An excerpt from Usable Power for Personal Defense
by Michael Dasargo

One of the most overlooked personal defense skills is emergency driving dynamics. Getting your driver’s license teaches you how to obey road laws. It doesn’t teach you how to drive! This is the equivalent of getting your California Handgun Safety Certificate and assuming that owning and operating a gun with no training are enough to prepare you for a lethal force encounter!

Most (though not all) driving classes are exclusive to law enforcement or security drivers, leaving drag racing, track driving, and auto-cross as available resources to the general public. If we measure public racing paradigms for relevance to emergency driving dynamics, we can define which hobby better mirrors training.

Drag racing is irrelevant. Track driving may have some usefulness, but the higher track speeds are rarely seen on public roads. Auto-cross is the most technical course, with speed and cornering demands more closely reflecting the smaller windows of reaction time found on public roads. Auto-cross can teach you how to slalom out of a road-rage brake check, recognize how throttle and steering inputs push the limits of traction, and how to efficiently negotiate turns for optimal quickness.

Just as introductory driving instruction doesn’t really teach good driving, introductory shooting and defense classes doesn’t really teach good marksmanship, gun handling, and tactics. Both provide a good introduction to concepts with some hands-on work but actual training (organized, programmed, incremental skill increase) must be done on your own. Otherwise, you’ll forever remain at a novice level.

Yes, competitive auto-cross is great way to learn car handling for defensive driving as the skills cross over nicely.

Benchrest shooting is irrelevant. Conventional shooting (bullseye) has some usefulness, but the higher precision is rarely seen real world. Practical shooting is the most technical course, with speed and cornering demands more closely reflecting the smaller windows of reaction time found on the street.
Practical shooting can teach you how to move efficiently, recognize how target/sight focus and trigger inputs push the balance of speed and precision, and how to efficiently negotiate for optimal quickness.

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