fine..gross..lets call the whole thing off

Another interesting post over at Vuurwapen Blog. Andrew talks about one of my favorite “tactical sacred cows”…the whole “you won’t be able to do that fine motor skill in combat” meme.

I was first told about “fine motor skills” while in the military; the explanation I was given was that anything to do with using my fingers under stress was a bad idea. That doing so would not work, that I just wouldn’t have the dexterity. I was told to use the bigger parts of my hand, or my fingers bunched together, to do any sort of weapon manipulation. This, they said, was a “gross” motor skill that would be better under stress, which apparently makes your fingers turn to jello.

However, I was also taught by other people to do things like punch buttons on military radios and put tiny needles in small veins, both of which require dexterity. In addition, both are skills which might be critical to saving lives under stress (or taking them, in the case of calling for fires). I also found, on my own time, that I could manipulate safeties and slide releases just fine with my thumbs.

The author goes onto explain that in his opinion the issue all comes down to ones familiarity and recent experience with a weapon system. I agree 100%. If you are unfamiliar with a weapon, finding the small buttons and levers under stress will indeed be more difficult than grabbing a slide and slingshotting  it home. However, if you know the weapon like it’s part of your hand, it’s stupid to lose time doing “gross motor movements”.

I did some comparisons of handgun reloads back in this thread:

To be honest, I now use the slide release lever so unconsciously that I doubt I would ever do the overhand slingshot technique under stress.