Put the gun down!
Thursday after a detailed cleaning of my CZ P09 I was doing my final test fire and zero validation before a few weeks of upcoming training. I went to the range with only 50 rounds and after doing a few reloads I decided to do an all double-action walk-back on a ¼ size IPSC plate. I do it in 05 yard increments from10-55 yards. If I shoot it clean it takes 10 rounds. I had 11 rounds left in the box so I loaded 11 and figured I could probably get to 55. It was a good day and I shot clean out to 55. I had one round left…nothing else in my gun bag. Every fiber in my body said “shoot that last round” but my rational mind said “unload, show clear and put the gun down.” I had set a training objective and met it; I had done what I set out to do in the manner I had prescribed so I was done. The last memory I had for the training session was setting a goal and achieving it with a proper repetition at the max distance. Unloading that last round into my hand and tucking it into a completely empty ammo carrier was an impromptu “training discipline pop quiz”. It’s easy to put 30 or 40 rounds back in your bag for later but that one cartridge was harder than hell not to shoot. What if I had shot it and missed? Then I would have capped off a great string with a miss and that’s all I’d remember.
The mental game is 90+% of shooting and it’s all about concentration and discipline. Don’t over-train, plan your session and shoot your plan. Set a goal, do your best to achieve the goal in the prescribed time and manner with a specified number of rounds…and then when you meet the objective or the ammo limit (whichever comes first) … put the gun down! You’ll shoot less but get better.
- Mike Pannone
Mike Pannone retired from the Army’s premier assault force (1st SFOD-D) after an explosive breaching injury. A year after his retirement America was attacked on 9/11 and he returned to help serve his country as the head marksmanship instructor at the Federal Air Marshals training course and then moved to help stand up the FAMS Seattle field office. In 2003 he left the FAMS to serve as a PSD detail member and then a detail leader for the State Department during 2003 and 2004 in Baghdad and Tikrit.
In 2005 he served as a ground combat advisor of the Joint Counter IED Task Force and participated on combat operations with various units in Al Anbar province. Upon returning he gave IED awareness briefings to departing units and helped stand up a pre-Iraq surge rifle course with the Asymmetric Warfare Group as a lead instructor. With that experience as well as a career of special operations service in Marine Reconnaissance, Army Special Forces and JSOC to draw from he moved to the private sector teaching planning, leadership, marksmanship and tactics as well as authoring and co-authoring several books such as The M4 Handbook, AK Handbook and Tactical Pistol shooting. Mike also consults for several major rifle and accessory manufacturers to help them field the best possible equipment to the warfighter, law enforcement officer and upstanding civilian end user. He is considered a subject matter expert on the AR based Stoner platform in all its derivatives.
Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn they offer some words of wisdom.