I spent October 23-24, 2010 with Tom Givens of Rangemaster taking his Combative Pistol 2 course, hosted at KR Training. While my general AAR is here, there were some things that came up in class that I wanted to speak about in greater detail. What follows is inspired by something Tom said or we did in class, but is ultimately my take on things and how thoughts gelled in my head. I would encourage you to train with Tom Givens, if you ever have the chance. Reading my blather is no substitute.
Yes, we need to “shoot things“. But more importantly, we need to hit things.
If you have to shoot, you have to hit.
So sayeth The Givens.
It seems so simple, it seems a “no-brainer”, but is it really? Look at how many times we shoot and miss. Oh sure, maybe you hit paper, but look at how we’ll rationalize our crappy shooting to satisfy our egos. Can you get your hits inside an 8″ circle at 25 yards? or a 3″ circle at 5 yards? 3 shots in a 3″ circle at 5 yards in 3 seconds? Can you do it on demand? Always?
You have to have the ability to deliver fight-stopping hits. The goal is not to kill, it’s to get the other person to stop. If you can do that without ever firing a shot? Great. If you can do it without drawing your gun? Great. If you can do it by avoiding the area and situation entirely? Great. But if you have to shoot, you have to hit.
It’s not just fight-stopping hits, but that you are responsible for any bullet that doesn’t hit the intended target. A good number of the confrontations Givens’ students were in? Public areas. Shopping malls. What are in shopping malls? Lots of non-involved people. You don’t need one of your bullets ending up in one of them.
During one qual course I shot one weak-hand-only shot that totally missed. It hit paper, but completely outside of any target area. There was no excuse. I saw the sights, I called the shot, but I still let the round go… because of pressure, because being ingrained that the shot has to get off, whatever. And all I kept thinking to myself was: oh shit! That wasn’t just a miss… that was a potential hit on an innocent person… maybe even my Wife or Kiddos.
Let that sink in on you.
When you practice, don’t shrug off your misses, because those misses could have even greater cost and impact than your hits.
Train to eliminate missing. Train to improve your ability to hit. Givens mentioned how almost every qual course out there he can clean. Seems a reasonable goal to strive for, doesn’t it? You can’t clean it if you miss even one shot.