TRAINING TIP TUESDAY: What’s the New Shortcut?

I’m writing this as I return from SHOT Show 2023 and the bazaar of new things that came with it. The number of gadgets and tools to consider was (as always) overwhelming. If you’ve read here for a while, you’ll probably guess that my head isn’t turned by much and this year was no exception.

There were some very neat things, from rifles that pivot on a central axis, to target stands that morph into whatever the situation demands. Only time will tell us if these innovations stand the market test and even more importantly, the end user test.

In my part of the industry (training), there wasn’t much to report. No new grip tool or electronic marvel promising to make us better at shooting the gun. This may be a good thing because in the past I’ve run across quite a few of these. It reminds me a little of the industry that has sprung up around golf (which I am abysmal at, happily). There is always a new thing that promises to make the swing better, make the ball drive straighter (or whatever the point of that game is). It almost never works and I would imagine that much like in our world, a golfer’s garage is replete with odd shaped clubs and foam implements that turned into a waste of time and effort, and more importantly… delivered little return.

I think of these as “shortcuts.” We’re always looking for a quicker way to our goal. That isn’t a bad thing. What is bad, is when we forget what actually works to move us in the direction we want to go.




Yes, just good old fashioned, hard work, with tools that have been carved by necessity and practice. Sound familiar? I hope so.


If I was forced to find something at SHOT that would help the shooter gain skill, I think I would look for the best bag I could find that could bear the weight of ammunition, and maybe a notepad and planner to record progress and schedule training time.

So, what’s the new shortcut? Same as the old shortcut. Buy the best equipment you can (things that you can rely on) and get to work. If you want to be better, to attain a certain goal… commit to a dedicated plan. Use the tools that you trust and attain the ammo and time to expose them to the magic of human skill building.


It really is that simple.


Be smart about your training method, don’t get drawn into a “race to better.” This is, and always has been, a slow and methodical walk.


Until next time, Train smart… there are no shortcuts.

Author Bio

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 24th 2023