Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Endo Mike offers a video which demonstrates the need to remain "heads up" while reloading, during a defensive firing drill.

Okay, there's a lot of Snark in the comments about using live ammunition while your partner is downrange.  Consider that emphasis on safety to be a valid criticism, and let's move on, shall we?

Seems like the people criticizing the safety issues have a point, but they're missing ignoring the point of the lesson, which is that we need to learn to reload without looking at the gun.

My experience is instructing folks for IPSC/USPSA competition, and it's just as important (though arguably not as vital) to learn to reload while watching the field, rather than the reload, in competition as it is IRL (In Real Life).

IRL, if you can't reload without watching the gun, you're going to potentially miss movement of your 'target' .. which IRL is your opponent in a gunfight.

In competition if you're looking at your gun during a reload, you're going to lose track of the targets (which are steel and cardboard cutouts).   Thankfully, they're not going to shoot back at you .. but they may be moving.  Or, the target array may be so dense that the constitute a Target-Rich Environment, and it's all to easy to lose track of where you left off shooting.  So the best thing to do is to continue focusing your visual attention on the targets, so your attention doesn't wander.

Why is that important?

Because in competition, if you go back and re-engage targets, you're wasting valuable time.  Those targets have already been engaged (eliminated) and the best use of your time to to NOT waste time re-engaging them.  Apologies, I know I'm repeating myself.

The point IS:  while I'm instructing people, I'm primarily trying to keep them focused on the gun, and where it's pointing.  (Well ... and keeping their fingers off the trigger.)

I would dearly LOVE to be able to teach a class with students who are already so advanced/experienced that they automatically perform the minimal safe gun-handling skills.   Then I could teach them the things which would not only make them SAFE, but would also make them COMPETITIVE!

Unfortunately, only 60% of my students ever actually a match, and of those only 80% come back to compete regularly.  So my primary mission is to teach people safe gun-handling skills that they MAY use outside of the match environment, and the actual competitive skills which I may (incidentally) teach them are rarely used .. until the 48% who compete have accumulated enough experience to re-learn for themselves the skills which makes the competitors.

(Okay .. a little angst showing up; there's a point where all you can do is teach; if they don't have the intrinsic motivation to compete, all I've done is to SHOW them what safe gun handling is about.)

ANYWAY ...  I think that one of the most important techniques that a COMPETITIVE Action Pistol Shooter can learn is to reload without losing visual contact with the target array.  It took me decades to learn to do that consistently, and I still slip up from time to time when I'm competing.

I do think, though, that in the future I'll experiment with trying to teach people to reload without looking at the gun.  It's a valuable skill, and even though my mandate is to teach SAFETY, maybe I can sneak in a few useful pointers about being COMPETITIVE as well.

It's just that, I wish someone had TOLD me that when I was starting out, instead of having to learn it by myself by experience.

(H/T: Endo Mike  and

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