The word Myopia is defined as an "inability to see distant objects clearly because the images are focused in front of the retina."
When used as an adjective the word Myopic means "a lack of foresight or discernment : a narrow view of something".
Either way it's used though it comes back to the same thing--seeing only part of the whole picture. Shooting, or rather shooting well, is a very technical skill with a lot of moving parts which need to be completed in the proper order with the proper timing. It takes a lot of practice, a lot of repetition and a continuing commitment to keeping those skills sharp. We all know this and know it well. But focusing only on the technical aspect of our shooting skills is a myopic view of our lifestyle of defense.
A quick search of YouTube et al will result in a plethora of video instruction detailing how to shave a quadrillionth of a second off your shot time by some new tactic which is suddenly the only right tactic to use, forsaking all other ways of using a firearm. Follow up on that tactic with a quick search of any of the many forums and you 'll continue to learn why the tactic in question is the only way to correctly do business. You'll also learn that a failure to use that tactic will only result in your untimely demise at the hands of a "feeder" or by some highly trained enemy of the state. The point is that all the focus goes toward a skill or a tactic and the rest of the picture is ignored.
So what is the rest of the picture? When we talk about training we have to look at each individual skill and decide if it is the best way to do business. In the gun world we often judge our competency by our speed. How fast we can perform a skill often seems to be the only benchmark we use to determine success. Tragically, we are learning that this simply is not true. Speed does not always equate to success. Granted, with a myopic view of things we might be able to convince ourselves and probably even others that we have found the perfect solution to any specific issue. And in reality...we probably have. But what we have actually found is that we have only found an effective solution to one little piece of the picture. A great example is the use of a ready gun position which involves pointing the muzzle of a pistol downrange in preparation to shoot. This technique makes perfect sense on the "square range" or when facing an array of targets at our local match. But how smart is it in your own house? Or at the mall? At the range our battlefield is quite symmetrical and tightly controlled, there should be nothing you're not willing to destroy downrange. Same goes at that weekend match, even if there are no-shoot targets we don't often get penalized for "covering" them with our muzzle during the game. But who thinks it is ok to cover a non-threatening person, or something you aren't willing to destroy, with the muzzle of a weapon?
But are these the habits we need to be learning? Granted, solving the very small part of the puzzle--being faster to the first shot--it makes sense to use a horizontal muzzle right? But will that apply correctly to the decisions we will have to make when our battlefield is no longer symmetrical? I use the old adage of expectations vs. training, in times of great stress we tend to fall to the level of our training rather than rise to the level or our expectations. Think about it, have you ever looked back on something you did and wonder why you did it that way? Then maybe even came up with a better way to do it, i.e. your expected response? That is what I am talking about, doing it one way but realizing you expected yourself to have done it another way. How can we learn and drill the specific skill set and then expect that we will change that skill set to meet the needs of the situation. That is simply not gonna happen. So we need to learn and practice a skill set which will work in as many situations as possible.
Another great example is the use of a slide lock lever on a pistol or a bolt stop/catch on an AR. Both of those tools are designed to lock the slide or bolt to the rear when the weapon is fired until empty. There are a lot of arguments revolving around which is the fastest method to close the slide or bolt back over a loaded magazine, reloading the weapon. Either depressing the lever with ones finger or thumb, or by running the slide or charging handle with ones whole hand. A lot of practice, video footage and experience shows that as a technical skill, depressing the slide lock or bolt stop with ones finger or thumb drops the slide or bolt faster most of the time. But does that make it the best method? Our argument is that no, that is not the best method simply because there are more factors involved than simply that technical skill. We know that under stress we lose minor motor function such as feeling in our fingertips. It is often argued that using the tips of our fingers to move a small lever might be difficult to do. However, triggers are small levers and magazine releases are small levers so that argument may not solidify the issue. We believe there are two much stronger arguments. The first being that using the whole hand to run a locked back pistol slide or using the charging handle to run the bolt on an AR allows mechanical advantage to help with the reliability of reloading the weapon. Simply depressing the slide lock or bolt stop only utilizes the preset tension on the recoil spring or buffer spring. However, forcing the slide or charging handle fully to the rear before allowing the spring to drive it forward not only adds a small amount of tension to that spring, it also allows inertia to help drive the slide or bolt forward. Additionally, if you've watched enough folks try to reload an empty weapon with the slide lock or bolt stop and have seen that technique fail, what do they do? Yeah I know, they run the slide with their hand or pull the charging handle don't they?
But the strongest argument we can make simply drives the point of this article. Using our hand on the slide or the charging handle is the way we load the weapon each time and every time. Think about it, no matter what the condition of the weapon and reload we load it the same way every time. By inserting a magazine and pulling the slide or charging handle to the rear and letting it go. This one technique works each time, every time and is the only one we have to master. Thus allowing us to perform perfectly at the level of our training, not the level of our expectations.
So let's get our eyes checked. Where should our focus be? On a small and technical skill? Or on the bigger picture, the whole? As long as we continue to keep ourselves locked onto the square range or focused on only a small part of the whole picture then we have a myopic view of our training. As soon as we realize that our lifestyle of defense involves operating on a asymmetrical battlefield, then we are gonna see clearly and see the whole picture. That vision should help drive our choices of techniques, equipment and training. Figure out what works for you based on the whole picture, with clear vision. Then master that technique or tool and be able to use it perfectly under any condition. This is what we call "Brilliance in the Basics" and what drives our philosophies and doctrines here at Badlands Tactical!
Come shoot!!!--Rich

5 Responses to “I can see clearly now!!”

  1. Chuck Hunt,

    Uh-huh. Reaching up, finding the charging handle, pulling it rearward (with the resulting contortions that takes while holding on to the pistol grip), then reacquainting a firing grip with the left hand is a GROSS motor skill, while slapping the BOLT RELEASE ( so named by Gene Stoner, who invented the thing) is not? Hmmm. Just because some tyros muff it because they have not incorporated it into their unconscious muscle memory does not make it invalid.
    DoS teaches bolt-release reloading to Diplomatic Security Agents. ( I know, I was one) DoD teaches it. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t. That having been said, if one wants to take the time to monkey around with a reload, when hundredths of a second can mean the difference between a steak dinner or a pine box tonight, feel free. Having done it under fire, not me amigos.
    How’s that for gettin’ the ball rollin?

  2. Chuck Hunt,

    C’mon, guys….where’s the scintillating repartee?

    • BTTFadmin,

      Aww Chuck, always the wordsmith!!! I actually had to Google “scintillating repartee”. Perhaps unwittingly or more likely knowing you, by design–you have done a great job of making the point of the post!! The issue isn’t how we should conduct one specific skill, it is how we train for the big picture. It is about how we conduct ourselves through the entire process, not just focusing upon one technical skill in order to validate our proficiency. I wanted the point to be that we don’t always focus our training and techniques on our overall performance, instead we tend to find one small piece of that overall performance and use that small piece to then validate everything else we do. While I totally agree that each small piece is important, often times we focus on that piece without opening our minds to other possibilities. As you know, it is a balancing act. I agree that most of the time running the bolt catch works, but if it doesn’t then what? You have to use the charging handle right? So why not start at the charging handle? Your contention that the time difference is important is a well taken point–and here is the balance–but what about the time difference if the bolt catch didn’t work? Then we are that much further behind and in your estimation, just as at home in that pine box. But consider please that the point of the post was, where are we focusing? Should it be on the specific and limited task of choosing between the bolt catch or the charging handle? Or should it be on the other options? If time in the reload is such a factor then why balance our success or failure on such a precarious piece of the puzzle? Why not work on things like our cover and concealment, moving to cover, transitions to secondary weapons, supporting fire, ammunition management, etc etc? Why is our focus–and again in your estimation, our ability to have steak or be dead–solely on that one little piece of metal, the bolt catch?

      So although the point of the post really had very little to do with how one chambers a round you did bring a few other things to light. If I stated that using the bolt catch was “invalid”, then I am wrong and I apologize. My intention was to explain why we choose to teach such a technique, not to criticize someone for doing something else. I believe in using the charging handle, I hope I have explained why. As you have heard me say more than once “it’s not THE way, it’s A way” Test drive it, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it! Although I cannot speak for what Gene Stoner called the thingy because I admit I have never seen anything from him regarding his original nomenclature; the US Army, Marine Corp, Knights Manufacturing and Colt all call the thingy a bolt catch and LaRue Tactical calls it a bolt stop. (Those were the only manuals I could find in my mess of a desk to verify that statement) As far as who is teaching it and who is not, even a quick trip to BooBTube shows a plethora of videos discussing this same thing. Names like Rob Pincus, Wes Doss and that bearded guy we all know and love use it and teach it. I have attended training at several facilities who teach this method and many federal, state and local academies and advanced training use it. That being said, for every talking head expert, zombie killing school or cop shop who teach it–there is one who teaches another method. Once again–all to the validity of my point. That we focus on the wrong things sometimes!

      On a personal note; I didn’t know that you were a DS Agent? I know and like a bunch of those guys!! In fact I was with the last RSO from where you were stationed a couple weeks ago. Good dude!!! I’ll have to chat with some of them and swap lies about you…heheee!!

      Thanks for your discusson Chuck, sure miss seeing you guys!!!! –Come Shoot!

  3. Chuck Hunt,

    Yup. You are correct. There’s rarely only ONE way to correctly complete a task. Use what you know, and know what you use!
    As for being a DS agent, no, I wasn’t. They made us wear uniforms that SAID “Diplomatic Security”, but in reality we were just contractors that ran all the security protocols at the Embassy. Did all the same stuff…..PSD, convoy ops and some — other stuff— but not a DS agent.
    As for the RSO, I hope his name wasn’t O’Brien. Won’t say what I think of him on an open forum.
    I’ll come shoot as soon as the flight schedule calms down a bit. ICE has us chasing our tails.

    • BTTFadmin,

      Cool, can’t wait to see ya!!! I think you’re really gonna like the new building!
      Be safe and what is that saying about “keeping the blue side up”!!!! Please do!!!