If you ask a person experienced in a skill how they do
something, they may have to pause and think about how to answer. Even after putting some thought into breaking
down an action in one’s own head, trying to move that information out and into
an explanation can be difficult. This process
is what makes effective educators and instructors so valuable. They can communicate an idea, concept, or
skill to where the receiver can understand it.
Over the years of firearm handling, some things just become
second nature. Manipulating thumb
safeties, magazine releases, and slide stops are just things we do. As an instructor, breaking those actions down
into easy to understand bites can sometimes be challenging. A simple explanation of “you just do this”
and demonstrate an action does not always yield the intended results.
I talked with a fellow instructor, friend, and colleague
recently, and we were jibber-jabbering about everything under the sun. One of the things that my fellow instructor
brought up was how difficult teaching how to engage the slide stop on a
semi-automatic pistol could be.
For those of you that don’t know what the “slide stop” is on
a semi-automatic pistol, a quick rundown is it is a lever or switch, that when
engaged, will allow the firearm to be locked open. The below illustration points out the slide
stop on a 1911 pistol.