TRAINING TIP TUESDAY: QUESTIONS I GET OFTEN
I spend a lot of time on the range with a variety of people. Many of the questions I get are surprisingly common no matter the vocation of the student or location of the class. I thought you’d have just as much interest as I have in the collection of questions and answers.
Q. What kind of shirt/pants/shoes are those?
A. “Jeans, t-shirt, boots…”
All kidding aside, I think that we may focus a bit too much on things like this. There are some trends in the shooting world driven by practicality and quality. Others are fads that seem to be less about what you do and more about how you look. I try to make whatever I bring to the range “earn its way.” This includes my clothes.
I prefer pants with some “stretch” in them and a shirt that won’t interfere with my gear belt, if worn. Shoes are protective and enabling equipment and are highly dependent on what you’ll be doing. Plan right and you’ll never know they’re there. Plan wrong… and you won’t be able to think of anything else.
Q. What kind of trigger do you have in that?
A. “Nothing special.”
I don’t think aftermarket triggers are bad. Though, I don’t think most stock triggers are bad either. I tend to only notice one: if it’s awful. The more I do to a trigger, the more I think about it… and thinking about it makes most of us miss.
I taught a class recently with a very nice pistol. Hyper accurate and extremely precise. But the trigger was so light that it made me a nervous wreck and took accuracy and control away from me. I won’t do that again. The trigger that I most recommend is the one that you don’t think about (see our training tip from a few weeks back).
Q. Are you a Ford guy or a Chevy guy?
A. “The one that starts every time.”
I’ve driven both. I’m being facetious by using these car manufacturers. I get this question in the form of gun makes regularly. Preference for me is based on reliability, almost solely. The one that works every time is the one I will carry.
Q. Why am I missing low and left?
A. “Because you’re right-handed.”
This is a classic presentation of error from a right-handed shooter. It’s the combination of dominant hand bias and anticipation. What it means is that you stop aiming the shot, just before it breaks. If not, the dot or irons would show you the error before the hit would.
Q. Are suppressors worth it?
A. “Are you kidding?”
Yes. I use Dead Air cans on my rifles. They make indoor ranges fun again.
Q. How often do you clean your training pistol?
A. “Next question.”
I don’t have a set schedule or a round count. I usually refer people to the manufacturer for their suggestions because my “system” shouldn’t serve as a model, really. I use pistols that are extremely robust and can take the abuse… and that’s why I use them.
Q. What is your favorite drill?
A. “The one without a timer.”
I use a version of Jeff Cooper’s “El Presidente” drill. I don’t use a timer and I bring the entire class in around the shooter so that they can watch their performance closely. When the shooter has completed the drill, I ask their peers to give them focused feedback. This does several things: it slows people down to a reasonable training pace, it asks students to be engaged in the teaching process, and it sincerely helps the shooter in the box, by giving them multiple perspectives on their process. I learn something every time I run this drill.
Q. How can I get faster?
A. “Go slower.”
Train slow, perform fast. It works.
Q. 9mm or .45?
A. “Logging off…”
This is one of those arguments made specifically for the internet. I use 9mm because it’s what is most available to me, recoils lightly, allows for more capacity, and (based on broad historical context) it works.
Q. Will using a red dot atrophy my skills using irons?
A. “Great question.”
I think a pretty good parallel for this would be driving a car without ABS after using one with it fitted. The brakes still work as you knew them to… it just takes a little more thought, a little more input, and quite a bit more control.
I see no evidence of skill loss in those that have switched over. What I do see is that those that use red dots on pistols or rifles almost never go back to just using irons. The efficiencies involved are far too valuable and intuitive.
So, there you have it – the questions I get asked most frequently. If there are questions you would like answered, engage with us on social media and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Until then, train smart.
Duane “Buck” Buckner
After spending 25 years in the USCG, Duane “Buck” Buckner is now the U.S. Director of Training for Aimpoint. The Aimpoint Training Division conducts training courses for military and law enforcement agencies up to the Federal level as well as for the prepared civilian. Buck is widely known for his emphasis on brain psychology as it relates to combat and survival.
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Posted by Duane Buckner, Aimpoint US Director of Training on Jan 3rd 2023