Priorities, Motivation and Wishful Thinking

Some people have opined that Americans are lazy. Is it laziness or simply prioritization of our time?

In my life there are ‘have-to’s, things that have to be done, most likely now or very soon. On a second level there are the ‘need-tos’, things of a lower priority that could wait until later but yet still at some point must be accomplished. And then finally there are the ‘want to’s, things that I want to do, often these are lower on my priority list because there are too many of the others. action-expresses-priorities[1]

Whenever I teach a new student I always ask the simple question(s), what is your interest in guns, why do you want a CCW permit? I’m really more interested in what motivates them, if anything other than ‘want to’ and this is going to give me a lot of insight into how well that student will do. Almost all start with the standard answer, self-defense, yet when I dig further most have nothing more than they think it is wise to be armed, never having considered what the consequences are.

Fear is an awesome motivator, it is an emotion and often is not based in reality. With self-defense, emotions will almost always let you down and when they rear up they can literally land you in trouble. Motivation[1]

I carry a gun much like I wear a seat belt. I’m not a bad driver but I realize that there are some very dangerous people out there that I could come across and I know the seat belt could save my life. With the gun, I’m not a bad person, I don’t go to places where I am exposed to those types but guess what, there are a lot of them and there is a chance I might come across one. Putting that gun on EVERY day is a must-do, just like putting on the seat belt. If you’re going to wear a seat belt might as well make it a good one. Bucket_seat_with_Schroth_six-point_harness_in_a_2010_Porsche_997_GT3_RS_3.8[1]

When I was learning how to drive I was tentative, took my time even though I was young and to some degree reckless. As I got more time behind the wheel I became more comfortable and my skill set improved the more I did it correctly. I was actually learning how to drive a deadly weapon on the public streets with innocent people all around me.

Today I am still learning to drive my gun. I drive it a few minutes every day, I am very comfortable with it, meaning I seldom have to look at it during manipulations, I know it inside and out. I know what it takes to drive it safely and I am getting pretty good at driving it fast which is quite exhilarating. It has become a have-to need-to want-to kind of thing and for the most part takes priority over many other things in my life. johnnysummers2[1]

Someone asked if I felt safer carrying a gun. I responded with the question asking them if they felt safer wearing a seatbelt. Of course they could not answer that question because their intent was political, not to discover answers. I don’t feel safer; I feel secure knowing that should I run into a bad actor I have a good chance of surviving that encounter should I not be able to avoid it.

The reality of this, what makes me dry practice every day, do focused and measured live practice and measure my success with increasingly difficult drills. I don’t do it necessarily for me, I do it for those I love. I imagine and visualize what could happen to my loved one should I fail to perform if needed. That is my motivation. I have to admit, I don’t like dry practice yet I do it every day as I know without it I will NEVER rise to the next level of proficiency . . . and mediocre is not something I’ve ever hoped to accomplish. Mediocrity Green Road Sign with Dramatic Clouds, Sun Rays and Sky.

As instructors we see all sorts of people. The majority of our students come to us because they are seeking the best training they can find. They want to learn to drive safely, some want to learn to drive fast and those are the ones who put in the effort, they turn their training and practice into a Have-To in their lives. They do not embrace wishful thinking, they do not believe that since they carry a gun they will be fine, they do not dismiss the need for continued training and focused practice.

As I’ve said before, we have the best students ever, they have their priorities set, they are motivated by logic and reason and understanding of reality and probably the only thing they wish for would be a few extra hours each day to accomplish more. Yes, we are lucky. DSC00234

Failing to train IS training to fail.
Liberty Firearms Training



Accuracy is Final

There is the old saying attributed to Wyatt Earp that “fast is fine but accuracy is final” and there is a lot of truth to that. Wyatt-Earp-Photo-2

When faced with a deadly threat in a violent encounter we often say he who gets the most violent the fastest will prevail, that you need to embrace your inner violence however; one important key is missing here . . . making the hits. Wildly spraying rounds downrange will not accomplish the goal of stopping the threat. If when shooting at the range your target looks like it was hit with a shotgun rather than a rifle you need to take a step back and work on your fundamentals.

To stop a threat who will not be deterred by your shooting at them requires one of two things to happen. First you must cause rapid blood loss that will eventually (perhaps up to two minutes) cause loss of consciousness or your shot connects with the brainstem essentially severing any electrical impulses going from brain to body. The first target is much bigger; heart and assorted plumbing, lungs, liver and most are massed in the upper thoracic cavity. As the skull for the most part has greater strength than concrete there are really only two openings to the CNS, eyes and nose, which are very difficult to hit during the violent encounter. FYI, instant incapacitation seldom happens and most often the threat is psychologically defeated. LFT-PH2_L

Today’s handguns have an amazing degree of accuracy built in to them. Although not widely advertised by manufacturers most handguns today can achieve a 4 minute of angle degree of accuracy. This means that without human induced movement the gun can shoot into a 4″ group at 100 yards. So clearly, handguns are way more accurate than the people who shoot them.

So the reality is, can you shoot accurately enough, fast enough to survive the determined adversary. Most people cannot, fortunately for them in most cases when a citizen presents their gun the threat turns and runs away.

In all of this it seems as if we are relying on the tool to make the decision for us rather than delineating the problem, forming a suitable solution and employing the correct skill to correct the problem, and often the gun is not the right tool. We in the business of firearms training seem to forget we should be teaching equally the use of the mind to solve the problem for as Abraham Maslow has been quoted, “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. hammer-f

So back to the topic at hand, if you wish to shoot fast and accurate you must first be able to shoot accurately. Now given the constraints of the accuracy of the tool it would stand to reason that you should be able to stand at 3 yards away for a target and place 10 bullets touching, essentially one hole. The tool is also capable of doing the same at least out to 10 yards. Here’s the rub, virtually no one has that ability so what degree of accuracy would you consider acceptable? And how long does it take per shot to achieve that level of precision shooting?

In our SDS classes we work on this topic in our series called Time on Target (ToT). How fast and accurately can you shoot was the premise. If you consider that in the citizen involved violent confrontation from the first shot fired to last you have about 2.5 seconds to survive . . . or not.

What we determine is how fast can you shoot when accuracy is not an issue; point gun at the berm and fire a shot on the start signal. Most students do this in about 0.25 seconds. The second measurement is how fast can you fire a string of shots, assuming the split times between shots could equal your single shot time. Most students take over three seconds for an 11 shot string, essentially due to recoil control they have to slow down but still 11 rounds in 3 seconds is pretty fast.

Next we add in a degree of accuracy required. In the first scenario you are 3 yards from the threat, at the start signal you draw and fire as many rounds as you can in 2.5 seconds. An arbitrary objective was determined, you were required to get four hits in a 6″ circle in the upper chest or one hit in the critical tee box (CNS) on the face which encompasses the eyes and nose. IMG_1936

During the first go through with the ToT exercises a few people were able to make the four heart hits. Interestingly no one tried to make the CNS hit. The assumption was it was too small to hit but after a series of exercises starting with extreme precision shooting, then adding in speed and precision 75% plus of the students were making the CNS fast. One student was able to get 8 rounds in the CNS box in 2.5 seconds. This degree of speed and precision occurred by programming the mind to repeat a series of movements and then getting out of the minds way and letting it run the gun.

So we know people have the ability to shoot very fast and very accurately. It comes from quality programming aka training, coached and focused practice and then letting go trying to consciously run the gun.

This series of classes are held regularly and we have some students coming to every session, so much so we are having to add additional dates. Obviously a successful program as the market has dictated.

Want to shoot fast and accurate?

Failing to train IS training to fail.
Liberty Firearms Training