Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Concealed Carry: Train Like You Mean It!

Train like you mean it! What does this mean? I’ve heard it said many times that you Fight like you train and train like you fight. What this means dear gun brothers and sisters id that we need to rethink the reason for our training. If you are competing your training is different from defence. Some things will cross over such as grip, aim, control. But this is where competition stops being beneficial.
Many years ago I was a small arms instructor in the military. I’d get all kinds of experienced military members. I remember a particular young guy who could shoot more accurately than I’ve ever seen anyone shoot. I saw him put 10 rounds of 5.56 into one hole in a target. I was sceptical until I asked him to do it while I was watching 50 yards away through a spotting scope. He did it two more times while I was watching! He learned as a boy in Tennessee hunting with his father. He said he would spend hours shooting at cans in the forest. That’s what practice will get you! Anyway, I got hunters and competitors and those who thought they could shoot. It was more difficult for them once movement was introduced. Even if they moved and then stopped it was enough to throw them off. The closest competition I’ve seen that is good training for personal defence is 3 gun. This involves multiple targets from different distances and positions. This is realistic training. I used to go to the range and set up my training scenario. It involved shooting around barricades, over benches, and through tables. It also had a small jog between barricades. Increasing your heart rate, increasing the stress. It also involves transition to another weapon and magazines changes. What I really like is a shoot house but most of us don’t have access to one of those. Don’t misunderstand me. I learned and taught standing on a range and shooting at a static paper target. This type of bulls eye shooting is enjoyable and desirable. There are many things that can be learned with this type of shooting and I still do it when I want to shoot 50 rounds and get a 15 minute practice in. But for serious defence training a run and gun is the way to go. The term run and gun implies quite a bit less than what is actually required, though. In professional competitive setups, shooters are required to run a short distance between target locations, engage multiple targets, shoot around “barricades,” drop to and shoot from the prone position, or go into kneeling, squatting, and prone positions to shoot through various sized openings in plywood partitions to hit targets. In some setups, competitors are also required to transition from a pistol to a rifle and to a shotgun; not necessarily in that order.
How is training in this manner beneficial? Physiologically; (1) the physical activity portion gets the heart and lungs pumping to create physical stress; a negative force that needs to be overcome when pressed to perform under duress. (2) Engaging multiple targets, (most being “shoot targets” but some designated as no-shoot “noncombatants”) plus mandatory reloading of the firearm while on the move, creates mental stress; another negative force encountered when under pressure. (3) It develops hand / eye coordination which creates muscle memory.
From a tactical standpoint, it helps instil the use of cover and the need to safely move; to either advance on or retreat away from the opposing threat.
There are some drills that may assist you with this training.
Reloading Drill:
Engage the target, fire six shots and while moving, go through the motions required to reload and prepare your weapon for continued use. Conclude the exercise by lowering your weapon to the low ready position; scan left and right for additional threats then secure your weapon.
The purpose of this drill is to acclimate you to the divided attention skills required to (1) reload your weapon and (2) make your weapon ready for use while on the move.
The desired results are; you will reflexively eject the magazine, (or spent brass in the case of revolvers) insert a fresh magazine (or load the revolver cylinder) and make the weapon ready to fire again while, quickly moving to change cover locations, retreat or advance on the threat.
Transition Drill:
This drill will require the use of either a rifle or shotgun (or both) with a sling. With the rifle or shotgun slung in the front muzzle down position, Draw your handgun and engage the target with six shots. Re-holster and transition to the long gun, while moving, to engage another target with four shots. At this point, if you have opted for a third long gun, un-sling the third weapon while moving back to the first target, engage and fire four shots.
Once you have become comfortable at performing this last exercise and the movements feel more reflexive, it’s time to return to the beginning, but with some changes.
Begin by drawing the handgun and engaging the target with six shots. While on the move reload, making the weapon ready then engage a second target with six shots. Holster the handgun, transition to the rifle while moving to a second target and engage that target with five shots. On the move, reload the rifle and engage a third target with five shots. If you’ve opted to lug around that third weapon, repeat the steps you just completed with the rifle. At the end of the exercise, holding the last weapon at a low ready position, scan the area for any additional threats then secure the weapon.
These are just two drills you can use to make your training more realistic. If you feel you will never need to transition then just implement your handgun and magazine changes.
If possible (I know indoor ranges have limits on how you can train) put together a simple program for yourself. Keep track of what you do and how well you do it in a notebook to track your progress. Change up your drills and put variety in your training. You don’t need an elaborate range but you do need some freedom of movement and multiple targets.
Being realistic in your training is something we should all maintain. It’s more serious and you train like you mean it!