Skill at Arms
When was the last time you bought a new car?
You’ve been driving for years. Your skill at piloting a vehicle is passable, if not down right exceptional.
Of course as you slide into the drivers seat of your brand new luxury, flex fuel, intelligent sensor, Lifescanner 3000 you feel intimidated and daunted about the sheer magnitude of buttons, gizmos and voice commands you need to understand a master.
Not to worry… you have a teenager at home that can help you work through it.
Still you have no serious worries about actually driving the damn thing back home.
You have a universal skill set of driving that has hopefully been mastered that will suffice for the immediate time being.
The same goes for Skill at Arms.
You have heard us preach at Artemis that YOU are the primary weapon system. The gun you happen to be holding is merely a tool. Intimate knowledge of your firearm is a must… but knowledge of how to properly wield that weapon is somewhat transcendent.
Like our automotive analogy earlier: I can teach someone in a classroom the mechanics of a new car and how the buttons work. They might not even know how to drive… still, they can learn how to turn on the car and work the gizmos.
Likewise, I can take someone into our classroom and teach them how to operate and the functional workings of a 1911 autoloader pistol… it is quite another thing to know how to wield it.
The other day we had our first live fire range day at Artemis.
We did this in conjunction with Ben Ito-Smith of Artifex Consulting.
Those of you that have met Ben know that while it was clearly important to us to have the invaluable expertise of Ben’s British Special Warfare experience as a resource… we really just like to hear him say “Shooters make ready!” with that upper class english accent.
While I was there watching our combined schools work through our course of fire, I noticed that we had “observers” that had migrated down from their own shooting bays to see what we were up to.
Well… turn about is fair play, and while I had a few minutes I walked down to the other range to watch them.
These shooters clearly had a basic understanding of marksmanship. But they were decidedly sloppy in their approach to the discipline.
Think of a magnificent Samurai practicing with his sword.
Now think of a twelve year old flailing about with a cardboard tube from a empty wrapping paper roll.
You get the idea.
One is elegant and displays a respect not only for the practitioner, but for the discipline, the weapon, and I dare say the potential adversary.
The other one is just some kid playing with a tube.
When we practice with our weapons we are honing a skill.
We are acknowledging our commitment to a discipline.
We are developing a craft that is transcendent of the singular weapon that we might own, and is at an instant, transferable to the tool that is at our immediate disposal.
While we may not be experts with the unique weapon we have in our hands, our training with weapons generally… our Skill at Arms… gives us the basic foundations needed to be successful.
We must constantly be mindful that our manipulations of our weapons while at the range speaks to who we are.
The short hand for our dedication to our training is how we handle our firearms.
We must be dedicated to the proposition that the mastery of our discipline comes with rigorous and continues practice.
A bad day of marksmanship can be forgiven, and is without question an unfortunate inevitability.
However, a sloppy presentation, poor muzzle discipline, or magazine manipulations that lack the elegance of refined practice, speaks volumes about the shooter and their true commitment to their craft.
It is our obligation to be masters of Skill at Arms.