Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

The Tactile Sense

Of the five to six senses we have, the one we use most is eyesight. But for fighting, the sense of feel is just as important as visual input. For example, most people don’t realize how important ‘feeling’ is for shooting accurately and quickly. When manipulating our weapon we need to maintain visual focus on what is important – the threat and the environment – not our weapon. We have to manipulate the weapon by feel. Plus, given that the majority of violent encounters occur at night, you may not be able to see your weapon anyway.

So how do we learn to ‘feel?’ By practicing with our eyes closed. I’ve been teaching “blind” drills for many years, and the results are always impressive. You almost see the light bulb go off in the student’s mind when they realize they can shoot better and quicker once they learn to feel what’s happening, and they can perform all manipulations required without having looking at their weapon.

“Blind” practice begins by firing the weapon with the eyes closed. You, or your student, come up on target, get a sight picture with finger on the trigger, and shut the eyes. While smoothly pressing the trigger pay close attention to how it feels. After the weapon fires keep the eyes closed and recover from the recoil, attempting to place the sights back on the original point of aim, relying only on how your body feels. Then, open the eyes. First, look to see where the sights are. Your sight picture, eventually, should be very close to the original aiming point. Then see where the hit is. Once you get to the point where you can perform this drill successfully firing one shot, work on multiple shots and increasing the distance.

The next series of drills covers empty reloads. Start with a round in the chamber and an empty mag in the weapon. After obtaining a sight picture, close the eyes and press off the shot. Feel the weapon as it locks back on the empty mag. Keep your eyes shut and perform an empty reload. This “blind” reload forces you to rely on what you feel, providing a better sense of what is required to perform the reload efficiently. Then work each type malfunction with eyes closed.

Regardless of the weapon, it should feel like an extension of your body, not a foreign object you’re holding. You need to be able to operate your weapon in the dark, upside down, with either hand, and while someone is trying to kill you. These “blind” drills improve your marksmanship and manipulation skills, allow you to visually focus on what’s going on around you, and create confidence in your abilities. This confidence frees up the conscious mind to focus on your ultimate goal – winning the fight.


September 19, 2010 - Posted by | General Training

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