazine. You perform this motion, but was it an effective action? Did you just insert the mag, or actually seat it, using aggressive action? Aggressive, exaggerated action with purpose seats and locks the mag in place. Next, you cycle the slide. Again, aggressive, exaggerated action is required to ensure the slide is pulled all the way to the rear and then released so it snaps forward, feeding a round from the mag into the chamber. Short stroking the slide, not pulling it fully to the rear, is a common source of stoppages. In other words, operator induced malfunctions. The final step in loading - an administrative manipulation - is checking the chamber to confirm there's one in the "pipe." This is another time when I see a lot of "motion" vs. "action." I watch people "checking" the chamber but not actually performing the action. They go through the motions, pulling the slide slightly to the rear and physically or visually checking for a round in the chamber. Yet, when they come up on target and press the trigger the pistol goes "click" instead of "BANG!" (This is accompanied with a flinch, the muzzle dipping down as they expect the shot to fire.) Yes, they went through the motions of "checking," but they didn't actually confirm whether or not there was a round chambered. Their next response is to turn the pistol slightly sideways and look at it with a surprised expression on their face. "I loaded it," they are thinking, "so why didn't it fire?" Sometimes they even say this out loud. "Because," I reply, "you went through the motions, but you didn't actually check or notice that there wasn't a round in the chamber." This is motion without action. You can perform all the right motions, but without the proper actions you won't get good results. Drawing the pistol can be an efficient action, or it can include a lot of wasted motion. When checking the chamber, the correct action tells you whether it's loaded or not. While scanning the environment you either go through the motions, simply turning your head from one side to the other, or you're in action, scanning like there is something important you need to see. Motion is defined as "movement." Action is "the performance of a function." Good results are based on proper actions. This principle applies to all aspects of your life. Tiger McKee is director of Shootrite Firearms Academy, located in northern Alabama. He is the author of "The Book of Two Guns" - http://shootrite.org/book/book.html -- writes for several firearms/tactical publications, and is featured on GunTalk's DVD, "Fighting With The 1911 - http://shootrite.org/dvd/dvd.html Website: www.shootrite.org http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shootrite-Firearms-Academy/156608611038230?ref=ts