Small changes can make a big difference

My beloved Springfield 1911 GI developed a problem.  One of the wood grip panels developed a crack.  Not a big crack, but one that would have lead to the panel splitting.  In my experience, if I don’t pay attention, it splits while I’m shooting and I end up with pistol grip in my hand.  Painful and distracting when trying to shoot.

Chance was unwanted, but unfortunately necessary.  Being quite broke I asked my Facebook Friends if anyone had a set of 1911 grips laying around.  Luckily they did and sent them.   Simple black synthetic panels, nothing fancy… but they took the GI Springer from looking like it’s old war vet self and made it look different.

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It didn’t change the gun, but it changed the nature of the gun.  It’s appearance is different.  It’s feel in the hand is very different as well.  It’s like it’s a completely different pistol.  All because of a small change of a couple of grip panels, we’ve got big results.

In all reality, small changes make all the difference.  They way you stand when shooting, the way you grip.  How you focus your eyes.  Any number of little things that you can change can have big impacts on how you shoot.  The problem is we really can’t see ourselves shooting.   We can’t see the habitual errors we make.  And we can’t see how we can make an adjustment that could give us an improvement.

I was shooting with Massad Ayoob when he stopped me, physically repositioned my thumb – slightly – and instantly improved my shooting.   I’m not kidding or exaggerating.  That happened just a couple years ago.  As an instructor, I find it all the more important to be a Student.  We can never stop learning.  We can never stop seeking out those small changes to improve ourselves.   When you go to a training course, don’t expect to learn big magic ninja tricks.  Because there is no such thing… But if you are a good student, you will come away with a string of small changes.  And those can have the biggest results.