There’s a big difference between the competition world and the combat-focused shooting world. Competition shooters don’t get shot at.

Cardboard/paper/steel targets don’t shoot back.

These are popular assessments given by usually low-skill people as an excuse for why they cower from competition. True, competition is done on one-way ranges. Nobody is supposed to get shot at a match. However, all forms of instruction, training, and practice exercises and drills are all also one way, no matter how military/LEO, tactical, or “high speed” it is (or you think it is.)

How many incoming live rounds did you receive during your combat-focused shooting training/class/instruction/exercise/drill? How many people were shot and hit with live ammunition on purpose? What was/is the stated acceptable casualty rate? How many people are typically shot during the conduct of it? How many times have you been purposely shot in a training environment?

If the answer is zero, you’re still on a one-way range, just like in the competition world. Combat-focused shooting that does not involve people actually trying to hit you with live ammunition is still a one-way range. And if there is no value found in a one-way range, then all forms of military, police, and tactical training are equally suspect. Done while lacking a measured result in a competitive format makes the experience less stressful than a match.

No, force-on-force is NOT a true two-way range because you know in advance a “lethal” hit won’t kill. Sim rounds, be it Simunitions, UTM, Airsoft, MILES (Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System), Paintball, Laser Tag, Nerf Blaster, squirt gun, or anything else is purposely used because it can’t cause more than minor injury with proper safety precautions. Everyone starts the exercise knowing they aren’t supposed to be hurt no matter how it goes.

Even various ridiculous “training” videos showing personnel shooting live ammunition toward other people still isn’t a two-way range.

Still not a two-way range

Still not a two-way range

Still not a two-way range

Still not a two-way range

Yes, that is live ammunition being used with personnel downrange. No, I don’t recommend it. Despite the theatrics, this still is not a two-way range. Neither the cadre nor trainees are trying to hit other people. Bullets are being launched in their general direction, but that also happens to pit pullers in the target butts on a KD range. Nobody is being shot on purpose.

Competitive stress is real, it doesn’t abate even after repeated experiences, and it has been scientifically proven to exist. By actual test, merely adding a score and spectators to ballroom dancing has been measured by laboratory results to induce as many stress hormones as a novice’s first and second parachute jump. Parachuting is measurably less stressful for the novice by the third jump, however, competition continues to produce the same stress reaction even after a decade of experience and hundreds of competitive events. Parachuting is measurably less stressful by the third jump on the first day for a newbie and the same thing happens with the “stress” of all forms of instruction and training, including force-on-force and even fake “incoming” on a pretend two-way range that still isn’t two way.

Combat is a competition and requires a winning mindset. Competing at something challenging and trying to win remains the best way to develop the skills and attitude you need. Cowering from such challenges does not.

Shove your tired clichés where the sun don’t shine.