Too many guns negatively impacting on proficiency?
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  1. #1
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    Too many guns negatively impacting on proficiency?

    Many of us on these gun forums really like guns. We like to look at them, we like to hold them, we like to take them out, we like to compare them, we like to feed them different varieties of ammo, we like to collect and possess them, and some even like to trade then in for newer or different models... yes I am still talking about guns.

    We like to shoot them, the guns that is. It got me to wondering about the old expression: "Be afraid of the man (person) who only has one gun, he may know how to use it."

    What I was wondering about if having so many or too many guns actually makes it more difficult for the majority of us to really get proficient in the use of weapon. How many handguns did the great shootists of the old days have or even modern shootists - not talking about paper punching folks but those engaged, in real, deadly combat.

    Your thoughts are welcome.

  2. #2
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    When you talk about the modern 'shootists', you are painting a pretty broad stroke with one brush.

    Which shootists -- the fantastic demonstration shooters who split cards, the ones who hand-throw 7 clay pigeons and nail each one individually before it hits the ground with a pump 12ga? Or the competition shooters, the USPSA/IPSC competitors who run and gun with such rapid-fire precision that even their misses score better than most of us? Or the armed forces/law enforcement precision marksmen -- even within that general class, there are distinctions between the military field marksmen and the law enforcement urban marksmen who have very similar training, but bring different skill sets alongside their shooting.

    In any case, I think what you'll find is that in most cases, the shootists might favor a specific weapon, but they are stunningly proficient with just about anything you put in their hand just out of the sheer volume of practice they have had, and their commitment to developing their skills; as the saying goes, it's the archer, not the arrow.

    But for the average Range Bubba, accumulating that amount of practice isn't sponsored, routine, dedicated, or in most cases possible with even one gun, let alone each one in the stable. So with the idea that sending rounds downrange is the key to becoming proficient, when Range Bubba dilutes his or her practice by investing range time in multiple guns, rather than building up skill on just one, it has to have a negative impact on proficiency with that one primary weapon.

    That being said, just as dry-firing isn't really shooting but helps build skill by developing shooting principles, shooting that classic C96 Mauser does help build proficiency with shooting skills that transfer to enhance proficiency with that 605 that can usually be found riding in the IWB, but not as quickly as investing the time shooting the 605.
    TheOldRedneck and Wolf1477 like this.

  3. #3
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    You've opened a big can of worms here.
    It's true that practice makes perfect and that shooting only one gun should (on paper) eventually allow you to shoot 'Expert' with that gun; whereas diluting your practice by introducing multiple guns into a range session is more likely to make you a 'jack of all trades, master of none.'
    But that conclusion is arrived at only intellectually.
    The real world is different.
    If you study movies like "Faster" and "Mr. & Mrs. Smith", you'll soon note that professional assassins own large arsenals and are proficient with everything in that arsenal.
    Ergo...
    FZ1 likes this.
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    I don't think it really matters as long as you are the most proficient with the gun you carry the majority of the time. When I go to the range, I usually take several guns. I start and finish with the gun I carry most often (in my case, it's the 145 MilPro). I don't think that shooting several will dilute your proficiency, either. Of course, it may be because I shoot most of my guns equally well, equally badly, depending upon how you look at it.
    btleslie, Wino and bre346 like this.
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    This is what prompted me to streamline my collection.

    I decided to focus on glock pistols for my hd/sd/gaming needs. My g17/g19 have the exact same manual of arms, fit in the same holsters and have the exact same trigger feel.

    I feel when you have too many pistols on the table at the range you are doing a disservice to yourself. You will become a better shooter, but not the best. I feel that if I can be the best possible shooter with my glocks, completely master them, that will translate to make me a better shooter with any firearm I pick up. Because I have drilled the fundamentals without changing the hardware, I have made the specifics of pistol shooting matter more than the pistol I'm shooting.

    I can pick up my pt1911 and decide that with that trigger I could almost stop practicing and just blast away at the X ring. But a 1911 trigger masks a lot of atrocities in my shooting.

    My rifle shooting has greatly improved recently, I think it's directly related to some training I've taken and the amount of trigger time I've been logging. It'll be a cold day when I have a rifle outside the AR pattern.

    As always YMMV
    OEF Veteran and Cornfed Iowa Boy
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  7. #6
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    Practice does not make perfect.

    PERFECT practice makes PERFECT.

    Shooting is a parsishable skill; ignore the basics and pay the price.
    DBMMD, Divebum and bre346 like this.
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    Back when a man made his living alone and had to feed and protect himself there was a saying that applies to this thread.
    "Beware the man that shoots only one rifle, he knows where it shoots"
    I have witnessed this on several occasions as I was growing up. The old Basque sheep herder armed with a 50 year old Savage 1899 in 303 Savage that would shoot an eagle out of the air when it threatened his lambs or getting the running coyote or bobcat at well over a quarter mile; all with a gun that was used when he bought it and he had carried it for 40 years. No scope, just the original sights, and he was well over 60 years old when I knew him.
    You can cite all the movies you want, but every one was a movie set and staged.
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  9. #8
    JR
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    Moondawg is absolutely correct. Practicing a flinch simply engraves it into your reflex. Practicing mashing a trigger will do the same.

    The idea that we should all become proficient with our carry weapon is a sound one. Yet, at the same time, then, becoming proficient with a long gun would waste that time. How many of us can carry a long-gun with us in public?

    I would also question the wisdom of "I'll practice with my Glocks until I know everything about them. That will then transition into other handguns." Nope, it won't. Glocks have no manual safety, no hammer, and a different grip angle. Trying to shoot a 1911 would leave you a befuddled mess.

    Now, presuming that you will always have that same gun on you, and that it won't fail mechanically, just asks for trouble. Magazine failures are the most common type of semi-auto failure. That could leave you with an expensive single shot. Suppose the trigger bar breaks, and you are able to get to another weapon, and find yourself holding onto that C96. If all of your skills are on a Glock platform, or a Colt 1911, you're going to perform poorly.

    The idea is to be comfortable, and proficient, with your primary weapon. Then, you should be well-rounded in other major types/styles. Not knowing, under pressure, that the Browning HP has a magazine safety, and a manual safety, might get you killed.

    I collect guns, and was an expert witness for the Federal 4th Circuit Court. That required more than a passing proficiency with a LOT of different guns. I'm also a Combat Veteran of ages ago, and have had experience in the use of lethal force in the civilian arena, as well. I can shoot just about any hand-gun in use regular today, and hit with it under stress. I am NOT an exhibition shooter, and never will be.

    There is simply NO real reason why the average CCW needs to be Rob Leatham, or Jerry Miculek. Just like there's no reason for a non-professional to know how to perform a tracheotomy. Yes, it's a life-saver under some circumstances, but not an everyday skill, and a perishable one, at that.

    I will agree as to "slimming down" a collection. I've managed to get rid of one of the most troublesome styles of rifle entirely. The AR. To me, they are a perfect example of good money thrown after bad. In 50 years, tens of billions of dollars have been expended to make the system reliable, and the ammunition effective in other than niche scenarios. Neither has occurred.
    Wino, BigSkiff and Lance0812 like this.

  10. #9
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    Practice does indeed make perfect. Hone the basics to perfection and it will not matter what gun you shoot.

  11. #10
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    Excellent post JR

    What I said about mastering my glocks, would make me a better shooter across any regular use pistol. If I can concentrate on the specifics of pistol shooting without constantly changing the nuances required, my fundamentals advance.

    I know that a good trigger press is a good trigger press regardless of firearm. If I can perfect it on one platform (ie the glock) I know it transitions better to my other platform a 1911. But when I perform a good trigger press for a 1911 then pick up a glock or other striker fired firearm, my good 1911 press might be a terrible striker fired trigger press.

    I have redundancy in the firearms I have chosen. I know enough about firearms to know I don't know enough. At the same time I know enough to be able to distinguish the presence of a manual or any other type of safety.

    I believe for the new shooter it is paramount to success to pick a platform and perfect it. It is not worthwhile for a new shooter to buy a pistol put a couple hundred rounds through it, decide THAT pistol sucks and move on to another platform, conducting the same test and arriving at the same conclusion.

    That is an issue of Indian and not Arrow. That is what most new shooters can not understand (hell there are some old shooters that don't understand that).

    I'll take any AR's you don't want and give them a good home. I know the brands that produce reliable products, I know I can make my hits with one out to 300 meters consistently. It's a lightweight fighting rifle, there are few and far that do what the AR does better, and there are few and far that can cover as many roles as an AR can.
    JR likes this.
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