By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
The difference between an actual mechanical advantage and a problem of training is that the former actually enables you to perform a task faster or easier in all instances because of the design of something, as opposed to you just being lazy and not putting in the practice time like you’re supposed to.
This is a big thing when it comes to guns, as a bevy of devices and firearms designs are denigrated by gun owners and shooters for various reasons and the aftermarket industry comes up with various “solutions” to problems that really only exist for people who are lazy.
And why talk about this?
Because a whole lot of people spend a lot of money every year on various gadgets, new guns and other gear in the belief that they’re getting the former when in reality they’re compensating for the latter.
It behooves you to know whether that new type of holster or pistol or what have you is actually going to give you a real advantage, or if you’re just trying to cheat yourself.
Here’s some examples.
A whole lot of people over the years have whined, wheedled, complained, grumbled and otherwise made noise about single-action semi-autos being slower to get that first shot off due to having a manual safety, as well as any pistol thusly equipped. Deactivating the safety, the refrain goes, takes extra time or will otherwise get in the way or something to that effect.
Oh really, now?
As you can see in the video, it’s hardly the case that a 1911 pistol cannot be drawn, presented, aimed and fired quickly. The shooter, which is competitive shooter Mike Seeklander, is blisteringly quick; if you watch the timer on the video, that’s just over a second from concealment to the first shot on target.
Granted, Mike Seeklander is also a veteran of the armed forces, served in law enforcement, and has won national and international shooting championships. He’s that fast because he put in an incredible amount of reps to get there.
Will the average person get that fast? Probably not, but the point here is that not having a manual safety isn’t really the mechanical advantage that some attest that it is if the shooter is putting in the practice time.
There are, of course, examples of actual mechanical advantage when it comes to gun stuff, meaning when you really are better enabled to perform a particular task.
For instance, revolvers switching from the loading gate and pinned cylinder to a swing-out cylinder design enables faster unloading and reloading. The worst M1 Garand operator is still going to be faster than the fastest man doing the Mad Minute with a Lee-Enfield rifle.
Those are actual mechanical advantages; no amount of range time and practice will make an SAA faster to reload than a Model 10.
Consider the endless debates over what the “best” service rifle is. People still argue about the AR vs the AK or, for that matter, the AR family of rifles versus other rifle platforms such as the HK G3/HK91/CETME family of rifles or the FAL.
This may be a trip into the weeds, but it’s a great example of an actual mechanical advantage.
Consider the reloading procedure. Reloading an AR-15 or AR-10 is ridiculously easy. The magazine release is within easy reach for most shooters, the magazine doesn’t have to be rocked into place and you don’t have to run the bolt; you just hit the bolt release and the carrier group goes into battery, without having to break your grip.
By contrast, the magazine release button of, say, the G3/HK91/CETME-C rifle is too far away from the trigger guard for pretty much anyone to be able to reach it with the index finger of the shooting hand unless they’re Johnny Bench, though most models also include a paddle release as well. To reload, you have to knock the magazine out of the well, a la an AK, then rock and lock the magazine. Then you reach for the charging handle to cycle the bolt, which is impossible to do without dismounting the rifle off the shoulder since it’s located on the forend.
Granted, the G3 family also lets you do the HK slap, which is probably the coolest thing you can do with a gun, but one digresses.
For visual reference, here’s the difference in a speed reload between AR- and AK-platform rifles.
Granted, the difference was about 1 second, which isn’t astounding, and clearly this guy has had a good amount of practice, but he’s twice as fast to reload an AR-15 carbine than that Krink.
That’s not a training issue; that’s an actual mechanical advantage. The range of motion is so diminished compared to the other rifles mentioned. If you wanted to purchase a rifle or carbine that was as light, handy, and as fast as possible to operate, the AR stands out in that regard.
Hey, Eugene Stoner knew what the heck he was doing.
So let’s bring this home.
If you’re considering getting a different gun or bits of gear because of a perceived benefit, you might want to pause before blowing any money. Red dot optics won’t make you shoot faster or more accurately if you aren’t putting in the time developing the skills to shoot quickly and accurately anyway. Switching to appendix carry from strong-side carry or OWB concealment is not going to matter if you aren’t practicing your draw stroke.
Now that gun ranges are starting to open back up, let’s get to work.
Sam Hoober is a Contributing Editor to AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.