Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Fast or Quick?

When training and practicing, one of our worst enemies is ‘fast.’ When we try to go fast, for example performing an empty reload, we end up fumbling things and making mistakes. By attempting to go fast, it actually takes longer to perform the reload than it would have if it had been done at the proper speed. The ‘proper’ speed is one that guarantees the action is executed correctly. No mistakes, no fumbling, and no wasted motion. Quickness isn’t about going fast, it’s the absence of excess, and ultimately it relies on mental balance.

Watch someone who is really good at what they do. It looks like they are moving slowly and without effort. They get things done quickly, and efficiently, because there is no wasted motion or unnecessary actions. Their skill is a result of repetition, doing the same thing over and over, until it becomes natural. They have mentally confidence in their abilities, and their physical performance reflects this.

When you try to go fast, you’re forcing something to happen, as opposed to letting it happen. It might feel like you’re going fast, but this is a deception created by an abundance of activity. To accomplish a task quickly, you slow down and do it properly. Let’s look at the empty reload again. Your pistol runs empty. Keep the arms extended and the muzzle on target, with your head and eyes maintaining visual contact with the threat(s) or environment. The support hand acquires a fresh mag while the empty mag is dumped to the ground. The new mag comes up, is indexed in the mag well and seated, and the slide is cycled to chamber a round. Any other actions just add time to the process.

When learning new techniques – training – we must slow the mind down to a speed that is comfortable for the body, actually thinking through each step of the process. This can be a problem because our mind cycles through a process faster than our body is capable of performing that action. When the body can’t keep up, the mind thinks things are going too slow, and we attempt to catch up by going faster. This compounds the problem causing mistakes, we try to catch up by going faster, and it just goes downhill from there.

Once we have a good grasp on a skill, we improve our abilities through practice. If you try to push for speed during practice, you won’t actually learn the proper technique, and without proper technique you’ll never be as quick as you should be. Slow down and concentrate on form, performing actions properly, and let quickness develop as a result of proper practice.

Success in a fight depends on applying fundamental skills under stress, and in a compressed time frame. The ability to apply these skills, quickly with speed, results from practicing the proper technique. Learn to function under stress, use proper technique, and strive for error-free actions. This is what wins fights.

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September 19, 2010 - Posted by | General Training

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