Friday, July 11, 2014

Training: "X" Marks the Spot, Now Get Off of It!

Where are you sitting/standing/laying right now? Look under you, do you see an “X” marking the spot there? Well you probably won’t. “X” is wherever you are right now. Most of the time you’re standing or sitting if you are attacked. To get off this “X” you must move. You should move quickly if possible.
I was in a mall doing some business one day. I was dealing with money and was followed out of the mall by two idiots. They were intent on robbing me. Or at least that’s what they thought. They were young and stupid, thank goodness. Had they been older and more “experienced” things would have been different. As it was, I stopped and we talked. I moved and we talked again. I was constantly making him adjust his position. That is what getting off the “X” means, moving.
Your mindset should be to not only defend, but that if needed, you will do harm to another. This can be lethal or non-lethal harm. Skill is important, but mindset rules.
Many things these days are called tactical. Whenever I put 550 paracord on something, I tease my wife and call it “tactical”. There’s a tactical mirror in our shower. But literally, thousands of pieces of gear are called tactical. Most have little to do with tactics. Tactics are actions to achieve an objective. If you are ever in combat, you should listen to this sound advice: Shoot, move, communicate. One of the key elements in this mantra that the Army pounds into their soldier’s heads is that of movement. This is the most important thing you can learn to survive a firefight. One of the first things to do is actually a tactical move. Get off the “X”! Execute a quick lateral move off of the spot you were standing. More than likely, this move would be simultaneous with your weapon draw. It would be a good thing to train and get in the habit of moving to reset the attackers OODA loop (See blog 3/20/2014 The OODA Loop – Combat Concept). Always be in threat condition Yellow (See blog 3/18/2014 Yellow to Orange). If you are aware and going through your own OODA Loop and can move off the “X”, your attacker will have to reevaluate and go through his Loop. If you keep moving, he will have to do this more than once. That takes time. Even a fraction of a second can make a difference. Do this more than once and the time adds up. Time to maneuver, to shoot, or find cover. Just as scanning, looking left and right, can break our own tunnel vision, moving can give us that “break “ in concentration and tunnel vision too. In a fight, especially one you did not initiate, you need all the advantage you can get. Movement makes sense in so many ways. Beside what we’ve discussed, moving makes you a harder target. It can move you toward cover if needed. It can give you more distance to the attacker. Moving to your 9:00 or 9:30 (the attacker being at 12:00) gives the attacker much more to deal with. He’s worried about being shot too. The more lateral you move, the more the bad guy will have to change his OODA. The benefits from this simple movement is amazing.
This isn’t to say if you do this you won’t get hurt. Improving your odds is all you are trying to accomplish.

The days of going to the range and standing there popping off perfectly placed shots should be over. Shooting from cover, shooting from various angles and positions, and of course movement should be in every training program. This is closer to reality.
Two of my favorite drills that help in this are as follows:
The El Presidente Drill -- At ten yards, facing three targets placed one yard apart, shoulder to shoulder. At the signal, draw and fire two rounds on each target, reload, and re-engage each target with two rounds. The shooter should fire as fast as they can and still keep all hits within the A-zone of the target. Once the shooter can perform this Drill with consistent good results, practice the traditional "El Presidente" Drill: Begin with your back to the targets. At the signal, turn and then draw and engage each target with two rounds, perform a mandatory reload, and re-engage each target with two rounds. The goal is accuracy, shooting quickly yet keeping all rounds in the A-zone of the target. Another alternative is performing either one of the versions above, but after the reload engaging the head of each target with either one or two rounds. Doing this teaches the shooter to "change gears" -- first engaging the targets fast with coarse accuracy and then slowing down to deliver precision head shots.
El Presidente was designed by Jeff Cooper as a rough benchmark of handgun skills. It is probably the most widely known handgun standard around.

Shoot And Move Drill -- Fire five shots moving forward. Then five shots retreating. Then begin at the 10 yard line and leave a magazine on the ground at the 3 yard line. At the start signal, move forward firing until you have reached the point where you placed the fresh magazine. Pick up the magazine from the ground and reload and then fire as you retreat back to the starting point.
This drill was developed by shooting champion Rob Leatham

Like Distance, movement can be your friend. Even if you never get to a skill level where you can move and shoot, at least develop a shoot, move, shoot regime. Often this is just as good and accuracy goes way up!

Semper Paratus