3rd Takeway from FoF Training

Last time I posted about 2 top takeaways I observed from the students at the FoF course. There was a 3rd standout observation, but it didn’t fit with the other two and I didn’t want it to distract from those.

The 3rd takeaway was to make good use of force decisions. A lot of students (male) ended up drawing their gun on a belligerent, but unarmed, female. While there could be an occasion where a male could reasonably be in fear for their life against an unarmed female, you need to be able to state exactly why, and why some other alternative (like retreating) would put you in more danger. Also, on more than a few occasions, role players got shot who were not presenting a deadly fore threat at the time as well as more “brandishing” incidents in general (drawing the gun before it was a clear deadly force incident).

This happened for multiple reasons. The first is a training environment issue. The students assumed that since they have a “Simmunitions” gun in a FoF scenario, that means they are supposed to shoot. Going along with that, they want to use the gun because that is what they are paying for.

However, probably one of the biggest disservices an instructor could make would be to condition the students into only one response, that deadly force is always (and the only) option based on poor scenario design.

Another reason has to do with not treating the scenarios as real. At one point I asked why the student pointed the gun at a role player. “Because they got too close to me” was the response. I then asked if they drew their gun out in public every time someone gets to close to them like at the mall etc. “No….” I also own some of this, I will better explain the environment and conditions for future classes to make it clear how they should look at the scenarios.

Finally, just plain ‘ol stress. The drill where these issues came out the most was a decision making drill with 3 role players all doing different things at once (some threatening, some just annoying, some no threat at all). This forces the student to take in a lot of info and make decisions. It is supposed to be stressful. Under stress (and the expectation that things might get violent), our subconscious reaches for safety, in the form of the gun if we have one. Under stress we tend to have our hands go to the gun and our fingers get drawn to the trigger prematurely as if by a tractor beam whether we want it to consciously at that point.

Finally, a mirror-image problem of to being too quick to draw or shoot (when deadly force isn’t warranted yet) is a hesitation to shoot when it is. I noticed this the most when the role-player had an impact weapon or a knife (safe training versions of course!). Students giving them way too much leeway and letting them get way too close after they indicated they meant to harm the student and made a movement forward. Once you see they have a deadly weapon and they make an aggressive move, don’t hesitate!

How can you apply it in your training? Use photo-realistic or 3D targets that have guns or knives so you are conditioning yourself to only use deadly force when legal to do so. Also, have a partner work in no-shoot targets for you to practice rapid observation and decision making. Practice giving verbal commands and retreating on occasion instead of always shooting every target every time in training.

Top 2 Takeaways from Force on Force Training

We conducted our first Force on Force training course in January I and wanted to share a couple things I noticed.

#1 Takeway-Scan!!!!! Make sure you are training to scan 360 deg. I’m not talking about the going through the motions range-ism Owl impression. I’m talking about actually turning around (muzzle control) and seeing what is behind you. Under stress (even the milder stress of FoF), you will be focused on the threat you are dealing with. You have got to break that “tunnel vision!”

In the more complex scenarios at the end, those who did scan didn’t end up getting shot by any “sleepers” or accomplices. If they were aggressive enough in their scan, role player #2 just stayed put and decided to live to fight another day. Those who didn’t scan, probably got a welt for their trouble, then addressed threat #2 (everyone “lives” in a properly run training scenario, students don’t get “killed” for fun, besides “shot” doesn’t automatically equal “dead”).

Here is how I suggest to train to scan properly. I’ll break it into 2 steps. Step #1 can be done anytime on any range in any training environment. Step 2 can be done at home dry-fire, in FoF training and at any informal shooting environment (home range, woods etc.)

Step 1: Lower the gun to a low ready position to get your own gun and arms out of the way because you just shot the threat in front of you to the ground (otherwise you’d still be shooting, moving to cover etc.). Ensure the threat in front of you is handled. Now, scan the front 180.

Step 2: if you are somewhere that will allow it, bring the gun back into a compressed high ready position (finger off trigger, I decock and/or go safety ON now), and physically turn around and look behind you. Dip the muzzle to not flag any non-hostile people as you do so.

The crank your neck while facing forward is just an ineffective “range-ism”, leave it behind. Always practice step 1, practice steps 1-2 as much as possible (which is theoretically infinite) at home dry-fire and anytime where it would be allowed.

#2 Takeaway-Move!!!

Shoot while moving laterally to the side. The vast majority, of even those with lots of prior defensive handgun training, shoot while standing still. If you are being charged by someone with a knife, or just in a gunfight, lateral movement can make a massive difference in the outcome. I know there is a line of thought that says to shoot then move to maximize shot placement. In a dynamic environment where the action is taking place at 15ft or less, I call BS on that theory. Bullets aren’t magic, you had better be moving while shooting to avoid getting hacked or beaten before the perfect placement can matter.

Like scanning, you can practice shooting while moving to your heart’s content at home dry fire or with airsoft and/or laser systems. In addition to when shooting in less-formal range environments.

Next CQG course scheduled and a new class added!

Building on the success of the first course, we have scheduled another one for 4/29/17. It is improved with more focus and practice time on close quarter shooting skills and another scenario added in!

We have taken out the basic firearm instruction from the CQG course and created a stand-alone 3 hr class the evening prior for more training options. If you have prior formal defensive handgun training in safety, drawing, grip, stance, and shooting, you can just attend the CQG course. If you do not meet the pre-requisite training requirement, the Defensive Handgun Foundations course is for you! It can also be taken as a stand-alone introductory class as well.

Check out the Defensive Handgun Foundations course here! Defensive Handgun Foundations