More on the importance of creating measurable shooting standards.

NOTE: I’m not bashing Roger Phillips here. I’m pointing out that creating a standard and a means to measure shooting is necessary if we are to learn anything from training and practice.

I can tell you his hits are good. At the end of two days everyone’s hits were good. I don’t know about other PS trainers but Roger Phillips does not have “standards” or any scoring system. The “scoring” is the students and instructor evaluating whether or not the desired result is achieved. Good hits on target. No scoring rings or other artificial stuff. Was that an effective shot or not? Did you accomplish the desired result of holes where you wanted them?

“Good hits on target. … Was that an effective shot or not?” That is EXACTLY what a scoring system answers! So our heroic trainer and hard charging students realize the need to evaluate and measure their shooting but for some reason defining what this “good” performance is in advance is just creating “…scoring rings or other artificial stuff.”

The intended, real-life target, be it a human adversary or whatever else, can be measured so the sizes are known. Likely distances and time frames can be discussed and known as well. Take that knowledge and boil it down to a representative target and assign a value to what “good” hits are worth.

Yes, this can be a bit arbitrary. You might deem a thoracic cavity hit as 5 points, an edge hit on the silhouette as 2 and a miss as 0, for example, or some other value. In reality, a center hit might not be immediately effective and an edge hit might work. Hell, the guy might run away if you miss or even just seeing you attempt to fumble your pistol from a holster. It is hard to predict that an edge hit is only 40% effective. A complete miss might hit a brick wall or it might kill a bystander and land you in jail even if you survive the encounter.

So how much are hits worth? The real value is providing a known, consistent metric that give a numerical representation of a shooter’s effort that can be compared to another shooter or to a later effort to monitor and track improvement.

Roger Phillips was quoted in a different article complaining about being penalized several points during a standards course of fire for missing target center. He says he should have received full value because his errant shot landed in the silhouette target’s throat area and that would have been effective on a real person.

This is a wrong way to approach this. Paper targets aren’t real adversaries, as the “games’ll getcha killed” crowd likes to point out when bad mouthing practical competition shooting. The desired point of impact (center chest in this case) was known in advance and an errant shot, even if dumb luck put it in the throat, is a MISS by a good 12 inches or more.

For training purposes, we don’t care that a shooter’s flinch or other error pushed the shot towards the head. What matters is the shot missed the intended point of impact. This should be noted so the error can be corrected. Noting this with point totals provides an objective measure, as opposed to some feel-good assessment, and is an easy way to stay organized to help track if improvements are being made. The same course can be revisited and a higher score indicates the shooter is improving the skills tested by that course.

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