Train to a higher standard

There was a discussion on the Insights Training Center mailing list where someone posed a “what would you do in this scenario?” type of question. John Holschen posted some response, and this snippet in particular stood out to me:

If your question was really about the physiology of a hypothetical “hostage shot” that you have no choice but to take…
1. Anything other than a bullet in the brain or upper spine is unlikely to produce instant physiological incapacitation.
2. Not all bullets in the brain or spine will produce instant physiological incapacitation (especially from a handgun.) I.E. There are no guaranties.
On an additional note: I expect that most people in this situation would wish they were more competent in their firearms skills than they currently are (i.e. could more reliably deliver bullets to a smaller target area.)

It’s the last part that stands out.

It probably stands out to me because of this past Saturday’s Skill Builder class. We’re trying to get people to shoot to a higher standard. That B-27 target creates a horrible standard. Not just because it’s anatomically wrong, but on the TX CHL test if you get a hit within the 8 ring or higher, that’s a “good hit” earning the maximum 5 points. That 8 ring is HUGE. If you can only keep your shots within that 8 ring, you’re not doing too good. The reason is, under pressure your skills will degrade. If you can keep things in a 6″ circle even under the artificial pressure of class or competition, then when the flag flies you’ll be able to keep them i that 8-ring. If you can only keep them in that 12″ area when there’s no or very little pressure, when the flag flies you’re going to be making unacceptable hits.

I recently saw some pictures of some students that passed their TX CHL test, and the targets looked like they had been peppered by a shotgun blast (and one had a textbook case of trigger slapping/yanking). I am happy to see these folks seeking their CHL, and I hope they will seek further training to improve their skills.

In the Skill Builder, we shot at a 3″ dot and worked on groups in that 3″ dot. Then we worked to stay within the “-0″ ring of an IDPA target (8” circle) against the timer. Finally, we moved to the KRT-1 target, which has some rather small targets. The class ended with shooting the “3 Seconds or Less” drill on the A/B zones of the KRT-1, which is tougher than usual because the A/B zones on the KRT-1 are smaller than the corresponding zones on IDPA or IPSC targets.

Can you do this?

Can you do this on demand? Repeatedly?

Can you do this cold? because when you get attacked, you won’t have a chance to warm up.

You must understand that when the flag flies your skill and ability will degrade. Karl likes to bring up something Paul Ford said. Paul is ex-Austin PD and SWAT, been in a few gunfights, and Paul said something to the effect that in a gunfight you will do about 75% of your worst day at the range. So get that. It’s not your best day, it’s your worst day… and then you’ll do even worse than that. Think about your most recent bad day at the range when you just couldn’t hit shit, you just couldn’t perform. And now think about that being worse…. is that how you want to perform when your life or the life of someone you love is at stake? Or maybe you should do what it takes to ensure your worst day is at least better than most people’s best day. So that if you found yourself in that hypothetical situation that John Holschen spoke of, that you’ll have the confidence and knowledge that you can and will perform, instead of wishing you had trained harder.

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