The Myth of Muscle Memory
by Louis Awerbuck

“[If] you fire ten rounds and hit the target nine times, you do have a 90% hit ratio. But the bad news is, you have a 10% miss ratio. Not satisfied with that—and rightly so—you decide to crank a bucketful of ammo downrange at the same target, from the same distance. Five hundred rounds later, you have a great-looking target, with the center drilled out in one ragged hole.

“After totaling the individual bullet perforations that impacted around the periphery of the large central orifice, you find that you fired 50 “loose” rounds out of 500. You still have a 10% miss ratio. So not only have you expended a bunch of ammo, you’re also stuck with your basic problem.

“What to do? First, define what is causing the loose rounds, either from personal past experience or from a knowledgeable friend or instructor.

Second, do not initially try to correct the issue by launching a plethora of ammunition at the target. Start off with a minimal amount of rounds and force yourself to have to work for success.

How I cured my personal accuracy plunge was by self-imposed mental control. The primary success element for my personal ballistic rehab – I took only 25 rounds to the range. Once I was hitting with all 25 rounds, I pushed the tally to a total of 35, then 50, then 100. I implemented each increase in round consumption only after I was getting the desired results from prior range visitations with a lesser total amount of ammunition. Did I miss the desired mark on occasion? Sure—we all do. But the primary successful facet was that I was no longer trying to fix the problem by sending hundreds of rounds of garbage quantity downrange, but instead substituting quality for quantity.

I later picked up an excellent pistol practice drill from Colonel Cooper. Starting with a holstered pistol, fire one round at an eight-inch target from 25 yards—two-and-a-half-second time limit. It’s plain, simple, and combines many facets of basic defensive shooting. It also requires the absolute maximum mental control for each and every shot fired. If this doesn’t work, nothing will.

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