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Does weapon familiarity really matter that much?

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by cfr, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. cfr


    Feb 24, 2010
    Ive seen some say they wouldnt buy something like a PPQ due to the mag release and they'd completely have to relearn compared to a button.

    Fair enough I suppose.

    Couldnt the same be said for other weapons though? If you regularly train with a rifle and a pump shotgun, couldnt you accindentally try to pump your AR, or swap the mag from your 870?

    Then you try out an AK, and the safety is in a completely different spot than both of those. :faint:

    Not trying to debate anyone, just understand the logic. Im also home sick and bored today, and have always wondered how these concerns would be dealt with on other weapons.

    How much do these things really matter?
  2. I believe to some extent it does. I have found myself trying to thumb off a safety on my Glock in the past.tom.:embarassed:

  3. Slackinoff


    Sep 20, 2011
    I have never tried to pump my semi auto shotgun or "drop a mag" from a wheel gun. I don't even have to think about it. BUT, I have never used a gun to save my/another life. Who knows until you have experienced that kind of pressure?

    Sorry you are homesick cfr....that's a miserable feeling.
  4. I think if you're familiar with all your guns and use them enough the muscle memory will keep you functioning okay. I carry either a Glock 19, SR9C or LCR and feel familiar with all of them. But practicing with them all is key.
  5. Slackinoff


    Sep 20, 2011
    Everyone is different and that's ok, understand how you learn/deal with things and make your own choices.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2012
  6. cfr


    Feb 24, 2010


    Sep 30, 2010
    PHX AZ
    I carry a double action revolver glock, sig sauer and a kahr, no safeties on any just point and shoot. No spare mags so no reloading either. I feel quite comfortable even though I sometimes carry different pistols.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2012
  8. ReyFufuRulesAll

    ReyFufuRulesAll Pantless Wonder

    Oct 30, 2006
    Crappleton, Wisconsin
    For me it happens only rarely and when the guns feel similar; i used to try and pump my semi-auto shottie when i first switched to it from my Sears Browning, and i caught myself lately trying to hit the slide release on my PPK.
  9. mjkeat


    Jun 17, 2009
    I think familiarity is extremely important. Someone touched on it earlier. Under stress the mind and body do funny things. I still make mistakes at classes. I've grabbed for a pistol mag to reload an AR and just recently scanned while having my pistol extended toward the target instead of bringing it to the high ready. I spend a decent amount of time on the range and in classes. It's extremely embarrassing. My point is you want to be familiar to the point you don't have to think. Especially if you're "special" like me.
  10. 1gewehr


    Mar 22, 2006
    Mid TN
    It depends on the situation. I've seen deer hunters miss a perfect shot because they had a new rifle with a slightly different safety. But that was not life-threatening.

    A friend on a SWAT team used to laugh about a buddy without any military experience who was a dead shot with his MP-5. When they transitioned to M4's, he took weeks to re-learn a simple mag change. And still sometimes bobbled it for a LONG time afterwards. I've heard stories of the reverse as well; folks who knew M-16s like a part of their body and cursed the MP-5 when the bolt didn't stay open and they had to lock the bolt open BEFORE inserting a new mag.

    I limit my platforms for serious use. Either an AR-style or the FN-FAL. They are different enough and I have enough hands-on time with them that I can do mag changes and all other operations automatically with either. Same for the 1911 or CZ-75. I used to hunt with the Savage 99, but I'll probably retire it in favor of my 6.5 Grendel AR.
  11. Bruce M

    Bruce M

    Jan 3, 2010
    S FL
    Sorry you are homesick.

    I have also tried to push a nonexistent safety down with my thumb a few times over the years. Fortunately I have never had the issue of forgetting a thumb safety when it was there and now it would only be an issue at the range.
  12. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 Grumpy Old Guy Silver Member

    Jan 25, 2008
    Clarksville, Tn.
    In times of stress and SHTF yes it does. :supergrin:
  13. When it's 2 AM, raining, in the mud, with people trying to kill you, YES it matters.

    The more familiar you are the better you will handle the weapon under pressure. And that familiarity includes SHOOTING STRAIT and FAST.

  14. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy ********* Moderator Moderator Millennium Member Lifetime Member

    Jan 16, 2001
    Buried in the X-files
    Very definitely.

    I've spent a large chunk of my life on the M16 platform, which is why i won't move off to anything else.

    Seen my dad (two wars with the M16) keep squeezing the trigger on an 870 (which he's also carried during the Gulf War, but never ended up firing) during a match till it clicked that he was not firing an M16, and remembered to pump. That split second hesistation happened on every shot for the first string, after that, it kicked back in and he remembered what to do.

    He hasn't carried a 1911 in nearly 20 years, but carried one from 1966-1991 in the military. His hands remember what to do, even when his brain occasionally forgets.
  15. And that is why WWII vets swear by the Garand and WWI vets felt the '03 was the only true battle rifle.

    Use something for 20 years and, hey, you know the system so well you can compensate for any faults it has. And that is the key, skill with your weapon. It does not have to be fancy... you just have to be good.

  16. silverado_mick


    Nov 30, 2006
    First deer season at home after two tours in Iraq. I dd the exact same thing your Dad did after I missed a running doe with my 7mm. Instead of working the bolt I just reacquainted the target and tried to squeeze another round off. Took me reaching up with my off hand to begin an immediate action drill to realize that there was no magazine to tap and that if I'd just work the bolt and chamber a fresh round I could fire again. By that time the doe was long gone, and I was pretty amused with myself.
  17. Lior


    Jul 23, 2004

    The most stressful shooting experiences most us will have will be in competition, and there, familiarity with one's guns really pays off.
    For semiauto pistols, having a good grip and recoil control is a big deal, and a lot of it depends on nuances such as where the safety and other controls are mounted, the thickness of the gun's arsepart and trigger morphology. Getting mixed up between guns that may be superficially similar costs you a lot in competition. To wit, last night I trained on some stages with my SP01 Shadow and SP01 Phantom, and despite being the same size and shape these two shooters require completely different grip methods, despite being compatible vis-a-vis rigs, mags, ammo, bells and whistles.

    For rifles, I don't have much experience, but I was brought up on M16s and Galils, and had no major problem with either platform in killing paper targets. The first time I held and shot an AK47 I felt intimately familiar with it immediately. These experience relate to basically stock guns without any aiming devices hanging off them - familiarity with these is certainly something that does not want to learn for the first time in a gunfight.

    So yeah, if you are carrying a gun for an unimportant reason such as protecting your life and that of others dear to you, or for a crucial reason such as competing, it is good to be familiar with its nuances and not get mixed up when split seconds count.
  18. FullClip

    FullClip NRA Benefactor CLM

    Not as stressful as combat situations, but I'm so used to my Red Label shotguns that I use for partridge, that when I swap to my Benelli for ducks and geese I have problems. I always try to find the safety on the tang rather than the cross-bolt, and sometimes I've only taken two shots and gave up, forgetting I had another one available with the semi-auto. Not only embarrassing, but potentially dangerous.
    Yeah, I think that being familiar with the weapon makes a big difference, especially if you have one type that most operations are done by reflex.
  19. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Jan 16, 2005
    If you are fairly new to guns or haven't had much training and experience, it could matter a lot.

    The more training and experience you get with a wide variety of guns, the less it matters. After almost 30 years of formal training and shooting, it doesn't make a big difference to me, but if I switch from a Glock to a 1911 and then go shoot it under competition pressure, I still have to think about the safety some to make the switch.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
  20. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

    Oct 23, 2000
    California & New Mexico, US
    A soldier may carry his/her rifle as the primary weapon but still has to know at least three other weapon systems.

    If you can't get used to a mag release in a different place or a slide stop in a different place, then you need to hit the range for some more practice.