On Shot Timer Use

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I use one constantly to gauge the level of my performance so I can identify weaknesses that I must address. If we take the element of time away, all of this is easy.. The element creating the greatest degree of difficulty in any of this, competition, defense etc is the time element. If we had all day to analyze, decide and shoot, anyone could do it. In real life, as in competition, time is a factor and doing it “fast enough” is critical. The timer helps one know how fast one is actually going.

– Rob Leatham

I hate to beat this horse again, but it ain’t dead yet! In drumming, OUR “shot timer” is the metronome. The relationship between shooting and drumming is AMAZING! I see it regularly because I am passionate about, and do both. Much like the shot timer, the metronome is a tool to gauge progress. NOT just to play passages FASTER, but to gauge how fast you can play passages while remaining fluid with note placement OR remaining “ACCURATE”. Speed and precision are huge factors in drumming just as they are in shooting. The balance between the two is CRITICAL for both. Playing a passage fast means nothing if the notes being executed in the process are not spaced precisely and placed accurately. Much like presenting a firearm rapidly, but not executing combat accuracy with your shot placement. The idea while learning a “drum lick” is to play your passage slowly with a metronome to keep you on point with your time. Then gradually increase the metronome speed to find the threshold where playing the passage starts to feel uncomfortable. You STAY at that tempo until it becomes comfortable and then once again, gradually increase speed. The metronome is an AMAZING tool to help progress where the balance of speed and precision are paramount. This is why I have brought the metronome into my firearms training. In particular for presentation from the holster. I use a 4 step presentation. Each click of the metronome is a step in the presentation. I start with the metronome very slow and run some reps.Then I gradually increase. This keeps the space between steps equal. By the time I get “up to tempo”, meaning as fast as i can go while maintaining combat accuracy, my motion is very smooth. The motion becomes very close to being on “auto-pilot”. Not thinking about the steps anymore, just about the fluid motion. Like the shot timer, the metronome will NOT be there in a DCI, but it the practice realm, its an incredible tool for developing skill and making progress!! BTW…I discovered after the fact, that there are some folks on YT that use a metronome as well. I just use mine a bit differently. I use it with a bit more complexity. Subdivisions, etc, like I do in the drumming realm.

– Fran Merante

Beyond Expert: Competition creates greater skill

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People outside the competition world often fail to understand the sort of skill levels possible. Routine qualification is the most vestigial level of basic understanding. Police and military qualification is the equivalent of a simple arithmetic quiz considered easy by elementary school children. It’s a perfectly acceptable level for a student actually in elementary school and basic/recruit/Academy training because we’re working with a brand-new novice. It is no longer acceptable years later because the student should have progressed.

Even students taking courses at quality shooting schools sometimes fail to gain this. Taking a class is receiving instruction, it is not training. Real skill development takes more on-going effort.

I discuss this at length in my book Beyond Expert: Tripling Military Shooting Skills using U.S. Army qualification standards as compared to NATO combat competition courses. In it I show that anyone interested in competition shooting needs to at least triple military qualification “expert” (or even “perfect”) standards as a starting point. For handgun events, this can be increased by a factor of five or more. Shooters consistently winning need to be better still. For more details, read Beyond Expert: Story Behind The Book

In case you think I’m exaggerating, here’s Rob Leatham at Gunsite (off camera to the left) shooting against and beating threeother shooters in a video posted on Gunsite’s Instagram page:

Rob Leatham on Training


I wish there was a way to transfer information to people in a way they could understand when it disagrees with their beliefs. I am when teaching, spending more and more time unlearning people from their discussion oriented opinions. Often what sounds good is not true. Or possible. Or easy.

The truth is the techniques involved in shooting well are rather simple. Just very hard to do well. I find many who struggle to perform well believe it is due to lack of knowledge. Frequently it is a lack of skill and/or talent. This is very hard to accept for some.

The beauty of the Internet is the ease with which opinions can be presented. The weakness is that info may be wrong.

Assume this; if something seems hard to do, then it probably is. Anything that requires great skill and talent to do well is probably hard. Those that do difficult things well usually work at it, in real time, not in theory or discussion. Shooting is one of those types of things.

I enjoy a good discussion as well as anyone, but the truths I have discovered from all these years of training and testing lead me to believe that skill is more easily developed on the range than on the keyboard. Funny as I am typing this now…

I have found I am often not able to get the results with a technique I had hoped for. The technique is often not at fault. Many times I am not good enough at a technique to make it work. That then takes you down another road…

Sorry for the rant. I just read a post somewhere by someone who chose to comment with a very traditional yet incorrect view on a subject often misunderstood. I get that we all like to put our two cents worth in, but saying blue is green because everyone you know says blue is green does not make blue green.

Rob Leatham on Promoting Shooting


Rob Leatham shares his thoughts on the best way to better promote shooting.

Where we need to see activity is at the local level. The Nationals matter less than the club participation. Anything that gets shooters into that makes no difference. Mission count will be the most important way of measuring the success.



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