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View Full Version : Simulating "stressful" conditions where you will need to use your pistol for defense?


MyGunsJammed
January 20, 2008, 09:47 PM
Forgive the newbie question here, but are there any realistic self defense classes that are availible that I can take that teach self-defense techniques that simiulate stressful conditions?

Flying Groundhog
January 21, 2008, 12:51 AM
Excellent question! I am sure that stress training better duplicates conditions comparable to real shooting scenarios. First, I understand that the stress you are seeking to simulate is that "flight or fight" reaction, when you develop mental focus and the blood pumps fast and hard. It is tough to make this happen in training (unless you are in the USMC), so consider alternatives, as well as invoking the "flight or fight" feeling.

The key to inducing stress? Practice outside your comfort zone, when you’re tired, confused and the stakes are high. The stress-substitution techniques I include are distractions (which teach better focus), fatigue (which teaches how to draw from your hidden reserves), and practice in generally lousy conditions (outside your comfort zone). I have read about the following methods, and hope more qualified shooters can make corrections/additions:

My best suggestion:
Take tactics classes where the instructor provides and critiques stress scenarios -- our best instructors offer them.

Cheaper suggestions:
Run a mile during practice (get your blood pumping fast);
Shoot for wagers (it isn't much stress, but it’s better than nothing);
Practice (safely) when you are feeling poorly, skip a meal beforehand, practice in bad weather or when you're having difficulties at work/home (to draw from your hidden reserves and help you focus); and
Practice shooting with a rock in your shoe or other distracting irritants (to improve focus).

Other techniques that may help:
Visualize stressful scenarios with successful outcomes (to develop a positive winner's attitude).
Practice single-handed shooting with either hand (get outside of your comfort zone, and anyway it's good for shooting around corners);
Practice in low-light conditions when you cannot really see well (confusing, and it’s when the urban gun fight is likely to happen anyway);
Practice HD scenarios at home alone at dark O'thirty with (unloaded) firearms;
There is something to be said for paintball (the stress is there but the tactics differ);
Do not focus on slow accurate hole-punching target practice if your intent is having fast HD reactions. Is your HD gun a revolver? Then never practice single-action shooting.

My list of techniques are all implementable by anyone; beware of any suggestion that is impractical, dangerous or inapproprate for us Joes. As with all training, just doing it and doing it often is far better than some difficult to implemlement but more esoteric idea.

Good luck – may you shoot well when your heart is pounding in a confusing and fast evolving gunfight.

MyGunsJammed
January 21, 2008, 02:06 AM
^^Great response, your points are noted...

any others guys???

Hard Ball
January 21, 2008, 11:12 AM
I do not think that it is possible to actually duplicate the stress of a real world kill or be killed combat However ptacticing under stress and disadvantaged conditions coould be helpful.

ragwd
January 21, 2008, 11:21 AM
I asked the same question, maybe worded a bit differently and here is what I got.http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=267423

Sigma 40 Blaster
January 21, 2008, 11:30 AM
I was reading one of the Tom Clancy Jack Ryan series books and the gunnery Sgt. that was training Jack would light strings of firecrackers behind his back while shooting to simulate unexpected gunfire.

Pretty corny but if you're not expecting it (don't know when they'll pop) there is a slight pucker factor even if you know it's going to happen.

MyGunsJammed
January 21, 2008, 12:33 PM
How about playing paint ball out in the woods? Would that simulate a stressful environment? I mean at least you wont get killed getting shot with paintballs, burt sure lol


As for the firecracker example..... so if I light up some firecrackers, how am I supposed to respond to it?

Rangefinder
January 21, 2008, 12:57 PM
The paintball idea helps for the elevated blood pressure and so on, but if you're going to do it, then do it with the thoughts in mind that you want to work on. Don't go out with 10 people all packing the latest Tipmann A5 or whatever that allows for a whole lot of pray-n-spray. Get a small pistol that uses a 12-gram CO2 cartrage and realistic ammo capacity (my RP Sharidan PMI is what comes to mind---15 shot capacity, make 'em all count). Then run everything in tight quarters. Getting smacked with a 68cal ball at close range moving 300fps. does about as good as anything can to simulate judgement under stressful conditions.

Derius_T
January 21, 2008, 01:15 PM
Sure, all these things will work a little to help, but it will not completely stimulate your fight or flight response, because in the bask of your mind, no matter how stressful, you still know its not real, and there is no serious danger to trigger the real response you seek.

The closest I ever saw to "real" scenario, was a group of ex-military friends of mine got together, and with non lethal rounds, would set up scenarios. For instance, a four man team would decide to "breach" the fifth guys house at some point in the future. The fifth man would not know how or when the invasion was coming, so it would put him under severe anxiety. Sometimes they would wait 2-3 days, sometimes a month, and there would be no contat or discussion with the fifth man.

When they decided, they would simulate a silent home invasion. Sometimes as a 4 man team, sometimes as a two man, ect. There was alot more involved but I am sure you get the picture. Sometimes the "homeowner" won, sometimes not, and they would video tape the whole thing to study how it went down afterwards.

I'm not sure if they do it anymore, as I have lost contact with them for a few years. I do know they were planning on trying to start some type of business using this type of training.

MyGunsJammed
January 21, 2008, 01:23 PM
^^ That kinda training would be hilarious....

I can imagine their website home page reading:

"Tactical training for home defense, we break into your house and try to kill you.... first lesson free if you kill us first...."

*disclaimer* We are not responsible for damages to your locks, windows or doors ;)

Rangefinder
January 21, 2008, 01:26 PM
Derius>> As much as one side of me says that would be interesting, the sensible part of me says there are WAY too many places in that scenerio for something to go wrong really fast. Anyone who's been involved with non-lethal simulations can testify to how dangerous it can be under completely controlled conditions. this type of scenerio is way beyond the realm of dangerous.

Derius_T
January 21, 2008, 01:42 PM
Right. The scenario is dangerous. That is what really, truly gives that gut tightening feeling and that pucker factor.

But you have to understand, they did soft or silent entries, so they did no damage to property. They were all highly trained professionals, well versed in their tactics. And they used non lethal rounds. The invaders always wore protection, but for the "homeowner" it was optional.

I admit this type of training may not be for everyone, but I watched a few of the tapes, and it was as serious as you could get without being real. Just watching the tapes gave you chills. Of course none of these guys were married at the time, no kids, so zero chance of "innocents" hit with anything. As I said there was alot more to all of it, and no doubt I have still left out safety stuff they did that I was not privy to.

I really wanted to try this stuff, but always had the wife and kiddies, and would never intentionally put them in harms way.

And yeah, it was dangerous as hell, but safe as could be under the circumstances, and though there were some bumps and bruises occasionally, no one ever seriously got hurt. As I said, it was always non lethal stuff.

I do know that on occasion, there were some 12g bean bag rounds thrown in the mix just for "fun".

I do think with the proper safety measures, and insurance, and liability waivers, some type of 3 day "camp" using these tactics would be VERY educational, not to mention fun as hell.

If I can dig up one of the old tapes, I will try to post some clips. It is really interesting to watch.

Sigma 40 Blaster
January 21, 2008, 01:54 PM
tigervalley.com has some training classes, they also have a one day "refresher". I called and asked them about it, they basically set up some defensive courses and they have something that'll auto-fire paintball rounds at you if you get too far from cover or that will shoot and hit you if you are too far from cover.

I didn't ask about how that works in detail but some sort of motion detector (or manually controlled) paintball cannon shooting at you would be pretty stressful. Definitely reinforce the concept of using cover.

I forgot about that the first time I posted...

Perldog007
January 21, 2008, 03:22 PM
FUll Disclosure - I AM GUILTY OF GURU WORSHIP - there I said it.

One of my favorite guru types, Mas Ayoob says that competition is a good way to practice under stress and the competitive experience, unlike qual scores, does seem to have a direct bearing on survival in a confrontation.

ISC
January 23, 2008, 12:25 PM
I brought the subject up here and discussed some of the training methods I use, there are some good ideas there intermixed with the insults and ridicule of people who think realistic training is stupid unless you pay an instructor to teach you.

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=273154

Manedwolf
January 23, 2008, 12:43 PM
SIG Academy has some excellent classes for this sort of thing, but you'll need to be in New Hampshire to take them. :)

crucible
February 12, 2008, 02:03 PM
Seek out some formal Force of Force (FoF) training opportunities using Airsoft; lots of folks are jumping on this bandwagon.

And for good reason: aside from Simunitions classes (which you can't practice elsewhere if you can find the ammo), nothing else can simulate how good, bad or ugly your techniquies are until you have to draw from concealment, move and fire against someone doing to same thing to you. Or charging you with a (training) blade, or multiple bad guy scenerios. Or....

The days of square range training where at most we stand at the same place, draw and fire at a static target as the measure of how well we are trained for a gunfight are over.

C-

manutd
February 12, 2008, 04:40 PM
SIG Academy has some excellent classes for this sort of thing, but you'll need to be in New Hampshire to take them.
No problem there ;)

xsquidgator
February 13, 2008, 10:21 AM
^^ That kinda training would be hilarious....

I can imagine their website home page reading:

"Tactical training for home defense, we break into your house and try to kill you.... first lesson free if you kill us first...."

*disclaimer* We are not responsible for damages to your locks, windows or doors

Anyone remember Inspector Cloussou and his manservant Cato ambushing him at home for the same reason? One of those scenes but with guns, now that'd be something! This sounds like the ultimate in training but with a wife and animals in the house, too much good stuff for me to handle.

Lurper
February 13, 2008, 11:34 AM
The days of square range training where at most we stand at the same place, draw and fire at a static target as the measure of how well we are trained for a gunfight are over.
Yeah, because it didn't work for Jordan or some of the other legendary gunfighters, right?:rolleyes:
I have to shake my head when I see comments like that. The single most important skill you can develop as a civilian is the ability to hit your target quickly.

Competition is a good way to help train. Jordan and others have attributed it as a major reason they survived. It induces stress in a way that exercise cannot - it's not an elevated pulse rate that you want, you want to induce as much of the entire spectrum of stress as possible. FOF, paintball, sims all have shortcomings which most of their proponents refuse to acknowledge. As mentioned earlier, knowing that you won't get killed or seriosly injured plays a factor. Also, the effects of being hit cannot be simulated, most of the scenarios are not realistic (depending on who's running them) and can instill or reinforce bad habits. I'm not saying they are totally useless, but they should augment your training, not be your training. If you cannot hit your target quickly, FOF, cover, moverment, all of that means nothing. Your training should consist of a mix of them.

Yellowfin
February 13, 2008, 01:26 PM
Perhaps try the interview test from Swordfish with the blonde?

Erik
February 13, 2008, 01:54 PM
The square range is where you learn shooting. Shooting is important.

The square range isn't where you learn fighting. Fighting is important.

The two shouldn't be confused, though there should be overlap.

As to how to incorporate the two, if you find yourself suited up in gear allowing for the safe delivery of blows, throws, and marking rounds to invovled participants then you are on the right path, assuming a decent trainer and training group.

If you're not... Well, some training is better than none.

mamboreta
February 14, 2008, 11:11 AM
...The closest I ever saw to "real" scenario, was a group of ex-military friends of mine got together, and with non lethal rounds, would set up scenarios. For instance, a four man team would decide to "breach" the fifth guys house at some point in the future. The fifth man would not know how or when the invasion was coming, so it would put him under severe anxiety. Sometimes they would wait 2-3 days, sometimes a month, and there would be no contat or discussion with the fifth man.

When they decided, they would simulate a silent home invasion. Sometimes as a 4 man team, sometimes as a two man, ect.

Maybe I´m missing something, but... if they doesn´t know when or where are going to be attacked, how do they know wich gun/ammo are they gonna use to defend themselves? The possibility of a REAL home invasion it´s always there (that´s the reason of the all thing, right?)

Just in case I would use a real gun, with real bullets. Aby BG would be happy to hear me say: "I thought you were Larry" seconds before dying because of the blanks on my revolver.

It´s the craziest thing ever.

Deaf Smith
February 15, 2008, 10:20 PM
You have to train in steps.

Square range first. Learn the basics. Learn them well. If you mess up here it will take alot longer to get it right later. Learn to shoot with either hand. Shoot in low light. Build your skills at weapon manipulation and use of sights (and lack of them at times.)

Dynamic range. Lean to move and shoot. Learn to shoot moving targets. Here things start getting fluid and you start putting the basics together.

Competiton. This allows you to do all the above while others watch. And presuming you want to win then you will TRY HARD and thus stress. This includes not only firearms competition but also martial arts. It's bad point is you can also try to win by gaming. But even then, you learn alot about putting it all together at speed. You also learn to inprovise and adapt, which is hugely important.

FOF. If it's well done and realistic with actors to say the right things then you will learn alot. Here you won't game and there are no trophies. But FOF courses are few and far between (as well as expensive) while competition is usually monthly.

Even after all that, it still is not a perfect match to the real thing. But then, the only training for combat is combat. If you really want that, join the army!

Dwight55
February 15, 2008, 11:16 PM
While it has already been said, . . . the concept of "You will do in the real world, what you learned in the training world" cannot be overstated.

As an example, . . . aboard my first ship, in my first attempt, I timed out at something like 7 or 8 minutes stripping down an electrical transmission board so it was ready to be fed by an emergency generator that was 20% the size of the regular generator.

After some practice, I got it down to less than 15 seconds. A shipmate of mine never did get it right, . . . he of course was the one on watch when it was needed, . . . and our 393 foot long, US Navy ship went literally dead stick in the middle of the South China Sea, . . . with the commodore aboard, with a brand new skipper, as we led the squadron out of Subic Bay.

Moral? Understanding? You need to train as realistically as possible for that which may come upon you. As a 63 year old who recently had open heart surgery, . . . I do not train in close quarter fisticuff training. I do practice visualization techniques of scenarios where I could very well become involved.

Visualization and justification (justify each step by questioning it to see if it was the best step, . . . a step done correctly, . . . were there other options?) and work slowly through it.

As an example, . . . holster up your carry weapon after you have determined three separate time it is UNLOADED. Go out in your garage, . . . and walk through a scenario where you start the car, open the garage door, and you see a bg come running in and try to get into the kitchen while carrying a large butcher knife.

Is your kitchen door locked? It should be!

Are your car doors locked? They should be!

Can you get on your cell and call 911? Your cell should be in an outside pocket and quickly accessible without taking your eyes off the perp!

He picks a 4 pound hammer off your work bench and seeing movement in the car, . . . comes to the driver's door and starts on the window. Is your seat belt off by now? It should have been when you first saw him!

Can you access your weapon from the driver's seat? You should be able to!

This goes on until you have exhausted all possible ways this could go. By very closely questioning each move, . . . you will develop a different and much better plan than just trying to wing it every time. The plan can also be used for different scenarios.

Visualization and justification are training techniques the military has used since George Himself held the pre-raid briefing before crossing the Delaware over 200 years ago, . . . and they still work. There is better training, . . . but if it is all you got, . . . make the most of it.

May God bless,
Dwight

45Dave
February 16, 2008, 10:18 AM
This has been an interesting thread. Several people have mentioned paint ball and just wanted to pip in and say it can provide an introduction to some intense situations. It has been several years since I played along with my son (a dad and son bonding thing) however I wnated to mention the old school players.
There is a movement amongst the paint ballers for old school which means single shots, C02 cartridges rifel and pistols vs automatic gun play. (for those who do not know you can get full auto guns with firing rates in the 20 balls per second range, it looks like a rope of paint coming at you.) The old school play is close in, single shots with lots of rushing depending of you are playing one on one or teams. Often this senarios will be combinations of woods or in building depending on your course.
Just to see how you do on a larger scale try something like the a big game in your area. We use to have one here in Mich at Pickney, people from all over the US and world would come to play this non-stop game which would have 3thousand plus people on 85 acres. You will find out pretty quick how you react with 200 people charging your position or what happens when you round a building and are faced with several opponents who are surprised to see you pop around. Like anything, you get out of this what you seek and are willing to put yourself into.
Oh....if you guys are going to use paintballs be sure you go to a good course (they will be darn strict with gun handing rules, barrel plugs, mask behavior and crongraph guns on a regular basis) The first few times I was amazed at the excellent gun handling behavior of many of the kids. If you are going to make up your own game (we call this rouge games) be sure someone has a cronograph and keep your rounds under 300 fps (most guns are most acurate around 275 or so and getting hit with 400 tears skin, I know from experience. Please wear a mask or approved googles. Paintballs taste like **** but can do eye damage so a full face mask is all the better. The mask also introduces stress as it limits some of your visual imput from sides. You really have to develop the habit of moving your head to see the field of the game.

STLRN
February 16, 2008, 10:29 AM
Yeah, because it didn't work for Jordan or some of the other legendary gunfighters,

Is it the same Jordan who Charles Askins say, Bill Jordan was never in any gunfights. Also didn't he describe him as a guy who wrote a book about gunfighting without ever being in a gunfight?

There an awful lot of that in world of training for gunfights and gun writing.

sw_florida
February 16, 2008, 10:18 PM
If you feel that stress will interfere with your thinking process, work towards lowering your stress level, generally speaking. I think stress comes from not trusting your gusts, so you run the same thoughts through, over and over. It's not the lack of time that is the problem in "stressful situations", it's how inadequately you spend the time you have at hand. Be friends with your own attitude on scumbags.

Shane Tuttle
February 17, 2008, 01:47 PM
http://www.cumberlandtactics.com/schedule.htm

Randy Cain's course on Tactical Handgun 101 will be right up your alley. My wife and I took it last year. It's anything but 101. Don't get me wrong. A person that hardly knows how to load one's gun to a LE officer with 15 years experience can attend the same class and both will never have a dull moment. The class is that dynamic. It's money worth spent.

Randy is a disciple of Gunsite. He adds his own philosophies to the course as well. As you can see, he holds classes in Lakeland. Hopefully that might be in your general area.

We're either going to his CQT or his 101 course again this year. I've never had better instruction than this...

snevensmores
February 17, 2008, 03:25 PM
I didn't have time to read through all of the previous posts, but here's a take on things that you might not think about.

Voice commands and "taking charge of the situation" are integral parts of home defense. If you can control the suspect and "convince" him to surrender, it's possible that you won't have to fire a shot at all.

In law enforcement, you are trained with a FATS (firearms training simulator). I'm not sure if a normal civilian would ever have access to train with one of these, but it has video scenarios that are projected onto a wall. You are equipped with a holstered handgun (that has a laser on it to monitor your shots), and you encounter stressful situations. You must decide when to draw your weapon and whether or not to fire. You're in a room yelling at a suspect to drop his weapon, stop running, release a hostage, etc. There's a person at a computer behind you controlling the entire system. He decides how the scenario pans out. If you don't give good voice commands, he'll have the suspect do something crazy. You handle things correctly, and the suspect might surrender and you can avoid a shootout. In the end, the computer observer will go through all the scenarios and tell you what you did right/wrong and you can seel all of your shots and where they hit.

If you have access to a private area to practice, I'd recommend training on voice commands and knowing when to draw the line. Your ultimate trump card is the second you draw your weapon -- know when to play it.

PS: The first scenario that I did with FATS, about 3 years ago, a BG drew on me at close range in a bar. I was trying to pull the trigger as quickly as possible (didn't know much at all about guns at the time). I was in such a hurry, I didn't pull the trigger back until break during the first squeeze. Needless to say, I died. The next scenario, I shot a drug-smuggling truck driver in the junk as he was running, so it wasn't so bad :D.

Silvanus
February 18, 2008, 04:40 PM
Perhaps try the interview test from Swordfish with the blonde?

Hehe;)

Covert Mission
February 20, 2008, 12:44 AM
The single most important skill you can develop as a civilian is the ability to hit your target quickly.

That's somewhat true, imho, with a caveat: under stress, and esp in an armed encounter with someone shooting back at you, your shooting skill degrades by 30-50% at least, it's been estimated. Any training you can do, such as FoF, which helps you operate better under that kind of stress will improve your performance in a real situation. If you're just a 70% shooter and that degrades by half, you may have a problem. Weapon operation, malfunction clearance, reloads etc all need to be practiced under some sort of stress, even if it's a USPSA match. That will reduce the level of degradation to some extent, in my experience.

In a real shooting you're dealing with tachypsychia, tunnel vision, degraded fine motor skills etc, all as a result of that adrenaline dump. Some of those physiological effects are pronounced and require training to offset, to whatever extent that is possible. I just shot some training with SIMS doing building clearing with multiple "BGs" and the stress from that was intense, in a good (beneficial) way. Very enlightening.

We just had a departmental SO shooting last night. Suspect fired at deputies, deputies shot back. The two deputies are good shots; I've qual'd with them. The ratio of misses to hits was about 5 or 6 to 1, and they were fairly close but it was night time outdoors. Their hit ratio on the range or on the simulator would have been 80-90% probably, but nothing can synthesize that real situation, and even prior shooting experience only helps some, I think (unless you have Jim Cirillo's experience and live to tell about it). Good news: both walked away unhurt (BG didn't). I'm looking forward to talking to and learning from them.

Stevie-Ray
February 20, 2008, 07:17 PM
Anyone remember Inspector Cloussou and his manservant Cato ambushing him at home for the same reason? One of those scenes but with guns, now that'd be something! This sounds like the ultimate in training but with a wife and animals in the house, too much good stuff for me to handle.In the movie The Soldier starring Ken Wahl, a portrayal of the CIA's battle with terrorism, a friend of Wahl's character ambushes him in his home, to the point of even drawing blood, and doesn't reveal himself until Wahl draws a gun on him. At that point it's "AW SH**", he rips his hood off and says, "Hey man, how ya doin?" Wahl replies, "You ripped my shirt!":D

I agree this would be too dangerous a scenario for role playing.