Tactical Application of Competition Shooting

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Listen to Mike. And shut up.

Mike Pannone is a former operational member of U.S. Marine Reconnaissance, Army Special Forces (Green Beret) and 1st SFOD-D (Delta) as well as a competition USPSA pistol shooter holding a Master class ranking in Limited, Limited-10 and Production divisions. He has participated in stabilization, combat and high-risk protection operations in support of U.S. policies throughout the world as both an active duty military member, and a civilian contractor. After sustaining a severe blast injury Mike retired from 1st SFOD-D and worked as a Primary Firearms Instructor for the Federal Air Marshal Program in Atlantic City and the head in-service instructor for the Seattle field office of the FAMS. He also worked as an independent contractor and advisor for various consulting companies to include SAIC (PSD Iraq), Triple Canopy (PSD Iraq), and The Wexford Group (Counter IED ground combat advisor Iraq and pre-deployment rifle/pistol/tactics instructor for the Asymmetric Warfare Group). Mike was also the Senior Instructor for Viking Tactics (VTAC), and Blackheart International. He started his own consulting company full time in late 2008.

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/

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.

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/

Clint Smith (Thunder Ranch) on Competition

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Clint Smith, owner of Thunder Ranch, and his take on participating in competitive shooting.

“I shot it [competition] so I could get experience where my heart was jacked a little bit. If I was going to make mistakes I could make them there.”

https://www.facebook.com/120548841302589/videos/vb.120548841302589/1823462157677907/

In Defense of ‘Square Range, Static Target’ Training

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Great article by Greg Moats. Read it!

I’d add that his spot-on assessments here are not limited to younger folks and are not caused because the Internet has become increasingly available and popular. Plenty of older people, including those that should know better, are just as capable of this silliness and were doing so well before ARPANET existed.

In Defense of ‘Square Range, Static Target’ Training — or ‘How the internet is screwing up Millennials’
by Greg Moats

http://www.shootingwire.com/features/679eeb80-dbe2-43a2-9d48-99e4a664f01a/

I’m guessing that many of these instructors don’t know that in the late 70’s and 80’s, a number of the “high-speed, low-drag” organizations went to the square range, stationary target, static position schools of competitive shooting to learn basic shooting skills! I was fortunate enough to have been in the first class that Ray ever ran at the Chapman Academy. Since I lived close, we became friends and I helped him with a few classes. The Navy SEALs came to the Chapman Academy to work with Ray. They also went to Berryville to work with Bill Wilson and to MISS to work with John Shaw, two competitive shooters that never ran a black op nor (I’m guessing) heard a shot fired in anger. Apparently all of the square range, static training didn’t get them all killed as they kept coming back.

Training is a progression, a journey consisting of trips back to the square range to polish skills, as well as learning from simulators.

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.

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 Volmer


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