Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What Words Mean

The terms efficiency and effectiveness get tossed around a lot in the shooting community, which is fine, it is just one of my pet peeves when either one gets misused to further a certain line of logic. Specifically in the context of the reload debate. I will usually hear something along the lines of "We use this reload technique because it is more efficient". I have heard a lot of people say this about using an over the top rack technique for the reload, arguing it is more efficient within a real fight. I don't want to get bogged down into the gross vs. fine motor skill argument, but to understand where most proponents of the over the top rack are coming from, I will summarize it. The argument is fine motor skill will degrade to the extent that operating the slide release in the context of a fight is unreliable. That is why some instructors teach the over the top rack, it is supposedly more reliable at producing the intended result.

Lets think about what efficiency means.

"Accomplishment of or ability to accomplish a job with a minimum expenditure of time and effort."
So being efficient implies being fast (no waste of time) and minimizing movement (minimum espenditure of effort). So in the context of a reload, which is more efficient?

Option #1

Option #2

Option #1 certainly seems faster and to require less effort than option #2. So according the definition of the word, Option #1 is the most efficient.

Now lets talk about Effectiveness.

"Adequate to accomplish a purpose; producing the intended or expected result."
So to be effective the technique just has to accomplish the goal and produce the intended result. It doesn't say anything about being the fastest or least wasteful. I think instructors/shooters who teach/use the over the top rack technique do so because they believe it to be more reliable at accomplishing the goal. Right? I have never seen an argument for using the over the top rack technique say anything about it being faster or requiring less movement and/or effort, it is always about being able to reliably manipulate the gun.

So for those of you out there who espouse the over the top rack technique, effective might be a better word to use instead of efficient. Just sayin'.

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