Breakdown of Narrow and Wide Target Transitions

Some analysis on how to most effectively transition the gun from one location to a second location. The contraction of muscle depends on the amount of distance. A shorter transition demands quick upper thoracic vertebrae rotation. A wider transition requires more recruitment of the knees and hip thrust. Always drive the eyes aggressively to lead the body.

Drive the Eyes:

Whether it’s a short or a wide target transition, You have to drive your eyes. Your eyes are the fastest tool in your body. They’re also one of the laziest. If you’ve taken any speed reading courses you may have learned that the eyes are pretty lazy. One of the skills and speed reading is driving the fingers along the sentences to push your eyes to keep up. Your eyes are also lazy connected to the brain where we actually pull in a lot more information then we allow ourselves to see but that’s another story.
Therefore, between close targets once you’ve completed the follow through on the last shot in the first target and you’re satisfied you’re done addressing that target, violently drive your eyes to the next target two “Mark to target” as you bring in the heavy artillery as you aggressively Drive the pistol to the next target with sequenced actions of prepping the trigger and decelerating the pistol at the appropriate time to maximize speed and accuracy(as described immediately below) period

Driving the gun:

When your eyes are locked on the target, you should be explosively driving that gun, almost trying to beat your eyes to the target. Your hands should never be faster than your eyes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have your hands always race your eyes to be faster (this is kind of like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the the hill and never making it, but point being, don’t let your hands be lazy either). As discussed in the video, for narrow target transitions, quick thoracic rotations seem to be the most effective and all that is needed. If the target transition is wider, than driving to knees & hips along with the thoracic rotation tends to accelerate the gun to its max velocity to help get to that second position as quick as possible.

However, the gun eventually has to slowdown to get on target. The “deceleration zone” is that final amount of rotation where the gun has to go from your max velocity down to a steady position (actually it’s only reasonable steadiness depending on the target size and distance). You do not want to decelerate too early where you’re wasting time, and you do not want to decelerate too late and you over transition and actually waste time having a gun bobble left and right. As a general rule of sun thumb, about 20% of the total transition angle should be allocated for this deceleration zone. For example, if you’re transitioning 100° from the left to the right (from target one to target two), you should accelerate that gun as hard and fast as you can the first 80° of rotation and then slam on the brakes and decelerate as much as possible the last 20° of rotation. Again, this is only a rule of thumb and by no means is there an exact number, but the important point is to think about how are you are not moving at a steady velocity from target one to target two, but rather, having the throttle stomped on the gas for a majority of the transition distance and forcefully slamming on the brakes the final transition distance.

Think of this deceleration as an elevator stopping as quickly as possible right out of floor. If you later start still decelerating too early it just takes forever to get level to the floor and open the doors. The elevator goes right to the floor and clams on the brakes write then, the whole elevator will shake up and down and not be steadily right at the desired floor. In technical mechanical engineering parlance this is called being “critically damped” where the rate of deceleration and where to start the deceleration has to be tuned cannot only get to the second position but get there sufficiently stable, not “bonging around”.

Sequencing the Movements:

I learned the concept of”sequencing” from Dave Sevigny, one of the best shooters in the world.  A sequence of tightly spaced if not overlapping actions maximizes your speed and body control (accuracy0. In this example regarding a simple target transition, while your eyes at first identified the target , and you start decelerating to the target, you can sequence prepping the trigger and taking out the slack of the trigger while the gun decelerates to target(1). Further, if the target is far away and small, you can start sequencing in the actions of refocusing your eyes whereby pulling back the focus to about 23 inches to the front sight while prepping the trigger and the gun is finally coming to target. In other words, if you don’t sequence your actions you can waste horrific amount of time a first getting your eyes to the target then you start moving the gun, and then once the gun is on target you only then start putting your finger on the trigger and then after that or maybe even before that but not the same time you pull your eyes back from the target to your front side and then complete the force on the trigger to break the shot. It those actions are not sequenced and overlapping, the amount of time wasted can be considerable. Sequencing is a deeper subject disclosed in other training articles/videos on the site, but this is a great example of how your sequenced actions can make you much more faster and accurate.

(1) as a safety note you must be prepared to destroy what is around the target when your put your finger on the trigger (or in the trigger guard for that matter).  The time to put your finger off the frame and onto the trigger is contextual and should only be done when you are prepared to destroy what is behind the muzzle.

Transitions Breakdown

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2 thoughts on “Breakdown of Narrow and Wide Target Transitions

    1. Isn’t that the truth. The trick is to focus on the high impact 20% that “moves the needle”.

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