Random Gunslinger Neuro-Hack For The Day

by | Apr 17, 2019

2) One of the most important things we learn when we do “snap shot” drills CORRECTLY, is exactly how much precision we need in order to get as fast as we can get, at different ranges. I need a lot less precision to get a head shot in less than one second at 10 meters than I do to get a torso shot in less than one second at 100 meters… This carries over to target-to-target transitions, because our neural pathways between eyes, brain, and trigger finger, are being exercised and trained to recognize how much precision is “enough.”
3) Building the neural pathways to build a solid, stable, durable firing position that will allow you to get a first-round hit at various ranges, as fast as possible, will facilitate all the other shooting skills you need with that particular weapon.

This quote above from the link below:


I like this guy Mosby.  And not just because I’m an Old Paratrooper and fond of paratroopers, and he are one.  He’s literate, speaks his mind and on occasion admits he’s wrong and corrects himself.  Not a common attribute in the ego-driven “tacti-cool industry” in my opinion based on my observations.

I enjoyed reading this particular post, and thought I’d dip into my much battered bag of Old Dude Neuro Hacks for Gunslingers and share something specific about how to build more efficient pathways between visual processing, decision making and pressing the trigger.

As always, don’t take anything I say for gospel. Approach it all with doubt and trust only your own experience. Nice thing about these drills is that you can do them on your own.  Once you  have YOUR  experience, you can decide if you don’t believe it or not.  And incorporate it, or discard it, or go argue with yourself (not with me) about why your experience doesn’t line up with your previous experience and reality map.

Some of the old studies I had translated back in the 80s when I started studying how to enhance fighter performance under stress focused on how mental rehearsal alone can dramatically improve and retain performance IF there’s an existing skill set in place.  That’s what lead to this article I wrote back in the 90s that shaped quite a few instructors back in the day.


Here’s some more to learn and do.

PRESUPPOSITION: that you have basic  handgun skills. Defined here as:
A. Carry a loaded firearm concealed in public safely and legally.
B. That you can present that handgun, on a static range, and fire one shot to hit a five inch circle at 7 yards within 2.5 seconds. (Ideally 5 times in a row)

Away from the range, inside your home: walk off 7 yards. Outside your home, like on your porch or backyard, walk off 7 yards. Out in public (discreetly, please) walk off 7 yards.

Then, WITHOUT TAKING YOUR WEAPON OUT, utilize the techniques described in THE MIND’S EYE article to visualize having your pistol in your hand, and seeing your sights aligned:

  • Inside your home, from 0-7 yards.
  • Then go outside and do the same.
  • Then go out in public, sit in a coffee shop or in a shopping mall and do the same.

Mind you, this doesn’t require (past the first few iterations) that you MIME pointing your gun. Just look and visualize perfect sight alignment and recall the feel of the weapon in your hand.

Now…in a public place, like a food court at the mall, or a restaurant, or a coffee shop, visualize the max distance you’ve trained at, for this we’ll say 7 yards. Now look at the people who are in there, moving or static.
Visualize the weapon in your hand, your sights aligned.
Then ask yourself these questions.

  • Could I hit that person 7 yards away? If so, where on the body?
  • Could I shoot past that person to someone behind them at 7 yards? If so, how long is my window of opportunity to make that clean shot?
  • Where would I have to move in order to get a clear shot at someone in the door, at the cash register, across the room?
  • What if I had to shoot through window glass at someone shooting from outside?
  • What is critical is KNOWING in visualization. In other words, it’s one thing to make a clean hit at 7 yards on a one-way range at a 90 degree angle. The world doesn’t quite line up that way, especially for a civilian gunslinger. So when you do your visualization, SEE your sights lined up, and FEEL for the gut check you have when you KNOW you’ve made a good hit at the range (somatic markers, anyone?). And when you FEEL the perfect alignment and timing, press with your trigger finger. Not a whole lot, just enough to create and reinforce the chain of visual processing, evaluation as to distance and doability to the kinematic chain of muscles pressing the trigger. 
  • Rinse and repeat.

What I’ve just described to you is the actual cognitive process EXPERIENCED gunfighters — private sector, law enforcement, military and “tactical” shooters — go through after sufficient experience. It’s deeply automated and engrained below the level of consciousness, which is why so many of them can’t articulate it nor teach it well. And honestly most survivors of violence don’t like to mess with a process that has kept them alive.

I get that.

So when faced with the challenge of transferring expertise from an experienced gunslinger to a novice, modeling then replicating then automating a proven superior performance cognitive and neurological sequence (or neural pathway in plain-speak) is a proven pathway to superior performance.  It’s not just faster, it’s far more robust in ensuring performance when it’s time to Kill The Bad Thing.

Don’t take my word for it.  Try it yourself.  You might like it.  Or not.

PS:  experiment combining this technique with what passes for “traditional” firearms instruction.  Or better yet, combine it with the methods I described in the previous post.  You might be astonished with the results.  Or not.  I’ll leave it up to you to decide.  I’m biased after 30 years of success with those methods, among others.  YMMV.