Breaking things down into blocks is a tried method for learning new skills, we call it isolation drills. Whatever you call it the important thing to remember is you can only take on so many new things before you become overwhelmed.

Building blocks

In this past Combative Pistol, Level One class we had a great bunch of eager students, which is always awesome. The skill level was pretty diverse, which made for a challenging class on my part. A lot of learning took place for sure, but one of the lessons learned was the necessity for breaking things down so you can focus on each component. So you can perfect that component before moving on to the next. As an instructor it is important to me the student takes away not just the knowledge, but the ability. I admit I get frustrated with the results sometimes, but when a student is able to break things down their success rate is much higher.


The problem that prevents many students from seeing this success and adding to my frustrations is attempting to go fast before they are truly ready. I’m not saying to go slow, but the maxim we live by is “go as fast as you can guarantee the shot.” Nothing else matters, the duality of speed vs. accuracy will always exist, but it is the accuracy of the shot that kills (my new favorite hashtag #accuracykills). Hitting the gas before you have these skills well developed will only lead to problems down the road. We saw many students who had been use to a certain style of shooting. Mainly it is recognized by the lack of repeatable, measurable and observable standards. Without these guidons to help keep you on track it is easy to develop a false sense of security.

Pushing to failure

The moment standards are in place you are able to see whether you can hit a designated target on command. Pushing your accuracy standards is not a bad thing, at a certain point you must fail to improve. That failure should be a result of correct technique that barely exceeds it’s threshold. Too many times I see folks who just wing it and the learning curve can be the steepest for them because they have to work through so many training scars to actually see consistent performance. There is a difference between pushing to failure and just plain old failing because of poor technique. Know the difference.

Consistency is accuracy

Another point to consider is consistency is key to accuracy. If you want to be accurate you need to be consistent at just about everything. Even if you are consistency missing the target, if you are at least consistent we can work with that. We see it all the time during diagnostics, those students who are consistent while maybe not hitting at first, will see better improvement at the completion of the drill than those who were on and off throughout the drill. If you want to truly see your shooting improve the advise I give everyone is work tirelessly to be consistent. If you put the work into to being consistent you will have hit the important mile markers along the way.

Sometimes folks have the blurred vision for what success looks like. It is easily blurred with ego versus performance.

"Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." Wyatt Earp

2 thoughts on “Blurried Vision

  1. MarcK says:


    thank you for being such an outstanding instructor! I had a great time and enjoyed every minute. Coming from a background of target shooting, never had to use double action with my SIG, always was “allowed” to use single action. Well, your class sure opened my eyes! Self defense is a totally different playing field… Next investment will be in a Glock – looking forward to SA all the way. Will certainly be one less distractor for me.

    So much more which you taught us, just too much to mention here. Thank you for getting us well on our way to “suck less than the bad guys”! I’ll train diligently and look forward to further refine my skills during the next class with you.

    Best regards,

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