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Tactical Timmies vs Gamers on the Practical Pistol Show

Ben Stoeger’s Practical Pistol Show just dropped an excellent episode about people doing tactical training that hit the nail on the head in a couple of different ways.

First, the fact that tactical shooters are generally focused on either performing techniques or being accurate, often at the expense of being fast.

When they’re not actually pulling a trigger, their focus is generally performing techniques according to criteria that have been told to them. You think they don’t know that doing their eleven step press out draw isn’t the fastest way to draw? They do. But it’s the most reliable, tactical, effective draw that will work in on the streets of Kirkuk, in zero gee, or during the coming robot apocalypse. Gamers think they look dumb when they swivel their head as a part of their reholster routine, but to other timmies, it signals how serious and tactical they are. And besides, the shooting is over. What’s the rush to reholster, Speedy McGee?

When they are actually shooting, they tend to focus on accuracy because, as Ben points out, without a timer, accuracy is the only measurement of skill left. When you have 20 people on the line all shooting their own target at the same time, you can’t measure each one’s time, so the incentive is to have the tightest little knot of bullet holes in your target when the instructor walks down the line.

So timmies focus on performing technique or being accurate.

What about gamers who shoot basically every shot on a timer like us?

Generally gamers will be as fast as possible, only as accurate as is necessary (intentionally vague definition), and consciously perform technique only in so far as it accomplishes the two other goals.

In gamer circles, raw time is king. Two second Bill Drill. Five second El Prez. Point seven draw. I tend to assume, when it’s not stated, that the accuracy is implied to be “all alphas” and at whatever the traditional distance is for the drill (7 yard Bill Drill, 10 yard El Prez, etc). But people don’t talk about that. Gamers tend to talk about speed.

In my experience, accuracy is only rarely talked about, and even then often in the context of “Well, I was bound to give up some charlies and deltas going that fast.” Part of this, as Ben alludes to, is people not having a reasonable expectation of what can be done with their handgun. Keeping most of your shots in a 4″ circle and all of them in an 8″ circle at 25 yards with a carry gun, for example, is totally doable. Hitting all As at 50 yards with a Production gun is certainly possible.

But that’s not what we see when we shoot. Either we’re shooting at the square range where the guy to our left is shooting a 12-inch long low-left oval of shots at 7 yards. Or we’re at a match where targets are rarely past 20 yards, and the guy who has to paste those targets does it as quickly as possible to get the next shooter going.

Then, later in the episode, Ben drops this:

“The concept of entertrainment is something we think of in Timmy circles, like we think that that’s a Timmy thing, but there are plenty of gamer guys that do it. Never practice, never gonna practice, don’t really care about getting better, and they’ll sign up for a class.”

It took me a long time to realize that not everyone who shows up and shoots a match is that interested in getting better.

About Ben

Blog contributor. Active in IDPA and USPSA, and he won't flinch if you call him a rules lawyer. Ben is a beard wearing, bacon eating, whiskey drinking, motorcycle riding, coder.

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