Tactical Theater

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However, the worst training scar, bad habit, and “please don’t do this in a fight for a life” is the “unload” – “show clear” – “hammer down” – “holster”…Ugh! I have seen it countless times in shoot houses, SWAT ranges, military training, federal law enforcement and training classes. For example, they will engage a target or two and mid run will drop the magazine, lock the slide to the rear, then realize what they have done and reload the firearm and continue.

This “training scar” only occurs during poorly-designed exercises or with novice shooters. I believe the author has seen it because what he describes is known to combine poorly-designed exercises with novice shooters, though by “countless times” he really means “more than once.” It is popularly and falsely attributed to competitive shooting even though there is no evidence competitors are prone to doing it.
https://firearmusernetwork.com/myth-of-competition-training-scars/

This claimed “Unload/Show Clear scar” is an artifact of tactical theater, where trainees are told to act in a prescribed manner contradictory to what’s actually happening.

The theater script says for everyone on the line to engage a paper target in a fixed exercise on line with others doing the same, then conduct a “threat scan” (menacing scowl optional) to look for something we already know isn’t really there while pretending we might still have to engage something else, even though we really know the exercise is complete.

So, somebody failed their acting script and dropped their mag after the obvious exercise was obviously complete and didn’t perform a head wag in the school-prescribed manner… A ha! Training scar! Bad habit! Gunna gethca killt in da streetz!

I’m certain this bit of logic won’t change the minds of people that insist on imagining this imaginary problem exists. Test it for yourself.

Set up a course that doesn’t have a definite end point, where participants genuinely don’t know if, when, where, what, or how much they’re supposed to shoot. This can be arranged as force-on-force (if you have the logistics to do it right), a shoot house, surprise course, etc. The important point is to not have a predetermined end.

If there is no training scar, participants won’t run a scripted After Shooting Scan (or whatever you call it) because they’re actually looking for things that might really be there instead of acting out a scripted head wag. There won’t be a UL/SC if the situation isn’t obviously in hand. On the other hand, if someone robotically goes into UL/SC without being prompted and before the scenario is complete, you can claim a problem. But only if that happens during a properly set-up scenario.

Running surprise courses where shooters genuinely don’t know how many or where targets are in advance, where the actor isn’t required to act out a tactical theater script, will reveal if there’s a real UL/SC problem. With the exception of lower-skilled people, I doubt it will.

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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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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”.

Realistic Training

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“Gunsite has outstanding realistic training.”

– Ernie Van Der Leest, Gunsite graduate

The Garland Texas Stage at the Gunsite Alumni Shoot

https://www.facebook.com/GunsiteAcademy/videos/10153895678934453/

Gunsite Shotgun Advanced Tactical Problems Class Shoot Off

https://www.facebook.com/GunsiteAcademy/videos/10153880407169453/
"Ya gotta remember that safety..." I guess that's needed advice for a student at an Advanced Tactical Problems class. But competition (like a shoot off) is no good because it's not as stressful as the real world...

556 Carbine Shoot Off Drill

https://www.facebook.com/GunsiteAcademy/videos/10153865187389453/

223 Carbine Class

https://www.facebook.com/GunsiteAcademy/videos/10153846475654453/

Vehicle Defense Class drill

https://www.facebook.com/GunsiteAcademy/videos/10153547963679453/

250 Shoot Off

https://www.facebook.com/GunsiteAcademy/videos/10153494147274453/

Another tactical Gunsite exercise

https://www.facebook.com/GunsiteAcademy/videos/10154322850704453/

Another 250 Shoot Off, with the two class winners
https://www.instagram.com/p/BMr3jwHjj5s/

Two (2) 250 Pistol classes this week at Gunsite. The two (2) Class winners shoot off. The little things mean so much!

A post shared by Gunsite Academy (@gunsiteacademy) on

In case you missed the caption, the guy that unintentionally hurled the magazine downrange was among the top students in this class.

The new Dozier Drill Bay next to the Shot Quad at Gunsite. Thanks to Gary and Rick for their hard work!

A post shared by Gunsite Academy (@gunsiteacademy) on

A range at Gunsite... or is this set up for a USPSA competition?

Gosh, all of this looks an awful like any number of competitive shooting matches I’ve been to. Like, nearly identical. Well, at least when watching the folks that typically round out the bottom half of the final results…

In case you think I’m exaggerating, here’s Rob Leatham at Gunsite (off camera to the left) shooting against and beating three other shooters:

Rob Leatham beats three shooters in the steel challenge. Fun after the drills are completed

A post shared by Gunsite Academy (@gunsiteacademy) on

Question: If I set up these Gunsite courses of fire as demonstrated here at my range and run them as a match, at what point does this become unrealistic and start inducing training scars or bad habits?

Tactics and Training Scars

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Tactics are an expedient toward a goal in a specific environment and may need to change if/when the goal or environment changes. For far too many, “tactical” means “doing it my way” and “training scar” means “doing it different than me.”

People claiming to shoot “tactically” at competitive events by going slow are NOT tactical as their tactics are bad in the context of the event they’re participating even if their approach may be appropriate elsewhere. It will not create a “training scar” to shoot fast if that is what the situation calls for, however, it is bad business to justify poor results due to inappropriate actions by claiming to be more tactical.

Pre-planning, speed, and violence of action can be important tenets for tactics.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Close_quarters_combat

Here’s an example from Gunsite. The infamous Scrambler:

https://www.facebook.com/GunsiteAcademy/videos/10153528585499453/

I guess it’s OK to pre-plan a stage and then run through for time and score, but only if the tactical class you pay to be in sets it up for you…

Claiming to be “tactical” needs to include recognizing what an appropriate tactic is in context. The context matters and changes what appropriate tactics might be.
https://firearmusernetwork.com/2015/05/02/context-matters/

http://www.exurbanleague.com/misfires/2015/09/30/so-just-what-is-a-training-scar/

What’s Wrong with Defensive Shooting Classes

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Alright, sometimes we have close calls, but this one had to have bit the bullet, literally. I can’t believe I was so close to it also. Could have been bad for a lot of people. Even though everyone is okay here. It’s just a reminder to train and be fully aware of how you operate a handgun.

We were at a dynamic drill day practicing self defense with a focus on moving with a group of shooters.


You're good, you're good... [Hey Lefty, keep slapping away on your Dynamic Critical Incident "training"]

This video nicely sums up nearly everything wrong with defensive shooting classes. A line dance of lower skilled shooters dumping a bunch of rounds semi-discriminately at large, close targets. Note they’re all circling through a batch of targets shot at by everyone. No attempt to see where (or if) they’re hitting, and with everyone shooting the same batch of targets we can’t anyway. No time or other pressure. And a dude (who probably is convinced competitive shooting causes bad habits) nearly shoots himself before slopping through the exercise.

This is poor gunhandling displayed by a novice. Blaming the holster ignores the true problem.

Line dances like this can’t get people more skilled. Despite false promises and outright lies, everyone needs to earn their chops on simple but stringent drills even if nobody seems to want to.

Simple range exercises and competitive events are disregarded as not useful or relevant. Some people, including those hosting such classes, claim they cause bad habits, training scars, and the like. Using a scored and/or timed fixed exercise is claimed as not useful, even meaningless, and to be avoided.

Nobody wants to earn their fundamental skills doing boring, static, range drills and other “circus tricks.” We want dynamic drill day practicing relevant, real-world self defense in context with a focus on moving. Just like this guy.

CCW Lessons From Competition

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My background as a competition shooter has never once been a crutch through any of the realistic training I’ve attended. Instead, what I realized was that, even though I was mostly a race gun shooter, the skills developed in shooting against some of the best in the world translated seamlessly into working with a stock duty pistol, and even gave me an edge when it came to real-world applications.

When I practice my shooting, I don’t run through specialized match stages; instead I focus on specific skillsets that have a direct, positive impact on real-world applications.

Simon “J.J.” Racaza

Racaza’s experience echoes what every competitive shooter with military and police experience has found. People seeking to improve themselves far beyond the minimum standards will excel far beyond the minimum standards most are content to meet. Despite all the fanciful catchphrases and machismo, doing this requires actually participating in something where skills are tested beyond minimums. Cowering behind excuses to avoid such tests accomplishes nothing.

Especially when the excuses are mostly fabrications:
https://firearmusernetwork.com/myth-of-competition-training-scars/

And there are zero examples of any actual problems in the first place:
https://firearmusernetwork.com/training-and-competition-the-dark-side/

Read more:
http://www.recoilweb.com/preview-jj-racaza-discusses-ccw-lessons-from-competition-93359.html

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