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Old August 27, 2012, 01:57 PM   #1
kraigwy
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What not to do, Muscle Memory gone bad

We all learn by mistakes. I figure maybe my mistakes might keep others from making the same or similar mistakes.

We all agree (or should) with the theory of Muscle Memory. It's nothing more the acting without having to think about it.

Problem is we can develop bad muscle memory the same way we develop good muscle memory.

This leads me to my confession.

I had a friend in the national guard that grew up on an ranch. He learned rope and gun tricks and was quite good. He taught me gun handling, that is twirling a revolver like you see in some wild west show.

I practiced every chance I could and got fairly good at it.

Now off to work. We did our own building searches. Once in a while if someone was available we would do the search together.

One night we had an alarm and found a broken window so drew our revolvers and do the search. (you can see it coming).

After searching the building, my partner comes up to my car and tells me if he ever does a building search again, and sees me twilling my revolver, he was going to take it away from me and beat me to death with it.

I had no ideal what so ever I was twirling my revolver. I wondered how many times I've done it while searching by my self.

That was in the early to mid 80s, haven't twirled a revolver since.

Muscle memory does work, even when we don't want it to. Watch your bad habits before they become ingrained.
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Old August 27, 2012, 03:30 PM   #2
Frank Ettin
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Excellent post, Kraig. And an excellent lesson for all of us.
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Old August 27, 2012, 03:40 PM   #3
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I thought you were going to talk about practicing doing it badly,,,

I thought you were going to talk about practice times,,,
And not practicing when you are doing it badly.

My old Archery coach was very enamored with Zen archery.

One technique he impressed upon me was,,,
Do not practice doing something badly.

If I walked up to the line and my first end of arrows felt good,,,
Meaning I had good stance and my draw was consistent,,,
In general if everything felt good to me,,,
Then I practiced for hours,,,
Good muscle memory.

If I walked up to the line and my first end of arrows felt clumsy,,,
I didn't do any archery practicing at all that day,,,
I would not develop bad muscle memory.

That's what I thought you were going to talk about.

Aarond

.
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Old August 27, 2012, 04:29 PM   #4
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Can't help but think that any miscreants you might have run across, seeing you twirling your sixgun, would have to think you were a trigger happy dude, and surrender, right pronto.
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Old August 28, 2012, 03:56 AM   #5
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I appreciate the cautionary tales

I owe debts of gratitude for every lesson I don't have to learn the hard way. Complacency could kill. I catch myself taking shortcuts once in a while, and I tell myself not to practice doing the wrong thing.

Thanks, Kraigwy.
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Old August 28, 2012, 07:20 PM   #6
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Good story!

I've definitely not done a malfunction drill when I intended to...goes to show that the loading process for a 1911 is pretty darn ingrained!
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Old August 28, 2012, 08:08 PM   #7
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I'm gonna raise some hackles here with this comment.

I don't do malfunctions drills any more. Twice I was practicing for a match, drew my locked and cocked Gold Cup and instead of firing, I racked the slide doing a malfunction drill.

I had practiced is to much it got ingrained. That's why I like revolvers, The malfunction drill for a revolver is to pull the trigger again. Heck you're gonna do that anyway.

Not saying malfunction drills are bad, but be careful. You fight like you train. You don't want to be doing un-necessary malfunction drills to the point its ingrained.
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Old August 28, 2012, 08:21 PM   #8
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i would like someone to write a book "Zen and the Art of Shooting".
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Old August 28, 2012, 08:54 PM   #9
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Good post Kraig.

I had a friend that got stabbed, he drew fired 2 shots and holstered, just like that, as in our qualification course. Luckily the 2 shots were all that were needed.
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Old August 29, 2012, 01:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Good post Kraig.

I had a friend that got stabbed, he drew fired 2 shots and holstered, just like that, as in our qualification course. Luckily the 2 shots were all that were needed.
I did that at my first IPSC match.

Not the stabbing- the holstering.
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Old August 29, 2012, 07:02 AM   #11
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One time, I was trying to teach Rule One to my brother, and I handed him my .45, saying, "OK, now what's the first thing you do when someone hands you a weapon?"

He took the handgun, and said, "Twirl it!", which he proceeded to do...
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Old August 29, 2012, 09:29 AM   #12
g.willikers
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Did you trade your brother in on a new one?
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Old August 29, 2012, 09:50 AM   #13
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The worst kind of "muscle memory' is the kind a poster on another site once described.

He stated that he had trained himself to automatically, without thinking, turn, draw, and fire at a sound behind him because it meant that someone was "sneaking up" on him.

I don't know about the "muscle memory" folks, but I don't want to be anywhere near someone who starts shooting "automatically." That kind of fool is our worst nightmare and the Brady Campaign's poster boy.

Jim
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Old August 29, 2012, 03:38 PM   #14
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Good post, Kraig. I assume you learned to twirl on a single action cowboy gun, but found yourself twirling your DA service revolver? Yeah, that'd get my attention.

When I compete with my revolver at matches, I could gain a few tenths off my draw by "prepping" (starting the trigger pull) as the revolver's being presented to the target, like many other competitive wheelgunners do. Maybe I've over thought it, but I'd rather opt for the slightly slower 1st shot than to get in the habit of pulling the trigger as the gun comes on target.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ltc444
i would like someone to write a book "Zen and the Art of Shooting".
Someone has. Enos' Practical Shooting: Beyond Fundamentals is the bible among many top-rated shooters:
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Old August 29, 2012, 07:51 PM   #15
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Muscle memory is a funny thing.

For many years the only shotgun I had was my pump action Remington 870. Then I bought a Ruger Red Label for casual sporting clays and trap. When shooting the RRL, I would automatically try to "pump" the forend after each shot.
Last summer I did quite a bit of sporting clays with the Red Label and "lost" the instinct to "pump" the action, simply squeezing the trigger for the follow up shot. Then when hunting season rolled around it was back to the trusted old 870. There were several times that I didn't cycle the action and was let down when I simply squeezed the trigger again for a second shot
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Old August 30, 2012, 11:19 AM   #16
ltc444
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Just had a muscle memory issue.

Have had my Ar 15 with collapsible stock for 2 years. Have had good success on the range and set shots.

Now the situation.

A pack of dogs were chasing a cow and her young calf. (they have killed cows in the past and the Stock control people have a shoot on sight order)

Wife called me I grabbed the AR, jumped in the UTV and was off in pursuit. Suprised the Pack (and me) bedded up near an abandoned house trailer.

Exited the UTV. M-16 training and Muscle Memory kicked in. Snug to shoulder established a good stock weld. placed the dot on a dog and proceeded to miss 10 shots ranging from 25 feet to 100 yds.

My AAR established the following.

1. Do not establish a good stock weld on a collapsible stock as I was trained to do on an M-16. Must keep head Erect like shooting a pistol.

2. Need more practice.

3. Also I need to attach a pair of Ear Muffs to my Jump vest. In a fast response I do not have time to insert my standard EAR plugs into my ear.

4. Get some full size coyote targets for practice.

Frankly i should have taken my 1911. Had I done that at least two of the dogs would have been eliminated.

Will have opportunity to implement my AAR findings in the future.
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Old August 30, 2012, 08:26 PM   #17
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I dont see the problem here......
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Old August 30, 2012, 08:38 PM   #18
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"The worst kind of "muscle memory' is the kind a poster on another site once described.

He stated that he had trained himself to automatically, without thinking, turn, draw, and fire at a sound behind him because it meant that someone was "sneaking up" on him."

So, assuming he carried concealed at least sometimes, he would have to have shot multiple people, if he didn't get locked up after the first one. I realize that you said this was a poster on a forum, not someone you know, but someone stating that they have trained themselves to take that action is total BS. Mark
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Old August 30, 2012, 11:34 PM   #19
g.willikers
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Didn't Bill Hickock kill his friend and deputy like that.
In the middle of a shoot out with some drunks, he heard someone coming up behind.
He spun around and fired, killing his deputy, Dave, who was running up to help him.
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Old August 31, 2012, 01:07 PM   #20
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Yep. I immediately thought of Bill Hickock when I read this.
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Old August 31, 2012, 08:17 PM   #21
SG29736
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"Didn't Bill Hickock kill his friend and deputy like that.
In the middle of a shoot out with some drunks, he heard someone coming up behind.
He spun around and fired, killing his deputy, Dave, who was running up to help him"

Yes, that's supposed to be true. That happened in the middle of an active gunfight. A lot different than "training" yourself to automatically turn, draw and fire at a noise behind you. Mark
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Old September 3, 2012, 02:49 PM   #22
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Quote:
1. Do not establish a good stock weld on a collapsible stock as I was trained to do on an M-16. Must keep head Erect like shooting a pistol.
What kind of collapsible stock do you have that doesn't use the exact same recoil spring tube as a standard stock? On every AR or M-16 or M4 I've ever fired you use the exact same cheek weld (nose touching charging handle) whether it has a fixed or collapsible stock.
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Old September 3, 2012, 03:51 PM   #23
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best to learn things right the first time, I am having a lot of trouble breaking bad habits when it comes to pistol shooting due to "teaching" myself... rifle shooting on the other hand...
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Old September 4, 2012, 08:31 PM   #24
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I learned on the original M-16. My Instructors taught me to place my cheekbone on the stock. I fired expert. I never fired competitive rifle. I Captained the 5th Division Combat Pistol team. In 1976.

The tube on the Collapsible stock is about 2 inches lower than the top of the original M-16 stock I shot for some 22 years. None of my instructors, all of whom were Vietnam Veterans with 6 bronze stars, 4 Silver Stars, two Distinguished Marksman awards between them said any thing about putting my nose on the charging handle.
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