Words of wisdom from Thomas Howard

Anyone who assumes that people playing a game by the rules attempting to win will be acting anything like they would in a combat/gunfight/self-defense situation is pretty much stupid, or at least ignorant of how humans establish habits.

We’re told to be concerned about rather lengthy exposure to pieces of paper. Ooh, scary. Similarly, comments such as, “In real life that doorway she stood in front of…she would need a bodybag to get her home”

Oddly enough, competitive shooting IS real life. Specifically, a real life game. People who complain that the game isn’t realistic enough, or “that wasn’t REALLY shooting” need to actually lighten up, Francis. [It is worth reviewing this video as well.]

“I understand your attitude but when you’re in the military and your under pressure the habits you rely on the ones you practice and train with are the ones you fall back on when you’re on the front line. If you spend your whole career shooting paper in winning that’s great but I was referring to the habit but you for standing in the doorway without cover regardless of what game your plan it’s still a habit forming character.”

This is nonsense. You go through doorways all your life and do not pull cover through the vast majority of them. Humans have this little thing called a brain, and those that use it also have this thing called situational discrimination, in which contextual clues give rise to behavioral modifications that are situation dependent.

People competing in NASCAR have no trouble driving on regular roads or making right turns. People working with tigers in zoos have no trouble interacting with house cats. Surgeons have no troubles cutting their food at the dinner table. Practical shooting competitors have no trouble figuring out that they shouldn’t stand in doorways when someone is shooting back at them.

Those concerned would be served well by understanding how habits are actually formed. Habits are context-dependent, meaning different habits are readily formed for different contexts. Studying a bit about learning theory will explain this. On the other hand, I suspect such study isn’t going to really be something many are interested in, considering the castigations against outstanding competitive shooters for not doing something completely irrelevant to what their goals are at the time.

Indeed, under pressure you rely on the habits you have practiced and trained. Good thing we can contextualize those things, otherwise the fact that you normally walk through a doorway with no cover would always take over and you’d get killed. Consider the vast majority of doorways you have gone through in your life where you simply opened the door and walked through. If you want to argue that isn’t creating a bad habit, you’re right because context makes a difference.

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