Lack of Consistent Fundamentals as the Problem
This is going to hurt some people, but it is the truth. You are not good enough to start questioning a mechanical issue over or a technical error.
It’s the Indian, not the Arrow
What I mean by the above statement is all too often people will complain how their gun doesn’t shoot straight. They may use a different way of phrasing it, but that is the gist of their comment. I have had students come up to me with complete contempt for their gun to the point if I wasn’t looking they would toss it over the berm. Before folks blow a gasket, is it possible you could have a problem with your sights being misaligned? Of course it is possible, but it is far more probable it is you and your inability to apply consistent fundamentals as the root cause.
Big boy rules
Too many times both students and society in general want the easy way out. The way where no responsibility is required. Que the blame game. Blaming your equipment instead of honestly asking yourself is it me? I know it is easy to blame your equipment, but the excuse is irrelevant in our classes. I will admit, there have been times when I too want to blame the gun, but when the truth is allowed to surface it is the student. How can I say this with such conviction. It is simple, we do a tremendous amount of work from the 25 yard line where the majority of students suck from this distance and we have the records to prove it. As a side bar note, it is a bit ironic to hear so many people discount the 25 yard line, but then all of a sudden try to blame the gun for their technical inadequacies. Lame…
It’s all about consistency
There are even cute little pie charts depicting symptoms and remedies. I have found these to do more harm than good. In fact, I would throw most of them away and replace it with one saying “if you cannot put a slow fire group “here” you suck and it is not the gun”. To be able to accurately diagnose a shooting related symptom it has to be consistent. In addition, the work needs to be preformed at a distance where true errors will be evident and not masked by the closeness to the target. We perform diagnostic drills daily and I rarely blame the gun. I wait until the student is able to replicate the same error each day. If they can, then an important goal has been achieved. They have developed consistency and more than likely the error has disappeared as a result.
Look for salt on their shoulder
There has been a few occasions where a visible inspection reveals a shift in the rear sight. However, when no visible deviation is present the likelihood it is the gun is so remote I would buy lottery tickets first. When lack of consistency is present it is easy to blame the gun, but a veteran instructor will not fall for this trickery. They will have the skills necessary to diagnose the student and see where the real problems lie in order to set the stage for improvement. I have been doing this for a while now and I have a statistical matrix of shooting errors on top of having performed just about every common shooting error myself. The problem is most instructors don’t have the necessary skill to diagnose shooting errors. Instead we see crazy theories and guess work. A true disservice to the industry.
Stop blaming the gun and put more work into your marksmanship skills. If you are looking for sympathy in our classes you better be able to hold your breath for a long time.
10 thoughts on “Umm…You’re Not That Good”
I can see how a student would try to save face in front of the instructor or fellow students by blaming the weapon or gear. Students must check their ego and open their minds to constructive criticism in order to improve their skills.
I believe your last comment resonates with almost all things in life. Thanks for commenting.
There is no short cut to improve your shooting. Put in the work!! Get proven training and then practice as often as possible! So often, the thought is just buy more shit to improve, like that is the answer! The answer is grip, sights and follow through!! Every single shot counts!!
Thanks Tom, very true.
Jeff, some of the most valuable range lessons I’ve received over the years involve recognizing the how different platforms require slightly different manipulation. I have for years been a consistent low-left shooter, to the point that I could shoot tight groups by adjusting my sight picture to high-right to compensate. The problem was *that* consistent. So, I hooked up with an instructor who watched me fire five or six shots with my G23. He told me to press the trigger with the first joint of my forefinger rather than with the pad, which is how I had always been taught. Well, that and to loosen my grip. Problem solved.
I don’t understand why, exactly, that tiny change makes such a difference–and only with my Glocks–but there you go. It worked for me. What worries me about instructors in general is figuring out who’s the real deal and who is not. My golf game has never recovered from the week of bad instruction I received a decade ago.
Hi John, thanks for the comment. It is easier to show you than try to explain, but it boils down to power. Read the blog on the stall point as well as a blog coming up about “crush grip”. I’m glad you saw improvement, but for combat shooting I would not instruct a student to relax their grip. It will only lead to more problems, not solutions.
One of my best friends in the world is Lones Wigger (who often stops by to drink my wine cabinet dry… on his way to Vegas). His coach once told him he would never make a shooter. Wig basically said ‘fu’ this and decided to work his ass off. Olympic gold medals later, he proved his coach wrong. One of my rifle students once asked him, what was the secret of shooting. Wig stared him down and said, ‘one word. Work’
Wig doesn’t have the ‘best position’. He doesn’t have the best rifle. He has never shot the ‘best ammo’. He simply works harder than anyone else at his discipline. He shot every match he could get to. Shot every type of match he could afford. Slept on the range the night before his Olympic match. He is an utter pain the ass at times, but he just works harder than anyone else. And he is my friend and mentor. Course, he sucks at pistol… hahaha.
Good point, thanks
I was running a range at a Boy Scout camp a couple of weeks ago and heard quite a few “This gun is out of whack”…Both times I had them swap rifles with a shooter right next to them that was having no problems. Both times the “problem” stayed with the shooter, not the rifle. Both times, I am happy to say, the Scouts admitted that the gun sights didn’t seem to be the problem and asked me for help in finding the problem. Finger placement on the trigger and squeezing at the end of a breath instead of jerking the trigger, as it slides past the bullseye in the scope, seemed to be the answer to the problem for both of them.
Mark, I cannot tell you how many times we hear that and back in the day I would seriously listen to the student about his concern the sights were off. For them to have their sights checked by our instructor staff it would cost $100.00 up front. It was funny how many decided to keep working the problem 😉