- The speed reload. You either need to get your gun reloaded ASAP, or the fight is over; there’s not much in between. See post below.
- Not using the slide lock to release the slide. Yeah, I know that for years we taught (I sure did) that you used the off hand to slingshot the slide, but really: both work if they are instinctive for you. I do both unconsciously now. BTW – Paul Howe agrees; I rest my case.
- Shooting too fast. I can actually get hits at close distance with .17 splits (and I don’t know if I can actually pull the trigger on my M&P any faster than that), but discovering that was an experiment; it’s not something I train to do. I doubt you can assess what’s going on in front of your muzzle any faster than 3x/second (.33 splits). I can’t. For real you’ll shoot faster that you train, so ingraining anything faster than .33 splits seems to me to be a great way to set yourself up for jail. Shooting too fast, and shooting without assessment, can be a training scar.
- Looking good on the range. Sure, I want to look competent in front of onlookers as much as the next guy/gal/personage/xerson/whatever-these-days. But every now and then you need to spend a session drawing that j-frame from your ankle holster, or whatever your actual carry method is – and yeah, I’m looking at you Mr.-1911-bigot-who-actually-carries-a-j-frame 🙂 . This can be done at home with dry fire if you prefer, but do it you must.
- Isolating movement. It’s a maxim of competitive shooting — and of too many “tactical” instructors — that a shooter should keep their entire body still when presenting the handgun except for the necessary movement of the arms alone. No “dipping”, no twisting, no head lowering, etc. This is certainly true and proven in the competitive world, but over emphasized in fighting courses. You should be moving anyway as your default in a real situation: to cover if possible, or to shield an innocent, and in any case laterally. In the context of such movement a little dip of head lowering is irrelevant. The time spent on draw movement isolation is better spent on learning appropriate body movement tactics and technique.
- Too light a trigger. Everyone can definitely shoot faster and somewhat more accurately with a very light trigger. But it’s a poor shot that can’t shoot acceptably well with a eight or ten pound trigger, even if that ten pounds travels over the long pull of a double-action revolver. Less than four pounds is street-unsafe, while more than eight pounds if perhaps unnecessary. (Which is what makes the 1911 and other SA pistols — including DA/SA ones — a true expert’s gun if they are to be street-carried at all.) Most real-world trainers recommend about a six pound trigger on a modern striker-fired pistol. You want to shoot the trigger in practice that you carry, so getting a fancy after-market trigger replacement can be street-unwise, and can even hurt you later in court.