Mastery of Skill at Arms…Steven Lieberman
Mastery of Skill at Arms…
The Pinnacle of Multi Tasking
During our CCW class this past weekend, we had the pleasure of hosting a returning client from out of State…. she just so happens to be the daughter of Bret, our instructor.
Sara went and got herself married a couple of years ago to a fine sailor in the US Navy. After a stint in Guantanamo Bay, the two have moved to Virginia for her husband’s duty assignment.
She had come home to visit her family, and in furtherance of getting her CCW in Virginia, decided to take our class, which (we learned) evidentially satisfies the training requirement there as well.
Not wanting to miss out on the fun of watching his daughter, Bret decided to audit the class as well.
For those of you who have been through our program before, you know one of the consistent themes throughout the class is the development of “Mastery of Skill at Arms”. This is a poetic way of saying, developing muscle memory.
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Bret chimed in on the first instance of “muscle memory” and related a story to the class that had happened to him.
For those of you who don’t know Bret, he is a recently retired Lt. with the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Dept.
He spent his entire career working in various capacities with the Sheriff from the jails, to the courts, to Patrol and ultimately as he reached the upper ranks, management. Fairly early on in our business Bret came in as a student.
He had access to various elective and mandatory training through the Sheriff, but he also sought out training opportunities on his own. He became a regular client, and after his retirement from the Sheriffs dept. became one of our instructors.
Bret shoots a lot.
In addition to demonstrating shooting techniques on our systems, he also is a regular competitor at various shooting competitions throughout the state. (He has also recruited one or two Artemis students to join him on the circuit!)
The story he told was interesting.
Remember… Bret spends a lot of time demonstrating techniques to our clients. Repetition after repetition takes place in the Lab showing our students the proper methodology for doing either the simplest administrative reload, to the the most complex malfunction clearance.
So, there he was at a live fire competition. He had a specific shooting string that needed to be completed under time, with the requisite amount of accurate hits. He was also limited in the amount of ammunition he had available to equalize the field between the semi-auto crowd (which he was one of) and the revolver guys.
After his first shot went down range, he saw that his slide had not completely gone forward into battery.
He instantly began an intellectual process of how he would need to proceed to get his gun back into battery, and not eject one of the precious rounds he had in his firearm. (One miss, or one shot not fired would detract from his over all score. If he simply racked the slide, he would eject an unused round and make him ineligible to win this string.)
As he thought about what he was going to do, he saw his gun rotate back into his workspace. He watched as his support hand slapped the magazine into place, and then instantly go to the slide and power stroke the action.
With the action set his sites were back on target and without thinking about it, he was shooting again.
He had trained to instantly go into an immediate action drill and clear a malfunction when one presented itself. He had done this so many times, that when he perceived a malfunction… while thinking about something else… he cleared it quickly, efficiently, and dynamically “returned to the fight”.
This was not the best course of action for Bret the “competitive shooter”.
But Bret is not a “competitive shooter” first and foremost.
He is a gunfighter.
While that round that he intellectually wanted to save ended up being thrown clear of the injection port, and his score was diminished… he realized something far more important: If this had been a life and death event, he would have had the Mastery of Skill at Arms to get his gun back into battery and back into the fight.
There exists two worlds in the gun community. The world of the recreational shooter, and the world of the gunfighter. Gunfighters, certainly can shoot recreationally… but the purpose of their shooting is the overall development of Mastery of Skill at Arms. While Bret may have lost that competition, his realization of the development of his own skill set was far more rewarding.
We train every day. We train with purpose.