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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Oblivious Shooter

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Oblivious shooter ignores major problem with weapon, keeps on firing
http://americangg.net/tb-01-oblivious-shooter

This neatly sums up problems with line dance “training.” I’ve taken a few such courses. In one example, after asking to replace the well-shredded targets so we could better see where shots were going, we were told there was no need to. Gosh, why would one want to know where fired shots end up? As this demonstrates, some folks apparently don’t care.

Optical sight loose, twisted, and bouncing in the mount. No worries, just keep slamming on that trigger! This is the same sort of guy insisting that participating in formal competition leads to bad habits but participating in “training” like this leads to success.

More:
https://firearmusernetwork.com/whats-wrong-with-defensive-shooting-classes/

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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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


Two Way Range

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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. Force-on-force can certainly be useful as can other training approaches, even if they are one-way range exercises.

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

https://www.facebook.com/armyinside/videos/1655962138041846/

Still not a two-way range


Still not a two-way range

https://www.facebook.com/KaBaEnvironment/videos/1656137297735660/

Still not a two-way range

https://www.facebook.com/InstrutorDeArmamentoETiro/videos/1217181631725946/

Still not a two-way range

https://www.facebook.com/shootingfast.ab/videos/2089795321241446/

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.
two-way-range

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.

TL;DR
Shove your tired clichés where the sun don’t shine.
https://firearmusernetwork.com/competition-shooting-vs-two-way-range/

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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