“Mass Shooting”

I see that after the events in San Bernadino (actually, in several politician’s cases, during the events in San Bernadino as they felt no need to actually wait until they had an understanding of the situation), a number of people have decried “gun violence” and many others have vehemently argued that “mass shootings” are horrible (absolutely true) and that Something Must Be Done About All These Mass Shootings.

(If there was a font available that adequately conveyed the sense of smug self-righteousness combined with cloying fake concern and elitist condescending behavior most often demonstrated by people who Talk In Capital Letters about such things, I’d use it.)

It is everywhere—“310th mass shooting in the U.S. this year,” “we must take action to stop gun violence now, what happened in San Bernadino must not be allowed to happen again,” and my personal favorite “I say this every time we’ve got one of these mass shootings; this just doesn’t happen in other countries.” (…which was great since Obama said that while standing in Paris.  Ahem.  Mr. President, do you know what happened several weeks ago in Paris?  Just curious.)

Seriously, comments like that are everywhere.  Suddenly (and again) many people who have no understanding of crime and violence (hint:  being alive in a city in which crime occurs doesn’t actually give you an understanding of violence) have The Solution (or at least a serious complaint that Something Must Be Done!) for “gun violence” and “mass shootings.”

So many comments.  Attempting to refute them all using actual facts seems like the labors of Sisyphus, particularly because the minute you try, an emotional reaction is what you get back, instead a discussion.

Here’s the thing:

If you think “gun violence” should be an issue about guns,

and/or

…if you think “gun violence” is something that can be solved by removing guns from law-abiding citizen’s hands,

and/or

…if you think “mass shootings” as a category adequately covers terrorist acts, gang-related drive-by shootings outside of clubs, AND murders by mentally disturbed people all at the same time, and also believe that there is a single fix for this category, then…

…you are too ignorant to discuss this with respect to the topics of crime, violence, and mental health.  (Whether you are stupid or not depends on your reaction when faced with your ignorance:  If you attempt to find facts to reduce your ignorance, you are not stupid.  If you attempt to argue emotionally from the depths of your ignorance, you are stupid.)

There isn’t anything wrong with being ignorant, per se.   Ignorance is fixable.  However, thinking that even though you are ignorant regarding the subject matter 1) your opinion is valid, and 2) your opinion should be respected by others, is ridiculous.  (And you should probably stop blathering until you reduce your ignorance.)

Terrorist actions, gang activity, and mental health issues leading to violence are all huge subjects, and incredibly different in terms of causes, actions, and possible defenses/solutions.  If your blanket “solution” for all of these things while calling them “mass murders” is “more gun control” then you LITERALLY are too ignorant to have a conversation with on this topic.  You know so little about any of those topics that attempting to discuss them with you would require starting from from square one, because you currently don’t know anything.

The question is, knowing that you are ignorant, are you going to fix your ignorance?

Or are you going to be stupid?

(By the way, love the idea that a “mass shooting” is defined as four or more people shot when you count the criminal as a victim of shooting, and also can’t apparently count all the way up to four when tallying your numbers.  Excellent work, reddit.  This, by the way, is why crowd-sourced “facts” aren’t considered good enough for anything remotely scientific requiring precision and accuracy.)

 

It is good that we have Sheeple, in a way…

“I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine.”
–Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, post 12 May 1780 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/

I don’t really like the term “sheeple” because it is a derogatory term towards people who (mostly) haven’t done anything wrong.  Previous generations fought, built, and worked so that many people now have lives so good that it doesn’t occur to them that personal safety is something they should be responsible for.  In a strange way, it is a tribute to the people who have fought so that so many citizens of the U.S. believe that they don’t need to worry about their own personal safety, that defense is something that can be handled by others.

Watching the horrific events in Paris yesterday, I saw that “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America” immediately decried the “gun violence” showing that not only are they divorced from reality (apparently those killed by bombs don’t matter, nor does the reason for the violence or anything other than gun violence matter) but they will immediately attempt to take anything and twist it to their agenda.

At the same time, I read numerous comments from other people in America saying “We wouldn’t let that happen here.”  I saw people quoting the Japanese admiral  “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass” and I saw people talking about how Americans weren’t like that, that it simply wouldn’t happen that way is someone tried.

And I wished that were true.

America is a harder target than Paris, yes—but that isn’t the same thing as saying it is a hard target.  We have been so successful at reducing violence that many people don’t understand violence and simply don’t see any reason to take responsibility for their own safety anymore–and as a consequence of that, don’t understand people who do, and have made laws making it difficult for people to do so.  The “sheeple” (and this time I mean it as a derogatory comment) have decided that their lack of understanding of personal responsibility is sufficient reason to reduce other people’s ability to defend themselves.  (Hence the derogatory term.)

There are thousands of people in the U.S. who are trained, capable, and willing to be responsible for their own personal safety.  None of those people would have been allowed to carry firearms into a concert in a night club, or to a large-scale sporting event.  As such, in those venues, the initial results would have been similar to what happened in Paris.

People in other places, however, would have had choices.  And it probably would have made a difference.  (How much? I don’t know.  But I DO know that if people are resisting, that will make a better outcome than if violent murderers are allowed to continue to kill with nothing to stop or slow them down.)

People who deny reality, who think violence is a function of inanimate objects, who think that safety is something that government should do for us—these are the people who make it difficult.  Plenty of other people who simply don’t understand the issue aren’t really the problem—we have created these people by making a nation in which self-defense isn’t something that most people have to worry about.  (Though in certain aspects over time, this is changing.)  Many people who don’t understand don’t attempt to make it difficult for those who do.  They may be “sheeple” but they aren’t the problem, really—they are a sign that we have done well in making the nation safe.

But they aren’t prepared to take responsibility for their own defense, and the defense of their loved ones.

Tamara Keel as always, said it very well:
“I ain’t goin’ out like that. Whether it’s some Columbine wannabe who’s heard the backward-masked messages on his Marilyn Manson discs, distressed daytrader off his Prozac, homegrown Hadji sympathetic with his oppressed brothers in Baghdad, or a bugnuts whackjob picking up Robert Frost quotes transmitted from Langley on the fillings in his molars, I am going to do my level best to smoke that goblin before my carcass goes on the pile. I am not going to go out curled into a fetal ball and praying for help that won’t arrive in time.”  (That was back in 2006, by the way:  http://booksbikesboomsticks.blogspot.com/2006/09/i-aint-goin-out-like-that.html)

A lot of us think that way also.  We don’t want to shoot anyone, we don’t want to kill anyone, we don’t want to have to do anything like that.

But unlike the people whose lives have been sufficiently safe that they don’t feel the need to take responsibility for their own defense, we will.

America isn’t a “hard target” for terrorist attacks the likes of which occurred in Paris.  It certainly could happen here.

But I ain’t goin’ out like that.  And there are thousands of decent, law-abiding people who think the same thing.  And that WILL make a difference.

IDPA is a game. Deal with it.

Tamara Keel over at View From The Porch said it very well:
I don’t mind being told I can’t use a flashlight lanyard. Tell me “we wanted a level playing field”. Fine. Tell me “we’ve seen safety issues with them.” Fine. Tell me “just because that’s the rules.” Fine.

Just don’t tell me “because our sport is a realistic tactical simulation of real-world street CCW equipment and tactical gunfighting wharrrgarble.” 

This is of course not a surprise, as she has an outstanding way with words.

IDPA markets itself:
“The International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) is the governing body of a shooting sport that simulates self-defense scenarios and real life encounters. The founders developed the sport so that practical gear and practical guns may be used competitively.”

Many shooters in the sport deride other sport shooters as “gamers,” claiming that their sport is realistic training for self-defense, that it simulates real life, that they use guns that are REALLY carried concealed for self-defense, along with the equipment that REALLY gets used “on the street.”

Tam’s worth reading on it:  http://booksbikesboomsticks.blogspot.com/2014/02/that-stuff-will-get-you-killed-on-street.html

Personally, I can’t use my actual carry gear in IDPA.  I could use the gun I normally carry–but since I can’t use my holster or mag pouches (which means I can’t use my standard cover garment) and I’m switching out everything else, I might as well use the gun I normally use for competition shooting instead.

I normally carry AIWB—oops, not legal in IDPA.  My normal mag pouches are made by Ky-Tac, to IDPA’s old specifications–oops, the new rules say that NOW mag pouches must cover a certain amount of the magazine (instead of it being based on whether or not the mags stay in place) so my mag pouches aren’t legal in IDPA anymore (it apparently doesn’t matter how much retention they have, it just matters if the mag is covered sufficiently).  Since I carried AIWB, I used a closed-front polo shirt for concealment–but since I had to switch holsters to an OWB holster on my hip, I decided that I might as well buy a standard-use IDPA vest for concealment, which of course has large front pockets to drop mags into, plus a nice thick heavy seam along the outside for vest stiffness to make draws easier–though of course that isn’t realistic for actual carry in any way.  I’d never wear this thing outside of an IDPA match.

When I shoot IDPA it doesn’t resemble in any way how I actually carry, due to their rules.  Literally, their rules have forced me to be more “gamer” than I would have been without their rules.  I had to buy a whole new set of equipment for “realistic” IDPA because my actual daily carry equipment apparently wasn’t “realistic” enough.

I haven’t shot IDPA for very long, and in addition to a small number of local matches, I’ve only shot 4 major matches (the Kansas state match twice, the Iowa state match once, and the Arkansas state match once).  Out of those matches, I’ve won the entire match three times, and placed second overall in the other (that was the Arkansas match, at IDPA club number #001).

Far as I can tell, other than adding stories to their stage descriptions, IDPA is no more realistic or practical than USPSA.  (Don’t tell me that “use of cover” makes it more realistic–because how cover is used in IDPA isn’t realistic, plus the fact that cover is rarely actually used in actual citizen self-defense situations so it isn’t exactly a priority.)  When I can win a stage in IDPA by quietly stepping backward and calling 911 or by running screaming for help, then I’ll rethink my opinion of IDPA’s “realism.”  (Heck, when I can make an intelligent choice about going into a room filled with bad guys by instead quietly bypassing it, I’ll think about it.)

Note:  I’ve enjoyed the IDPA I shot.  This doesn’t change the fact that it is REALLY annoying to run into someone who insists that IDPA “prepares you for the street,” “is realistic self-defense training,” and that “those other sports are for gamers” when the game itself makes people be less realistic about their equipment, forces people to make dumb choices regarding tactics (no, really, we should ALWAYS attempt to do house-clearing by ourselves!), and doesn’t in any way resemble reality.

They are all games.  They all have rules, a winner, and lots of losers after that.   They are fun games–and they make you perform with a handgun under stress, which DOES make you more likely to be able to defend yourself.  (Not to mention that people who engage in shooting sports tend to end up better shooters because they have a reason to practice and get better.)  The gun games are fun.  Like I said, I’ve enjoyed the IDPA major matches I’ve shot.  (Much of that was due to the good people who were running them, and the other shooters I was squadded with.)

Just stop telling me that IDPA is more “street” than “those other gaming gamer games.”

 

I shot badly at the last match…

Awhile back, my wife mentioned to me that people had told her that it was annoying when they’d hear me mention that I did really badly on a stage–and then would find out later that I won that stage.  Or that I’d say that I only shot well for two stages, but pretty badly on three others–even though I won the match.

According to them, it made them angry or upset because I seemed to be saying that since I shot badly and won, then their shooting must have been horrible because I beat them.

I’m curious:  When you first teach someone to shoot, if they act safely, demonstrate the fundamentals well, and can hit the target most times, don’t you praise them for doing well?  Because they ARE doing well?

If a powerlifter wins a meet but doesn’t actually perform near any of his PRs, should he be happy about his performance?

If someone wins a D-class football state championship, don’t you tell them that they did really well, even though they would have been destroyed by the A-class state champion?

If the USPSA Production National Champion came to a local match, and shot with TWO TIMES as many dropped points as he normally has, isn’t that really poor shooting for him?  Even though it wouldn’t change the fact that it would still be good enough to beat us all?  He would rightfully be unhappy with himself for shooting badly, even though it still left him far ahead of us.

One of the things that I like most about the shooting sports is that while we are competing against other people, we are also competing against ourselves–and the people who get REALLY good are the ones who pay attention to how they shoot, and work on trying to always shoot to their level of competency.  (Preferably above, but in a test situation, if I can shoot to my standard level of competency the entire time, I’m all sorts of happy.)  In practice, we try to raise our level of competency, but in tests, we at least try to shoot to our level of competency.

I won the Production division of the Steel Challenge match we shot the other day.  I wasn’t happy with how I shot, however–it was not up to my level of competency on four of six stages (I was about 2 seconds slower than my normal time on each of those four stages) and I was mediocre on another (about 1 second slower than normal) so while that one stage was ok, I was only happy with one stage in which I managed to shoot Smoke & Hope under 10 seconds for the second time ever. I actually shot slightly above my previous expected competency level for that stage, which made me really happy.

Being under 10 seconds is a big deal to me, as it has been a goal of mine for quite some time. Now, national-level folks consistently shoot Smoke & Hope under 10 seconds.  For them, beating 10 seconds isn’t a goal, it is their expected level of competency.  They would consider it poor shooting for themselves to NOT make 10–and I consider it a wonderful thing if I make 10.

If I say “I didn’t shoot well” it means simply that—I did not shoot well, compared to my competency level.  I can, with perfect honesty, tell someone who got half of my score that they shot really well if they exceeded their normal competency–that would make for a great match for them!  That would be something they should be proud of, and it has NOTHING to do with how well they shot compared to me.

I can shoot badly and still sometimes win a match.  I can shoot really well and not win a match, because if I shot to my level of competency (or above!) for an entire match, I’d be perfectly happy even if I didn’t win.

I’ve shot against Ben Stoeger a number of times now, and have never come even remotely close to beating him.  And yet, several of those times I’ve been happy with my overall shooting for the match.  At the same time, I know he’s been unhappy with himself for some of his shooting during those exact same matches in which he destroyed the rest of us.

Instead of taking things personally, people might instead start thinking about their shooting and rating it compared to their current competency level, as opposed to making everything about how they compare to others.  🙂

Can you consistently shoot to your level of competency when tested?  Then that is something to be happy about.  (It also means it is time for you to up your level of competency through practice!)

…and that has nothing to do with how you did relative to other people.

You’ll never miss on the street…

(Second in the series about thoughts spawned by attending the Rangemaster Instructor Development Class with Tom Givens.  Last time, the post was about something that hadn’t occurred to me.  This time, it is about something I already knew, explained in a different fashion.)

If you are carrying a concealed firearm, and have occasion to use it in public on the street (in a Walmart parking lot, at the local gas station, in a Walgreens store) you are never going to miss.

No, seriously, you aren’t.  No round you fire will have a bullet that misses.

That’s the problem, you see.  In public, every single bullet fired from your handgun will hit something.  You will not miss.  You may not hit your assailant, but you WILL hit SOMETHING.

That something may be a pregnant woman who was shopping.  That something may be a 4-year old child skipping merrily to school one morning.  That something may be 9 other people hit either by errant shots or by fragments.  Maybe you’ll get lucky and only hit brick buildings—but since you are already having to defend your life, it already isn’t your lucky day.

You aren’t going to miss.  Every bullet is going to hit something. As such, your practice needs to reflect the importance of hitting your target every time.

Now, this concept isn’t new—but I don’t really like the common “Every bullet has a lawyer with a 5 million dollar personal injury suit attached to it!!” type of phrasing, because we do not want people too scared to defend themselves.  We don’t want people thinking “I better not do this because I might get sued” at the moment where they have to be making a decision to defend themselves.

We need people thinking in practice:  I’m going to hit my target every time, and I’m going to practice enough to consistently hit my target every time.  That way, if I need to use my gun, I’ll do what I practiced so I don’t have to think about anything but saving my life.

While yes, you need to think about your surroundings in a self-defense situation, that is different from being too terrified of possible consequences to act.  We practice to hit our target at speed under stress.  We use this thought (“You aren’t going to miss in real life–you WILL hit something.”) to drive our practice so that we have the discipline to hit our target under stress in a real-life self-defense situation.

I practice differently with my competition gun and my concealment gun.  (This shouldn’t be a surprise.)  When practicing with my competition gun from my competition rig given an audible start signal, I push myself in terms of speed and movement, to the point where I might miss the target entirely.  I then dial it back until I get hits, get better at it, then dial it up again.  I push myself to the point where I miss.  When practicing with steel targets, I miss fairly often when I push myself.

When practicing to defend myself with my carry gun from concealment, on paper targets I have a small “sufficient hit” zone.  Part of the rest of the paper target is a “insufficient hit” zone, and worse than that simply isn’t acceptable.  If my technique is bad enough that I’m putting shots into the “insufficient hit” zone, I need to fix it.  My “pushing the speed” results in occasional shots into the “insufficient hit” zone, NOT the miss zone.  I don’t allow shots into the “miss zone” when I’m practicing to defend myself.

That’s significantly different from my competition training–and that’s just fine.  I might be using the same target for both, but they mean very different things.  I have a different mindset, I have a different mode of practice, and I have a different set of “what is allowed” for accuracy.

Here’s the two versions of “acceptable hit thinking” that I use for practice (of course I don’t write the words on the targets I use, but that’s how I think about it).  Obviously competition shooting is on the left, and self-defense practice is on the right:

You aren’t going to miss on the street.  So make sure that the hits you get are the ones you want.

 

Crime definitions you should think about…

I took the Rangemaster Instructor Development Course with Tom Givens just the other weekend. For the most part, it pretty much validated for me (using actual research data) the training priorities I teach with respect to citizen self-defense—which made me happy, because if I am teaching people to defend themselves, it is important I’m doing it right.  If I do it wrong, it can literally get people killed.

So yeah—a good presentation (from the holster) is important, point-shooting is stupid as using the sights can be done and WILL make a difference, shooting on the move, using cover, and having flashlights might be useful but almost never are even remotely necessary in a self-defense situation and as priorities fall far far far far far behind 1) having a gun, 2) being able to get it out quickly, and 3) being able to get multiple shots on target quickly.

….and what a surprise, citizen self-defense data, FBI agent data, and DEA agent data all support this.

Unsurprisingly, the class also gave me a number of things to think about, mostly about new ways to present things I already teach which makes sense as it was what the class was about.

However, occasionally there was something in the class that REALLY struck me.  As such, over the next couple of months, I’ll be writing some articles about some things that perhaps you haven’t thought about–and should, if you think that it is important that you be prepared to defend yourself.

Here’s the first:

When is the last time you heard someone being charged with attempted murder?  Never, right?  Why is that?

Because to convict on that, you have to prove intent to kill. And intent is tough.

So instead, what gets charged for the exact same situation?  Aggravated assault.

Here’s the thing–because of the wording, most of us think of “aggravated assault” as a slightly-more-serious version of “assault.”  But here’s the actual legal definition (wording may change slightly per jurisdiction, but it’ll still mean this) according to the FBI:

Aggravated assault—An unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury. This type of assault usually is accompanied by the use of a weapon or by means likely to produce death or great bodily harm. Simple assaults are excluded.

Note the important phrase:  “…means likely to produce death or great bodily harm.”

That’s attempted murder.  However, since “intent to kill” is not part of the definition, it is easier to get a conviction on an aggravated assault charge.

Why is this important?  Because from a self-defense perspective, the criminal was trying to kill someone–or at the very least, knew what they were doing could kill someone else and didn’t care if it happened.

So when you look at crime statistics and think about homicides, you should probably actually add the “aggravated assault” category AND the homicide category together—because in both cases, the victim could have gotten killed.  In the aggravated assault cases, the criminal was just incompetent, or the victim got lucky.

In Omaha in 2012, there were 41 criminal homicides.  Sounds scary, but not a large number.  However, there were also 1442 aggravated assaults in the same year and every single one of those could have ended up a criminal homicide if the criminal had been even a little less incompetent, or the victim a little less lucky.

That we know of, criminals tried to kill someone else one thousand four hundred and eighty-three times in Omaha in 2012.

That’s a number you need to think about.

(In Lincoln criminals tried to kill someone six hundred and seventy one times in 2012.  And just so you know, in both Omaha and Lincoln, aggravated assaults were reported several times more often than robberies.  Yes, criminals doing something to kill you happens more often than criminals trying to rob you.  In Lincoln, 3.4 times as often.  In Omaha, 1.8 times as often.)

Source for violent crime stats:  FBI UCR Data-Reporting Tool

 

Stress Training…

I’m a big fan of stress training.  And when I say stress training, I mean a range of various training modes from light stress such as using a timer with people watching, to full-on adrenalized force-on-force with weapons, significant energetic verbal interaction, and additional special effects to simulate reality as close as possible.

Recently, there was a request from someone to actually talk more in depth on this topic, so here’s a brief discussion on the general concept:

Multiple studies over time have clearly shown that stress creates physiological changes in the human body that effect our abilities to perform physical and mental actions.  The level of stress felt by the individual (which is NOT the same thing for all people in the same situation) can occur along a huge range, and thus can create physiological reactions that range from minor to (extremely!) major.

So, the First Statement of stress reactions and training:  Nothing is an absolute.

What happens to a person physiologically depends on the perceived level of threat/stress, which is a function of immediacy, proximity, experience, and understanding of the situation.  It can also be effected by duration of stress, but that isn’t something we normally consider much in terms of citizen self-defense situations, though it IS something that needs to be considered for people whose jobs involve repeated stress events like law enforcement, military (on deployment), fire fighters, and some other first responders.  (Stress is cumulative and seems to be more geometric than additive.  In other words, stress over time ramps up quickly.)

Second Statement of stress reactions and training:  The most common physiological reactions felt by people under significant amounts of stress/adrenaline are, in no particular order:  tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, time dilation, increased speed and strength, and a decrease of physical control and precision.  (There are more, but those are the major ones.)  After the event has occurred, the “crash” that accompanies the stress response cycle (not only the adrenalized feeling that still occurs afterward, but the body’s reaction to that adrenaline going away) sometimes includes inability to speak coherently, tendency to babble, inability to remember time sequences and events in a precise and correct manner, shaking, nausea, light-headedness, and shock.

An example of these first two statements in use:  The first time a person is involved in a potential life-threatening self-defense situation (and realizes it), the stress is huge and crushing, and the person experiences significant tunnel vision, doesn’t hear anything around him, feels like he’s mired in mud and everything moves incredibly slowly, and his ability to do things seems stunted because he’s incredibly clumsy.  Afterward, he is shaking and can’t stop himself from talking, and his recollection of the details of what happened and in what order are significantly different from a video recording of the event.  He feels weak and sick to his stomach.

He then decides that this will never happen to him again.  He takes training that includes stress-training and force-on-force.

He then gets into another life-threatening situation—but this time it is a car crash.  The circumstances do not match what he has been training for.  His stress level is significantly high, but the practice he has done has made him better at dealing with the physiological effects.  He still feels them, but not quite to the same extent, and performs better (with a better ability to think and respond effectively) based on his experiences with stress.

Later in his life, he experiences another life-threatening self-defense situation.  (He’s not having a good year.)  Several things are in his favor:  He recognizes the situational type of attack, and has trained for it, therefore his stress level is significantly lower.   In addition, his training has prepared him for acting during high stress events.  As such, not only does he have less tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, and self-discipline issues (the physiological reactions are significantly less serious), but his ability to handle said issues and react effectively is significantly better.

Afterward, he still feels some of the effects of the adrenal crash (though it is much less since he was less stressed than the first time this happened to him) however his ability to mitigate the affects is much better, AND his training tells him to shut up and not babble things that may not be correct.

For any person, the amount of stress that occurs is based on the perceived level of the situation—so the same situation may cause extremely different reactions in two different people with two different levels of training and experience.  Reactions to stress are NOT absolutes, so if someone says “This WILL happen to you, you WON’T be able to do this other thing” then there is a problem, because it doesn’t happen that way.

Sure, if you are untrained, have no experience with stress and violence, and are taken by surprise, the stress levels you will feel will probably be such that your ability to respond will be close to nonexistent.  But we train for a reason—and training both lowers perceived stress, and helps you handle the physiological reactions that occur.

So—sure, under stress you will want to stare at the attacker (or turn your head away completely), bring up your hands (perhaps in front of your face), and not pay attention to anything else.  If you have no training, experience, or practice in dealing with stress, that’s probably exactly what you are going to do. (If you can do that much.)  WITH practice, you CAN handle a firearm, aim using the sights, maintain situational awareness, move, and react effectively.  Among other things.

Violence, stress, and physical reactions are not absolutes—and they aren’t simple things.   The good thing is that you don’t need to be able to diagram the neural pathway and list the neurotransmitters engaged when stress stimulates the the hippocampus and amygdala…  (which again, is a simplification of what occurs in your brain and body)  …you can simply get good realistic training that increases your ability to handle stress, and then get training that realistically simulates self-defense situations to enable you to understand them—which will lower your perceived stress in self-defense situations.  The combination of those things WILL make you more capable of doing what you need to do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

More to come in a later article regarding specifics of what you can do for “stress inoculation,” which is a commonly used term describing training that 1) increases your ability to control your body and deal with the reactions caused by stress in general, and 2) reduces perceived stress during altercations by adding experience with those situations.

 

Some additional reading, if you want more.  The following is more phrased to apply to unarmed self-defense, but really is about all self-defense:

Marc MacYoung’s No Nonsense Self-Defense Page
(Warning:  Marc has a unique writing style.)

Killed in the Streets again…

“This is likely to be my last post. This morning I was told in no uncertain terms that using the sights is slow and I should point shoot ‘cause the fight will be less than three yards and I won’t have time to use the sights and shooting competition will likely get me killed on the streets and fine motor control…”

…such was the post from a friend of mine the other day on Facebook.

(Jump to the end for the TL;DR version, but first make sure to watch the video in the middle.)

Leaving aside the research on actual engagement distances for citizen self-defense situations, the research on sight usage (and the resulting effect on the various police departments that have updated their training methodology on sighted fire and have statistics on hit ratios that far exceed the national norms), our beyond-grade-school-level understanding of what the terms “gross motor skill” and “fine motor skill” actually entail, plus the many easily-found examples of using the sights at great speed….

….leaving ALL that aside because even a CURSORY search by anyone with Internet access could find those and therefore wouldn’t tell my friend anything that stupid…

….I thought I’d address through a simple example the “shooting competition will likely get me killed on the streets” section of that particular pile of nonsense.

On Saturday, August 22nd in Grand Island at the Heartland Shooting Park, the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association (NFOA) had their annual meeting, which among other things included informational presentations by various trainers and content-area experts in the morning plus a number of training sessions and shooting opportunities in the afternoon.

One of those opportunities was an almost-Steel Challenge stage, which I ran for anyone who wanted to give it a try. The stage was roughly Roundabout (for those who know SC stages) and centerfire pistol shooters could either run the stage from a holster or if they didn’t have a sufficient holster, from a table. Given time constraints (plus ammunition constraints on the part of the shooters) we only ran three strings of fire. We threw out the slowest run and added the other two together for score.

I of course shot it with my USPSA Production equipment setup—dropped/offset holster, BOSS hanger, CR Speed belt, Production-legal Glock 34. Other shooters (most of which had never shot a competition stage before) shot whatever handgun they had brought, from whatever holster they had.

After everyone got done, it occurred to me that here we had an opportunity to check how much competition shooting practice would get me killed on the streets. I would think that no matter what stupid ideas someone has about self-defense, we can all at least agree that with respect to CCW and self-defense, the primary handgun skillset is the ability to draw and get accurate shots on target quickly.

…and that’s what a Steel Challenge stage is all about—a good draw, and hitting those steel targets as fast as possible.. So, I grabbed a couple of people, and had them time and record me shooting the exact same stage, but this time with my actual carry gun from concealment. (At the end of the day, I had changed into different clothing to drive home, and was wearing my normal, everyday concealment rig, which meant I was using the gear I would be carrying “on the street” when my competition shooting would get me killed.)

Here’s the video:

…let’s make that really clear. Here were the times for the three runs using my USPSA rig—competition holster, belt, and gun.

1st Run: 3.70 2nd Run: 2.88 3rd Run: 3.40

My three runs with my carry holster/gun:

1st Run: 3.77  2nd Run: 4.32 3rd Run: 3.36

You can see that my first and third runs were effectively the same between my competition rig and my carry rig. The difference was in the second run, in which (with my carry rig) I forgot how to aim and had to take three makeup shots because I’m an idiot. With my competition rig I actually shot the second run correctly.

Out of the 37 entries in the centerfire pistol division of this stage, I won first with my competition gun. I got an unofficial third with my carry gun shooting from concealment, losing 2nd place by only 0.05 seconds to an A-class USPSA shooter using his competition gear. Another way of putting that: the nearest a non-competition shooter got to my CCW score was almost enough time for me to do an additional full string of fire. (The top three official shooters were competition shooters.) 28 of the 36 stage scores more than doubled my CCW score.

2015-PRT-SCscoresI participate in USPSA, IDPA, Steel Challenge, and Multigun shooting competitions. The vast majority of my practice time is with my competition gun from my competition rig. And yet, with my carry gun from concealment, I was faster and more accurate than a random sampling of 34 other shooters who care about firearms ownership, who shot whatever gun they wanted, without concealment. (Some of whom, I’ve heard, say that competition shooting will get you killed on the street.)

I’m curious: What part of competition was going to get me killed there? The part where my shooting practice caused me to be faster and more accurate than almost everyone else except for the other people who shoot competitions and thus work on being better shooters?

 

TL;DR version: I shot a steel challenge stage with my carry gun from concealment almost as fast as with my competition gun from a competition holster, beating almost everyone else. 95% of my practice is with my competition rig. What part of competition shooting is going to get me killed on the street?

Basic Range Equipment…

Recently I was asked for some suggestions regarding solid range-practice-level holsters and mag pouches, and it occurred to me that given the HUGE range of possibilities now available via the internet, it might be a good idea to actually quickly discuss “suggested” basic starter equipment for handgun technique practice.

Couple of comments, first:

  • The ones I’m about to suggest are not the only possibilities out there–there are PLENTY of other perfectly reasonable holsters and mag pouches by many perfectly decent manufacturers that would work fine.  These are simply ones I’ve found to be durable, reliable, and economical for basic solid range practice.  That doesn’t mean that others wouldn’t be good also.
  • The equipment listed here is meant for basic range practice–meaning that they aren’t optimized for carry, competition, military training, LEO duty carry, or anything like that.  The point is to get a solid reliable holster and mag pouch setup so that shooters can go to the range and work on their technique without either paying a ton of money, or having to deal with poor quality and unsafe equipment.
  • At some point in time, if you plan on getting good at competition shooting or plan on concealing well for carry, you are going to have to buy other equipment, and practice with it.  However, starting with basic range gear to get yourself competent FIRST is a good idea, hence this list of suggestions.

So, equipment needed for good technique practice:

  • Gun
  • Magazines
  • Eye/Ear Protection
  • Holster
  • Magazine pouch

Gun: up to you, though you might take a look at one of my prior posts about How Do You Learn to Shoot and my thoughts on appropriate firearm choice when you are trying to learn good technique.

Magazines:  Most guns come with 2 (though sometimes small guns only come with one).  Truthfully, you probably want to get yourself 5 or 6 magazines for any gun that you plan on shooting very much.  Because A) shooting one mag at a time gets very old, B) you should practice reloading and that is easier with more than two mags, and C) like any other physical object with moving parts, mags are subject to wear and tear and they give out.  (And if you have a revolver, get yourself 3 or so speedloaders.)

Eye/Ear Pro:  I assume you don’t like the idea of being blind or deaf.  ALWAYS wear eye/ear pro while shooting.  For ear pro, good electronic ear pro is now available for reasonable prices and it is REALLY handy to have on the range.  Dampens out loud noises but amplifies quiet stuff so you can shoot without damage and talk without yelling.  Regular glasses are not good eye protection (they don’t wrap around enough, nor do they normally cover high and low enough), and sunglasses normally aren’t much better–and certainly aren’t rated for impact.  Buy (and wear) actual shooting eye protection that has at least an ANZI Z87.1 rating.

Now to the parts that most people really care about:  Holsters, and magazine pouches.

With respect to basic range practice (actually everything, but especially basic range practice) I’m a BIG fan of kydex.  Thin, lightweight, durable, easily molded to specific firearms, if it gets dirty you throw it in the dishwasher—kydex holsters are simply the easiest way to get a solid economical holster for practice.  My top two suggestions for your first basic range practice holster:

CQC1) Blackhawk Standard CQC (Sportster) Holster:

This is NOT a SERPA holster.  Retention is passive only.  Normally comes with both paddle and belt attachments, left or right hand, large range of gun possibilities, covers the trigger guard, passive retention is adjustable—just a great range holster.  (And when I started competition shooting, I used one of these for several years.)

Note:  Link given is just so you can look at them.  Once you know if you want it, check around for the best prices.  However, $22.45 is hard to beat…

KydexPaddle2) Uncle Mike’s Kydex holsters:

Similar to the CQC above, comes with paddle and belt attachments, large range of guns available, etc.  In my opinion, not quite the quality of the CQC, but still a perfectly decent holster, and under $30 is a good deal.

Edited later to add:

3) Blade-Tech Revolution Holster:

Someone just pointed out to me that the Revolution holsters are good choices too, and I had missed that—I have a number of Blade-Tech holsters, but none from the Revolution series (and the other series cost more, so it hadn’t occurred to me). The Revolution ones, however, are excellent holsters and only a couple of bucks more than the two above. (Look on Amazon for better prices, oddly enough.) Comes with both a paddle and a belt loop attachment, like the two holsters above.

That’s it, really.  Sure, there are plenty of others out there—but most cost more money, and either don’t give you anything more than the above two, OR are for more specialized circumstances.    If you know what you want, that’s one thing, but if you are just looking for a holster to use for technique practice at the range, or are just starting to learn in the first place, the above two holsters will do everything you need in a reliable fashion without costing much.

One negative mention:  Don’t buy a Fobus holster. No matter how good of a deal it seems to be.  In my opinion, they are just about the worst holsters out there.  Material is substandard, connection from pouch to hanger (belt or paddle) is weak and breaks easily, retention is normally something that requires a winch to get the gun out of the holster, and I’ve never seen one that actually covered the entire trigger guard like it is supposed to do.  Truthfully, any time I see someone with a Fobus holster I assume they really don’t know what they are doing and have a weak grasp of firearms safety.  That may be unkind of me, but….it’s been pretty true so far.  (If your response was “Well, maybe they didn’t know any better!” I will agree, but if they have to full-arm-yank the gun to get it out of the holster and it doesn’t cover the trigger guard BUT THEY DON’T MIND, then their grasp of firearms safety needs work.)

Sorry if that hurt anyone’s feelings, but if you use a Fobus holster you should REALLY think about whether or not it is a good idea.

Now, that being said, let’s talk about magazine pouches:

351493For starter pouches, I think the Fobus mag pouches are some of the best deals out there.  Specifically, the belt (not paddle) basic double-mag pouches.

Generally, for under $30 you can get a double-mag pouch that will fit your magazine type, and it’ll work (and wear) perfectly well for standard range practice.  If you want single-mag pouches, or don’t mind spending a little more, Blackhawk makes decent double-mag pouches also.

For a bit more than that, you can get Blade-Tech mag pouches (double or single) with Tek-Lok belt attachments, which are nice.  However, those cost a little more.  (Similarly, Blade-Tech makes GREAT range/carry/competition holsters, but again, they cost more.)

For most folks just starting on draws/reloads/transitions–solid handgun technique practice on the range, I just normally say get a Blackhawk CQC Standard holster, a Fobus double-mag pouch, buy a good thick leather belt from Walmart or Target (don’t need to spend the money on a real gunbelt yet) and about 5 extra mags.  Plus a lot of ammo.

That’ll get you what you need to get better.  Later, when you ARE better and have a more precise idea of what you want/need for what you plan on DOING with your firearm (carry/competition/duty) then you can spend more money on something quality in that area.

Ignorance and the Internet…

Recently, David Windham posted an article titled “5 differences between competitive shooting and combat shooting”  at policeone.com.  The writing deserves such a response that I’m going to go through it bit by bit, for several reasons:

1) So that people don’t think I’m picking and choosing what I’m deciding to respond to, and thus people know the original context that I’m responding to, and
2) So I can respond to all of parts of the truly execrable pile of ignorance-based opinion that were presented.

Before I get started, I should note:  I don’t know Mr. Windham.  I took a look at his website, where he offers training, but it doesn’t really tell me much about him as a shooter/trainer, as his background isn’t really much different than a vast multitude of other people who shoot who have a NRA Pistol Instructor rating and are cops.  He may be a great shooter and a great trainer, he might be–something other than that.  None of my comments to follow are in any way directed to his personal shooting skills or his training skills.  Any comments I make personally about him have to do with his opinions about competition shooting, most of which seem to be based on a complete lack of understanding about competition shooting.

In this response, his words will be quoted in italics, my words will be in standard font.

Here’s his tagline that went with his title:
“A gunfighter trains for the worst case scenario so that he can beat the best in the world on his worst day under any circumstances.”

I’m thinking that if that is what a gunfighter trains for, then 1) he has no sense of priorities, and 2) he either has unlimited time and resources, or no understanding how good the “best in the world” really are.  Because on your worse day, you can’t beat the best in the world except by pure luck–and if you disagree with that, then you have no concept of how truly amazing the “best in the world” really are.

“I’m not anti-competition shooting, but I do find fault with most of the competitions out there. The reason being they aren’t realistic and cause the shooter to form extremely bad habits that can get them killed on the street. I realize that most gun owners will never be involved in a shooting incident, but it can happen at any moment to any of us, hence my passion to train in a realistic manner so that I am prepared as well as those I regularly train.”

You are not anti-competition shooting but you find fault with most competitions?  Okay.

This part doesn’t really have anything for me to comment on, other than to relate my amusement that it took only two sentences for the phrase “get them killed on the street” to appear, which is a good indicator for people who have been in the self-defense culture for awhile to expect a certain lack of knowledge from the author.  You’ll have to make up your own mind as to whether that happened in this case.

For the remainder of this, however, remember that his main two issues with competition shooting are 1) aren’t realistic, and 2) cause the shooter to form extremely bad habits that can get them killed on the street.

And then wait for his comments about competition shooting that have nothing to do with those two things.

“I also despise indoor ranges that don’t allow realistic shooting. If one can’t even draw his weapon from the holster, how can he be prepared for a real life shoot out?

Competition shooters are on the whole amazingly fast when it comes to getting off accurate shots. In and of itself, that is a great thing.

However, there are some huge downfalls.”

I’m not really thrilled about a number of indoor ranges that don’t allow draws from the holster or rapid fire, either.  I get why they do it, from both a liability standpoint and from the standpoint of someone who has watched the VASTLY varying levels of competency demonstrated at commercial indoor ranges.  But, that’s why I am a member of a gun club where I can practice solid gun handling techniques useful for competition and self-defense.  What does that have to do with this topic, though?

We see here that he starts by saying that competition shooters are amazingly fast and accurate.  So….what’s the problem?

“1. All targets are single shot targets for the most part. Training yourself to fire one bullet at a target can mean your death in real life. Regardless of what caliber you shoot, in a real life gun fight you will generally need multiple shots on target to end a threat to your life. Training to fire once and then look for more targets can be a deadly habit to form.”

….in what type of competition is this true?  Let’s see, USPSA, IDPA, Multigun, Bianchi….none of those have “single shot targets for the most part,” except in the cases where the targets are steel which fall if hit correctly (just like a threat to your life, I’ll note).  I suppose Steel Challenge could be considered a “single shot target” type match, if you had to think about it that way.

Seriously, is he lumping all shooting competitions together and saying they are all the same with respect to targets?  That’s so far from the truth that it bears no resemblance to reality.  The fact that his first “huge downfall” is completely wrong about competition shooting is not a good sign.

2. Speed reigns supreme in competition. Speed is important, but not at the expense of accuracy and tactical technique. A good example of this is the goofy overhand grip you see many three-gun shooters using. It’s said that this grip helps them steer the gun. Okay, whatever works for them is fine, because no one is shooting back!

Didn’t he just say above that competition shooters are amazingly fast at getting off accurate shots?  So how does that match with “speed is important but not at the expense of accuracy” if he has already said that competition shooters have that speed while maintaining accuracy?

And his example, the “goofy overhand grip”? That would be the one that is used for those amazingly fast and accurate shots?  The one that he makes this derogatory comment about here, but on his own website, his partner suggests that people take a Chris Costa class…this Chris Costa?

 

Seriously?  (I note that I think that Costa’s grip is bad, and doesn’t work nearly as well for fast and accurate shooting as the grips used in various Multigun matches, the vast majority of which do not lock the arm out, and do not have the hand over the barrel in that fashion.  Costa’s version is significantly more “goofy” and “overhand” than most competition shooter’s grips.)  But apparently, Costa’s version is fine, but competition shooting people aren’t doing it right…?

I’m also curious what “people shooting back” has to do with how you are holding the gun.  If you are holding it in a way that causes you to manage fast, accurate shots, how will holding it a different way (that causes you to be less fast and less accurate) somehow be better if someone is shooting back at you?  Let’s find out:

The problem is that many people see this technique and adopt it without considering real life situations. The most solid offhand shooting platform is using a vertical or horizontal grip that allows you to pull the gun tight into your shoulder pocket with your arms tucked in tight. This helps reduce muzzle rise, make quicker follow-up shots, and assists in overall control of your weapon.

So, contrary to what we see in competition, in which shooters have (according to the author) amazing speed and accuracy in which they don’t normally use vertical grips, the author says that doing something else makes for less muzzle rise and quicker followup shots, even though literally millions of fired shots in multigun competitions have shown that the current “competition” grip tends to work best for “amazingly fast” and accurate shooting, and that other versions are not as fast and accurate.

His description of the “most solid offhand shooting platform” seems odd to me, as parts of it match what is done in competition shooting, and parts of it are either detrimental to shooting quickly and accurately, or make no difference.

Does he think that in competition shooting, more muzzle rise and slower followup shots are okay?  If what he says DID help, wouldn’t we see more people doing it in competition?

3. There’s no need to take cover. What’s even better is the use of the kneeling or prone position if possible. By doing so, you reduce your profile and make yourself a smaller target as well as form a more solid shooting platform by having the ability to triangulate your limbs for support.

I’m not sure about you, but the vast majority of pistol altercations that I’ve seen don’t make use of the kneeling or prone position.  And since he lumps all competition shooting together, well….

In a real life shootout, if the rifle or carbine has come out it is pretty damned serious and likely everything is happening at a distance where cover can be chosen, so this isn’t necessarily a hindrance to be prone because you have dug into your position and it’s safe. If you only practice off hand you will remain standing when you should be looking for cover and making yourself as small a target as humanly possible.”

I’m curious—does he think that if you have practiced to be an outstanding offhand shooter, that suddenly you’ll be much worse using kneeling or prone?

Anyway, I agree that competitions that include rifles don’t normally require any sort of cover.  There is extensive use of kneeling, prone, and irregular positions (that’s actually the signature of a good match, really, requiring the shooters to demonstrate an array of shooting position skills), but cover isn’t required.

Of course, it isn’t supposed to be.  And unless he does all his shooting practice from cover, I’m not sure why it SHOULD be, either.  Meaning, we shoot all the time without use of cover.  Just because we do this doesn’t mean we don’t practice use of cover, or somehow cannot do so.  Why does he assume that competition shooters don’t practice anything outside of their competition-style of shooting?

Speaking of cover, competition shooters never use cover in a tactical manner. They use the cover in a manner that facilitates speed. There is never any “slicing the pie” technique. What I normally see is peek and shoot at best or the shooter leaning out as far as possible to engage as many targets as possible.

Agreed.  That is because in the few sports that require some sort of “cover,” the requirement for a good score is still based on speed, and “slicing the pie” is simply slow.

…again, does the author assume that just because cover isn’t being used correctly (or at all) in a particular competition that the shooters are unable to do so?  Or is he instead thinking that shooting a situation in which cover is not used means that you will instill bad habits and thus not use cover when you should?  Those are two very different things.

He never actually says what the problem really is–and that’s an issue.  After all, when I go to the range to practice with my pistol for self-defense purposes, I shoot a number of different drills—some for pure accuracy at distance (unlikely to be needed in self-defense), some for gun-handling such as the draw (likely to be necessary in self-defense) and reloading (unlikely to be needed in self-defense), some for transitions to multiple targets, some for shooting on the move, some that use cover, and some that are combinations of these.

I don’t practice all of those things at once for most of the practice, because if you try to practice 5 things simultaneously, when several of them are much weaker than the others, you won’t actually improve much.  So…if I can practice specific shooting skills individually without destroying my ability to respond effectively “on the street” (had to use that phrase somewhere), why does the author assume that competition shooters 1) will train themselves to never use cover, or 2) won’t be able to use cover?

I note that I do ALSO practice doing those things simultaneously, because integration is something that also needs to be practiced.  But integration is not the ONLY thing that should be practiced.

4. You’re limiting your configuration possibilities. There are only so many configurations for a shooting stage in a match. A person can become like a trained pony and expect certain things when shooting rather than reacting to the clear and present danger at hand. No matter how you cut it, this can be a bad habit to form that will get you killed.

I wish he had started with this, really, because it demonstrates that he really has no experience with competition shooting at all.  I have only been shooting USPSA and Multigun for 10 years, with an average of 16 local matches per year plus between 3 and 5 major matches each year.   In the over 650 stages I’ve shot in that time, I have yet to shoot even two stages that let me “expect certain things when shooting” because they were so similar (other than when shooting USPSA classifiers, which by definition are supposed to be set up in a specific, repeatable fashion).

So, the first part of what he said makes no sense, as it is completely wrong with respect to competition shooting.  The second part, about “reacting to the clear and present danger at hand” doesn’t really make sense either.  Or does he not do practice drills when training?  How exactly does he create a clear and present danger to react to every time, in his personal practice?

Oh, he doesn’t?  He just does different combinations of targets, with different numbers of shots, at different distances, under different circumstances?  How is that different from a stage setup?  (And yes, there are ways to create new reactive situations in practice.  But the vast majority of the time, in personal practice, people don’t do it that way because you need to be able to hit your target with accuracy at speed first before making it even harder.)

“Muscle memory is what controls your ability to shoot under extreme stress. If your muscles remember doing the same things over and over then that is what they will do. Shooting two close targets, five medium range target, and four long range targets at varying heights is great for a match, but isn’t very realistic.”

This makes no sense.  What USPSA, IDPA, or Multigun match does anything like this?  (And no, that ISN’T great for a match.  Matter of fact, that match would suck.)

He’s making an argument against something that doesn’t happen in competitions, which again shows that he doesn’t really have any understanding of competition shooting.

What happens when your strong side is injured in a fight and you have to shoot with your weak hand? Or you trip and have to shoot from your back? Did you practice these things while preparing for that three-gun shoot? Of course you didn’t. A gunfighter trains for the worst case scenario so that he can beat the best in the world on his worst day under any circumstances.

Last I knew, lots of competition stages had required strong-hand-only and weak-hand-only sections.  Last year I shot in several matches in which I started from the supine position and shot from the ground.  And even better—why is he assuming that people who practice competition shooting ONLY practice competition shooting?

His arguments seem often to be “this isn’t in a competition match, therefore competition shooters can’t do it” which fails a simple logic test.  It is like saying “Indy 500 racecar drivers never make a right turn, therefore they can’t drive regular cars on the road since they’d have to make right turns.”

Ridiculous, right?

If instead he means “practicing this type of shooting will train you to do incorrect things” that might be different, but other than his cover comment above, that isn’t the type of argument he is making.  He is saying because it doesn’t happen in a match, you won’t be able to do it if you are a competition shooter.

(I’ll deal with his “trains for the worst case scenario” comment at the end of this.)

5. Competition shooting breeds an environment of gizmos, gadgets, and race guns. Reflex sights are great, but batteries fail. Any electronic gadget can and will fail, especially under harsh conditions. Daily carry is harsh! My gun gets wet, dirty, and beat up daily.

I actually take care of my carry gun, because I want it to be in good shape.  That’s immaterial to the discussion though, just like his comment.

Competition shooting breeds rapid innovation–which is why our military now uses red dot sights (hint:  those are battery-operated sights that originated in competition shooting, and now are used throughout our military).  And I’m pretty sure that people would agree that Iraq and Afghanistan qualify as “harsh conditions.”

His comment about “daily carry” is interesting, though—because now he seems to be talking about pistol shooting instead of rifle shooting, even though most of his earlier comments ignored the pistol.

It is certainly true that in competition, race guns exist.  Some of the USPSA Open guns are the most space-gun-looking things out there.  Example:

 

However, what he is missing (due to his obvious ignorance of competition shooting) is that there are a number of other divisions in which people shoot their out-of-the-box stock Glock 17, S&W M&P, and Springfield XDm. Or any one of a number of other guns.

Sure, plenty of people do work on their guns, smoothing the trigger, different sights, different grips–but that is true for all folks. Plenty of people do the exact same to their carry gun.

His comments here simply make no sense. Competition drives excellence to extremes, and the gear needed is treated harshly, and tested thoroughly. Again, that’s why our military now uses red dot sights.

The other big consideration is that the more there is hanging off your gun, the more likely you are to snag your gun upon drawing it from the holster. Competition shooters usually have belts set up for just that competition. Everything on the belt is easily reached and even the holster is built for speed. You aren’t going to carry your gun in the same manner that you shoot it in a competition. You’d walk around looking like Wyatt Earp at best and an idiot at worst.”

How that has anything to do with his main contention, I don’t see.  Remember, he started this out with:
“I’m not anti-competition shooting, but I do find fault with most of the competitions out there. The reason being they aren’t realistic and cause the shooter to form extremely bad habits that can get them killed on the street. “

Aren’t realistic:  True.  They aren’t supposed to be simulations of self-defense situations (no matter how IDPA advertises).  They are supposed to be tests of shooting skills, not tests of combat skills or self-defense skills.  As such, saying they are bad for that reason makes no sense.  (Though it is demonstrably true that having good shooting skills will make you more effective in terms of combat and self-defense.)

Where are any sort of arguments supporting his contention of how competitions make you form “extremely bad habits that can get them killed on the street,” though?

So a different holster and belt is used.  Does this mean that people don’t practice with their carry gun and their carry holster?  He seems to be making the assumption (which is often made, really) that competition shooters only practice for competition shooting, and therefore have no skills applicable to self-defense or combat.

Other than being really fast and accurate, of course. (Remember, Windham started out by saying that competition shooters are really fast and accurate.)  I would think that would be useful, but maybe not.

“Again, I’m not against matches or competition shooting. My point is to make you think. If you shoot IDPA or any other discipline, that’s great! Just don’t neglect real world training for real world situation that can occur. Mix things up, find new and different ways to challenge yourself and don’t live life preparing for a competition when your life is on the line!”

This interests me, because I completely agree with his last two sentences.  However, since that is NOT what he was talking about for pretty much the entirety of the rest of the article, this makes little sense.

He said up front that competition shooting instills habits that will get you killed on the street.  Then says “If you shoot IDPA or any other discipline, that’s great!”  I’m not sure that instilling habits that get me killed is great.

But I’m not worried, either, because what he said earlier was either incorrect due to a complete lack of understanding of competition shooting on his part, or incorrect due to a lack of logic on his part.  He even says in the end, train ALSO for real life (by which I assume he means self-defense or combat, as competitions occur in real life also, they aren’t online)–which means that if something doesn’t appear in a competition, that doesn’t mean a competition shooter can’t do it.

After all, just because we shoot competitions, doesn’t mean that is ALL we can do.

I would suggest that Mr. Windham do the following:

1) Actually go to a major match for either Multigun, USPSA, and IDPA, whereupon he will most likely get his ass handed to him judging from his shooting resume, whereupon he will see a rating scale for what the best can actually do,

2) Talk with competition shooters about what training they do, to fix his erroneous assumptions about how competition shooters only train in competition skills,

3) Think logically and practically about this comment: “ A gunfighter trains for the worst case scenario so that he can beat the best in the world on his worst day under any circumstances” to recognize how it is not only logically ridiculous, but also detrimental to good practice as it will screw up training priorities.

There was more I was going to say, but this is already a book—and it is clear that Mr. Windham doesn’t actually know anything about action shooting competitions, can’t tell the difference between “this sport doesn’t contain that skill” and “people who shoot in this sport don’t have that skill,” and even with that can’t come up with logical reasons to support his contention that shooting competitions will get you “killed on the street.”

I was originally hoping this was satire, but it doesn’t seem to be, and again we hear from someone with no knowledge of a subject pontificating about “the street” due to his extensive experience in corrections and law enforcement plus his NRA training and his ability to score Expert and Marksman with pistol and rifle at LEO training levels.

Dude, I suggest you take a look at the Dunning-Kruger effect, and think seriously about why I would suggest that to you with respect to your understanding of shooting.

Why did I call this post “Ignorance and the Internet”?  Because the internet has again demonstrated that no matter how ignorant someone is, they can still find a podium from which to expound their lack of understanding.