Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

Natural Instinct

Fighting properly with firearms is not natural. Man was designed to fight with his body, hitting, kicking, and biting, using rocks and sticks as impact weapons or projectiles, and of course the ultimate weapon – his mind. To fight with firearms we must learn techniques that maximize their potential, and often these techniques will go against our instincts.

For example – crouching down and freezing in position, single hand or point shooting, slapping or jerking the trigger -these acts are natural instinct, and all of them are counterproductive to using a firearm effectively. Some people believe that if this is what we want to do instinctually then this is how we should train and practice. Instead of training with methods we know are not effective we should modify our behavior, and re-program ourselves with techniques that will maximize the firearm’s potential.

Our natural instincts are fight, flight, submission or posturing. In a fight you want to be moving, so we need a stance that allows us to move smoothly, creating distance, going to cover, or getting a clear angle of fire. Instead of staring at the threat, as we would naturally do, we need to use sighted fire, visually focusing on the front sight to the degree necessary for the shot we are attempting. We’re not really designed to have explosions going off in our hands, even controlled explosions, so that means we must learn to smoothly press the trigger without anticipating the recoil. Using both hands helps us control the weapon for accurate, multiple shots, which will likely be necessary to stop the threat.

We must train and practice to rise to the fight, instead of defaulting to an instinctual and reactive state. But, as with any skill that combines mental and physical actions, this requires an investment of time and effort. With enough repetitions you can learn to do anything. The key is mental dedication. If you are re-learning a skill, attempting to modify existing behavior, you’ll have a more difficult time as opposed to learning a fresh or new skill. Your worst enemy here is trying to go fast instead of slowing down and allowing the conscious mind to process through the action step by step.

One thing that drives me crazy when teaching is to have a student say, “I’ve been doing it this way for 15 years and I can’t change.” It isn’t that they can’t change, it’s that they won’t change. If a different technique is quicker, safer, is more efficient and makes tactical sense, then you should have a desire to change. When attending classes I’m looking for the best technique, which may be different from how I’ve been doing it. Every class I attend I’ll usually discover something better. It may be something big or small, but I’m still willing to improve. Remember we’re talking about skills that will save lives. Slow down, take your time on the range when nobody is shooting back at you, and learn to be the best you can.


September 19, 2010 - Posted by | AR-15, Defensive Mindset, General Training

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