The price of preference

82704People like certain techniques, skills, and drills. Inversely they also do not like certain techniques, skills, and drills. How are these preferences started? Learning is often times uncomfortable, and failure is an important part of the process, but avoidance or neglect can become the easiest way to deal with these challenges. The more skillful we become in one area, the more likely we are to avoid areas of weakness, essentially making the gap between skills grow even larger. This cycle will continue until necessity requires us to change, and grow, often times with our ego on the line.

Recently, I competed at our local IDPA match at Ga. Firing Line with a mix of 30 competitors from novice to master level. The stage was limited (no make up shots), support hand only, one to the body, and one to the head, reload, and freestyle one to the body, and one to the head. The targets were mixed partials with one non threat, at 6 yards from the low ready.


The dread was palatable, and murmurs of discontent filled the bay. I heard every possible excuse, and watched a general lack of preparation for the stage. Many just accepted that they would struggle with this challenge. All of this would add up to a self fulfilling prophecy.

I, on the other hand, look forward to stages like this one, because I practice support hand shooting as part of my warm up, shooting 5-10 rounds on small circles. I also shoot qualifications that require dominant and support hand only shooting. I know the pace that I can shoot with one hand only, so I settled in to see the dot, and to shoot the available target area with confidence. When you practice areas of weakness they transform into areas of strength. The welcome feeling of my current level of skill manifesting itself in a timeless sensation, allowing me to just shoot the target. End result is one point down, at a pace that was neither quick nor hurried, allowing me the stage win. This an example of having range in your skill, exploring the fundamentals, and prioritizing the challenges of your skill set. Some shooters lost upwards of 20 points on a 12 round stage, because they had preferred not to shoot with their support hand in practice.

indexThe price of neglect, or avoidance is a lack of skill, which damages our self image of who we are as a shooter. Find your weakness, forget your preferences, and change your priorities in training. The rewards are competence and confidence, the bastion of a strong self image.


2 thoughts on “The price of preference”

  1. Excellent article! With inspiration from you, I will work more on those skills that humble or embarrass me at the range.


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