I heard a quote a while back that I whole heartedly believe; “it is harder to kill stronger people!”
I couldn’t agree more with that statement, but how does that apply towards weapons training? It goes without saying that coming from a physically centric special operation community this is pretty much a no brainer, but I’m surprised by how it doesn’t appear to be the same for folks across the board. Combat is a physical act, it doesn’t matter if it is for personal defense, in the performance of your duties or what uniform you wear. Fortune doesn’t just favor the bold…it favors the prepared.
The aspect of physical fitness/prowess and how it applies towards a specific skill such as shooting a pistol shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out. I see a lot of techniques out there that flat out don’t or go against muscle recruitment. A lot of people will ask me how can they become a better shooter, for most the answer is pretty simple. Practice the fundamentals until you cannot get them wrong. But, then I usually will tell a shooter with decent skills to just get stronger.
If you were to break down something as simple as the firing grip and the muscle groups that support a powerful grip it would stand to reason that it would be helpful and not harmful if you developed those muscle groups. A good powerful grip that cascades up the grip and is secure throughout the firing cycle is a good thing. It is also one of the major errors we see during our diagnostics, a breakdown of grip integrity. Don’t get me wrong, a hulking grip will not make you a better shooter, however a good shooter with a hulking grip will be surprised by their improvements.
But, I digress. We run a drill in our level two pistol class that has moderate physical exertion in the form of push-ups. The drill has you alternating between performing push-ups then firing a course of fire. Performance objectives are simple, 100% accuracy as fast as possible. Overall, we see a couple of different levels of performance; those who put forth an effort to be strong, those who think they have and then those who “forgot” what it means to put the effort in. The drill gives some important insight into physical capacity. We use it to collect metrics and establish a baseline for performance, but I see it as a wake up call to some folks.
We all have to live with our physical limitations, whether it be from injury, age or availability, but physical prowess is an important part of life. It’s not a macho thing, its a way of life and again, it’s harder to kill stronger people.