Training to survive
James Rummel has a post up that should be read by everyone interested in personal defense.
James’s example is not an isolated case. Most of the changes in police procedure and equipment are fueled by calamity. It takes a Newhall Incident, an FBI-Miami shootout, or a North Hollywood robbery before the powers that be will accept change.
There is a big downside to this. In the aftermath of a tragedy, no one wants to blame the victim. The public after-action reports and resulting policy debates will, therefore, focus more on technology and less on tactics. The training recommendations can focus on the wrong elements because it addresses "safe" subjects and not the factors that really determine life and death.
Ross Seyfried—hunter, guide, gun writer, and former IPSC champion—has a phrase for one facet of the problem:" buying skill." Instead of practicing their long-range shooting, hunters buy "flat shooting" magnums. High capacity magazines can be a similar trap. Seyfried again: "you can’t miss fast enough" to make up for poor accuracy. In a worst case scenario, hi-caps just delay the moment of truth.
James also provides some recommendations that need to be taken heart and put into practice by anyone who is serious about civilian CQC.
My one quibble is ISPC/IDPA/CAS. They can be great training—if they are approached as practice. If you try to win (or even just emulate the winners) they teach dangerous lessons. (I grit my teeth every time I watch a shotgun stage at a CAS match. What sane individual would operate a pump like that if their life was on the line?)
Many years ago I read an article that made a good point about the value of IPSC, personal defense, and mind-set. Three competitors were eating in a restaurant after the match. Two of them were serious IPSC shooters and had finished high in the standings. Thee third was a cop who had finished well back in the pack. The subject of concealed carry came up. One of the shooters was unarmed. His tricked out race gun was locked in the trunk of his car outside. So was the competition gun of the other IPSC demi-god. After showing his stuff with a custom .45, he stowed it away and carried a J-frame .38 Spl. The cop was carrying the same service auto he carried every day—the same pistol he shot the match with.
Even though he had the worst score at the match, the cop was the only one of the three who was really benefiting from the practice and competition.
James offers up a lot of good advice on his site. I really like his emphasis on dry-firing practice and shooting prone or from a chair. Only the lucky get to use the standing Weaver when the SHTF.
Now, since this is a blog, I’ll throw in my two cents.
Where possible, add moving targets. They don’t have to be complicated or expensive. Balloons bobbing in the breeze are a neat wrinkle when paper targets get boring.
Practice dealing with unexpected malfunctions. Even when shooting multiple targets, it is easy to fall into a rut. Bang, bang [shift] bang, bang, [shift] bang, bang. Reload.
Put some snap caps into the mix and it changes the experience. Bang, bang, [shift] bang, click, [shi….,damn, clear] bang, [shift] bang, bang.