For some time I have had a deep concern regarding what I believe to be a false sense of security and a deep sense of realism for some, or many, playing video games, reading gun magazines or reading fiction stories. It's easy to walk away with the belief using a firearm is fairly simple and the bad guy falls down becoming a non-threat. What is that sucking sound that sounds like a sucking chest wound? Don't panic....take a deep breath and hang on. Finish reading what I'm saying here. Stats say approximately 80% of people who are shot survive while 80% of those cut don't survive......something like that. Now, that sounds pretty crazy doesn't it? Don't believe it? I would say no way" except I have taken part in the Tueller Drill and I know it to be accurate. Matter of fact, I would almost believe the percentage to be higher because a knife attack is normally within close proximity. So what is the Tueller Drill? You can do it at home to test your skills and then maybe adjust your opinion possibly. How do you conduct the test. Simple. Take out a tape measure and mark off the distance of 21 feet. You can do the test a couple of different ways. My favorite is to place a person at the 21 ft mark, while you stand stationary 21 ft away. The person who is 21 ft away from you can have a knife or weapon. You have a holstered, unloaded and safe, weapon. Better yet, use a replica weapon in your holster. Safety, safety, safety. One of you will announce go. At this point your job is to unsnap and draw your weapon to defend your life against the attacking threat. The person 21 ft away will begin charging towards you on the word "go" and will run as fast as possible with the weapon up in the attack position. You will be amazed at how many times out of ten attempts, the person with the holstered weapon will lose in the exercise. A little secret to help you out if you try this exercise, as the approaching threat gains distance and is within about three feet reach of you, side step the threat and then eliminate the threat. You can watch videos of this exercise on YouTube if you wish. A great lesson in this exercise is how quickly you will learn that even with a firearm, you can lose the battle to a knife when the threat to you offers little to no warning in advance of the attack. Okay, so back to the point ... The realism of taking out a firearm to defend oneself, family, or home, against a target, can be overwhelming to most. The lack of understanding and/or reality when the human hears the first bullet wiz by the head without impact or a shot is fired and we look over to see a large hole in the chest of a loved one, can make or break the outcome. This is a game changer. Are you going to run over to try and apply aid to the family member who is shot? What about the threat that remains in your presence? You may still have additional family members in the area who may soon be in the line of fire. What is your decision? YOU have about 1 second to decide. As I stated in the opening paragraph, I have had a sense of concern on this topic for a period of time. There is no perfect fix all band-aide that cures the problem. But, recognizing the vulnerability and taking steps to improve one's status will help. I'm a big reader and I recommend it to everyone. Watch videos as well. Most who have attended my classes or read my book will recognize the name Lt Col. (Ret) Dave Grossman. Go on YouTube and watch Mr Grossman's series "Bullet Proof Mind" or read some of his books. As with most things in life, the psychological approach and understanding is critical. Once again, you must understand you. How do you react and respond to pressure and stress. What makes you tick. When you run mental exercises or drills within your mind, do you include "shoot-don't shoot" drills? What does your state laws say about shooting a home intruder if they grab your possessions and never threaten you? Yea, yea, yea, I know, dead men don't talk. You may want to ask a friendly lawyer how this will stand up as a defense. Forensics, trajectory of the round(s) being fired, ballistics of rounds fired, location of the intruder and has the body been moved or tampered with, what type of ammo was used in the firearm that shot the intruder and was it overkill? Was the ammo self-loaded by the shooter? Is your head spinning yet? Do you ever wonder if John Wayne or Clint Eastwood ever had to deal with all these questions? While considering this article I spoke to a close friend who is a retired police officer with over 30 years of service to our great nation and the federal government. This is a raw subject here in our area at the moment because we had a city law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty while participating in what was believed to be a drug raid last Friday. A husband and father of five young children, gone forever. He was wearing body armor in his response however a round penetrated through the top edge of the protective layer and killed the officer. I asked my friend about his view on individuals who fall in to the false sense of reality when dealing with weapons in the hands of the untrained or those untrained who's will is to cause injury or death to others. His first word was a "Superman Mentality" of believing they are coated in armor. It can't happen to them. We can't live in paranoia but we can live a life of being prepared. Being realistic. There could be minimal consideration to practice and training on a regular basis. I know a few of you who have specifically addressed and continue to address personal firearm training. Have you considered the adrenalin factor associated with practicing firearm skills? How about consideration to the threat factor of taking out a firearm after being awakened by a sound in the night and then moving forward through a home to a potential threat...that could end your life and the life of your family. Realism and training lacks in most cases without including the human factors such as the reaction of the brain and body. In the world we live today via the internet it is very easy to get lost in the virtual world of unrealistic actions and reactions through great videos and stories. Additionally, it is very hard to find simulated training in most areas. You see, not all of the possible shortfalls are the fault of the people. Shooting a target is good and it helps familiarize one with the weapon, builds muscle memory and it builds confidence. Confidence is important. So is practice and common sense. Here is something to consider; do you believe you train and fire more rounds than the average police officer in a major city? I would guess not. As reported via the Woodpile Report, in a recent case in NY City, the report stated the NYPD taking 16 shots to kill one bad guy and accidentally wounding nine civilian passers-by, or officers firing 84 shots at a murder suspect and missing 83 times (with the only hit registering in the suspect's calf), don't blame the officers-blame their poor training and equipment. And they don't get prosecuted for stray bullets like most of us would. Now imagine the average Bubba with no training or minimal training that includes standing and shooting at a single stationary target while shooting at the shooters pace with no shots being fired back towards the shooter. So, there may be many reasons to why you don't or can't train with a more realistic approach. Locations, availability, cost, physical conditioning, urban environment, lack of training ranges in your area, not owning a firearm, no one to help you, blah, blah, blah. So, here's a few ways to change your approach and start training to some level. What's the old saying..."if there's a will there is an A?" First, if you don't own a firearm and want to practice firearms training, many local ranges will rent a firearm and even provide an instructor to assist you in your needed skills. The cost is fairly inexpensive. So, don't let this excuse stop you. Based on what you have access to for training you could go to indoor ranges that are instructor led or supervised. Some offers moving targets. You could also find a location that offers shoot don't shoot events. Or, you may find a location offering the very realistic shoot don't shoot scenarios through virtual reality training. Here in Huntsville one can take self-defense classes that includes using your weapon. Or you could spend additional money and take a multi-day course where you shoot thousands of rounds in a tactical setting and you perfect your skills and mindset. You may be one who is limited by physical ability or even confined to a wheel chair or walking device for support. It is not impossible to go to the firing range however it may be something that is very sensitive or maybe transportation is limited. These are personal decisions. So something to consider for training is to purchase a laser round simulator sized to the caliber of your firearm. You can remain at your home and use the laser target illuminator system to practice drawing your weapon and dry firing at your target. Maybe a light switch or electrical outlet on the wall. Move yourself around the room and practice drawing and dry firing at the target. Practice with and without lights. See, not impossible. Practice builds confidence and muscle memory as well. So you currently shoot at targets posted to a board, target holder or something stationary. One method to advance your training in this scenario is to go buy a bag of balloons and a small helium tank. No, not the big one on the cart. A hand held tank. Go to the range or in the woods to a safe place. Always know what is behind your target area. Find two post or trees that offer you about twenty to fifty feet (starting out). Tie a thick string across from post to post (tree to tree). Then blow up your balloons with helium. Tie strings on the helium balloons at different lengths. Nothing over three feet long. Then tie the stringed balloons to the line of string between the posts. Place some close together and some with distance. The balloons should be floating now and moving if any breeze at all is available. Mark off your distance to around 21 ft or so. Now, turn away from the balloons to the left or right and start walking back and forth, covering the distance between the posts left to right. If alone, you can count to ten while walking back and forth then turn and identify a specific color of balloon. Maybe the target is orange or blue. You get one shot to take down the target. How did you do? If you want to add an additional challenge to this exercise, buy some dummy rounds and have someone place the dummy rounds in with your regular ammunition per each magazine load. Test your skills at stopping your firing routine when your gun jams and you have to unjam to extract the round and then get back in the fight (exercise). Ms. Lucy loves it when I do this to her while firing. NOT You should already be round counting. Meaning, if the magazine holds 10 rounds, you should be counting off each round as you fire. Why? This is part of the mental exercise of knowing your weapon and also knowing how many rounds you have remaining. If you are behind cover or concealment and you see five threats walking to you with weapons exposed and you count rounds and realize you have two rounds left, you may want to change out magazines to ensure you have enough ammo to defend against approaching threat. Just remember, not everyone exposing a firearm is a threat. If you have a second person this exercise works better. You do the same drill, however you don't count1..2...3...4...5.... You simply walk back and forth and when the second person says go, you turn towards the balloons and the second person will tell you a color to target. Or maybe a second color. How did you do? Are you feeling confident yet? Okay, confidence comes through practice. So, let's put helium in five blue balloons and one white balloon. Use the strings again and keep the strings within about a five inch maximum length difference. Now, tie the strings very close together so the balloons are floating close and often bumping up against one another at times. Okay, balloons are floating and you start walking back and forth like in the previous exercise. On the count of ten or when the other person says go, you must turn, assess your view of fire, identify your target and fire to eliminate the threat. Ahh, what is the target? Your objective is to fire on the single colored white balloon floating amongst the five blue balloons. The five balloons are simulated as your family. Yikes. You can switch up the scenarios using the balloons, distances, and methods of fire at your wish. Run in place for one minute then spin around and shoot the identified targets. You can also shoot from the kneeling or prone positions if you wish. Or, you can simulate being asleep by wearing a blindfold for one minute then dropping it off your eyes and identifying and eliminating the target. Be creative and practice a lot. Another method you can test your skills with is to find a field in a safe location, maybe on a farm, with permission, and grab ten or more hay bales. Take the hay and place it at different distances and angles. Maybe 20 to 70 yards from the firing line. Place your targets on the bales and then decide how you will approach the targets based on your pre-determined scenarios. Maybe run in place for a minute then drop prone to take on the first two targets, left to right, then kneel and take on the second most distant targets right to left, then stand and take on the distant targets. You can make up how you want to do it. Just do something different than stand in place and shoot at the same thing, over and over. Or, you can leave the hay bales the same as the previous drill and then on command, you can take off running ahead for about 50 to 100 yards (space dependent) and then run back. When you reach your finish line, turn and take on your targets in the sequence you have determined prior to starting the exercise. Maybe engage from the kneeling to prone to standing type scenarios. Always identify your threat first and then engage the closest one to you. If you have a second person with you, use the person to call out targets to you to eliminate. Listening to target ID and then having to identify, adjust, target and eliminate the target, is harder than you already knowing exactly where to look and engage. Want to make it even harder? Use the same targets but use the "friend vs foe" method. It is sort of a generic version of "shoot-don't-shoot." Shooting can be fun and engaging in most cases. Most shooters take on the hobby with the thought it is just that, a hobby. And, that is great. My hope is it stays this way and you never ever have to be faced with a barrel pointed back at you or your family. But when taken a few steps beyond a hobby and realism is included, how will the average "preparer" respond? Unlike a video game or exercise scenario, guns are real and they will kill. The recipient of the shooting usually doesn't get up. Just like in the fiction stories. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy fiction stories as much as the next person. Just ask Ms. Lucy how much I have enjoyed reading fiction post-apocalyptic books over the years. We ran out of shelf space. Thank goodness for Kindle. One can gain a vast volume of good tips and pointers on equipment and planning through reading. Folks just need to be cautious to not get trapped with a false sense of reality. Until you pick up the weapon and start investing in realistic training your level of capability to put up a solid defense will remain fragile. Think about it.
Bravo Echo Out