Hardware vs Software

24-Dec-14 – 03:25 by ToddG

Does hardware or software matter the most, Todd?

Yes they do, Other Todd. Yes they do.

An accepted truism among shooters is that it’s better to use software (skill building) than hardware (changing equipment) to solve problems. And usually, that’s true. Beginners in particular are too quick to jump from gun to gun and widget to widget trying to buy skill when they don’t even have a strong enough grasp of the fundamentals to know what they need to improve. That’s why they end up with a safe full of different guns and a closet full of holsters and sights and accessories… without really becoming any better at the basics of making bullets go in the right direction with speed and purpose.

But we can get so trapped in the mindset of “don’t solve a software problem with a hardware solution” that we ignore facts: sometimes it really is the hardware causing the problem.

Earlier this year I decided to re-dedicate myself to shooting traditional double action (aka “DA/SA”) pistols as I did for all the years before I started doing the pistol-training.com endurance tests. I settled on a brace of SIG P229s and happily prepared for what looked like a very fun year of rebuilding and improving the software.

Then life intervened and I was thrown a little curve in terms of shooting. But I stuck with the amazing P229s I had with hopes of accomplishing everything I’d wanted to at the beginning of the year. But things were harder than I expected and after almost two months of trying to make the P229 work for me it was clear that manipulating the double action trigger was just something I couldn’t yet do effectively.

Will it come back in time? Eventually, sure. But for now, if I’m going to carry a gun every day it needs to be something that works now, not eventually. So I’m falling back on a hardware solution — switching to a different type of pistol — because that’s what I need if I’m going to depend on a gun in an emergency.

But for two months I walked around with a gun that I could barely make function. I was as hardheaded about “software not hardware!” as a lot of serious shooters can be. And most of the time, that’s the right attitude. But sometimes, alas, changing hardware may be the only practical solution. At the end of the day it’s more important to have something that works for you.

So how do you figure out whether it’s hardware or software holding you back? I’ve said for years that 95% of shooters think they’re in the top 5%. It’s very easy to convince yourself that you’ve maxed out on the software side. My advice if you reach that point is to give the hardware one more chance. Take 500 rounds or one month (whichever takes longer) with your current setup. Make a genuine commitment to get better with it. And if you still find yourself at a plateau you can’t break through even after you’ve played with your technique and tried to find a way to solve the issue with software, then ask yourself if there is honestly a limit being hit because of the hardware. If you determine that yes, it’s the hardware that’s holding you back then go ahead and see what changes you can make to break through that plateau.

Worst case scenario, you’ll end up with an addition to that safe full of guns and that closet full of widgets and accessories. You know you want to…

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

  1. 3 Responses to “Hardware vs Software”

  2. Perfect reason to try out the VP9!! Hope your 2015 is a happy and healthy one TLG!!!

    By Rodney on Dec 25, 2014

  3. So why did you carry a M&P AIWB but you wouldn’t a VP9?

    By Matt S. on Dec 25, 2014

  4. Matt — That’s a very legit question. My comfort level with aiwb has simply changed since then. I realize quite a few people continue to feel completely comfortable with SFA pistols in aiwb holsters and I certainly cannot tell them they’re wrong. It’s just outside my current comfort zone. The more I used non-SFA guns (or my Gadget-equipped Glock) the more I came to appreciate having a second redundant level of protection on top of “keep finger off trigger” when drawing and holstering.

    By ToddG on Dec 25, 2014

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