Discomfort vs. Disorder

26-Jul-15 – 21:14 by ToddG

RichVerdi-SIGinstAim Fast, Hit Fast — the signature pistol-training.com shooting course — was adapted (one might even say “blatantly stolen outright”) from Rich Verdi‘s excellent Out of Your Comfort Zone class. Rich’s program was based on pushing students to go past self-imposed limitations and push themselves to levels they didn’t realize they could reach.

It’s a concept that has certainly spread through modern firearms training and altered the way a lot of instructors do things. Unfortunately, the goals and motivations haven’t quite remained in tune among some circles.

One fashionable approach these days is to perform as fast as you can and let proper technique catch up to your raw speed. But at the end of the day, this is little more than giving people permission to be out of control rather than being out of their comfort zone. And it’s usually pretty easy to identify the people who’ve chosen this training methodology. They’re the ones who sometimes turn in astronomically unbelievable feats of shooting marvel… and just as often fumble, make mistakes, and make excuses.

Speed isn’t the only thing that can be outside of your comfort zone. Accuracy might be the thing that you are avoiding (while having fun & going fast instead). Consistency may be the thing you really don’t want to focus on. Perhaps awareness or tactics are things you’d rather make fun of than focus on… because those are things that aren’t as comfortable for you as dry firing your reloads at warp speed to see if you can get one really awesome rep out of it.

discomfortShooting out of your comfort zone isn’t about being out of control. It’s about pushing past what’s normal and comfortable for you. Those aren’t the same thing. Telling yourself that it’s ok to be wild today because you’ll learn control tomorrow rarely works out. There are times when it may be appropriate but they are the exception rather than the rule. It’s definitely not a good full time training method or mentality.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

  1. 7 Responses to “Discomfort vs. Disorder”

  2. After I had been competing in USPSA matches for several years, a MUCH BETTER COMPETITOR stopped by to chat with me after a match provide this comment:

    “You know, I admire the way you shoot. You shoot at a target and say “Okay, I got that one” and then you go on the the next shot. But I shoot and I say to myself “I THINK I got it!” and go on to the next shot.”

    So I thought about that, and I said to myself: you know, Self, I can shoot as accurately, faster”. So the next match I did the same thing, only faster, and the same guy came up to me and said:

    “What the HELL are you doing? I’ve never seen you shoot that fast, and you still got your hits!”

    Thing is, in IPSC, the mantra is “Shoot for Accuracy; Speed will follow”. And that’s true. But too often, we get to focused on Accuracy and forget that the Speed/Power/Accuracy mantra is a 3-legged spool.

    One leg .. Power … is generally a constant until you change guns/caliber.

    So you either focus on SPEED or ACCURACY. Most of the very good shooters I’ve known worked on SPEED, figuring that sooner or later they would quit missing targets quite so often.

    The folks who start working on ACCURACY, as I did … usually end up in the middle of the pack, and stay there.


    Because it’s a lot easier to be a ‘fast shooter’ who can slow down just a LITTLE bit to be more accurate, than it is to be an ‘accurate shooter’ who can speed up a LOT to be faster.

    Which directly contradicts the thesis of this post. So I have to say … it doesn’t work that way for everyone.

    For myself, I had to go to an Open gun to be able to increase my speed while maintaining my accuracy. Fortunately, in USPSA/IPSC that isn’t that difficult; it’s just very expensive.

    The difference between a decent Limited gun and a good Open good is 200%. (Ask the man who has owned both!)

    it comes down to innate skill, or “The Equipment Race”.

    That probably says a lot about the reason why IPSC/USPSA is growing in popularity. If you really like the sport, you can increase your competitiveness two-fold by spending a few thousand dollars on a better gun … and then learning to adapt to it’s much more gentle characteristics.

    And that’s why I’m moving back to the .45ACP Kimber and the 10mm STI in Limited/Limited 10. and moving away from the open guns.

    There comes a time when you have to measure yourself against your friends on an open playing field.

    Besides, I have to give the Open guns back to the guy who loaned them to me.

    Bummer, Dude!

    By Jerry the Geek on Jul 27, 2015

  3. Jerry — I don’t think we’re actually disagreeing. Speed *can* be the thing that needs to be pushed “beyond your comfort zone.” It’s just become fashionable lately to do that too much to the neglect of other things.

    It sounds to me like you did it exactly right: you pushed your speed but didn’t sacrifice accuracy to the point where you were fast & losing more points per target. I’ve seen a ton of shooters who Alpha-Charlie (or -1 in IDPA) most of their targets because they shoot faster than they see, or faster than they can control the gun, and they don’t know how to modulate that when it’s time to get hits.

    For people whose original training was “never miss,” the difficult task is very often accepting that a miss once in a while is not just ok but pretty much a requirement to getting faster. See Permission to Miss.

    And twenty, ten, even just five years ago that was the norm. But now with all the YouTube vids of people blazing fast and not showing their targets or just posting their personal best results without being honest about how many reps it took to film that, etc. you see a surprising number of people who are starting with speed and hoping the accuracy will just catch up. In other words, the opposite of the mantra you mentioned.

    Thanks for the comments and stay safe!

    By ToddG on Jul 27, 2015

  4. Todd,

    How do you distinguish between working out of the comfort zone and being out of control? At what point is a someone shooting out of control?


    By slowestshooterer on Jul 27, 2015

  5. IDK….

    I practice speed for the sake of speed.

    Accuracy for the sake of accuracy…

    Then I try to mold them together.

    Shooting the ceiling, the ground….not even seeing my sights would be out of control. Missing the target in speed mode, not a concern to me.

    Jamming a magazine in sideways and dropping it – I need to know how fast is too fast before I know where to dial it down too.

    By Matt on Jul 27, 2015

  6. slowestshooter: That’s a very good question and something I should have addressed from the get-go.

    If you can’t replicate the performance and the exercise isn’t improving your performance, you’re out of control. If you’re achieving it 100% of the time, then you’re probably not pushing yourself.

    Let’s use accuracy as an example. If you’re hitting a 3×5 at 7yd 100% of the time, it’s not pushing you out of your comfort zone and you need to get a smaller and/or more distant target. But if you’re only hitting it 50% of the time, odds are you’re out of control and should get a bigger and/or closer target.

    When I taught AFHF, most of the practice involved two target zones, a 3×5 and an 8″ circle on the same target (so at the same distance). The smaller target was intended to push people to demand more accuracy out of themselves and I told students to slow down as much as they needed to get as close as they could to 100% hits. The larger target was intended to push speed and I told students to speed up (or slow down as necessary) to get 80-90% of their hits.

    If a student was missing the 3×5 a lot, I’d tell him to slow down. If he was hitting it easily, I’d tell him to try going a little faster… so now he’s pushing speed on the “accuracy” target, so to speak.

    If a student was hitting the 8″ every time, I’d tell him to speed up. If he was missing it a lot, though, I’d tell him to slow down … so now he’s pushing accuracy on the “speed” target.

    When you’re out of control, you’re really not doing much to improve and odds are you cannot even really analyze what is going wrong beyond “I’m not hitting.” When you’re just outside your comfort zone, you should see improvement building and you should be able to figure out why a particular rep didn’t go the way you wanted it to.

    Does that help?

    By ToddG on Jul 27, 2015

  7. Jerry the Geek,

    I have to agree with you and disagree with Todd. What you described is a lack of fundamentals, which is in exact contradiction to Todd’s post, his diplomacy notwithstanding. Maybe you don’t lack fundamentals, but it sure sounds like it. I’d love to see you on a range with your open gun, buying performance.

    By SLG on Jul 31, 2015

  8. I know I can sound a little diplomatic at times. I was going to try to get a job with the State Department, but they told me I’d need my own personal email server for sending and receiving classified information…

    By ToddG on Aug 1, 2015

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.