Correct Muscle Memory


One of the most important things when it comes to training with a weapon, aside of safety, in my opinion is muscle memory. Not just muscle memory, but the CORRECT muscle memory. Once we teach ourselves or learn bad habits, it’s difficult to break. Case in point, I was teaching my wife the basics of my gun (unloaded and made safe) in anticipation of her taking an upcoming class for her LTC, and on many occasions I could be heard saying “If you put your damn finger on that trigger one more time I’ll break it!” That was how she learned from a family member, a loooong time ago. She has since stopped that, and her fingers are intact.

My son plays lots of sports. From day one I’ve always made it a point to correct bad habits and make sure he has the right form. He’s 14 now and you can see the difference between him and some other kids. Not saying he’s an all star, but he’s pretty much good to go while the coach is correcting other players form or stance. Better to do it early on than fight it later.

When I was in Basic Training, we had M16A1’s (just dated myself to those who know). We dry fired and trained for some tine before ever firing a round. It was boring and monotonous, but when I went to qualify I had a malfunction. I cleared it using the method we went over, and over and over, known by the acronym SPORTS and continued firing. Afterwards I couldn’t even really remember thinking about it, I just did it.

As for bad muscle memory, I work in public safety, and was taking a non weapon related class. Muscle memory came up, and the instructor told a story of a police department years ago that, while live fire training on the range, had their members pick up spent brass before moving. One of their officers was eventually killed in a shootout. They found brass casings in his pocket because as he was firing, he was stopping to pick them up!

My son recently took a faceoff clinic for lacrosse where they told the players it takes 10,000 hours of doing something to master a skill. As the saying goes, “Don’t train until you get it right, train until you can’t get it wrong!” Get going!!


100% agreed… i used the m16A2/3 and M4… taught the samething…

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I agree 100%, the story about the cop picking up brass man, Wow, that blows me away. I love to teach, bad habits are so hard to break, I notice that people that watch movies, tend to have strange bad habits. Like pointing the gun upon the air and coming down on target, or racking their first round while breaking 180* because they’re holding it sideways. Weird, the finger on the trigger has to be one of the hardest ones to break, it was for me, but I saw a lot of guys get sent home from a match for a safety violation, and that sunk in deep for me. Wow M-16 A-1, yes, you did date yourself well, thank you for your service and welcome home. :sunglasses:


We eventually did get the M16A2. The A1s we had were so old and worn they rattled!

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I was working with an older gentleman at the range showing him guns. I had to repeatedly ask him to take his finger off the trigger. He was not happy with me. He scolded me that he was a veteran and had seen active duty and used his gun for the purpose it was designed for.

I thanked him for his service and then asked him to take his finger off the trigger again. I knew the gun was clear, but for his future safety, I couldn’t let it go.

Needless to say, he stopped looking at guns with me. The main gun guy at the range and I talked about it later. He 100% backed me up. If something doesn’t feel right, say so. I’d rather annoy a potential customer than risk anyone’s life.


Rofl… sorry guys… but hd must have been Air Force :wink:

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Having a military background when at the range is good, but all ranges have rules,they have to be followed, all it takes is one accidental discharge, and they can be shut down forever. I always bring some blue painters tape with me when I’m teaching someone, if they keep putting their finger on the trigger, I put a piece of tape over the trigger assembly and completely cover it. When they start to understand just how important it is to be safe, I’ll remove the tape, they don’t get any bullets until they understand, I’ve almost been shot by newbies way too many times, being an RSO, I’ve had way too many close calls. It seems that the guys that have been shooting all their lives are the worst ones, again we have our own rules, and if you want to shoot at our range, they have to be followed. Be safe out there. :sunglasses:

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@Tankrachet86 - he may have been AF… :angel: Or Army… It was a while ago.

I give RSO’s a ton of credit. I’ve been on the range when a woman did the hot brass dance with her finger on the trigger of a loaded gun and swung the gun in the RSO’s direction. He was working with someone else and didn’t see it. Luckily I saw it and redirected her.

Extra eyes on the range are always helpful!


I’ve noticed myself having to slow down and really focus when going to the local indoor range. Not saying I’ve developed bad habits just not typical indoor habits. The outdoor range I’m a member of allows intermediate and advanced shooters the freedom to train in a safe manner but not exactly kosher in most indoor ranges.

One of the things I’m always surprised to see people doing is practicing reholstering their firearm. A guy was doing some sort of double tap drill and reholstering after firing 2 rounds and my buddy said watch this and asked the gentleman to do the 2 to the chest and 1 to the head routine. He hit the timer and the gentleman fired 2 rounds and reholstered.


Yeah, I like going when it isn’t crowded much. Luckily my work schedule allows that. If I get someone in the lane next to me I generally ask them whether they mind me drawing and shooting. No one has yet, but I still like to check.


On fhe range everyone should be a RSO… watch out for each other!!


That would be so awesome Tank, I see some folks that have literally said to me and other RSOs “I don’t need any classes or training, I’ve been shooting all my life”, lol, they are the ones that tend to be difficult and have the bad habits we spoke of earlier. I could tell you some stories man. A lot of folks on the range do watch our backs when we’re on duty, they know we’re doing what we can, sometimes like at a steel challenge, I’ll have 6-8 folks waiting, loading mags, talking, doing their thing, and a guy on the line, a score keeper, and some guys to help paint steel, it can be very busy, so I’m thankful for the folks that watch my back, I’m glad they’re there. :sunglasses:


I never understood the i don’t need classes or training mindset. I can shoot but why not get pushed and learn to shoot better or faster or learn better tactics. Taking a class doesnt mean you cant do something it just means you want to do something better.


Here’s a good example. When I practice drawing from my holster at home, there were times I’d get caught up on my shirt, so I’d stop, reholster, then do it again. I then realized that I’m probably teaching myself bad muscle memory; if that happens in a real defense situation, I can’t just stop and reholster and try again, I have to take appropriate action to get rid if the snag and draw, so that’s what I do now if it comes up.

I recently took a class where we were individually timed drawing from holster and getting one shot on target, center mass. There were a couple in the class who would try to draw, get hung up, reholster and try again until they could get the shot off. My thinking is the instructor should say “Are you going to call a timeout in a real situation?” Anyone else have any thoughts on this?


Yes Kerry, your absolutely right, sometimes folks will try to do it all with one hand, that can be tough and depending on what shirts you have on, it will change everything. What will work every time though, is to lift your shirt with your weak hand so you can draw with your strong hand. I have become very quick doing it this way, just over a second with only one shot center mass, a few times, I’ve done it under a second, but we’re talking like .87 seconds, but that’s not a constant, just a good day. I find that I cannot improve on anything unless I’m shooting with someone that I know is a better shooter than I am. There’s plenty of them out there. :sunglasses:


Right. I always use two hands, one to remove the portion of my cover garment, the other for the gun. I wear a pullover hoodie in the cold weather, sometimes with muiltiple layers and from practice don’t have an issue. The class I was in guys had unzippered coats carrying OWB (I carry IWB), and a few were constantly getting hung up. When I first started drawing from a holster I had a few snags, but I told those guys during a break that I draw just about everyday for about 20 reps in different situations. Doesn’t take long to do and the benefits are obvious. I also encourage a very aggressive removal of the cover garment.; I pull out and way up and out of the way while practicing.


Sounds like your doing it right Kerry, keep training.:sunglasses: