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 qualification, 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 military, law enforcement, or CCW qualification? How many 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 (or at least shot at with intent to hit) in a training environment? I’d wager if anyone was shot it would be due to a tragic mistake and oversight that would immediately lead to an investigation.

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 on purpose 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/watch/?v=1655962138041846

Still not a two-way range

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI01qKAqYts
Still not a two-way range

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

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 legend 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

Click to access 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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