Muscle Memory

Muscle Memory

One of the units I was in had a special mission of Close Quarter Battle (CQB).  CQB is basically what you see on TV when the SWAT team goes into a house to rescue the good guys. We practiced the same type of close-in discriminating shooting for a military environment.  You had to be spot-on accurate.  Your life, your buddies’ lives and people you were rescuing depended on it.

Getting to a level of proficiency like this took time.  We had to develop what we called muscle memory.  Muscle memory is when your muscles muscle memorywould perform the action you needed without you consciously thinking of it.  We would have to determine if someone was a threat, engage them with our rifle in split seconds.  If our rifle misfired, we carried pistols.  We trained so that we could fire, transition to a pistol while moving and hit the target center mass in about a six inch circle in a matter of a couple seconds.  If you had to think about all of the movements need to accomplish this, it would take over a minute.

Training for muscle memory starts out very slow.  You break the movements down into segments.  You raise the rifle, acquire the sights, squeeze off a double tap (two rounds), if it malfunctions, swing the rifle to the left with the left hand, right hand goes to draw the pistol, draw out of the holster, the thumb takes the safety off, left hand on the pistol at the middle of the body, gentle trigger squeeze to halfway back, acquire the sights, squeeze off two rounds.

The standard for this was under five seconds.  This is all while moving, potentially under fire.

Muscle memory is developed by doing each of these steps very slowly until you have successfully performed it.  Then you very incrementally speed up adding the next step.  If you start to make mistakes, you need to slow down.  Only speed up and add steps when you are at perfection.  We did not even use bullets to start out with.  We would dry fire (pretending to shoot an empty gun) until we were sure we were ready to move to the firing range.  Once again, we would slow back down with the real bullets until were dead on.

What we were doing were training the neurons in our bodies how to react without conscious effort, sort of how we breathe or even jump out of the way of a car without thinking about it.  We just do it.

For your home defense work, you want to train your muscle memory to work in the different situations you might be thrown into.  Spend some time thinking about what might occur.  Break them down into bite size chunks  and slowly practicing them until you get the movement down perfectly.  Then slowly speed up adding another movement.  Slow down if you get out of rhythm.

Muscle memory is the only way you are going to be fast and accurate under pressure. I urge you to work on developing yours.

This is an adaption of a chapter of my book – Get ER Done-The Green Beret Guide to Productivity.  You can get the book over at Achieve the Green Beret

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I am a 64 year old former professional bodyguard. Some of my achievements and Certifications include; -8 Styles of Martial Arts Training -PADI Scuba certification -Owned Upstate and Syracuse K-9 -National and Olympic Qualifier in Wrestling -Professional Driving School Training -Firearms Training Certifications