6-Aug-11 – 11:51 by ToddG

In this week’s Glock update, I mentioned that an accessory I added to the pistol — a modified Grip Force Adapter — did not feel as good as the bare Glock in my hands. Nonetheless, results on paper and on the shot timer don’t lie and my performance is better with the GFA on the gun. Feelings lie.

Recently, I received the latest prototype aiwb holster from John Ralston at 5 Shot Leather. John follows the Alessi approach to holster making, meaning that when they’re new they are tighter than the airlock on submarine. Even after letting the holster stretch overnight with a pistol inserted, the first time I brought it to the range it was clearly doing its best not to give up the pistol. My draws felt ridiculously slow compared to the CCC Shaggy I use as my everyday holster. So finally I put it on the shot timer and it was slower: on average, 0.06 seconds slower. Six. Hundredths. Of a second. If you’d asked me, I would have told you it felt like half a second or more. Feelings lie.

The reason we use technology to measure is because human beings simply aren’t good enough at eyeballing, estimating, and judging things on such small scales. That’s even more true when you’re trying to evaluate your own performance… because your brain is focused on the performance, not the evaluation.

Whenever I read something like, “I haven’t got a timer or anything, but this is definitely faster,” my skepticism meter pegs at 11. Unless you’re talking about a task that could be adequately measured by sundial, your subjective assessment from inside your own head just isn’t going to cut it.

Next time you go to a match or a qualification shoot, tell the scorekeeper, “Don’t bother looking at the target. They all felt like good hits,” and see where that gets you.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG


  1. 9 Responses to “Feelings”

  2. I learned this lesson trying the different grip sizes on my M&P. The small size grip felt best in my hand and dry firing, but my splits on fast shots were terrible. I could see how much the gun was moving around in my hand when tracked the sights. Sure felt good in my hand though. The large grip felt terrible in my hand (and still does) but my shot timer says to suck it up and use the large grip.

    By Corey on Aug 6, 2011

  3. This is why I’m usually the guy that tells new shooters not to pay too much creedance to how a gun *feels* in your hand at the gun store. If an experienced shooter is unlikely to divine what works best from feel, it’s highly unlikely a new shooter — who has a lot ahead of them terms of how to even hold the gun best — is almost assuredly incapable of judging this.

    It’s not even something unique to shootin. I know Todd likes to say “fast is fast,” but there’s a reason the mantra “fast is slow, slow is fast” is so common in auto racing circles. What intuitively might feel fast may be anything but when you put the clock to it.

    By jslaker on Aug 6, 2011

  4. I hear people constantly talk about liking or disliking a pistol due to feel, many times after just picking it up once and not even shooting the gun.
    Really, really retarded way to evaluate a firearm.

    Like one of the guys on Lightfighter noted; “until pistols feel like a C cup I won’t worry about “feel” as a criteria to evaluate a gun”

    By Chuck on Aug 7, 2011

  5. Interesting event last week-end at IDPA shoot. I paused when I thought I had to reload – I didn’t. I had three rounds left. The time wasted when I paused seemed like forever BUT when I watched the video (even in slow motion) I could detect no discernable time delay. Btw this is the first time I was videotaped during competition, have to do that some more.

    By John on Aug 7, 2011

  6. EXCELLENT point, as usual, Todd. Similar to “trust, but verify”.

    By GhettoSmack on Aug 8, 2011

  7. I remember the very first time I grabbed an H&K USP 9mm so many years ago. That thing felt like it was custom-built for my hand. It pointed like an extension of my will. It was The One Pistol. I was ready to buy, I just needed to shoot one.

    Aaaaaand then I shot one. And that was that. Some folks are deadly accurate with a USP. I am not one of them. Not even a little.


    By Speakertweaker on Aug 12, 2011

  8. You have to ignore feel and prejudices if you want to really find out what works for you and what doesn’t.

    First time I used a Glock was in 1985, and I bought one the week I was to help a friend teach a self-defense pistol course. I was the training dummy, shooting all the demos for the students and then helping to coach.

    At the end of the first day, I was cornered by the rest of the training staff and asked how that new Plastic Pistol worked, and I was bitching loudly: “Sights stink. Trigger is worse. Magazines don’t drop free. Grip angle is all wrong. Magazines are too bulky. Grip is too big. Grumble grumble Can’t reach the slide release mumble mumble POS terrorist plastic junk” and so forth.

    My friend the head instructor grabbed me by the collar and drug me to my demo target, which had about 150 rounds grouped in a ragged hole about the size of a baseball that had obliterated the X and 10 rings and said, “I’ve been shooting with you for 3 years, and I’ve NEVER seen you shoot this well with anything. Oh, and your times were faster than you normally run, too. So quit your bitching and maybe focus on how to make that thing work a little better, OK, Genius?”

    Been toting and shooting Glocks ever since. (have owned over 30 of them). Still have my 1911 and my Sig Sauer, but they don’t get much use.

    By FormerFlyer on Aug 12, 2011

  9. “The proof is in the puddin'”, as they say. I once purchased a Browning BDM which “felt” just as good in the gun store as the CZ-75. I didn’t get through the first box of ammo, though, before realizing that it wouldn’t work IRL. It was comfortable, but my thumb couldn’t find a home that didn’t bump either the mag release or the decocker. Sold it at the next show.

    By Joe E. on Aug 12, 2011

  10. I had this experience with shooting SHO and WHO, It felt as though having my thumb pointed up (P30 slick side / no controls to get in the way)helped to lock the pistol in place and put more contact area onto the frame and also seemed to provide some lateral pressure. In contrast curling my thumb down to contact my middle finger felt like a weak grip and provided little contact….. yep my “feelings” were wrong. Much better results on paper and timer. But without questioning and testing I never would have known.

    By cct125us on Aug 14, 2011

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