There is an old saying, “be careful of the man with one gun, for he probably knows how to use it!” Very true words to live by, but as an instructor I don’t often get the same luxury.
Dance with the One Your Brought
I am pretty monogamous with my handgun selection. I try to keep within the same family of guns for my duty and carry requirements. It is helpful when I’m bouncing from one class to another to have some familiarity. Even if it is a different size frame or caliber, there is enough familiarization to do the work required. I enjoy keeping things simple and will often roll my eyes when I see a student sporting the gun of the month idea. From an instructional point of view I know there is going to be consistency issues. I will front load them to keep them to a minimum. I don’t have an issue with expressing your need to have multitude of guns. I’m saying focus on one and master it, then have fun.
So, it’s kind of hard for me to sit here when I have shifted away from my default brand. There is nothing wrong with them, nothing you need to worry about. As an instructor I need to have familiarity with different platforms. In this case I am working with a unit who is issued a different make/model. It is helpful when instructing I can discuss the unique idiosyncrasies of said make/model from a first person point of view. Without it, your credibility is not at full power. While marksmanship principles don’t change, their setup and application can differ. I am both happy and frustrated when I work with different platforms.
Happy in the sense I reiterate the marksmanship principles regardless of the platform. Frustrated it might take slowing down or a few magazines to really get into the groove. Here is my secret…do work. I typically start with my supporting gear such as holsters and magazine pouches. When possible I try to go to the same manufacture for these needs. It creates a little bit of familiarity with the fit and ride. I try to have sufficient magazines for both training and self-defense. Since I fully immerse myself to keep the brain farts at a minimum this means carrying the same made/model concealed. Then there is dry fire practice, lots of dry fire practice. I will invest usually twice as much as I normally allocate with a little bit of overlap to cover my bases. What I mean is if I know I have an event with a unit, I will start practicing well in advance that overlaps with what I carry at that time.
Invest in the Process
The real work comes when you have to put holes in paper or shots on steel. I go through a variety of drills. I know I do these drills well with the other platforms so it helps keep consistency going. The key is you need to slow things down. I talk about full, half and slow speed in class and I usually do twice as much work at slow speed when transferring. Then I ramp up with drills that maintain accuracy, but push speed. The last step is to go full throttle. This is where the wheels start to wobble so I have to spend a fair amount of time getting them to settle down. While I don’t need a reason to switch platforms, I take it seriously since I’m fully immersed. This process has worked for me over the years and when students are looking to explore other options this is the path I recommend.
There is nothing wrong with having several guns, but if you are going to carry keep it simple. Investing time, talent and treasure is commitment not to be taken lightly.
Author: Jeff Gonzales