Competitive Shooter Wins Fight

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Not an isolated incident. I’m convinced the only reason we don’t see more reports like this is it requires a low percentage event to meet with a low (but top) percentage of the gun owning public.

https://citizentv.co.ke/news/inayat-kassam-meet-the-52-year-old-hero-who-saved-lives-at-westgate-and-14-riverside-227173/

Inayat Kassam: Meet the 52-year-old hero who saved lives at Westgate and 14 Riverside
In a previous exclusive interview with Citizen TV, Mr. Kassam said he was at a shooting competition when his phone rang and when he answered, “the caller said, ‘Shots fired. We’re scared.’”

Mr. Kassam got into his car with fellow licensed firearm user – Peter Bonde – and off they sped towards Westgate Mall where they exchanged fire with criminals, fought side-by-side with Kenyan law enforcement, and led hundred of Kenyans trapped inside the mall to safety.

See also:
https://firearmusernetwork.com/ipsc-shooter-wins-fight/

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Cognitive differences between competition and application of deadly force

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All great points, but the vast majority of firearm users (military, law enforcement, or civilians carrying concealed) are not being hampered because they’re spending too much time getting too good at improving their match scores.

This applies to already-skilled tactically minded shooters (I’m confident SGM(R) Pressburg’s students are an example) that are a second-ish off pace on a speed shoot or drill compared to a gamer.

This does not apply to folks that can’t keep up with Level 2 (C class, Sharpshooter, etc.) participants “because tactical.”

Getting good at anything begins by learning the most introductory basics. Getting good with firearms must start by improving on those things that will be universally beneficial to all applications in all situations always. Call them fundamentals or call it developing a shot process, the idea is the same. This is the part most humans fail to address as well as they could. Increasing improvement also increases the amount of diminishing return. Getting “better” must get more specific. The shot process has to become more refined and works for a decreasing range of contexts.

In competition terms, I’d peg this at around a Level 3-4 classification. Given a reasonably relevant discipline, this would be an NRA or IDPA Expert, USPSA B class, CMP competitor with some leg points, or something similar. Prior to this point, all improvement was very general and readily translated to any other use, however, now they’re at a point where improvement is beginning to demand shooting in the specific context of the game and may not translate to other contexts.

We can argue where this point (or area…) of diminishing return begins (feel free to comment below!) but the important idea is that it does exist. Just don’t confuse that fact as being an excuse to avoiding the general improvement that a lesser-skilled shooter (which is most humans) would benefit from.

My point is that we want to avoid very avoidable incidents like this:


https://www.personaldefenseworld.com/2019/02/re-holstering-range-shooting/

I’ve witnessed plenty of similar sloppy gun handling done by military personnel that had to be corrected (thankfully, done prior to live fire.) I have never witnessed anything like this done by folks that had participated in more than one or two matches.

Rooney Guns FTW, again

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USPSA started creating different equipment divisions in the 1990s. Prior to that, there was almost no restriction on what could be used. While detractors, including the original founders that had purposely created this no-restriction environment to allow for free experimentation, derided the “race gun” that had become the runaway favorite for serious competitors as “rooney guns” as something simply unsuitable for street and service use.
https://firearmusernetwork.com/tag/rooney-gun/

The sad thing about this is these same people always used “rooney guns”.

After other competitors began surpassing their ideas did this evolution of experimentation begin to be deemed unsuitable.

Now, don’t tell anyone, but equipment divisions are far less important than most people realize, especially those complaining about them:
https://firearmusernetwork.com/race-guns-vs-regular-guns/
https://firearmusernetwork.com/skill-classification-works/

Police have begun issuing “rooney guns” already. The military is following as well.

https://www.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract-View/Article/1602348/

Trijicon Inc., Wixom, Michigan,* is awarded a $7,626,587 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a five-year ordering period for handgun reflex sights for the miniature aiming system – day optics program. The handgun reflex sight is a low profile, wide field of view, passive sight for rapid day and night pistol target engagements in confined spaces, while prisoner handling, or in extremis after the primary weapon malfunctions. Work will be performed in Wixom, Michigan, and is expected to be completed by August 2023. Fiscal 2018 defense procurement funding in the amount of $1,158,052 will be obligated at the time of award and funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website, with three offers received. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane, Indiana, is the contracting activity (N0016418DJQ25).

https://www.overtdefense.com/2018/08/15/us-navy-awards-trijicon-a-handgun-reflex-sight-contract/

At the beginning of the last year, it became known that the US Navy has accepted the M17/M18 pistols to become its next sidearm after these handguns were chosen by the US Army. About a year later, the US Navy has announced the procurement of 60,000 M18 MHS handguns. Both versions of the Modular Handgun System pistols have a provision to mount a reflex sight.

All of these guns would be competitive IPSC Modified guns (anything goes, just fit inside the box). Again, this has been the trend for years now and isn’t a new development, just military and police further and formally authorizing their use:

https://firearmusernetwork.com/ipsc-ftw/
https://firearmusernetwork.com/competition-shooting-ftw-again/
https://firearmusernetwork.com/competition-shooting-ftw/

This part from Houston PD is most important:

The resulting data from required qualifications (scores using a red dot versus irons), fielding (models, mechanical/electronic failures) battery life and other variables will be important to law enforcement and civilian shooters alike. Real-world field testing is invaluable when it comes to picking the best guns, sights, holsters and related gear. Let’s hope that Houston PD is willing to share sanitized data.

Here’s the sad downer. The Department of Army first adopted general-issue optics in the mid-1990s and retained the same qualification procedures and course for two decades after. Even the Training Circulars released starting in 2016 that replaced this qualification were not fully implemented for years after that. With a quarter century of common, general issue optics qualification scores did not change. As always, it’s the indian, not the arrow.

Modern Police Training, Unrealistic Expectations

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None of the following is surprising to anyone knowledgeable about firearms training, which excludes most law enforcement and military personnel.

The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (formerly Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Education) mandates training for law enforcement in Texas. Here are their requirements for firearms:
http://www.tcole.texas.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Rules%20Handbook_101011.pdf
Page 36

§217.21. Firearms Proficiency Requirements.

(a) Each agency or entity that employs at least one peace officer shall:
(1) require each peace officer that it employs to successfully complete the current firearms proficiency requirements at least once each year;

(b) The annual firearms proficiency requirements shall include:
(1) an external inspection by the proficiency officer, range officer, firearms instructor, or gunsmith to determine the safety and functioning of the weapon(s);
(2) a proficiency demonstration in the care and cleaning of the weapon(s) used; and
(3) a course of fire that meets or exceeds the minimum standards.

(c) The minimum standards for the annual firearms proficiency course of fire shall be:
(1) handguns – a minimum of 50 rounds, including at least five rounds of duty ammunition, fired at ranges from point-blank to at least 15 yards with at least 20 rounds at or beyond seven yards, including at least one timed reload;
(2) shotguns – a minimum of five rounds of duty ammunition fired at a range of at least 15 yards;
(3) precision rifles – a minimum of 20 rounds of duty ammunition fired at a range of at least 100 yards; however, an agency may, in its discretion, allow a range of less than 100 yards but not less than 50 yards if the minimum passing percentage is raised to 90;
(4) patrol rifles – a minimum of 30 rounds of duty ammunition fired at a range of at least 50 yards, including at least one timed reload; however, an agency may, in its discretion, allow a range of less than 50 yards but not less than 10 yards if the minimum passing percentage is raised to 90;
(5) fully automatic weapons – a minimum of 30 rounds of duty ammunition fired at ranges from seven to at least 10 yards, including at least one timed reload, with at least 25 rounds fired in full automatic (short bursts of two or three rounds), and at least five rounds fired semi-automatic, if possible with the weapon.
(d) The minimum passing percentage shall be 70 for each firearm.
(e) The executive director may, upon written agency request, waive a peace officer’s demonstration of weapons proficiency based on a determination that the requirement causes a hardship.
(f) The effective date of this section is January 14, 2010.

The key points are a minimum round count for the qualification (not for any training, practice, or remedial, however…), some minimum distance requirements, a “timed” reload, and a target that is “scoreable” to ascertain that a 70% hit rate was made. “Timed” means that a time limit was stated and enforced but it can as fast (or as slow…) as the department wants. Other strings of fire don’t even require this. In practice, “scoreable” means a full-size humanoid target that has a clear edge/line to score hits or misses only.

Most departments use that point blank declaration to the hilt. When I was an adjunct instructor for AACOG in San Antonio, the qualification we used had 88% of the shots fired at 21 feet or less and 20% shot at three feet from retention and incorporating movement. Everything at nine feet and less was shot one handed and all shots within potential contact distance of the target shot from retention. The few timed strings of fire had generous time limits; many strings were untimed. And our course was more difficult than those used at most agencies.

Foolish people believe this is “progressive” because the distances are more in line with real-world engagements (which is certainly a good idea) however the fatal flaw is these qualifications routinely fail to enforce a time standard more in line with a “speed of life” pace that real engagements will likely take place.

https://firearmusernetwork.com/aacog-leo-pistol-qualification/
https://firearmusernetwork.com/im-a-responsible-gun-owner-seriously/

What you end up with is a qualification that is a relaxed, sedate, inaccurate pus-spraying non-event accepting 70% of the fired rounds slowly splattering a barn-door silhouette anywhere. And then said officer misses most shots when/if forced to do it fast and under stress. Frankly, I’m surprised they managed a 35% “bullet level” hit rate given how lame the course is accepting 70%

Noted trainer and high-level competitive shooter Karl Rehn did a break down of the Dallas Police Department qual course:
http://blog.krtraining.com/shooting-the-dallas-pd-qualification-course-of-fire/

Dallas PD Pistol Qualification Course
Round Count: 50
Target: TQ-15
Passing Score: 80% (200/250)

Stage I – 3 yards: From holster, draw and fire five rounds strong hand only in 10 seconds; transfer weapon to support hand and remain at low ready. When targets turn fire five rounds in 10 seconds, support hand only. (10 total rounds this stage)

Stage II – 7 yards: From holster, fire five rounds in 10 seconds; targets turn away; remain at low ready. When targets turn, fire five rounds in 10 seconds and return to low ready. Targets turn again and again, fire five rounds in 10 seconds. (15 total rounds this stage)

Stage IIa – 7 yards: Set up pistol with five total rounds on board and two five round magazines in pouch. When targets face, draw and fire five rounds; slide lock reload; fire five more rounds, execute a second slide locked reload and then fire five more rounds in 30 seconds total. (15 total rounds in this stage)

Stage III – 15 yards: Draw and fire five rounds in 15 seconds. (5 total rounds this stage)

Stage IV – 25 yards: Shooter starts one step right and one step behind barricade. When targets face, move to cover, draw and fire five rounds in 30 seconds. (5 total rounds this stage)

These test standards are NOT the answer to the question “what level of proficiency is desired to have acceptable performance in a gunfight?“. They are the answer to the question “what are the lowest possible standards that can be used to assess whether someone is a danger to themselves or others if armed in public?”

– Karl Rehn

Qualification courses this weak are the norm among military personnel as well. It’s worth noting that a two seconds per shot pace is used during Precicion Pistol (Bullseye) National Match Course competition, however, competitors are doing that one-handed at 25 yards on a target with a bullseye (nine-ring) 5.5 inches and a 3-inch ten ring inside, not a full-size TQ-15 silhouette using most of the 24×40″ sheet it’s printed on.

Contrast this to Mr. Rehn’s useful Three Seconds or Less which can summed further as stating defensive shooters need the ability to move offline (left or right), present from concealment/duty rig, and land three center hits at three yards/meters/paces in less than three seconds. Mr. Givens and his 63+ gunfight-winning students suggest training your first hit to land in about 1.5 seconds.

From Tom Givens

https://www.policeone.com/police-training/articles/482251006-New-study-on-shooting-accuracy-How-does-your-agency-stack-up/

Hitting (or missing) the mark: An examination of police shooting accuracy in officer-involved shooting incidents
https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/PIJPSM-05-2018-0060?journalCode=pijpsm

The Force Science Institute recently reported on a study conducted by several researchers who used the Dallas Police Department as an example of a modern, big city police department’s firearms training and field performance. The researchers were shocked at how poorly the DPD officers did in actual shootings in the field, a reaction generally shared by members of the public at large when they find out how dismal typical police performance with firearms really is, as opposed to the Hollywood movie/TV version of how cops shoot.

The mindset of the researchers can be summed up by this quote from their study: “although the amount- and quality- of firearms training received by officers over the last century has improved considerably, there appears to have been little improvement in shooting accuracy”. Implicit in that quote is an assumption that today’s officers get a lot of firearms training, and that the training received effectively prepares them for armed conflict. Wrong!

First, their findings. From 2003-2017 the Dallas Police Department had 231 Officer Involved Shootings (OIS). A number of these involved multiple officers, so to get a better picture of individual performance, the researchers discarded those and looked only at incidents in which a single officer fired at a single suspect. They found 149 OIS’s that met that criterion.

They looked at hit rates in two ways, “incident level” and “bullet level”. On an “incident level” basis, they found that officers got at least one hit, regardless of the number of rounds fired, in about 54% of the shootings, just barely over half of the time.

However, on a “bullet level” basis, they found that out of 354 shots fired, there was only a 35% hit rate. One-half of all officers missed with every shot they fired, including one officer who fired 23 misses and no hits. This means that six out of every ten shots fired was a miss. How does this happen?

Let’s look at this “amount – and quality- of firearms training” in Dallas, which is actually a very representative sample. Officers qualify with their firearms once per year. That’s right, once. The course of fire they “qualify” on is a joke, essentially a sobriety test for anyone with any skill at all with a gun. I, or any other competent private sector trainer, could take a brand new shooter, with no prior training or experience, and have them pass this course of fire at the end of one day of range training. DPD officers receive “firearms training” once every two years, consisting of 50-100 rounds of firing in exercises and scenarios. That’s it.

Now, let’s take someone who does not know how to drive a car. We’ll give them a few days of driving instruction, but only at very low speed in the empty parking lot, with no traffic. They will then not drive at all for a year. After a year, we’ll have them drive the car from Point A to Point B on the parking lot, again with no traffic. Then, again no more driving once they leave the lot. Some nine months after that, they will be directed to respond to a life-threatening crisis by jumping in a car and roaring off at 120 miles per hour on an expressway filled with traffic. Think they would do well? That’s exactly what DPD does with their officers when it comes to firearms.

The bottom line is, most police departments don’t care if their officers can shoot well. They don’t care about the officers’ welfare nor about the public’s safety. “Qualification” once per year has been consistently held to be inadequate by U.S. courts, yet it is still the standard in many areas. “Training” every two years is criminally negligent, but that’s “good enough” for these agencies.

Learn from this example. Whether you are a law enforcement officer, or Joe Citizen with a carry permit, the agency you work for or who issued your license is NOT responsible for your life. You are! Seek out competent training. Make time for relevant practice. Handle your emergency life-saving equipment often enough to obtain and maintain proficiency with it. Remember that recency trumps almost everything in retention of motor skills, so get to the range more than once a year. One day you may be very glad you “exceeded the mandated standard”.

Train like you Fight

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Wisdom from Frank Proctor

We’ve all heard it or said it: Train like you Fight. A lot of times, folks think that means wearing full kit in order to train to better shoot your gun. I disagree with the party line that you have to wear full battle rattle to train to shoot better.

For tactical shooters I would strongly recommend shooting ‘slick with no kit’ and learn what they can truly do with their guns, what their full capabilities are, how fast can they really put bullets on targets, maneuver through a challenging course of fire, get into positions, etc. Once that base line of what’s possible is established then put your duty gear on and see if you can still do the same stuff.

If you can’t, why?

If it’s because your body armor is too restrictive, there are plenty of ways to keep the defensive capabilities of your body armor AND be mobile and able to mount your gun to shoot well, and give yourself and your team mates some valuable OFFENSIVE capabilities. This concept applies to all the gear you carry to duty; if it hinders your optimal performance I would fix it or get rid of it and stay as light as possible.

Here’s a proven concept that we all as tactical shooters can use to ‘Train to Win’. Every organized sports team in the country (especially the ones that win) use a similar concept to train. Football teams don’t go full speed in pads everyday in practice. That would be the conventional shooter’s wisdom of “train like you fight”. What they do instead is break down individual skill sets and train them to perfection. Then they’ll put on the pads and put all those things together and scrimmage. They take note of what went well and what didn’t go well, and then they take off the pads and train again. When it comes game time they are prepared to WIN.

Competitive Shooting: Not Just a Game

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Field Notes Ep. 13, Competitive Shooting with Robert Vogel, Not Just a Game.

It’s worth noting that Mr. Vogel won his first national championship using the same firearm he carried on duty as a law enforcement officer.

More from Robert Vogel:
https://firearmusernetwork.com/tag/robert-vogel/

Rooney Guns FTW!

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I am old enough to remember when USPSA started creating different equipment divisions. In fact, my first serious attempt at competition shooting was in their Limited division soon after it was first adopted.

The open/unlimited “race gun” had become the runaway favorite for serious competitors and they deviate from a “normal” carry/service pistol. This led to detractors deriding the development as “rooney guns” as something simply unsuitable for street and service use.
https://firearmusernetwork.com/tag/rooney-gun/

Now, don’t tell anyone, but equipment divisions are far less important than most people realize, especially those complaining about them:
https://firearmusernetwork.com/race-guns-vs-regular-guns/
https://firearmusernetwork.com/skill-classification-works/

Houston PD: Pistol Red Dot Sights Approved For Duty Use

In what may be the largest adoption of red dot sights on pistols to date, the Houston Police Department has issued a letter to sworn officers approving the optics for duty use. The approval comes along with some common-sense caveats; a Safariland level III Holster must be used, optics-ready pistols from specified manufacturers and the completion of an eight hour training course prior to putting the RDS into service.

The move towards the use of micro red dot sights by military and law enforcement has been gaining steam in the past few years with special teams and units being allowed to field the technology on a more case-by-case process. With more than 5,000 officers on staff Houston PD is set to take the lead on electronic sight use in U.S. law enforcement.

More:
https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2018/07/05/houston-red-dot-sights/

This is not a new development, just a police department formally authorizing their use:
https://firearmusernetwork.com/competition-shooting-ftw/

This part is most important:

The resulting data from required qualifications (scores using a red dot versus irons), fielding (models, mechanical/electronic failures) battery life and other variables will be important to law enforcement and civilian shooters alike. Real-world field testing is invaluable when it comes to picking the best guns, sights, holsters and related gear. Let’s hope that Houston PD is willing to share sanitized data.

Here’s the sad downer. The Department of Army first adopted general-issue optics in the mid-1990s and retained the same qualification procedures and course since 2018. Qualification scores have not changed. As always, it’s the indian, not the arrow.

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