I’ve pretty much had it with the phrase “gross motor skill” as it applies to firearms training. The original idea behind this phrase was that “gross motor skills” are more natural and therefore easier to use correctly in a stressful situation like a gunfight. Unfortunately, this has morphed to where “gross motor skill” is shorthand for “What *I* teach is useful in combat, what others teach isn’t”.
You know what a “gross motor skill” *really* is? Running. Making a fist. Flinching. Raising your arm. Anything else, anything that involves manipulating your gun and putting accurate fire on the target is a complex motor skill. You can train your gross motor skills like the dickens, but if you jerk the trigger off-target when it counts, you miss the shot, period full stop.
Furthermore, I’ve found that the chatter about gross vs. complex motor skills to be pretty much confined to the “tactical” training community. I’ve found that competition shooters rarely talk about such things, and I think that’s because that the artificial stress of competition teaches what physical skills work well to deliver the shot, and which skills don’t, and trying to label those skills as “complex” or “gross” to be a waste of time.
Part of this is because no one is shooting back at a practical shooter during a course of fire, so we don’t need to worry about being injured with a gun in our hand, but part of that is also because we’ve learned that a breakdown of ANY of the physical tasks required to deliver the shot on-time and on-target, be they gross or complex, results in a missed shot. There is no dividing line of skill types, there is only targets that are shot quickly with hits on target, and targets that are not.
So enough of the distinction of muscle skills, and learn to see quick, accurate and effective defensive shooting as an integrated process and not jumbled, confusing mixture of physical skills.