Shooting Match Gear vs Real World

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As a young kid new to shooting, I had wanted to attend a “proper” shooting school, but I gave finances, high school and college, and military duties precedence. Having learned about IPSC through Jeff Cooper’s writings and finding a local USPSA club, I attended local competitions instead.

When first taking up practical shooting I believed the hype of only using street-real equipment as I wanted to avoid developing “bad habits.” Using a real-world pistol and holster that would have been openly welcomed at any defensive shooting school, I taught myself to reliably draw to a centered hit at seven yards in about 1.5 seconds, with the fast runs hovering in the 1.4s.

The competitive bug was biting me harder. I quickly realized that hypothetical criminal assault in my rural farming community where Holsteins outnumbered humans was highly unlikely and decided I’d rather win matches that actually occurred. I saved up for and bought a competition-specific rig and dry practiced a bit to set it up. At my first range session with the brand new go-fast gear I could reliably draw to a centered hit at seven yards in about 1.5 seconds, with the fast runs hovering in the 1.4s.

The gear wasn’t at fault. I was.

Score sheets and classifier results readily identify the better performers, which are the folks with the best training processes and habits. Observing and learning from them at matches and group practice sessions, then doing plenty of work on my own in between, let me cut those times in half, working down to 0.7s.

About this time, gunsmith Richard Heinie had started the 1911 Society and hosted an annual match called the Single Stack Classic. It was the first practical pistol match bigger than a local or state-level match attracting national-level champions being held within a reasonable driving distance and I decided to attend. Of course, my fancy go-fast gear wouldn’t be allowed and I needed to revert to my old “street-legal” Gunsite-approved equipment.

Tactical types often cry doom about match-specific equipment, giving me concerns of hurling my handgun downrange during bobbled draws due to “bad habits” caused by gamer/match race gear.

I ran a few short dry practice sessions over the course of several days and then hit the range. At that first session with practical gear I hadn’t used in a long time, I could reliably draw to a centered hit at seven yards in about 1.0 seconds, with the fast runs hovering in the 0.9s.

I never experienced “bad habit” problems during any practice sessions or matches, just improved performance.

Of course, I cheated. I probably logged more good dry repetitions in the three days prior to that first range session than most law enforcement and military personnel do in three years and then kept that schedule up through the match.

The real difference was I had greatly improved my skills and had developed the proper habits to do so. Even though it was with match-grade equipment, the carryover was direct and immediate. It took very little time and effort to re-acquaint myself to the different equipment. My fundamental skill with shooting and gunhandling was simply better and it helped across the board, even with equipment that I didn’t normally use.

My experience is not unique:
http://melodylauer.com/kilt-in-the-streetz-all-the-things-i-was-supposed-to-forget-under-stress/

TL;DR
Get better with something – anything – and prove this “better” occurred by validating it as being better in a formal, scored competitive environment.

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Dismal Truth: Police Use-of-Force Training

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Dr. Bill Lewinski executive director of the Force Science Institute often notes in his public presentations that the average high school football player gets more training in his sport in his brief career than the average peace officer receives in use-of-force instruction across his or her entire working life.

In a first-of-its-kind survey in conjunction with Calibre Press and Crawford Coates has confirmed that dismal truth.

Calibre Press editors invited readers of its popular Street Survival newsletter to complete an anonymous poll regarding their departmental training policies. Nearly 900 officers from small agencies to large participated, with these results:

  • Range time. Nearly two-thirds of officers said they are required by policy to shoot on the range with their sidearm only once (23.66%) or twice (37.66%) a year. Only about 8% have to shoot as often as monthly.
  • Qualification. Monthly official qualification with their sidearm is required for only 1.37%, while roughly 84% need to qualify only annually (46.81%) or semi-annually (37.24%).
  • Scenarios. The monthly requirement shrinks even more (to 0.91%) when it comes to “dynamic ‘shoot/don’t shoot’ scenario-type training.” One-quarter never have to experience such training, and over half (56.26%) do so only once a year or less often.
  • DT training. Close to 15% of officers said they are never required by policy to do “defensive/control tactics-type training.” For two-thirds (63.82%), such training is mandated only once a year (42.32%) or less (21.5%). Fewer than 2% must train hands-on monthly.
  • Less-lethal. Monthly requirement virtually fades off the chart (at 0.57%) when it comes to training with “less-than-lethal weapons” such as TASERS, batons, and OC spray. Annual training predominates at over 55%. One in five officers trains less frequently than that, and over 10% never have to engage in this type of training.

Jim Glennon, Calibre’s director of training and lead instructor for its Street Survival Seminar observes, “The line is being pushed by the media and by critics like the Police Executive Research Forum that departments and academies are overly invested in ‘warrior’-type military training, spending too many hours on the range and teaching defensive tactics at the expense of emphasizing communication.

“In reality, as this survey shows, we’re just scratching the surface of use-of-force training, teaching the very barest fundamentals. When a quarter of departments never do dynamic force training and over half train with scenarios at most once a year, it is very disingenuous to claim that use-of-force training is over-emphasized.

“When officers over-react or under-react on the street, it’s usually because they have not been sufficiently conditioned to respond appropriately through realistic training under stress. What’s needed is not less training in this area but more.”

Dr. Lewinski adds, “The public expectation is that law enforcement officers will perform flawlessly when thrust into life-or-death force encounters. But when these are the standards of practice and training demanded of officers by their departments, how can anything even approaching perfection reasonably be anticipated?

“Yes, conscientious officers will supplement the minimal requirements with training on their own time and dime. But that’s an approach for enhancing individual excellence, not a universal solution.

“Raising the use-of-force training bar by policy for all officers and designing training that truly reflects the challenges of the street should be the top priorities of any demands for police ‘reform.’ ”

Someone come get their policia 😂😂😂 Gat tip: thanks to everyone who sent it in

A post shared by ENDO (@everydaynodaysoff) on

Metrics or Mediocrity

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http://www.breachbangclear.com/shot-timers-no-metrics-mediocrity/

These same pundits rail against scored drills, calling them meaningless measures of precision. Actually, scored courses or drills serve many important functions and are critical to development as a defensive shooter. Here are some of the reasons they are important.

1. We need an objective view of the student’s skill, not a subjective view. The target and timer don’t lie.
2. We can compare the student’s performance to a historical standard, set by measuring the performance of a number of students before him. Thus, we know if we need to remediate or move forward.
3. We can precisely quantify and track progress, essential to skill building.
4. We can instill the timing issues necessary for shooting at the right cadence as target size/distance varies.
5. We can get the student accustomed to working under stress.
6. We can help the student build confidence. Not measuring skill leads to false confidence. Students always think they are doing better than they are. Actually scoring, and incorporating both accuracy and speed in the scoring, shows true skill level, and allows real confidence.
7. Training and practice build skill. Skill builds confidence. Confidence leads to coolness. Coolness prevents panic. This is what wins fights.

In the extreme stress of a real life shooting incident, skill degrades. However, the more skill one has, the less skill one tends to lose (see #7 above). The less skill one has, the more skill one tends to lose under duress. This is why “good enough” is not good enough. Also, the Mother of retention of any physical skill under duress is structured repetition. To have a higher skill level, one had to practice more (structured repetition). I have debriefed a number of people after shootings, and not one of them has ever said to me, “When the bullets starting coming my way, I wished I hadn’t trained as hard.”

Historical Handgun: Shooting To Live-Fairbairn & Sykes

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Karl Rehn at KR Training has developed Historical Handgun, a course that presents the history of handgun skills and drills throughout the years paired with the guns most commonly associated with that particular era.

In developing his coursework, he reviewed the 1942 book Shooting To Live by W.E. Fairbairn and E.A. Sykes.

http://blog.krtraining.com/book-review-historical-handgun-shooting-to-live-1942-fairbairn-sykes/

Important points:

  • Point shooting approaches advocate for some initial target work. Applegate recommended the same as well.
  • A primary reason these approaches took hold is mostly due to equipment limitations of the day coupled with misunderstanding on how to make it better.
  • As trainer Tom Givens points out in his instructor training courses, the duty and carry pistols of that time had tiny, hard to see sights, compared to the higher visibility sights that became common in the 1970s and beyond. Similarly, the amount of light, and reliability, of flashlights of that era were significantly less than what became available in the 70s and later years.

Combat Readiness

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Members of the U.S. Army Reserve Competitive Marksmanship Program discuss their combat experiences and how competition shooting helps with military training and readiness.


SSG Bonjour

MAJ Garcia

SSG Porter

SSG Rosene

MAJ Rosnick

MAJ Sleem

SSG Fuentes

SGM Gerner

SGT Hall

SSG Hartley

Drill Sergeant Willis

CPT Freeman

SSG Kizanis

SSG Volmer


Staged Shooting Environment

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staged-environment

Good point. Police, military, and CCW/defensive shooting instruction and qualification is a staged environment on a one-way range under no stress. And they don’t even require “shooting quickly.”

I understand this meme was intended as a poorly-concealed jab at those of us shooting matches. However, low-skilled personnel spending more time fooling themselves that cowering from competition is needed to preserve their self-appointed tactical acumen instead of just learning to shoot better actively fail to realize that every form of whatever instruction, training, practice, etc. they hold as sacrosanct suffers the same problems.

Qualifications are staged environments. Marine and Army qual courses have remained the same for decades with the courses published in official regulations. Police courses are just as bad. The minimal standards needed to graduate recruit/basic/academy training remain the same throughout an entire career.

Qualifications are intended to be passed by low-skill shooters and retries are offered for anyone failing. Where is the stress in that? And such low-level qualification remains the only time skills are measured and held accountable at all. Even if “advanced” tactical and force-on-force exercises are conducted, its value and interpretation is subjective. As long as we all agree we did a good-enough job and learned something when congratulating ourselves during the AAR, then we’re tactical.

Funny thing, competition has been proven by laboratory tests to create a large amount of stress hormones and continued competitive experience does not blunt this effect. However, any stress created in non-scored, non-competitive environments has been proven via laboratory tests to diminish notably by the second time a novice tries it and is diminished much further by the third try, even when done on the first day during attention-grabbing events like parachuting. A brand new parachutist experiences less stress hormones during their third jump on their first day than an experienced competitor with a decade of experience and hundreds of competitions under their belt. This makes that “under no stress” qualifier a real problem for tactical instruction but not for competitive environments.

The best answer is to blend all the useful characteristics from multiple sources. Recognize that many things are beneficial but nothing provides a complete solution. A person with a reasonable competitive track record that shoots well, is in good shape, has formal tactical training in non-staged environments, and experience in force-on-force exercises is the best combination.

Why Timers Are Critical

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It has become fashionable in some circles within defensive shooting and hunting communities to downplay any use of a timer or timed exercises. Yes, there are useful drills that don’t need or even benefit from use of a timer. And there are certainly a number of important things that aren’t improved by any range exercise.

Training/practice for defensive or hunting use that implements no timed drills is incomplete. All real-world shooting will almost always need to be done in an efficient manner. It will always be to your benefit to be able to perform correctly at speed. Given that real-world shooting has a stress component, performing under a ticking clock on the range is a valuable way to learn how to perform under pressure. Stupid cliches like “there aren’t any timers in a gunfight” or “deer don’t carry stopwatches” are novice excuses to avoid being held accountable for low skill levels.

Poor hit rates in law enforcement shootings are largely due to officers never being forced to shoot at speed and under a bit of stress during qualification or in-service training. Many dash cam videos of shootings show personnel forced to shoot at speed and under stress for the first time in their lives. It certainly didn’t occur during routine qualification and in-service training.

Law enforcement veteran and champion shooter Robert Vogel explains further:

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