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Old October 2, 2010, 03:20 PM   #1
Tamara
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Words have meanings...

Do we do ourselves a disservice when we use shorthand and jargon like "Muzzle!" when what we really mean is "Stop pointing your freaking gun at me!"?

At what point does the term "Big Boy Rules" become an excuse for sloppy gunhandling?
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Old October 2, 2010, 06:12 PM   #2
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Big Boy Rules is a new one on me.

Nothing excuses negligent gun handling. I have heard more than a few guys talk about classes where they shoot past each other or line up and practice quick drawing against each other.

Such excercises are idiotic. If you're using real guns do not point them at each other. That is just complete common sense. A gaping chest wound is a gaping chest wound regardless of the intent.

When I was taking my CCH class I heard one of the instructors talking about an accident. It seems a CCH instructor in another county decided to teach his students to quick draw. It was part of his class from the begining. Well one weekend he ended up with an odd number of students. Being the first rate teacher that he is, he joins the line. He didn't clear the weapon before the excercise. He had an accidental discharge and put a round in a student's torso.

It was a through the grapevine story. The stories are out there though.
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Old October 2, 2010, 06:52 PM   #3
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I enjoyed the write up. Had a couple of chuckle while reading also.

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Old October 2, 2010, 07:02 PM   #4
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Tamara

Very nice post and article. The bottom line is that ANYONE who can advertise can be a firearms instructor. There are no minimum requirements, there are no tests. With the heighten sense of personal protection over the past years there is a bigger need and there will be people who fill that need, some good, some bone heads.

The real quality instructors are still there, they still demand the same aspects of safety, and still have excellent safety records. However you have to pay their price and wait your turn, something modern Americans don't seem to want to do.

Quote:
At what point does the term "Big Boy Rules" become an excuse for sloppy gunhandling?
NEVER in any of the training classes I am involved in.

Good Luck & Be Safe
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Old October 4, 2010, 07:29 AM   #5
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1. I don't see the problem with saying "don't point your muzzle at me". I guess I just don't get it.

2. Big Boy Rules - what's that? Never heard of it. Scanned the linked article and still don't know what Big Boy Rules are.
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Old October 4, 2010, 08:54 AM   #6
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"MUZZLE!" and "FINGER!!" do have the beautiful and utterly necessary virtue of brevity, a hugely important component of any range command -- esp a command that might be yelled under stress.

While we could use longer phrases, or even make up a beautiful chewing-out on the spur of the moment, most people experience a physiological inability to really string words together well when under time stress. That's why we memorize very brief and formulaic range commands rather than talking full sentences at our students when running the line. Under the brief stress of needing the student to do something RIGHT FREAKING NOW, it's best to fall back on that formula.

Let me add something important here: I don't want to increase their personal stress or otherwise startle them before that muzzle has been corrected. (Bad juju to have someone startle onto the trigger in those circumstances.) So I might not even call "Muzzle!" -- I might instead dodge out of the way and then say something.

Since I want them to stop pointing the muzzle at me RIGHT FREAKING NOW, I also don't want to take the time to formulate, or take the time for them to have to mentally process a longer phrase. The complete chewing out should wait until after the muzzle in question has been pointed in a safe direction.

Come to think of it, I might not even always give the student a complete chewing out even after the muzzle has been redirected, not because stupidity is okay, but because occasionally it's obvious that either 1) the student already feels like an idiot, or 2) the offense was caused by their own too-high level of stress & nervousness, in which case they get a calm-down lecture rather than a you're-an-idiot lecture. So that part depends on the situation.

If the student already feels like an idiot, their own self talk will be far, far more harsh and on target than anything someone outside themselves can say. Furthermore, if they already feel like an idiot and you rag on them, they often get a defensive thing going on and start making excuses for their behavior. THAT outcome is utterly unacceptable. So if it's obvious they're already beating themselves up, it's usually best to let them stew in their own juices while also making it obvious that what they did wasn't appreciated.

While I've been swept from time to time in classes, I don't regard it as a minor thing or something just to accept as the price for good training. Any time a student sweeps me, it's a serious problem worth getting upset about. And I regard it as MY failure. I failed to control the situation or to anticipate their actions in time to prevent them from doing something dangerous. I failed to maintain awareness. That doesn't mean the student bears no responsibility; it simply means that as the instructor I know the buck stops here. Too often, people use the phrase "Range safety is everyone's responsibility," to mean it's no one's responsibility. Doesn't work that way! If you're running the range, you're ultimately the one on the hook.

I haven't encountered "Big Boy Rules" being used in a safety sense, ever. I have heard it in other contexts -- such as during FOF when someone takes a paintball hit to a painful spot, you assess the situation and if they're just hurt and not injured, you remind them (or the other player who is obsessively apologizing) that we're playing by Big Boy Rules so everyone puts the owie behind them and drives on.

Okay, setting all that aside: I took a class recently where we did the snake drill and a few other similar drills, and at NO point did anyone point a gun at me. These types of drills aren't for everyone, they certainly aren't for people who take safety protocols lightly, and they aren't for people who haven't internalized all freaking four of the four rules. It's not acceptable to put all your safety eggs in any one of those rules-baskets; there are four of them for a reason.

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Old October 4, 2010, 06:15 PM   #7
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The first time I heard of Big Boy Rules was in the context of carrying a gun in a 'gun-free zone'; i.e. - "There are responsibilities to abide by and consequences if you get caught. Big Boy (or Girl) rules apply'.

That's how I still apply the term - if it is something you may not be able to handle, don't do it and then cry about it later.
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Old October 4, 2010, 06:27 PM   #8
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Snake drill

I am not clear on this drill. I found one example on youtube. Looks dangerous to me. I don't see an application for this. I guess I am not a "Big Boy" yet.
Is this an approach to assaulting a position?
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Old October 4, 2010, 06:46 PM   #9
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Old October 4, 2010, 06:49 PM   #10
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CODE WORD !!

As a language student courtesy of N.S.A. in Syracuse University, 1965, we were all mustered before our graduation, to be honored by the attention of LBJ. We each sat with relatives and were in full Blues. We were given one serious admonition: scan the highs and lows and in-betweens for any sign of surreptitious movement. See any? The word "MUZZLE ! ! ! ! !" was code for the SS guys (no, not WE S.S. guys) to smother LBJ with bodies, and drag him off the podium. Oh, how we each wished that hero status would have happened!! It didn't. But that MUZZLE call brings up memories.
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Old October 4, 2010, 06:53 PM   #11
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It's about time

Tamarra: What a great article. I work PT in a local Mom & Pop Sporting goods store. The latest customer entertainment was probably one of the guys that attended the class mentioned in the article. A local physician wanted to order a top quality AR ( Noveske or LMT ) and it "must be in the REAL Flat Earth. Don't think we can fool him with Coyote." I stated that we would inquire of the two mentioned suppliers. The guys at both companies said, "right, are you serious?" They advised me have this guy contact Lauer. When I contacted him he said "well they just don't want my business enough to do what it takes to get it. One company even suggested giving (4) cans of the Krylon Camo and a can of Gun Scrubber and have fun with it. In basic I recall that the DI were not too inclined to yell Muzzle. Well perhaps, they were yelling it as a subliminal message whilst covering the fine points of you lower gastrointestinal tract with his boot while screaming something about your future and your lineage.
Tamarra: Thanks again still grinning
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Old October 4, 2010, 08:16 PM   #12
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Grey Sky,

The only handgun-based snake drill I could find on YouTube wasn't -- well, it wasn't. Here's a shotgun-based one, though: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8_LS6CoHhQ In the class I took, we used handguns rather than shotguns and there were people in place of the cardboard placeholders you see in the video.

The purpose of this drill and others like it has nothing to do with "assaulting a position" (whatever that might mean to you). It isn't training you to do anything. Rather, it is an experiential drill, designed to give you a very specific experience in a controlled environment: that of moving safely through a crowd with gun in hand.

The drill served to reinforce students' already-learned good muzzle control. It forced students to truly visualize what it might mean to move through a crowd while pointing the gun at nobody who didn't deserve it. Perhaps most important, it allowed each of the students to develop absolute confidence in our ability to do the task at hand regardless of the presence of nearby bystanders.

We do live in a 360-degree world, and there might come a time when you need to fire a shot while a loved one is within a few feet of you. There is value in stress innoculation, for most people. I'm somewhat ambivalent about whether a defensive shooter "needs" a downrange drill to be truly prepared (and thus whether it's a necessary risk or an unnecessary one), but I have no in-theory quarrel with those who teach it. I took this class specifically so I could see with my own eyes what was being taught, and what value the students themselves believed they were getting from such drills. My conclusion: it can be helpful in building a solid mindset and increased confidence, BUT only when done right!

When a downrange drill is done, it should be done in a very cautious and controlled manner, with experienced students and multiple safeguards. If you as an instructor have the philosophy that the stress innoculation provided by such a drill is really important, then you need to provide it for your students in the safest possible manner. You don't get a pass on safety just because you're doing something you think is important; rather, you have an increased responsibility for providing safety on the range for the students who trust you to provide that experience for them.

Typically, what an instructor is trying to accomplish with a downrange drill is something some call "stress inoculation" and others call "emotional climate training." The goal is to allow the student to experience – in a safe environment – the full weight and magnitude of shooting near (but not at) an innocent human. Most responsible shooters are freaked out by that thought. Yet if and when the student uses a firearm for real in a defensive situation, it is entirely likely that someone they love and care about will be within feet (and possibly within mere inches) of the muzzle at the time they fire. If they are freaking out about the mere thought of firing near an innocent, they won't be able to make that shot when they need it. So the reasoning for the downrange drill is that if the student has already experienced and gotten over the extreme emotional "freak out" associated with needing to make a shot near but not at an innocent, they will be that much steadier under stress and that much more prepared to make that shot when it counts.

At the same time, those instructors who send students downrange during such drills (rather than going downrange themselves while students shoot) are typically trying to accomplish a similar stress inoculation goal: they want their students to experience, again in a very controlled environment, what gunfire looks like from near the front. Again, it is fully expected that any reasonable person will be disconcerted by both the idea and the actuality of having a gun fired in their general direction, even if it is not being fired at them. The reasoning here is that those who have experienced the emotional impact of such a situation but in a completely controlled environment will be more prepared and better able to keep their cool under pressure if & when it happens in real life. They may also recognize that they are being shot at somewhat sooner than someone who has never seen or experienced gunfire from anywhere near the muzzle end. For good instructors, the goal has far less to do with anything macho than it does with simply getting over and past the extreme emotional reaction in training so that the student will be able to respond calmly and efficiently in real life.

By this point, it should be clear why these goals cannot be accomplished with anything but live ammunition on a hot range. There are other stress-innoculation goals that can be accomplished in other (much less risky ways), but these particular ones can be reached only with live ammunition on a hot range.

Again, to be clear: I'm not saying these drills must be done and I'm sure not urging anyone to get out this weekend and run downrange! I'm just trying to articulate what good instructors who do this type of drill are intending to accomplish when they do them.

Unfortunately -- as Tamara so eloquently points out! -- there are an awful lot of not-good instructors out there beating their chests and playing the macho game with their students. In those cases, it's not about learning anything worthwhile; it's about being the biggest baddest alpha on the shooting range. But this type of mass stupidity, urged on by testosterone-heavy machismo, doesn't feature the very controlled safeguards that good instructors put in place. It's just a badly-directed game of Chicken.

Here's one clue: if the downrange drill becomes the most prominent feature of the class, heavily advertised and puffed far out of proportion to anything else taught in the course, you're probably looking at a Bad Idea in progress. Downrange drills can be helpful, sometimes and under some circumstances. They should never be done with beginning students and they should not be the centerpiece of the class. They should be a small part of a complete, developed curriculum designed to bring advanced students to the point they can benefit from such a drill.

And here's the really essential key: if you're looking at a class from someone who blows off any one of the four essential safety rules, for any reason whatsoever, with any self-justification whatsoever, you are not looking at a good instructor for this type of training. You're looking at a fool who has fools for students.

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Old October 4, 2010, 08:51 PM   #13
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pax,

5-star post.

I'm starting the process to become an instructor (just bookmarked this thread). Starting with just NRA's Classes (stuff the CPL class here, things like that), and see how that goes. But that's beside the point. The point is that all instructors should read that post (this thread even). I've seen some hilarious and scary things from instructors. If we want to get more people involved in the shooting sports, we definitely could start by keeping alpha-males egos at home.
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Old October 4, 2010, 09:10 PM   #14
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Love that idea of shoving a dowel down the barrel to emphesize muzzle direction. How many have tried that?
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Old October 5, 2010, 04:45 AM   #15
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Found it Pax

Youtube search STGarchive + snake drill
I am positive I would not take the place of the card board for anybody.
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Old October 5, 2010, 05:57 AM   #16
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pax,

That post was so full of win that it brought a tear to my eye. That is going up (in some form or another) at Cornered Cat, right?
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Old October 5, 2010, 08:26 AM   #17
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Hmm... Never heard of "big boy rules" either.

Shooting past people is something you might have to do in a real world scenario. Building a mental block to doing so could be dangerous.
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Old October 5, 2010, 09:22 AM   #18
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Quote:
At what point does the term "Big Boy Rules" become an excuse for sloppy gunhandling?
In the classes I have been in, "Big Boy Rules" meant that we weren't going to be treated like Handgun 101 students. We would be running a hot range with ongoing activities at the firing line and behind it (non shooters) and that we were each to act in responsible manners. It meant that anyone could yell at anyone else for safety issues at any time they occurred. It meant that one did not have to ask permission to leave the firing line or to go to the fiddle table to deal with a problem so long as it was done in a safe manner.

"Big Boy Rules" also mean no whining.

With that said, I have seen some of the training vids from various classes on You Tube where "Big Boy Rules" are stated and it seemed to be an excuse for either sloppy gun handling or unsafe behavior on the range.

I have been the cardboard in the snake drill. I have stood next to a target whilst it was being shot. I understand it is done for a form of stress or innoculation training, but to be quite honest, it was anticlimactic. For the most part, I felt very confident that the shooters would not shoot me because I knew they were shooting by me and not at me. Two guys, however, stepped on my foot in the snake drill and I got scanned/muzzled/gun pointed at me during the draw when standing next to a target. The guy's gun caught on his concealment garment during the draw. Holy crap! He shot fine, but the draw was scary as hell.

I have no plans to do these drills again with strangers in a class.
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Old October 5, 2010, 10:27 AM   #19
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Wow, let me add here that Todd Green is brilliant! See http://pistol-training.com/archives/3707

Read it twice...

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Old October 5, 2010, 06:03 PM   #20
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I agree with you DNS.

'Big Boy Rules' simply ment we were adults and not of this kiddy stuff cold range BUT you were also expected to handle the weapons in safe manner at all times.

It did not mean anything goes.

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Old October 7, 2010, 09:19 AM   #21
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Had to think about it

Words have meaning. With that I agree. Do not point your gun at me or shoot near me. "Snake Drill" with a good instructor? Do I trust your ability to shoot near me? NO, NO, NO. Name the top ten best shots in the world. Line them up. Stand next to there target down range. NO, NO, NO.
Don't be that guy. The one who is the only person here professional enough to do............

I will close with a story. William Tell according to legend was forced to shoot an apple off his sons head. He withdrew two arrows and shot the apple. his tormentor asked "You were only given one try. Why did you have two arrows?" He responded . "If I had missed the second arrow was for you."
Excellent marksman that he was Tell knew he could miss.
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Old October 7, 2010, 09:47 AM   #22
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Double Naught Spy said:

Quote:
In the classes I have been in, "Big Boy Rules" meant that we weren't going to be treated like Handgun 101 students. We would be running a hot range with ongoing activities at the firing line and behind it (non shooters) and that we were each to act in responsible manners. It meant that anyone could yell at anyone else for safety issues at any time they occurred. It meant that one did not have to ask permission to leave the firing line or to go to the fiddle table to deal with a problem so long as it was done in a safe manner.

"Big Boy Rules" also mean no whining.
My experience has been likewise.
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Old October 7, 2010, 09:49 AM   #23
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That's what it's supposed to mean.

However, various "instructors" seem to have read it on the internet and to have rendered their own interpretation.
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Old October 7, 2010, 02:49 PM   #24
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Yep and let us not forget the newer terms as seen on S.W.A.T. TV " your dynamic situation " :barf:makes me want to puke:barf:. As the OP is bringing to light call it what it is, a dam gun fight, life and death situation, the proverbial SHTF and you're caught up in it. Maybe it sells TV or gets people to pay and take the coarse.
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Old October 27, 2010, 02:00 PM   #25
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I don't allow anyone around me to handle guns in a sloppy manner. If someone wants to cop an attitude I won't be shooting with them.

Muzzle? I say in a sharp tone, "hey watch where you are pointing that (fill in the blank) thing". I really get ****** if someone responds with something lame like it's not loaded, it's not cocked, whatever.

I've been around very few people that need to be told this, but when I'm with someone new to shooting I overly stress the good form of safe handling that starts with never point the gun at a person.
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