Saturday, May 11, 2013

Practicing Like the Pros

Or more appropriately, making the same mistakes.

A couple weeks ago I was dry firing and noticed I was fumbling a lot of my reloads. Instead of the mag sliding smoothly into the gun, it was jamming and causing significant delays. So I started repeating the drill, increasing my speed gradually until I recognized the issue. It turns out that as I sped up, I was taking my eyes off the gun and looking back at the target, before the magazine was fully inserted. I realized I had gotten into a bad habit and it took a lot of concentration to work through that and make my reloads smooth again. I get excited when I am able to analyze and fix a problem. I came upstairs and regaled my understanding wife the my fascinating tale.

Fast forward to this week, and I'm reading a post by Caleb Giddings over in Gun Nuts Media, entitled Wandering Eyes. Caleb was discussing an issue he was having with bobbled reloads. If I didn't know better, I'd swear he had been listening in:

What’s happening is actually pretty simple – when I’m pushing for more speed, I take my eyes off the magwell before I’ve fully inserted the magazine because I’m trying to get my sight picture back as quick as possible. Because I’ve mentally defined “completing” the reload as getting a sight picture, I cut a corner with my visual focus if I’m pushing for more speed. 
< ... > 
After I realized what I was doing, I applied some mental discipline to force myself to look the mag all the way in, even under a tighter par time. Unfortunately, over the winter I did thousands of reloads using “sight picture” as the end goal, so I’ve developed a bit of a training scar as a result. However, the fix to a training scar is train harder and better; to that end I’ve changed how I’ll practice my reloads.

I guess I shouldn't be discouraged by my mistakes, especially if the former Top Shot competitor is making the same ones.


  1. This post made me think; Every once in a while I “drag” the magazine out of it’s carrier & partially dislodge the top round, which buggers up my reload something fierce. If I am lucky the round ends up on the range floor but a lot of times I end up trying to stuff the mag into the mag well with the round far enough forward to prevent this but not far enough to easily dislodge …

    I’ve seen all kinds of variations on the reload. A few guys I know / know of who are really good shooters have some unusual habits here.
    1) has a habit of ‘flipping’ the pistol - ostensibly to dislodge the glock magazines that won’t drop free.
    2) another brings his pistol up in front of his eyes, rotates the gun barrel to almost 12 o’clock to perform the reload and then reacquire the target.

    I have to admit, I probably only see the magazine about 50-70% of the time, the rest is probably subconscious … I try to keep the gun oriented toward the target during this exchange.

    1. I find that "looking the reload in" provides improved consistency. I move the gun until I see the same point at the base of the magwell and point the mag in. I can still see the target(s) behind the gun. This is consistent whether I'm engaging the same target, looking for the next or on the move -- the gun's always at the same place. Of course, what works for one person, may not work for another.


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