Cross Training

Laying in my bed after a session of dry fire, I check the old YourFace and see some topics to write about. Robert Wyatt, who is a friend of mine and a great shooter suggested a inside joke topic of ” Why you should stick to shooting one gun for more than a month?”

I have been well know to swap between guns from match to match and even sad to say from stage to stage. To my credit I have stay consistent in my placement in club matches with my swapping ways. So tonight I will not answer Robert’s question but write about how this gun cross training can make you a better shooter.

This year alone I have shot these pistols  in matches local and even in Canada. CZ 75B Omega, Beretta 90-two, S&W M&P, Glock 17 and I have a FNH FNS Longslide on the way that I will shoot the year out with.
All these guns are similar and yet to the gunslinger are quite different,  cocked and locked 75b to the Double-Single 92, the striker fired Smith and the lower grip angle of the Glock. But really since the 1911 all modern pistol have the same layout, give or take a decocker here or a slide release there. Which really makes the jump between them minimal.

Now working with so many different guns can kick you in the ass, but only if you don’t put some work in before hand. Here are some of my reasons to cross train with multiple handguns.
1. Fundamentals are devoid of any firearm allegiance. Most casual shooters have picked up a friends gun and taken it for a spin only to come back and say “I can’t hit Sh!# with it”, or it “doesn’t fit me.” A good shooter regardless of firearm will be able to apply proper marksmanship skills and deliver a well placed shot. Shooting a new gun or a safe dweller will take what is now a unconscious effort and bring it to the forefront of your conscience mind. Thus reminding you of the what it feels and looks like to apply those marksmanship fundamentals.

2. Swinging the weighted bat. Now we all know of a few guns that are lacking in refinements, such as my Beretta 92. Long double action 11 pound trigger, 3 dot sights, a mag-well that is not beveled and just big enough to fit the magazine. It’s a lot of fun to watch your screaming fast reload come to a dead stop because you missed the dead center of the mag-well by a millimeter.

It sucks and is awesome all at the same time.

It sucks and is awesome all at the same time.

A tough gun to run is like a batter’s weighted bat in the on deck circle. It’s heavier thus slower to swing but makes the batter’s bat speed increase with his lighter game bat. That double action pull makes you get a better finger placement on the trigger. It makes you press evenly and smoothly, so you don’t pull the shot off target and you build grip strength.  That mag-well makes you work on indexing your mags correctly and helps you slow down at the critical points of your reload. Drawing a different gun can help you work on the angle and starting position of your grip. As soon as you go back to your  modern and lighter striker fired gun it will feel like a Ferrari 458 and not a Honda Odyssey.

3. Teaching others. Nothing is better than actual experience. It would be nice to help out that new shooter who was wrangled into that Sig 220 Super Combat Elite Dark Scorpion for his first gun and is putting the first round into the dirt at each stage, or those 4 out 5 women who walked out of the gun store with S&W Air Weight. Knowing how to pull that heavy and long DA trigger would be a boon to that shooter. The different ways the manufacturer zeros the sights on a  gun, where to hold the sights. Which aftermarket mags work and which are like being robbed 30 bucks at a time. Even if it is that super light striker spring that won’t set off that CCI primer, at least you can make difference and save that shooter a couple hundred bucks and a trip to the gunsmith.

Less never was better than more.  One trick ponies can’t win all the races and variety is the spice of life. So buy them all and let the learning  begin.

Stay safe and click at the wall,

Tom Nelson