Jeff Cooper on the Weaver Stance

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“There is a great deal of foolish discussion bouncing around concerning the proper arm position for serious pistol work. Jack Weaver’s classic contribution consists in power control. If you crank the left elbow down and pull positive count-pressure, you dampen recoil very considerably. If you use mechanical means of reducing recoil, and if you lay great importance upon very rapid bursts of succeeding shots, this may matter, but in the overall picture, I do not believe it does.

It hardly matters whether you use the Weaver Stance or the Isosceles with both arms straight as long as you get hits and those hits should be delivered with a major-powered sidearm under controlled conditions. The argument is silly, and I wish it would go away.”

– Jeff Cooper
“Cooper’s Corner”, Guns & Ammo November 2005

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Aristotle on Courage

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“Courage is observance of the mean with regard to things that excite confidence or fear, choosing a course and sticking to the post because it is noble to do so or because it is disgraceful not to.”

– Aristotle

I’m a Responsible Gun Owner? Seriously?

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The description given in the article below is not uncommon and it often applies to military, law enforcement, and hunters as well.

While living in San Antonio, I was a TCOLE (formerly TCLEOSE) certified instructor and worked part-time at the Alamo Area Regional Law Enforcement Academy. As a Texas resident, I took the TxDPS – License to Carry course described below. While living in Wisconsin, I was certified by the state Department of Natural Resources as a Wisconsin Hunter Education instructor and taught classes. I’ve been in the U.S. Army in various capacities for a quarter century and with the US Army Reserve Marksmanship Training and Competitive Program since 2004.

I’ve been fortunate to have been involved with many skilled people in all of these experiences but that was largely due to my seeking them out and knowing what to look for. I already had higher-level shooting experience via organized competition and held Classifications from national-level organizations before doing any of this. The then-director of the DNR Hunter’s Ed program attended HunterShooter events I held. I applied for that Academy after having a fellow Shooting Team member speak well of the training director and his program. My Texas LTC course was taught by a fellow instructor and USAR Shooting Team member. I specifically took the class from him to avoid the clown show described below.

Gun owners are often their own worst enemy. The level of incompetence described here is not uncommon. Military, law enforcement, hunters, and concealed carry people are often at novice levels. Mandatory qualification levels are only useful if they’re difficult enough to assess useful skill. That means people incapable of displaying minimal useful skill must be failed. The other approach is for the program to intend to pass everyone. This means standards are adjusted down until everyone can. This article describes the results of that.
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Tactical Theater

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However, the worst training scar, bad habit, and “please don’t do this in a fight for a life” is the “unload” – “show clear” – “hammer down” – “holster”…Ugh! I have seen it countless times in shoot houses, SWAT ranges, military training, federal law enforcement and training classes. For example, they will engage a target or two and mid run will drop the magazine, lock the slide to the rear, then realize what they have done and reload the firearm and continue.

This “training scar” only occurs during poorly-designed exercises or with novice shooters. I believe the author has seen it because what he describes is known to combine poorly-designed exercises with novice shooters, though by “countless times” he really means “more than once.” It is popularly and falsely attributed to competitive shooting even though there is no evidence competitors are prone to doing it.
https://firearmusernetwork.com/myth-of-competition-training-scars/

This claimed “Unload/Show Clear scar” is an artifact of tactical theater, where trainees are told to act in a prescribed manner contradictory to what’s actually happening.

The theater script says for everyone on the line to engage a paper target in a fixed exercise on line with others doing the same, then conduct a “threat scan” (menacing scowl optional) to look for something we already know isn’t really there while pretending we might still have to engage something else, even though we really know the exercise is complete.

So, somebody failed their acting script and dropped their mag after the obvious exercise was obviously complete and didn’t perform a head wag in the school-prescribed manner… A ha! Training scar! Bad habit! Gunna gethca killt in da streetz!

I’m certain this bit of logic won’t change the minds of people that insist on imagining this imaginary problem exists. Test it for yourself.

Set up a course that doesn’t have a definite end point, where participants genuinely don’t know if, when, where, what, or how much they’re supposed to shoot. This can be arranged as force-on-force (if you have the logistics to do it right), a shoot house, surprise course, etc. The important point is to not have a predetermined end.

If there is no training scar, participants won’t run a scripted After Shooting Scan (or whatever you call it) because they’re actually looking for things that might really be there instead of acting out a scripted head wag. There won’t be a UL/SC if the situation isn’t obviously in hand. On the other hand, if someone robotically goes into UL/SC without being prompted and before the scenario is complete, you can claim a problem. But only if that happens during a properly set-up scenario.

Running surprise courses where shooters genuinely don’t know how many or where targets are in advance, where the actor isn’t required to act out a tactical theater script, will reveal if there’s a real UL/SC problem. With the exception of lower-skilled people, I doubt it will.

How To Practice

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https://www.facebook.com/TEDEducation/videos/1489398127740055/

 

  • Repetition of an activity creates myelination by adding and changing the myelin “sheath” covering axions in the brain. Like insulation on electric wires, myelin prevents energy loss of electrical signals from the brain through neural pathways, making the action easier and more efficient to perform.
  • The specific number of repetitions or amount of time needed is unknown, largely because skill is more dependent on the quality and effectiveness of the repeated action through practice. Myelination will occur over time with any repeated action, including those you didn’t intend.
  • Effective practice is mostly about performing a given action/task correctly and often enough through numerous sessions for myelination to occur and then be sustained. Good practice needs to be consistent and intensely focused.
  • Effective practice is focused and targets specific content and weaknesses that work up to and are at the edge of one’s current ability.
  • Regularly conduct short, focused sessions with minimal distractions.
  • Start slowly or in slow motion and build quality, correct repetitions. Remember, myelination occurs with any repeated action, including those you didn’t intend.
  • Gradually build speed of quality repetitions, building up to and/or just beyond the edge of your current ability.
  • Multiple short sessions held regularly are best.
  • Visualize performing skills correctly between sessions. Mentally performing the task correctly is another form of practice.

Auditory Start Not “Realistic”

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Converting light to bioelectrical signals that the brain can react to takes longer than biological sound signals to be processed. It’s evident already that the timer with auditory start signal is consistently faster because the OODA loop significantly shortened. The audible stimuli cuts out the “observe, orient and decide” and leaves just “listen and act.” The orient happens before the timer ever starts.”

These are fair points. An auditory start signal to start timing an already-known, pre-oriented event is the best case scenario, equally for everyone.

All humans will be slower with other variables at play including those with whatever tactical training is currently fashionable. A known-in-advance drill begun with an auditory start signal after the person has prepared and made ready is the best-case scenario in terms of reaction time and performance, probably unrealistically so.

However, a person that is measurably slower with the easiest possible evaluation will be even slower-er with those other variables in play. A fixed, known-in-advance drill shot on motionless, non-threatening targets is much easier than real life. A failure on such a drill means the person will just get much worse when things become more varied and serious.

Once again, “failure” means missing a reasonable standard by a fair margin, something that wouldn’t happen if fundamentals were squared away.
https://firearmusernetwork.com/circus-trick

Timers and Standards for Gunfights

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For the average Joe/Jane on the street who isn’t trying to beat Bob Vogel at the next world shoot, it is possible to expend too much effort developing speed while neglecting other important aspects of self defense but rarely do I see people investing so much effort in refining their ability to deliver fast, accurate hits on demand that they’re neglecting other bits of the equation. That’s much more of a theoretical problem than a real one, I’m afraid.

Assuming you’re not trying to become the next USPSA champion, there’s certainly a rational balance to be reached, but the clichés parroted endlessly don’t encourage the employment of reason in finding that balance. They tend to drive the conversation towards eschewing the use of a timer or the use of standards to measure performance because once you start to put things up against hard standards it becomes pretty clear that a lot of “tactical!” is just suck dressed up with black paint and silly furniture. Nobody likes to admit that they suck.

I don’t know who came up with this concept of “cowboy quickdraw” but that person should be flogged in the town square. Police and ordinary citizens are reaching for a gun IN RESPONSE TO AN AMBUSH. They need the gun NOW.

Situational awareness gives you a few seconds heads up that something is happening…it is not a magical power that repels all boarders so you don’t need to worry about the hard skills of actually using the weapon. There is no situation where you truly need a firearm in which getting it into play slower is to your advantage.

– Tim Chandler

I feel the timer is there to make up for the fact that targets in real life are not standing still indefinitely like they usually are on a range. It’s pretty easy to not take speed seriously when that’s the case.

– Robert Vogel

You’ve got the rest of your life to solve that problem… how ever long that is.

– John Farnam

There is a timer in every gun fight. The other guy is holding it and it has a button that makes a very loud beep. It’s called a gun.

– Nate Perry

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