Point to Ponder: Having One Procedure

Can it be a problem to have multiple procedures or equipment if:

  1. I have a safe, detailed procedure to holster on the range but I just holster with no procedure when dry firing?
  2. I carry my pistol AIWB but practice and compete with my pistol on my hip?
  3. I use a different set of sights on each pistol and the point of aim is different?
  4. I use different pistols with different actions and controls (i.e. Double Action only/Striker/Double Action-Single Action)?

The list could go on and on….

The point is that I believe the answer is yes. In my experience the problems are related to time, speed, distraction and stress. The second point is that these problems, even if minor, can combine with movement, fear causing over driving the pistol, etc to make the negative effect enough to cause us to miss, get shot or otherwise lose the encounter.

Going down the list, a few examples that I have seen over the years are:

  1. I believe not having a procedure during dry fire is having a procedure, it’s just different from when you, “know” the pistol is loaded. Under stress or distraction what happens is one procedure gets substituted for the other. That combined with another error such as an obstructed trigger can cause the pistol go bang while holstering.
  2. I call this problem the, “Gunfight Macarena”. A person will draw their pistol on the hip, but it’s not there. The pistol is actually AIWB. They will then realize their brain picked the wrong procedure and quickly draw from AIWB.
  3. This is important if you decide to take a difficult shot. If you aim for a head shot where you are placing the front sight over where you want to hit but your pistol is one that now needs you to shoot below or at the 6 o’clock. This could make you miss your target.

    A benefit of having only one sight is that your mind automatically gets calibrated to a sight picture to a human sized target for each distance, without ever consciously thinking what distance you are actually shooting from. This becomes important if you find yourself shooting from 15 yards or farther in a real gunfight. Humans are not all that great at telling distance when calm. When under tunnel vision it becomes even harder. That front sight relationship to human target is valuable. Once you start timing yourself and are shooting from 15+ yards I suggest mixing in human shaped targets. I usually buy them online and shoot them once a month. The key is to shoot from farther distances using this target. Picture targets, IDPA targets, IPSC targets are all good.I buy small batches and mix them up. Some are large humans and some are small.

    Another benefit of using human shaped targets is that we don’t run around with a bullseye on our chest as bad guys. Learning to place the sight correctly on the body is important.

  4.  This one is easy to understand. Forgetting to take off a safety because your other gun does not have one delays getting into the gunfight. Concentrating on one gun is important. If you later decide to change to a different gun platform it is advisable to plan for an increased dry fire and live fire training regimen for the first month, to avoid this problem as much as possible.

    Another problem with different equipment, such as a trigger, is that they often cause a mental pause. It’s as though our mind is expecting a certain trigger and we get something different. That mental pause actually translates into a longer trigger pull and often an inappropriate trigger pull.


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