You may have noticed how smoothly and efficiently musicians, professional athletes, competitive gamers, and even construction workers perform their tasks. Many people believe that it’s merely their physical training that has helped them perform their level best even in high-stress situations, but the truth is they equally work hard to train their brains as well. This is also true in regards to shooters, whether they are using firearms for self-defense, hunting, or as a law enforcement professional. For example, a long-range hunter can use a suitable long-range firearm and even read review here for the best scopes to use with it, however, as long as the hunter not physically and mentally well-trained, the simple knowledge won’t be of much use in a different situation.
Now you must be thinking about how you, as a shooter, can train yourself mentally. You can surely go and attend long training sessions to train physically but in order to train your brain, you need to have conditioned muscle memory.
Therefore, if you want to know what muscle memory is and how it can help you in firearms training, keep reading this article!
What is Muscle Memory and How Does It Work?
When you repeatedly execute a certain action for a long period of time, at some point in the future, you start doing it automatically without you having to pay much attention to it.
It’s like your brain “learns” that repeated action and then starts working on autopilot. It conditions your motor skills and creates a neurological path of your muscles with the brain to perform certain actions smoothly and perfectly.
In terms of daily life, you have learned certain habits like brushing your teeth, holding a glass of water, or combing your hair. You don’t need to put any effort into these daily activities of life, as your brain has memorized and strengthened your muscles.
Many sportsmen you see on TV or on the field performing their exceptional shots are not simply “gifted” or “talented”. They put in years of practice and effort to train their mind and body to work in harmony in order to give their best.
Many Olympians follow the mantra to train both your body and brain. This allows them to have control over their body and adapt it according to different situations in a sports game.
How Does Muscle Memory Work in Firearms Training?
Many newcomer shooters assume that it’s only important to “know” the basics of firearm handling, equipment, and safety. While this is essential, you can’t perform well until or unless you train yourself physically and mentally too.
The knowledge that you gain in firearm training courses is good for starters, but you need to put in a lot of effort and time to become a pro.
For instance, the best rifle in the hands of a hunter will only work efficiently when they know how to use it in all sorts of real-time situations to adapt their techniques accordingly.
For this purpose, many trainers at the range help shooters focus on both their physical and mental fitness. If you ever notice how quickly they hold the gun and get ready to shoot their target, it’s because of thousands of hours of training and practice.
You can also try dry firing first in order to learn the most basic techniques such as your stance, the way you hold your firearm and view the target. This can also help you with your flexibility, range, accuracy, and sharp reflexes.
Repeating the same positions over and over again will make you an expert with these basic techniques and will make learning new, advanced technical tips a cinch for you.
It’s also essential for firearms trainees to learn to shoot with different guns that they are going to use in different situations. Many shooting ranges offer courses that involve real-time situational awareness, as you don’t want to panic in an emergency situation and misfire the gun.
Muscle memory helps you in such abnormal situations. Your shooting techniques are completely ingrained in your brain that doesn’t allow any adverse situation to take over your form. Instead, you simply focus on handling the situation physically and your brain works on autopilot.
When Muscle Memory Can Go Against You in Firearms Training?
Learning good habits vs. bad habits at a shooting range can make a major difference in how you use and shoot firearms in the future. It can either make or break your game.
Just like you can learn good habits, you can also learn bad habits. If you don’t train properly from the beginning, your brain can memorize bad techniques and these can be hard to “unlearn”.
Moreover, you can also cause harm or possess damage to your shooting partners or when simply using the weapon.
Therefore, it’s critical to start learning the right way with an expert instructor. For example, if you don’t hold the gun properly and your stance is not right either, it will be quite difficult for you to “unlearn” this.
So, to make your shooting skills top-notch, you need to learn the right techniques and train your brain and muscles accordingly from the very start.