I began my journey to become a Firearms Instructor just as COVID began gripping the nation, and politics was in the air, but even at that point people were buying up guns and ammo. Biden wins the election and gun purchases escalate, driving ammo sales even higher. Rounds became hard to find – and then nearly impossible to find at any price. If you could find them, 9mm ammo of any sort was at least $1.00 a round. Before COVID and the 2020 election you could find 9mm FMJ ammo for about $.30 a round.
The point I was trying to make, above, is that there is a huge difference between marksmanship training at the range and defense training. Defensive Firearm Training could be considered like a sport like basketball. The basketball player is making shots at a small target under pressure from members of the opposite team. Our player practices his moves over and over to perfect how he handles the ball and maneuvers to make his accurate shots, while being “attacked” by opponents. Maybe I stretched this a little, but do you get the picture? Our player must practice free throws (marksmanship shooting), but it is the wild chaotic battle on the court that wins the game. That is our defensive shooter.
In firearms defense the first rule is to avoid the fight. The best chance of surviving a gun fight is avoiding the gun fight – if avoidance fails you had better be the best player on the court.
There is a loose rule of three in the defense firearms training. The first rule: the gunfight will be at a distance of about 3 yards (around 15 feet on average, about the length of a large car). The second rule: the gunfight will take about 3 seconds. And the third rule: the defender will fire 3 shots! That’s it. Three yards. Three seconds. Three shots.
Good trainers will tell you that if the attacker has made it to within three yards (9 feet) and the defender has not already begun her draw; she will be in physical contact before the draw is completed. Period!
We must practice like the basketball player! We must run through our defensive moves over and over again. The person who carries must build the muscle memory to allow our bodies do what nature prepared us for, but then add the defensive weapon.
Sports coaches will tell you thousands of “shots” (basketball, baseball, golf, darts, etc.) are necessary. Obviously, at a dollar a round that is going to be very difficult for Mr. or Ms. average American to accomplish. Lasers are the answer! At Ranger Focus we can create scenarios of all sorts and run our defender through them hundreds of times and not fire a live round.
I know the arguments that go: “Yea, but you can’t simulate recoil!” Well, actually there are some pistols that get very close to that too!
But that really doesn’t matter. Our bodies are conditioned to perform functions. We “learn” “muscle memory” through practice – lots of practice. Hundreds of draws from the holster and point to the target. When our body is conditioned to respond instinctually to the threat with a defensive weapon our brain is free to stay on point and make the proper decisions to prevail.
When surprised our brain takes at least a half second (out to a little over 1 second) to process information and get through a decision tree. If the attacker is within 21 feet and rapidly moving towards you, by the time you realize, and calculate you have used up about a second or so and about to be in physical contact. Your brain sees the training as “real”, and you are pre-coding reflex response to the possible critical incident. In other words, your brain has made some pre-conditioned decisions about how to respond to what is being experienced. Basketball shots in the chaos of the game…
The defender who missed the warning signs or is ambushed has mere seconds to make life and death decisions. Defense training builds the muscle memory to react to the threat without decision energy trying to execute the sequence of steps to present the firearm, move laterally to confuse, achieve “point ready” and fire if (when) necessary. We must remember rule of three. Three yards. Three yards. Three shots. You’ll have three seconds to decide how to save your life. A prosecutor will have months to analyze, second guess, and ponder your decision. You need your brain consciously aware, making rational, reasonable decisions and be able to clearly describe and explain what happened from your perspective. Training provides the discipline and confidence to prevail during and after the critical incident.
Train – it may save your life. Lasers can provide the level of training that clears the mind to perform like the pro-basketball player commanding the court. It is very difficult to insure the same, safe experience with live ammo.
Be sure you are the best player on the court. Train!