Expat's Firearms Instruction

Discussion in 'Shooting & Fireams Training / Skills' started by Expat, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. Expat

    Expat Expat™ Knives Staff Member

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    I've been putting together a book on shooting for sometime now. It's got essays, drills, mindset, etc. You can't learn everything about shooting from a book. But you can learn quite a bit. For example, establishing a good, solid direction you need to go in your training. Ever wonder why you shoot at the same level of ability you did 5 or 10 years (and thousands of rounds) ago?

    Shooting is like every other discipline. You have to really study and work at it.

    Here's an excerpt from the book:




    Have you HAD Training?

    By Expatriated

    “You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training.” I’ve been hearing some variation of this expression since Slick Willie was busy making interns famous at a furious rate.


    I understand the intended thought: one doesn’t just naturally become good at something during a critical incident. You have to train in that particular skill or technique in order to be capable of effectively employing it under stress. Unfortunately it seems we all too often use this statement to give ourselves a false sense of confidence in our ability. We act like because we went to a certain tactical school, we have checked that box and our ability at the end of that course is now our new minimum level at which we will not operate below. Like it’s automatically permanent. We say, “Oh, I had that training” and we don’t realize how accurate we are. Yes indeed, we HAD that training. But we no longer HAVE it. Because we did not work hard at keeping it, at mastering it, at ingraining it into our character, it has been lost. We have not made our payments on the skill and it has been repossessed by time and performance atrophy.


    Several years ago I heard James Yeager qualify this statement to a point I believe we can rely on: “You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to the level of training that you have mastered.” Now we are getting somewhere. Here we have illuminated the issue: work. Permanence is not automatic. We have to put effort and sweat into owning skills. Certificates of completion can be bought with money; skills cannot. They are paid for in work, in sweat, in lonely, laborious hours of repetition. Yes, even when you don’t feel like doing it. Time is one thing you can’t buy more of, and mastering skill requires time. There is no way around it.


    So, what is “mastery”? At what point are we competent enough? That’s a question only answered by each individual on his own training path. I would argue that we need to reach a level of ability where our training has us as much as we’ve had it. Where it is so much a part of us, it is difficult to separate it from our standard performance. A point where it becomes substantially difficult to do it incorrectly. Where we feel inordinately uncomfortable violating the principles of proficiency in that skill. In short, it needs to be hard to do it wrong. As an example, think of muzzle discipline. For those of us that have ingrained this safety concept into our very fiber since day one of handling a firearm, imagine for a moment how uncomfortable you feel if you notice someone negligently pointing their weapon at you. Now, imagine how uncomfortable you feel pointing your weapon at someone. It feels very unnatural; it is something you almost have to force yourself to do. It does not just happen. And no doubt you are acutely aware of what you are doing the entire time. You are always aware of where your muzzle is pointing. If this example strikes a chord with you, then that is an indication that you have mastered this level of proficiency and there is a good chance that you will not operate below this level, even under periods of stress. Congratulations. Not everyone has arrived at this point, as all of us could recount experiences of an unwanted glimpse of lands and grooves from the business end.


    So it then becomes a question of standard. As gun owners, as protectors of those around us, we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard. It has been said that amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong. While we will probably never reach perfection (we all have at least one or two more misses left in us!), we need to strive for higher standards. And one that continues to get higher over time.


    That requires work. So, get out there and work. Get some good training and ingrain it into your character until doing it wrong is a rare and uncomfortable occasion.
     
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  2. Jeff Randall

    Jeff Randall ESEE Knives / Randall's Adventure & Training Staff Member

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    Excellent. Something we believe in 110%
     
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  3. Expat

    Expat Expat™ Knives Staff Member

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    IN THE NAME OF SAFETY: A Case for the Fundamental Four


    By Expatriated


    I’ve been carrying a gun for a living in some form or fashion since Slick Willie was busy making interns famous at a frenetic pace. Suffice it to say, I’ve seen a few rounds go downrange.


    I’ve also been there when the bullets were flying in anger, and with intention. In the real world. Where there is no “downrange”. Or everywhere is downrange, depending on your perspective.


    One of my main complaints with the majority of defensive firearms training (be it law enforcement or private) is that in general (painting with a broad brush here, I know), it does not train you in, and thus does not prepare you for, the elements of the typical gunfight. Those elements include: time constraints, surprise, movement, communication and 360-degree awareness. That is not to say that some of these elements are not addressed. Many times they are. But that is where we really start to get at the crux of the problem—they are ONLY addressed, not practiced. And they are certainly not instilled to the point of mastery. We preach 360 degree awareness, yet we automatically are thrown off the line if we violate the 180 degree rule. We spout, “Train like you fight!” then have range rules not allowing us to draw and fire from the holster. Or to shoot more than one round in a second. Or to keep your weapon hot. Or…name your contradiction.


    So if we know where our training is lacking and we know what to address, why don’t we do it? If we are teaching some sort of defensive pistol, why don’t we seek to honestly prepare students for that dreaded gunfight? After all, that’s why they’re in the class in the first place, right? My opinion is we do it in the name of safety. We sacrifice valuable, practical training on the altar increased perceived safety. Firearms Instructors and Range Masters like control and order. We like to look down a uniform, straight line, with little to no movement. Unfortunately we operate to our student’s detriment in many cases. In fact, students can often be falsely trained: trained enough in an artificial environment to think they are prepared for the real thing, only to find out the hard way.


    With precious few exceptions, my professional firearms “training” has consisted of standing in my assigned square—my lane on the range, in line with those to my left and right. Weapon pointed downrange, (downrange always being defined as toward the target). Move around on this line, even six inches forward or back and a Range Safety Officer is there to make sure you get special attention. However, undoubtedly in the lecture portion of the firearms training there will be some discussion regarding the importance of moving to cover, moving off the line of attack, etc. Often, it is emphatically addressed.


    The daring and radical question that began gestating in the distant recesses of my mind as some twenty years ago was “Why are we specifically kept from practicing what we are supposed to do in a gunfight? If cover and movement are so important, why is it the least rehearsed?” Throughout my path, as my training continued (but not necessarily advanced) this question has grown from a whisper to an all out scream—WHY DON’T WE TRAIN PROPERLY?!


    Ladies and Gentlemen, we are doing a disservice to ourselves and our students. We are not training them properly in how to fight with a firearm. And we are doing so in the name of safety. We have taken safety, an important component of training, and elevated it above all others. But safety is not the most important goal in firearms training. At least is shouldn’t be. Yep, there, I said it. I’ll say it again in the interest of clarity: Safety is not the ultimate goal, nor should it be. If it were, we would be “pew, pew, pewing” all day with our finger guns. One at a time on the range. Under the eye of three RSO’s. After all, it would be safer than using real weapons, that shoot real bullets, right? Maybe in our advanced courses, we could Barney Fife everyone 1 bullet. You know, just in case of an emergency?


    The point is that I can make a range so absolutely 100% safe that there is no training value to be had whatsoever. We can come up with enough range rules that not even an intentional suicide could be performed. We’re becoming pretty good at that these days with our formula of a risk-averse populous combined with lawyers aplenty.


    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that safety is not important, Not in the least. But, I am saying it’s not the most important aspect. There has to be a balanced approach to training. There has to be a certain acceptance of risk if one is going to actually be prepared for the unwarranted attack. And, yes, it’s going to involve drawing from the holster. It’s going to involve moving. And it CERTAINLY is going to involve being able to operate in a 360 degree environment.


    So, what do we do? Where do we draw the line? How much risk is acceptable? Who’s going to bear that risk? In periods of uncertainty, it is often beneficial to go back to the fundamentals. In this case, I think we would be well served to go back to day one of each of our firearms training: the 4 rules.


    My contention is that the four rules are sufficient. Reduntantly so. If those 4 rules are obeyed, we will eliminate negligent discharges, negligent shootings, etc. And there would be no need for pistol rugs, and rules against picking up a magazine you’ve dropped on the range.


    For the sake of review, they are (in my particular order of importance):


    1. Treat all weapons as if they are always loaded. Clint Smith said we should have just stopped at this one. I tend to agree.

    1. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target and have made a conscious decision to shoot.

    1. Never let your muzzle cross anything you’re not willing to destroy.

    1. Be aware of your target and what’s behind it.


    When did these rules become insufficient? When did we determine we need to add extraneous flotsam and jetsam such as “No more than 1 round fired per second” or whatever other ridiculously contrived rules are tacked up on the range house walls in the name of safety? Why do we insist on weapons pointed downrange? A concept that does not exist where we live. Think about your favorite restaurant getting robbed—where’s the downrange? What about a trip to the shopping mall where you encounter an active shooter and hundreds of citizens running in different directions? Where is downrange? Where is the 180 degree line? How do you search for threats around you without pointing your gun at everyone? If you haven’t trained in an environment where muzzle discipline is required around multiple people and in multiple directions, what makes you think you’ll instantly be able to safely do so when it counts?


    Quit making up useless rules and start making your training beneficial!
     
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  4. Expat

    Expat Expat™ Knives Staff Member

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    Open carry is like playing poker with your cards facing the other way.

    You can do it, but you're giving up a significant advantage.
     
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  5. Andy the Aussie

    Andy the Aussie Moderator of the Century Staff Member

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    360degree ranges and Simunitions are great educators. They allow you to put into practice much of what you have only learned in theory. Paper/steel/plastic targets don't think and scheme against you or generally shoot back (or club you with broom handles and such.
     
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  6. Expat

    Expat Expat™ Knives Staff Member

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    My training involves punches to the kidneys and head while you try to shoot.

    In addition to just about everywhere else on my body, I got shot square in the nuts with a simmunition round in Trinidad. It hurt so bad, it couldn't be felt all at once. The pain came in waves over a 15 minute period.
     
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  7. Andy the Aussie

    Andy the Aussie Moderator of the Century Staff Member

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    Yep, I have delivered such a strike (he was wearing a cup but the angle and everything was just right to pound a ball) there was no pretending on his part, it hurt !!! I also had a guy (mate in fact) charge me swinging a length of chain, the sim round hit him on the point of the elbow as he swing, he screamed like a girl.... :D
     
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  8. DYSPHORIC JOY

    DYSPHORIC JOY Moderator Staff Member

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    SIMs is an excellent way to measure the stress response. I emptied almost an entire mag Louis Awerbuck style (foundation to head) into a guy with a bat while he was screaming "blow the whistle." He could have just dropped the bat to de-escalate UoF.
     
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  9. tangomike3

    tangomike3 Member

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    So now we are supposed to train and practice safety with our weapons. More bureaucratic interference.
     
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  10. DYSPHORIC JOY

    DYSPHORIC JOY Moderator Staff Member

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    I vote no weapons period.
     
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  11. GaryMc

    GaryMc Member

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    Great stuff @Expat , while my training long long ago is now woefully inadequate and my range time has gone down significantly over the years, I have lived my life by those 4 rules. Now I just need to get new & additional training and find the time for more range time.
     
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  12. Expat

    Expat Expat™ Knives Staff Member

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    Next time Im down your way stealing packages off your front porch, Ill stay a few extra days and we'll do some shooting.
     
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  13. GaryMc

    GaryMc Member

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    Sounds good brother except how about you and i go steal off other peoples porches.
     
  14. ThreeRidges

    ThreeRidges Member

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    I'm not military or LE, but some years ago I had occasion to be at the FBI Quantico facility and was taken through their firearms simulator. They can run all kinds of scenarios and they are certainly not static. It's a very challenging first person shooter scenario that the guy behind you on the computer can take down an infinite number of paths. Extremely humbling and, if you don't get the job done, you die pretty quickly.

    I have a deep respect for those in LE and similar professions that can be thrust into theses situations. If I had a wrongful shooting trial, I'd make every member of the jury go through this simulator for a better understanding of what these folks are up against.
     
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  15. Jerry

    Jerry Member

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    What are good indicators that one be looking for when researching training classes and facilities? This is something I've been contemplating before I pick up too many bad habits in my shooting.
     
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  16. Baldcutnut

    Baldcutnut Member

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    Good stuff here Expat, and agree with the training that most of us get, not near enough as involved as it should be.
     
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  17. Dougmau

    Dougmau Member

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    I've never understood this. I see a gun first one going down if I was a criminal.
     
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  18. Joelski

    Joelski Member

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    Just did some shoot/don't shoot training with some guys and the stress part is pretty eye opening. Going further, there's even good stress and bad stress (exertion vs. fear) that can alter the outcome from baseline testing. You've probably seen what I mean; come in cold, run through the scenario then go do some hills, or a victim rescue scenario and then come back and repeat the initial scenario of shoot/don't shoot.
     
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  19. Joelski

    Joelski Member

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    Not training related but relevant is the best Jeff Cooper quote ever:

    "Bushido is all very well in its way, but it is no match for a 30-06."
     
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  20. Baldcutnut

    Baldcutnut Member

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    I agree, I never understood why you would give up the concealed advantage.
     

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