15 April 2013

DIY Force on Force Pistol Training

Holster by Vigitac
Regardless of whether I am training police or citizens in our Combative Pistol course, they are always amazed at the difference between the range and reality.
If you are reading this and believe that putting holes in cardboard and creating a pile of once fired brass will prepare you for a self-defense shooting scenario, stop now.  On the other hand, if you have been training or have been trained this way and know  through experience or logic that this is not the case, or have recently decided that you need to carry a pistol for personal protection, keep reading.

Below I will do my best to explain the reasons while live fire training is great for marksmanship and weapon manipulation skills, but fails in reference to preparing you for a real gun fight.  After that I will explain how to train realistically with a limited time and budget.

Visual & Audio cues- most would agree that there is not one single sound that would justify you to pull the trigger on your pistol, why then do so many use buzzers and whistles to begin courses of fire?  The knee jerk answer is because you need to know how fast you are shooting.  That is valid for police during qualification.  But many courts have affirmed that qualification is not training, and that training must be recent, relevant, and realistic.  That means that police are required to do firearms training in addition to qualification.  This should be a concern of the armed citizen.  If you are going to carry a pistol for self-defense, you have a personal responsibility to train with that pistol in such a way that prepares you for the realities of using it.  For both law enforcement and the citizen, this means learning to draw in response to a furtive movement.  Some here will think that they have this covered because they are using turning targets, this is not the case.  Training to deploy your pistol has two parts, when, and how.  Some train shoot and don’t shoot, but what about draw and don’t draw?  It
will most likely be furtive movement that will cause you to deploy your pistol, but what is furtive movement?  In classes, I have found that students have a hard time describing it.  Here is our definition- quick movements of the hands towards the weapon band ( area between the chest and waist) that based on the totality of the circumstances lead the victim to believe that the offender is accessing a weapon.  For example, in a parking lot someone becomes enraged over you taking their parking space.  During the altercation they suddenly reach behind their back.  A reasonable person would conclude that they are accessing a weapon, not giving you a business card.  We start with the offenders hands in front of him, then on a visual signal he accesses a training knife or gun as fast as he can.   There are two types of movement; preperatory and execution.  In the beginning you will be slow and be drawing your gun in reaction to seeing their weapon, but after some time, you will begin drawing in reaction to small preperatory movements like them shifting their weight or dropping their shoulder.  Initially this drill is best done with Blue Guns.

Rushing to acquire a two handed grip- for many, force on force training, especially with airsoft is something new.  As previously stated most people have spent more time live firing on a formal or informal range.  For obvious reasons on a live range safety comes first, and a training scare emerging from that is staying square to your target and standing still.  If you are allowed to move at all it is very controlled and straight back, exactly the opposite of what you want to do it real life.  In real life you want to move forward to your flanks at extremely close distances.  Most equate a good day at the range with a pretty target, and a pretty target is easier to make with both hands on the gun.  Habitually rushing to get the support hand on the gun does several detrimental things including-

  •         Increasing tunnel vision and task fixation as your find your sights.
  •     Encourages people to move straight back if they move at all.
  •    Leaves you without a hand to navigate or defend against an attack.
  •     Forces you not to shoot until the sights are up to eye level.

It is amazing how much having two hands on the pistol limits your vision and retards movement.  At close distances you may not have the room to extend your arms until they bring the gun between your eyes and the threat.

Reliance on using your sights-  First things first, you should use your sights whenever possible, the problem it that during gunfights that occur at conversational distance you may not be physical able to see them.  If your training is predicated with at least seeing a flash sight picture before pulling the trigger you may be too late.  Before you can use your sights you must be able to see them, and for you to see them either they must come up to your eye, or your eyes must come down to them.  During an altercation, with both eyes wide open, you naturally focus on the threat.  This mean that you are hard wired on looking forward and not down.  This removes your ability to look down at the sights, leaving you with only one option to bring the sights into play; you need to bring them up to your eyes.  Typical wisdom is that these incidents occur at 3-5 feet.  With a gun in my hand, a target has to be approximately 7 yards away for me to extend my arm to get the sights between my eyes and my pistol.  This shows that at the distance I am most likely to have to use my pistol, I am likely not going to have the time or distance needed to bring the sights up.  Instead we use default targeting which simply means that at these distances, your gun is between you and the threat which is facing you.  If you pull the trigger you will hit your target.  This first becomes possible at your waist and then tracks up, which has been evidenced is our force on force training.  This occurs not because you decide to shoot them from the waist up, but because you are pulling the trigger as you intuitively bring the sights up to eye level.  This is also why we know that distance is the friend of the experienced shooter.  This is another reason that although Simmunitions are fine for scenario based training, they are worthless for drills since they are not supposed to be used within seven yards, where there things usually occur.

Those three things; using visual cues, one handed shooting, and default targeting, go a long way when it comes to realistic training.  To accomplish them you need a few things.

Training partner- find someone who has the same training goals as you.

Blue Gun-   Helpful for training to draw in response to furtive movement.  Should fit your carry gun if possible.

Airsoft- even if it is the less expensive spring loaded kind.  Blowback models are more expensive, and Glocks can be hard to find.   If possible it should fit in your carry holster, if no try to get a holster for it.

To get the most out of training be sure to wear the same clothing and gear that you would any other day if at all possible.  This includes wearing a concealment garment if you CCW.

This training can be done anywhere, any time, and takes very little time to become proficient.  Once you become proficient while standing, change the conditions such as from inside a car, after falling or being knocked to the ground, or whatever you can come up with.

If you r goal is to train for self-defense and not the range you will figure out very quickly that doing so can be much more inexpensive that blasting through live ammo.

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