“OODA loop,” Sam said “Sounds like Hooter’s boobs.”
“Good,” I said. “That’ll make it easier to remember.”
“For you maybe,” Sam countered. “Who thought of that?”
“Colonel John Boyd. I read his biography.”
“I bet you did.”
“Observe, orient, decide, act.”
“It’s like my stop, think, breathe, act.”
“You have a system?”
“I have a better system,” Sam corrected.
“Wait. You’ve got a better system than the smartest fighter pilot in the history of the U.S. Air Force?”
“You sound surprised.”
I was and I wasn’t. It’d been that kind of day . . .
Adam makes everyone else looks like they’re moving in slow motion. The only time I’ve ever seen Adam stand still: when he’s aiming a gun. And sometimes not even then.
I was non-plussed when Adam swooped down on Sam, right after her very first draw.
“Why don’t you keep a round in the chamber?” he demanded, in a voice that cut through my ear protectors and earplugs with perfect clarity.
Uh-oh. Here we go again . . .
Sam and Adam left the range to hash it out. I busied myself with the Smith.
Twenty-four bullets later, I had my own ballistic issues. All my shots were hitting Mr. Shoot N C below the bullseye, to the left.
“You’re anticipating,” Adam announced, re-appearing out of nowhere.
I glanced over at Lane 1. Sam was drawing, racking, pushing, aiming and firing. So much for that, then.
I tried playing Russian roulette. Put a bullet in the chamber, spin, lock, push, point and shoot. Yes, well, aiming the 686, I could see the brass hove into view up from the right. My shot placement didn’t vary by an inch.
“Don’t worry,” Adam said. “It’s a .357.”
I’m always surprised when a gun guru cuts me some slack. I have to regularly re-orient myself. I may want to be a paper tiger, I tell myself, but I don’t need to be one. The entire circle represents center mass.
Sometimes, when I refocus on another, non-problematic area of my shooting, I can eliminate a pesky problem. When I stiffened my arms, I stopped anticipating the explosion accompanying my trigger pull. The target didn’t stand a chance. Not from eight feet, anyway.
I let the Smith cool down and borrowed Adam’s XD. Sam and I mixed snap caps and Federals in each other’s magazines. It was the first time she’d had to clear a jam mid-flow. That gave her pause—until it didn’t. Once the neurological pathways formed, she was racking like a pro.
Still, I beat her in the shoot off. On the way home, Sam drubbed me back.
“Stop? Why does your system start with stop?” I asked. “The whole point of the OODA loop is that it’s endless. You keep processing information as fast as you can.”
“Stop doesn’t mean stop,” Sam said. “It means get your bearings.”
“But that’s what orient means,” I protested.
“I’m disoriented now.”
“My OODA loop wins.”
“So you see the robber holding a gun on the cashier,” I continued, undaunted.
“I take cover and draw my Sig,” Sam answered.
“If he sees you?” I asked.
“I shoot him.”
“If he starts herding people into the back room?”
“If he’s herding people into the back,” I told her. “He’s probably going to execute them.”
It wasn’t blissful. But it was silence.
“OODA,” Sam said, eventually. “OODA OODA OODA. I like the sound of that.”
In the beginning, there was the word. Truth be told, OODA’s as good as any.