The Workspace

Aug 8th, 2006 | By | Category: Articles
This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Practical Defensive Handgun

Due to the ergonomics of the human body, either through Devine design or evolutionary process we have some basic motions and physiological actions that work well in concert. We solve problems better when we can look at them. Fine motor skills and small movements work better when they can be visually focused upon. Threading a needle is a perfect example of this. The actual motions utilized when threading a needle are the same if it is being done right in front of ones face or at arms length, but it gets done quicker when close to the face. This is because we are able to see everything that is occurring and we can judge the distances better. This is just as true when working with a firearm.

The workspaceThe “Workspace” is an area in front of the shooters face at nose level. There is a sphere of space about as big as a soccer ball in which the fine motor skills needed for much of the firearms manipulation work best. With the weapon/ shooting hand at nose level and seven to ten inches in front of the shooters face they can focus on the weapon and identify the problem without having to move their head or their eyes too much. The peripheral vision allows the shooter to still monitor the downrange area while focusing on the problem at hand.
This has several advantages:

  • Workspace is in the same location relative to the body regardless of body position
  • Limited movement of large body parts
  • Visual scanning of the threat area is possible
  • No change in body balance (the head does not move, the gun does)
  • Visual aid to problem identification/solving takes less time


All of these advantages add up and create a more efficient means of performing the needed tasks. These tasks include but are not limited to:

  • Inspections
  • Loading
  • Unloading
  • Press checking
  • Reloading (speed and retention)
  • Clearing stoppages
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Article by Ric.


Ric has seen 18 years of decorated military service in the United States Marine Corps including earning the Combat Action Ribbon for Action during Operation Desert Storm He has over 20 years of varied civilian law enforcement in a variety of assignments including: Uniformed Patrol where he served as a field Training Officer, Mobile Tactics Team member, Resort Area Operations, Firearms Instructor, and is currently serving as a Major Crimes Investigator.

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