By CR Williams, In Shadow In Light
If you ever take one of my classes you are going to hear me use the following example:
I have a Glock 19 in my safe that currently is only used for dry practice so it stays unloaded. I live alone and nobody else has a key to the house and the gun’s in a safe. I don’t expect anybody to break in and load it and put everything back like it was and I don’t know anybody that can or will telekinetically load the gun while it’s inside the safe. I have every expectation that the gun that is empty when I put it up will still be empty when I take it out again. But I still do a chamber check and verify that it’s empty before I do any dry practice.
I do that to reinforce that habit of checking the status. Safety specifically is something I want to make a mindful habit. Building and maintaining habits and doing things in the proper way is first a matter of learning the proper way to do things and then it’s a matter of putting in enough repetitions to build and lock in and then maintain the habit and the proper method.
Now I could take a couple of minutes periodically and do nothing but chamber checks, which would set the technique up. I’m also trying to build the habit of automatic status checks of the weapon, though. The easy button way to do that is to take given opportunities to get in a good repetition. So if you hand me a weapon that we both know is clear I may do a check on it anyway—not because I don’t trust you or myself, but to build the habit so that I will check a weapon when you’re not there and when I am thinking about something else. I want to automatically do that check. The way to do that, to get to where I do that automatically, is to do the reps. And every ‘found’ rep I can get in is one rep I can use for something else when I do other practice and training work.
Same thing goes with the grip. No matter what I’m taking the gun out of the holster to do—shoot it, clean it, put it up in storage—I want to get a firing grip on it. Ideally I want to assume the firing grip every time I put my hand on the gun for any reason whether it’s in the holster or not. Every time I take one in hand I can get a repetition in and that’s what I want to do. Firing grip. Firing grip. Firing grip. Every time, every place, for any reason.
Found’ repetitions are good repetitions. They save time and build skills and habits. Built skills and habits help people stay alive in fights.
Holding a rifle? Put it in SUL or high port or a Cradle. Need to reload the pistol? Go through the proper reload technique slow and smooth. Pick something up from the floor or ground? Run through a squat or deadlift movement.
Look around at what you do for opportunities to put in a rep. When you find one, resolve to do one. Every time, every place you can. Do the reps, build the technique, make the habit, one by one by one. Don’t ignore the opportunities you come across to do that. It’s a small investment that will, over time, bring you a big return.
Might even save your life one day.
You be safe out there. And if you can’t be safe—be dangerous.