Jump to content


Mental quicksand

  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 reichebrown


    Finally read the FAQs

  • Classified
  • PipPip
  • 146 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Stroudsburg, PA

Posted 08 February 2012 - 06:31 PM

I have been preparing for a local sanctioned IDPA for the last two months. Last night my M&P pro started to have FTEs again. (it has been back to smith 3+ times for this problem) In local matches I have been shooting better than I have ever been before. I have been ding a lot of reading around here and approaching shooting very differently from a mental standpoint. My accuracy is up, I am visualizing and planning my stages, and I have been placing in the top 5 regularly with a handful of overall wins. The one thing I did not expect was mechanical problems with my gun.

I was watching a movie recently where they describe a "quicksand moment." Basically you make one mistake and try to put it out of your mind. You make another shrug it off but another mistake happens and then you try to prevent more mistakes. This effort forces more mistakes and you end up feeling like you are frozen in quicksand. I was shooting at a local USPSA match last night and had this happen to me while fighting with the M&P FTE problem. (I am not searching for a solution to my FTEs) To recover durring a stage I had to actually stop and pause and make a decision to finish the tage like I knew I could. I finished the second half with all "A's."

My question is what can I do mentally to overcome my fear of my gun not running the way it should?

#2 Skydiver


    Mr. Black and White

  • Classifieds
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,853 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Virginia Beach, VA

Posted 08 February 2012 - 06:52 PM

I've been in your boat before when I was new to the Tanfoglio platform in .40 and didn't know that old style magazine feedlips measurement was critical to reliable feeding. I would spend mental energy worrying about when will the next jam happen.

I got over this by doing two things the night before the match: Cleaning the gun, and checking and tweaking feedlips as needed; and a couple dry fire rounds of doing tap-rack-bang drills. The former restored confidence in knowing that my gear is prepared as best as I can have it for the match. The latter refreshes skills for dealing with a malfunction.

On match day, when I'm in the hole, I visualized tap-rack-bang, and then quickly check if mags are loaded and if any feedlips look iffy. When on deck, I visualize shooting the stage. At Make Ready, I check the gun one more time before loading.

(I guess the origin of the above is from my skydiving: Gear check on the ground before putting parachute on. On plane first part of plane ride up, visualize handling airplane emergency and parachute malfunctions. On second half of plane ride up, visualize the skydive from positioning for exit, to the dive, to opening, to landing. On jump run, one more gear check before approaching the door.)

Fortunately, I broke out of worrying about the gear after a few matches.

#3 reichebrown


    Finally read the FAQs

  • Classified
  • PipPip
  • 146 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Stroudsburg, PA

Posted 10 February 2012 - 03:33 PM

Well I did some major cleaning to the gun and ran my starline brass tonight through the gun. After 200 flawless rounds and a really great practice session I am both physically and mentally ready for the match tomorrow. I know its not a sure thing that the gun will run but I am in a much happier place mentally after today!

#4 pskys2


    Burned Out

  • Classifieds
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,410 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 11 February 2012 - 12:07 PM

Talking of it happening in a course, go to basics.

See the FRONT SIGHT, squeeze the shot off, make an extra reload if needed.
At some point you will get back to your original game plan.
But whatever you do, don't try to make up time.

#5 benos



  • Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,785 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tempe, AZ

Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:54 PM

My question is what can I do mentally to overcome my fear of my gun not running the way it should?

Make it a general rule to never allow yourself to think about that. Most importantly, never allow yourself to dwell on that topic. Then the fear will go away on its own.
Man's greatest power is the capacity to direct attention. If you created it you can change it; otherwise, forget it.

BrianEnos.com Blems In Stock

BrianEnos.com Online Store

Books/CDs | Slide-Glide | Dillon Precision | DVDs | Wilson Combat | BROWNELLS | Donate

I hate people when they're not polite.
David Byrne

#6 Whoops!


    Sees Sights Lift

  • Classifieds
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 469 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Dallas, TX

Posted 14 March 2012 - 03:21 PM

What he said ^

That being said, there's only one true way to get over it in my experience . . . fix the gun.

In your case, it's one of only about four things and most of those can be eliminated just by describing what type of FTE it is, it shouldn't be that hard to fix and I'm going to have to advise you go to a different smith.

Edited by Whoops!, 14 March 2012 - 03:24 PM.

#7 monicataliani


    Sees Sights Lift

  • Classifieds
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 386 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Dayton, Ohio

Posted 14 March 2012 - 07:31 PM

I am going through this same issue with my m&p9l. I have had probably a little over half a dozen FTEs. I had it worked on a bit and it seems to be okay but I would be lying if I said I don't still think about it!

Monica Taliani
Rudy Project Pro Team

#8 406shooter


    Looks for Range

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 5 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Libby, MT

Posted 15 March 2012 - 09:35 PM

I had a firing pin issue that cost me a whole season +, I took it to smiths, sent it to the factory, in the end it was a sharp old buddy of mine that figured it out. Not the same failure but the fix for me after that, because I couldn't trust the gun was I went out and bought the most it reliable gun that was just out of my price range and it has never failed me, the other gun works well now but I will never compete with it now. My GF competes with it and loves it. Point being I was so afraid off that repeatedly failure that I would never have kept shooting if I hadn't changed guns mental is the hardest part of the game, do whatever you have to, to stay in the game!!


#9 MTSCMike


    Finally read the FAQs

  • Classified
  • PipPip
  • 138 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tullahoma, Tennessee

Posted 16 April 2012 - 06:13 AM

If you are a competitive shooter in a competitive class at a competitive match then any fairly substantial equipment malfunction will pretty much put you out of the running so just call it a bad day, finish the match and be as competitive as you can but just smile if it happens again...and again...there's nothing you can do during the match to change it so just let it go.

My "bad day" was at the IDPA Nationals the year I qualified for my 4 Gun Sharpshooter. The revolver was my last requirement and I had done one gun per season up to then. This was "revolver year". I was just about out of ammo before the Nationals so my reloading buddy cranked out a new batch for me. He had run out of our usual Winchester primers and used another brand for this batch...BAD MOVE! My very first stage was the beginning of a nightmare. Bang, bang, bang, snap...what the...bang, snap...lost round count, can't even remember which target I'm on, stage plan out the window, next moon clip with the same result. Had about 25% misfires that day. But the shots that went bang hit their mark. Frustrating? Yes, but what could I do? I didn't quit. Just had some fun and finished dead last.

After the match I retired the revolver. Not the guns fault but I can't shoot confidently with a gun that doesn't function 100%. Get your gun fixed if it can be and if it can't be 100% reliable then get another gun that is. Your equipment shouldn't be one of your concerns at match time...you have plenty of other stuff to be concerned about.

#10 KyroWebs


    Sees Target

  • Classifieds
  • PipPipPip
  • 209 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Malcom, IA

Posted 17 April 2012 - 01:57 AM

^What Mike said. My #1 rule is make sure my equipment works. Figure out what is going on and get it fixed! Then you won't have to worry about your equipment and can focus on just shooting.

#11 daves_not_here


    Sees Sights Lift

  • Classifieds
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 416 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sherwood Park, Alberta Canada

Posted 17 April 2012 - 04:56 AM

Two things...

  • Deal with it...QUICKLY!
  • Once it's dealt with move on.

Stuff happens. You probably already have your personal ways of dealing with situations. Always try to improve on the way you deal with them like malfunction drills or exploring new methods.

Remember the gun can only degrade your performance only when it isn't performing as expected. You degrade your performance the rest of the time. Ruminations and doubts are heavy to carry.


#12 lawboy


    Calls Shots

  • Classifieds
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 536 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sacramento, CA

Posted 17 April 2012 - 04:44 PM

I will add to the above suggestions, carry a backup gun to the match.


Team Sacramento Black Rifle
IDPA # A25012
USPSA # A72688
NRA # 51068361

#13 baa


    Sees Sights

  • Classifieds
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 303 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tampa, FL

Posted 18 April 2012 - 11:23 AM

+1 to what Brian and others said- You did what you can do to test the gun. At this point, don't think about it. Better yet, replace images of you shooting well and winning with the current images of a broken gun. If it breaks, it breaks. You did what you can do, so focus on the positives of what you have done to prepare to win.

Power of positive thinking and all...

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users