Training Scars: Brass in Pockets

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The “found brass in pockets story” is a popular old saw offered as a warning against developing bad habits or training scars. The story goes that some police officer was found dead with spent brass in his pockets. Being of the era when revolvers were common, the doomed-but-nameless officer unintentionally stuffed his brass into pockets while reloading during a protracted, long-ago fight, thus slowing him down and sealing his fate. Details are rarely offered, but the boogeyman to avoid is unintentionally developing a bad habit and to only do things exactly as told or you’ll suffer the same fate! Boo!
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Circus Trick

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Low skilled people continue to whine about standards drills as not being realistic, tactically relevant, or being a “circus trick.” What they’re really doing is attempting to conceal lack of skill, either their own or others. Rather than blame a lack of fundamental skill for a poor result, it’s easier to blame the evaluation for the poor showing. The fact that such a test is known in advance only serves to make it easier.
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Why police should participate in competitive shooting sports

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Wisdom from Dave Porter

Different competitive shooting disciplines teach different skills, but all use Cooper’s “Speed-Accuracy-Power” to some extent. Even slow fire NRA high power rifle requires 20 shots in 20 minutes at 600 yards. Does anyone think a Police Marksman would be called upon to make faster shots at that distance?

IPSC and 3-Gun, as the author notes in the article below, are very fast indeed, at ranges from very close to intermediate.

I think it extremely noteworthy that, following 9-11, when the Army realized that the average Soldier’s gunfighting skills were generally woefully inadequate, they tapped their competitive shooting teams to design and teach courses like Squad Designated Marksman and Close Quarters Marksmanship. (taught respectively by the Army Rifle Team and the Army Pistol Team)

In my own 26 years of service, the best instruction I experienced BY FAR was taught by competitive shooters. When it became my job to provide weapons instruction for troops going into harm’s way, I modeled my instruction after theirs, and I started competing myself.

If you want top level instruction in ANY field of human endeavor, you find the enthusiast. Teaching an enthusiast/expert how to instruct is far more effective than assigning a trained instructor a task which doesn’t really interest him.


Why police should participate in competitive shooting sports
by Ron Avery
https://www.policeone.com/training/articles/189973006-Why-police-should-participate-in-competitive-shooting-sports/

Competition Will Get You Killed On The Streets?

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https://primaryandsecondary.com/competition-will-get-you-killed-on-the-streets/

Choice cuts from a great article at Primary and Secondary

-Is mission planning not a thing anymore?
-Are mission rehearsals not a thing anymore?
-Is having ISR units recce targets and conducting recce handovers to the assault force not a thing anymore?

People who cannot differentiate between competition tactics and small unit tactics are probably not good at either.

Why is it relevant that competition shooters cannot perform at their best level while wearing a basic load, to include PPE? Can most “tactical dudes” perform as well as competition guys using competition gear? Most likely they would get smoked.

Bottom line, don’t get too wrapped up in being tactical or what not. Understand that different principles apply when shooting a match than when you are doing break contact drills in rural terrain.

Creating a divide seems pointless, and only serves to keep people away from an activity that could help them become better shooters. I know that my shooting has improved, with no detriment to my “tactical abilities”.

Tactical Reload

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http://www.gunnuts.net/2015/07/16/magazines-and-reliability/

Magazines and reliability
by Tim aka TCinVA

Dropping magazines, especially partially loaded ones, on the ground is often very hard on the magazine. Apart from dirt, mud, and other detritus that gets inside the magazine, baseplates and feed lips will sometimes crack, and tubes will sometimes bend or dent. This fact is, believe it or not, where the so called “tactical reload” came from.

I actually discussed this with Tom Givens in his Intensive Pistol Skills class a few weeks ago. In the early days of Gunsite the gun that 99.99% of people showed up with was a 1911. In those days there was no Wilson/Rogers 47D magazine and folks didn’t show up to classes with massive piles of magazines for training. Everyone was using GI or factory Colt magazines in their guns. Dropping these magazines on the crushed granite of the range ended up destroying them to the point of students almost put out of commission because they didn’t have any functional magazines left. If the magazines never hit the granite, then you never have that problem, right? VIOLA!! The “tactical reload” as we know it was born.

Just think: All that arguing about reloads you see on the internet dates back to a practice adopted to get around the fact that 1911 magazines circa 1977 sucked out loud. Stew on that one for a bit without getting depressed. I dare ya.

Guns April 1964
See page 18
http://www.gunsmagazine.com/1964issues/G0464.pdf

Minimum Defensive Shooting Skills

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Solid advice.

Range standards are denigrated in some circles as being unrealistic, arbitrary, out-of-context evaluations but some sort of minimum is still needed.

It’s true the range environment is artificially easier than elsewhere, but this makes meeting some minimum performance standards easier. Pulling it off on the range is not a guarantee of success should things get more difficult, but a failure when it’s easy does not bode well.

What Do We Expect Of You?
Skills And Drills For Saving Lives
By Ralph Mroz

http://americanhandgunner.com/what-do-we-expect-of-you/

Skills

Having self-defense gun skills means in addition to conscious, slow-fire, deliberate marksmanship, you can run the gun at faster speeds, requiring unconscious operation — while still hitting. Mastering static, slow-fire marksmanship isn’t all that difficult, but shooting fast(er) is hard. This is in no small part because you can’t think your way through the shooting. This kind of unconscious, reasonably speedy fire will be called for in a self-defense situation. I submit you have conscious marksmanship reasonably down pat if you can hit an 8″ or 10″ plate at 25 yards almost all of the time once your gun is zeroed. Which is not to say you shouldn’t try to improve this by adding speed.

With regard to faster shooting, all of the following criteria are subjective, and reasonable people may — indeed, will — differ, and it assumes you’re using a full-sized handgun. You’ll need to make adjustments for smaller guns.

Instructor and teacher Tom Givens has probably had more non-cop students prevail in gunfights than any other US instructor. As I write this the tally is over 60 wins, three forfeits (didn’t have a gun) and zero losses. Tom’s students are almost all ordinary, busy people, not training fanatics.

One of his main standards is drawing from concealment and hitting a 7″ x 9″ target in 1.5 seconds at five yards.

Another is to draw from concealment, take a side-step, and hit the same target with three rounds in three seconds at three yards.

This conforms very closely to what he sees in his students’ actual shootings. Since these are two of the standards the data tells us have a history of preparing people to prevail in actual deadly force confrontations, they are great expectations to start with. Neither will “place” you in even a local club match, but neither are they “gimmies” if you don’t practice.

Control

Another standard I’m fond of is the Higginbotham Controllability Drill. You start from a two-handed low ready and put five rounds into a 5.5″ x 8.5″ target — a standard piece of paper folded in half — in two seconds at five yards. For serious — but beginning shooters — this is a goal. Give yourself more time, but work toward two seconds.

Another standard I think a serious shooter should be able to achieve is to hit a plate at 25 yards from a low ready in 2.5 seconds. Start with any size plate you can hit, but the eventual goal is the A-zone of an IPSC target (6″ x 11″), or the down-zero area of an IDPA target (an 8″ circle or plate). Add the draw into the drill to make it harder, but give yourself another half second or so. The objective here is to be able to hit at a distance and your gun will have to be zeroed for your ammo.

Doesn’t happen in the real world? One of Tom Givens’ students had to engage a guy shooting at him from 22 yards. Read the Ayoob Files in this issue about an 80+ yard shot with a 1911, taking a suspect down. Also, think of the shot you’d need to make in an active shooter situation across a parking lot, down a mall or school corridor, etc.

Nailing these drills won’t get you classified as a great shot, and you will want to improve them as your time allows. But we would consider you as being prepared, practical and prudent in a real-life context. And remember, some practice is much better than no practice.

Metrics vs Mediocrity

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Tom Givens and Rangemaster is a renowned instructor and training facility. Givens has had over 60 students involved in documented fights and his experience is one of the best track records of personal defense students in the United States.

Every student trained by Tom Givens at Rangemaster that was forced into a fight that had a gun available won their fight.

Givens is also a successful competitive shooter and trains his students in a competition-compatible approach. Givens’ advice for being successful in a self defense encounter includes preparing in a manner nearly identical to that taken to do well in a shooting match.

Here are words of wisdom from one the most successful and proven defensive shooting instructors in the United States.
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