It’s been said that tactics are more important than skills like marksmanship.

Which tactics?

In a discussion with Jason Falla (Redback One) I pointed out that his Combat Fitness Assessment – Sprint course is just a modified, reduced, shorter distance version of Run Down matches shot in Service Conditions military shooting competition. He scoffed that competitions don’t require ambidextrous shooting as needed in the real world to properly use cover, but his course does, thus making it more tactical.

When I pointed him to links showing AASAM (Australian Army Skill at Arms Meeting) and AFSAM (Armed Forces Skill at Arms Meeting) military match programs detailing courses of fire requiring ambidextrous shooting and testing the same things, he scoffed again and said that I was just a competition shooter and therefore don’t know anything about tactics. Guess my two decades of military experience and law enforcement firearm and tactics instructor credentials don’t count when merely pointing out his factual error. Consider the reasons why this former ADF soldier-turned-instructor never attended (much less won) ADF-hosted events testing the same skills he now takes money to teach.

While attending a course hosted by Paul Howe at his CSAT school, Mr. Howe expressed his displeasure with competition shooting. When asked for an example, he replied that competition shooters have too much emphasis on ambidextrous shooting than is needed real world. The Howe/CSAT tactical approach to using cover is to always shoot strong shoulder, move aggressively from cover, own the area and “service” threats as needed.

Falla and Howe both teach tactics and shooting in tactical situations, yet they don’t agree on a simple tactical approach on how an individual is best able to shoot around and use cover. The tactical approach taken by Howe will “getcha killed” for failing to use cover properly in Falla’s eyes, and the tactical approach taken by Falla will “getcha killed” for being too slow in Howe’s eyes.

This is disagreement for the “proper” use of cover by an individual. I can only imagine how much they diverge on team tactics or something more complex.

A fellow instructor that teaches at a local law enforcement academy tells his students that, “The tactical approach that let me survive my first gun fight would have gotten me killed in the second.” His point is that tactics are basically applied common sense and that the “best” tactic in one situation might be a poor choice in another.

Fundamental skills and abilities, however, always apply. Marksmanship, good gun handling and fitness are examples.