For the most part nothing is new, everything has been done before — at least in regard to warfare. The following is a collection of thoughts on warrior philosophy and particularly the semantics behind the terminology we use in training, specifically when working with firearms. Many may disagree with me, some may not; these ideas are mostly based on my own personal opinions but are also gleaned from real world experience. The most important goal for me with this topic is to incite meaningful discussions and reflection.

Having a philosophy behind training for combat is far more important than the training itself, one will get you good at a skill and the other will push you to be better than you were before. A philosophy requires adhering to specific ideals and when the philosophy is centered around skill at arms, the ideals must revolve around the principles of training for combat. Phrases like “train like you fight” and “know your enemy” or “one shot, one kill” are extensions of those principles (whether you agree with them or not).

It is in this way that words can be incredibly powerful — how we say or describe something in this context is rather significant. Think about the description of proper trigger control when shooting. We say “squeeze” the trigger rather than “pull” the trigger, one caters to accuracy and the other detracts from it. It is important to say it a certain way so that the desired physical action results from following the directions provided. Just like saying “magazine” instead of “clip”, one is correct and the other is not.

Here’s a rant on a term I hear get thrown around a lot, I’m guilty of using the term on more than one occasion, but I hate the phrase “driving the gun” in reference to getting a firearm out in-front of your face; or for shifting between targets. Instead we should be saying “extending” or “transitioning”. One follows a philosophy of force while the other has connotations of fluidity. Being smooth is what marksmanship is all about considering it doesn’t pay to miss no matter how fast you’re going and over exertion or “driving” your weapon is a good way go about missing quickly. We need to extend the weapon while finding a balance of speed and control, this enables fast acquisition of targets while giving the shooter a relaxed physical state. Smooth is fast, so focus on being smooth and eventually you will get fast; that does not require you to “drive” anything.

I sincerely believe that using correct terminology or words that cater to better performance are significantly important in firearms based training. Many beginners use this mental connection to establish their fundamentals and pursue the perfection of them. If the wrong message is sent here because of semantics, then training scars may develop and techniques will be executed inefficiently.

Featured image courtesy of the author.