We talk about gear a lot on JTT. We talk about new gear, classic gear, gear that works, gear that doesn’t work, and any other kind of gear. Gear keeps the lights on at JTT. However, I recently had two experiences at roughly the same time that reminded me of some truths that I already knew – the best, newest, most efficient gear cannot replace skill that has been honed by regular practice and skill is perishable. Your gear can enhance your skill and it should fit your skill level but it can never replace your skill and that skill can be lost, or at least diminished, if it is not practiced. This applies to more than just firearm manipulation.
If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that I am a big fan of the Bogota Entry Toolsets from SerePick. These amazing tools allow unskilled users to bypass locks with some degree of success but they really come into their own in the hands of skilled users. A skilled Bogota user can often bypass locks in a matter of seconds. These are some seriously efficient and effective tools.
There was a time when I was fairly proficient with the Bogota rakes as a result of quite a bit of practice. However, when I recently received two new Bogota Entry Toolsets for review, I realized it had been several months since I last bypassed a lock. That time without practice was immediately apparent when I started testing the new tools. Much of lock bypassing is dependent on “touch” and subtle movements. I am still working to regain the touch that was lost over those months. I struggled to use the tools even though they are some of the most innovative and effective lock picks available.
You may have noticed that over the last several months there has been a lot of reviews for AK-47 specific items on JTT. This was not planned but it was a lot of fun. With so many AK items to review, it was a great time to get some trigger time on my AKs and that is just what I did. Nearly all of my range time and dry fire exercises were spent with the AK at the expense of time with my AR. When I did return to training with the AR, it was immediately apparent that I lost some crispness in my manipulations. I could feel it and the shot timer certainly showed it.
While the fundamentals of marksmanship certainly apply to any carbine, the manipulations that an AK requires are very different from that of an AR. Time spent working out the AK review items was time spent not practicing with my AR. Time spent not practicing, is time spent regressing. This is true even with an ergonomic carbine like the AR that I have configured in a way that supports the way that I typically shoot.
Preaching to the Choir
I suppose that there are actually two lessons here. First, gear simply can not replace skill gained in training. Second, skills can be extremely perishable and can be diminished by lack of practice. Hopefully, this serves as a friendly reminder to hit the range and maybe even take a training course. When you can’t hit the range, schedule some time for dry fire practice. Do something so that you don’t lose something.