The Guardian Broadcast
"Providing Concealed Carry & Armed Self-Defense Wisdom."
A podcast by Patrick Kilchermann, founder of the Concealed Carry University.
"Lessons from Force on Force – Moving Targets"
This week we will analyze another finding from force on force research conducted here at the University, and I have to admit: it gets to the heart of one of the biggest problems we can face in combat - trying to hit a moving target.
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Hello and welcome to the Guardian Broadcast! I'm your host and founder of the Concealed Carry University, Patrick Kilchermann.
This and all Guardian Broadcasts are brought to you for free by our top-rated at-home DVD based concealed carry education curriculum: The Armed American’s Complete Concealed Carry Guide to Effective Self-Defense, and Master Handgun Accuracy. My goals with the education we provide are these: That is will be the best education possible; That it makes a level of awareness and knowledge and effectiveness possible for everyone who carries concealed – people who carry to live, rather than only field-experts like me who devote their whole lives to this discipline; and That our education is purely fact based and reality based; and That our education is the most cost-effective and time-efficient means of achieving your goals as a responsibly armed and educated American. If you haven’t gone through either of these courses, I recommend you do so – and you can find more information at www.ConcealedCarryUniversity.org, and by clicking on “Get Our Training”.
OK, last week I touched on an extremely important take-away that my Director of Operations and I have had from the force on force handgun combat training that we've engaged in so far, and that was the need to practice our discrete, proactive draw strokes right alongside our lightning fast, reactionary draw strokes. We also covered why this is important, how to do it most effectively, how to practice those skills, and what it might look like to have to use a discreet draw in a self-defense situation. If you missed that episode, be sure to check it out.
This week, I've got another force on force take-away for you, and that is: tracking movement. We've got to be able to track movement and hit moving targets with our handguns.
Briefly here, I want to talk about WHY this is essential, why most never learn how to do this, how badly it works out for them when they’re attacked, and then I want to discuss some easy ways that you can develop this skill without having to climb to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro and live among the indigenous Jedi-Master handgun fighters of southwest Africa for 7 years. Because who has time for that? This is a skill we need, and I would love for you to have developed it to a reasonable level one month from today. This is more than possible.
So, the situation, or the problem, is this: hit ratios in defensive handgun combat are, statistically, extremely low. Even among qualified and trained police officers, missing 7 out of 10 shots is the norm.
Now, I feel pretty certain that the "stress and adrenaline" of a violent attack is only a small part of explaining poor combat accuracy. That’s because, during the force on force training that I have done previously, I've seen these statistics roughly hold up. People miss between 60 and 70% of the shots they fire -- even when the force on force scenario is casual and devoid of spectators or any of the other pressures that might simulate the stress of a violent attack. So, it can’t all be stress.
And so, here’s what I think. Statistics like these are not hard and fast rules, but instead are symptoms. For example, we don’t find out that 40% of kids out there have diabetes and say, ‘well, I guess that’s just the way it is’. We know it’s not natural, and we take action and fix it. This is just as true for stats demonstrating poor combat handgun accuracy.
My conclusion from study and experience is that rather than being completely attributable to stress and adrenaline, poor combat accuracy mostly comes down to a simple lack of training.
I want you to have the experience that Caleb and I have during Force on Force training, where most shots hit our targets. It’s not uncommon for us to fire 10 or 12 shots and hit 8 or 9 of them – often without ever obtaining any real sight picture. This is not because we’re ninjas. It’s only because we practice a little bit differently than most people.
You see, most handgun users only ever get to shoot at stationary targets with their feet planted. That’s because the rules in indoor shooting stalls prevent any sort of practice even remotely analogous to a self-defense incident, and even at an outdoor range, when other people are present, it would be unsafe for other shooters if we tried to work in motion or moving targets.
We can’t practice against moving targets, and so when we are confronted with a threat who is moving (and most are, by the time we begin firing), we miss, and we miss a lot.
It’s like I say so many other times in relation to what we teach at Concealed Carry University, “if combat is the first time we experience something that could have been experienced in training, then we have a really failed ourselves.”
Right? There’s a reason why driver’s ed isn’t taught in simulators, or on perfectly straight freeways or on airport runways. We all know how important it is for our kids to experience bends and breaks and slips and slides and traffic and wind on the road, and we would never consider them ‘ready’ until they’ve faced these things. And so: we must force these same standards on ourselves. We can’t be satisfied to deprive ourselves of this type of training, only because it’s hard to accomplish, or because our range doesn’t allow it. We have to get creative, to solve this problem, and we have to learn to track moving targets.
Now fortunately, I have some ideas that are going to help you get these skills, because it’s NOT that hard, it DOESN’T take much time, and with just a little bit of input, you’re going to drastically boost your hit ratio if you ever are involved in a defensive shooting.
Alright, now the most important part of all this is that you find a training partner. You’ve got to find someone who sees eye to eye with you on the concealed carry issue, someone who is also pursuing the Guardian discipline, and someone who is willing to devote some time to this kind of unglamorous and sometimes goofy-feeling or looking practice sessions. A good training partner is worth his or her weight in gold. The two of you don’t have to agree on everything – all you have to agree on in this case in the importance of mastering combat accuracy! That should be an easy sell, especially if you share with them this Guardian Broadcast.
So, with your training partner alongside you, let’s talk about your options.
It would seem that the sophisticated options are the best: real Simunitions weapons, or AirSoft pistols, or paintball pistols that fire actual projectiles. However, this is all unnecessary for you. Not only because they are expensive, but frankly, unless you go with the real deal, you’re going to be spending more time learning to run these systems and lead targets with unrealistically slow projectiles than you will picking up lucrative skill.
Instead, I think you should go with the ultra low-tech solution. Buy a couple $5 toy guns, or if you want to get fancy, buy a couple $40 blue guns or orange guns that match your carry model, and start practicing tracking and evading each other how I’ll describe in just a moment.
Now, what about laser pointers. Can we tape a laser pointer to the end of our toy guns so we can really try to track our partners? Well, I really like this idea, because it lets you get away from depending on a line of sight down your handgun to know if you’re tracking your target or not, and this isn’t going to be possible from the low and high retention shooting positions that you’ll find yourself in often, when doing this kind of training. That said, I can’t officially condone pointing lasers at other people, because you might flash their eyes. Now, once or twice might not damage anyone’s eyes, but if lasers are brought into this kind of training, it’s guaranteed to happen a lot more often. Sunglasses don’t protect from laser beams, and so there’s no real solution to this conundrum that I’m aware of. Your eyes are more important to your survival than your gunfighting skills are, so risking them for the sake of gun training doesn’t make sense.
That said, just take your toy guns with their orange tips, and square off to each other. At first, just practice slow walks, changing directions randomly on each other. Go slow, and work on keeping a good sight picture on your partner, focusing only on your front sight unless you get far apart. Speed it up and get more and more dynamic as you’re comfortable and ready.
Another exercise is to have one person set their toy gun down, and step into the role of the charging or flanking attacker. As the armed trainer, practice tracking and reeling your gun into those retention positions as your opponent gets near.
If you do this ridiculously simple training exercise together, and if you’ve never done it, then you can know that even spending 30 minutes doing this per year is leaving you drastically better off in your ability to score hits on a real target, so please at least make it a point to do it this much. 30 minutes of line of sight, target tracking practice for each of you. If you can spend 2 or 3 hours doing this per year, you really will impress yourself when you go live.
And what about going live? No problem: just fix a target stand to a wagon and tie a rope to the wagon handle. Drive a stake at one end of your shooting range, and run a long rope from the wagon handle, around the stake, and back to a rope puller who is standing off to your shoulder. When he pulls back on that rope, that wagon is going to travel perpendicular to both of you, giving you some excellent shooting against moving targets.
Just remember: Live fire is where we confirm our skill; dry work is where we build our skill. So don’t go straight to the wagon step – be sure to put in some time tracking your partner with a toy gun. I promise you: you won’t regret it!