Friday, December 7, 2012

Look vs. No Look Reloads

One of the things that seems to come up every so often is the issue of whether or not to look a reload in, or not look a reload in. Honestly, I don't have a dog in the fight so I don't really care what people do because I think that in general, they both will work. I am just going to relay some of my experiences, what I do, and some of the things I have heard so people can make their own decisions.

So why look the reload in? Those that take the "look the reload in" stance typically do so because they say it ensures a more consistent, positive and fumble free reload. Pretty simple argument, and makes some sense. But has its own set of problems. People are task oriented, and there is a way to look the reload in, and there is way not to look the reload in. It can be a really fine line, that I don't think occurs naturally. I often times see shooters who are "decent" and who look the reload in looking down at the gun that is located somewhere around their waste during the reload. In my mind, this slows the process down by creating more distance to be covered and requiring a more difficult reacquisition of the sights. Not saying a waste level reload can't be done fast, because it can. I have seen it done fast, but that vast majority of the times I have seen it done, it isn't fast. So the hazard of looking it in is task fixation and poor positioning.

So why NOT look the reload in? Those that take the opposite view aren't quite as united in why they take that view. Some will say that if you visually look at the reload, it will actually slow you down because you are consciously trying to process the action and your subconscious mind is much faster than your conscious mind. So in theory, you should be able to go faster.

Others will say that in a defensive application, you will/should maintain a focus on the threat because that is what is endangering your life, not the reload. One example I have heard (although I think a poor one) is that it is like driving a car. If I see something in front of me and I need to emergency brake, I don't look at my foot to make sure it hits the brake pedal, I just do it. That is true, but am I braking, or driving the car? I would argue that I am driving the car, and braking is just part of that. I cannot brake and not drive the car (well I could but...). In a fight, I can stop fighting to accomplish a reload. A more accurate relationship to shooting would be pressing the trigger. I don't watch my finger press the trigger while I am shooting, and I can't shoot without pressing the trigger, just like I don't watch my foot hit the brake pedal (or gas pedal) while I am driving. If I were going to compare a reload to something driving related, I would compare it to inserting and turning the key to start the car, because that is essentially what I am doing with the magazine. I am inserting it and restarting the gun.

The hazard of not looking the reload in is a higher probability of fumbling it, maybe.

So those are the typical arguments, and I am sure I have missed something somewhere but you get the gist. Personally, I try not to look reloads into the gun, but sometimes I do anyway (goes back to that task oriented thing). I see no real change from one to the next. In a perfect world, I would never look because if I don't need to look, then why look? I can use that vision to do something else. What I think contributes most to a consistent reload is a consistent and stable positioning of the gun. If you watch some of the videos on this blog, you will probably notice my reloads have changed a little since I first started writing. The reason it has changed, is because I wanted a more stable and consistent placement of the gun to accept the magazine. At the same time, I also wanted to keep my front sight in my line of sight to minimize the amount of time needed after the reload is completed to put rounds back on target. Essentially for every manipulation I do to my gun (reload or malfunction clearance) I try to keep it up to speed recovery. This is what my reload looks like now.

So look or don't look, you pick, and then find a way to test your choice.

A New Muse

I now have access to an AR-15, standby for some thoughts on it specifically and how I like to run it.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mike Seeklander - Your Defensive Handgun Training Program

If you have followed this blog for a while, you will know that I have mentioned Mike Seeklander in the past. I was fortunate to get in on a class he taught at USSA in the fall of 2010, and it is really the class that kicked off a season of more serious pursuit of shooting skill for me. I was amazed by what I saw, and decided I wanted to get there. That is one of the great things about instructors who can demo at a high skill level. Sometimes, students just don't know what is possible. If you don't know, then how can you possibly want to get there?

Mike has recently published a new book, called Your Defensive Handgun Training Program, and is putting the finishing touches on an accompany DVD. On his Facebook page, he has posted several snippets from the DVD, they are worth watching.

FYI, Mike is teaching a class in White Hall, AR on April 13 and 14 of 2013. To register go to